Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June is Bustin' Out All Over.......

Overall, I am very pleased with my garden so far this year.   We got about an inch of much-needed rain today.  As wet as the Spring was, it had been weeks without a drop, and that meant brown, crispy lawns and having to water the garden.

As promised, I worked on a way to water more efficiently. I punched holes in the bottom of several plastic juice bottles and placed them next to the plant I wanted to water. My first attempt was a total failure. The holes were small, but there were way too many, and I watched my bottles empty in seconds, when they were supposed to seep water to the roots of the plants. That a pot could swallow 1/2 gallon of water that quickly told me how much I was pouring on my plants, too. I'm saving up more bottles and next time will only put one or two small holes in each.  In extremis, I could also save 'gray water,' (stopper up the tub while showering, then scoop it out with a bucket) and use that to water.  I've done it in the past, but it hasn't come to that.  

There are those who will tell you not to water your plants at night, due to the risk of fungal diseases. They have a point of course, but I compromise.  I go out about 7-ish, when the heat of the day is past its peak, and the sun has dipped lower, and water then.  I water at the base of the plant, and try to avoid wetting the leaves.  That way the plants have a while to dry off if they did get wet, and all night to soak up the water, minimizing evaporation loss.  If  you water during the day it will 'burn' off much of your water through evaporation, and droplets on leaves can act as a prism, allowing the sun to burn holes in your foliage!

True, water soaker hoses are a good solution, but pricey, and not very do-able in pots.

I've been harvesting all Spring, mostly herbs.

But some of the bigger stuff is coming on now too. 

 I have 2 yellow squash plants in this pot, and two squash that will be ready to eat this weekend.   As the plant grows, I hope to use the deck railing as a trellis.  (we'll see how that goes :)

I also have 1 zucchini in a pot and 1  Patty Pan Squash that was in a third pot, but got transplanted into the garden under the pole bean tee-pee.  I finally gave up in the battle with the robins pulling up all my seedlings, and put a more grown-up plant there. The advantage of having the potted ones "up close and personal" on the deck is maybe I can keep a closer eye on them and avoid baseball-bat sized zucchini. 

I had Kale with dinner last night

and Chard the night before.  I am not one for 'long-cooked with a ham hock, pot liquor and cornbread' style greens - although I love the cornbread part.  Just not slimey greens.  (It must be my Yankee genes)  I gave them a quick saute - long  enough to wilt them, season and eat.  Yum!  

The Roma tomatoes (from purchased plants) are well up and setting fruit

The 'German Pink' tomatoes, started from saved seed well after the Romas, are coming along - interplanted with Opal Basil, Nasturtium (said to repel Tomato Hornworm - we'll see) and Marigold - to repel nematodes.

My 'potatoes-in-a-pot' are huge.  A few blossoms, but not the real thing yet.  These are the white potatoes, and I have a pot of reds at the top of the steps.  If I had something to go around those plants, and then added soil or straw, I cold have potatoes growing the whole length of those stems :(   I didn't get one potato last year though, so I guess I should wait to see if I get any before I complain.     

The Basil is ready to be cut and preserved!  

Last year I bought a dehydrator, and preserved lots of things that way, besides freezing a few more in my tiny above-the-fridge freezer space.  It's hard to remember to use them though!  I could blame it on being  someone who doesn't cook all that much at home, but I've read a bunch of  'family' blogs this season that are saying the same thing.   

Earier this week I pulled out a jar of store-bought baby Portobello mushrooms that I dehydrated and saved last year.  I put some warm water on them to rehydrate them, and they were great - but there was an unexpected bonus..... 

This lovely bit of mushroom broth that could be added to stock. 

I'm going to use it tonight to make Mediterranean Couscous .  I got the recipe from Homestead Revival,  and I make it a lot. It is one of those go-to recipes that can be added to or altered, depending what you have on hand.   I sub canned white or cannelonni beans for the garbanzos, because I like them better, and use regular, not whole wheat couscous.  She calls it a side, but with added veggies, mushrooms or greens, I eat it as a vegetarian main dish.  

The animals are fine, Abigail is back to an egg-every-other-day laying schedule, and Ivy now has solid black peachfuzz-fur on her backside.  Niko is the only one who still needs his summer haircut, and if I would ever get up from this computer.........

Until next time from Wren Cottage.... 



  1. wow- mushroom juice in your stock. That sounds delish! You have a great green thumb and your garden is coming in very nicely! This is the first year I've had a garden, so I'm having my fair share of successes (tomatoes) and failures (strawberries).

    Good luck- it looks great!

  2. Zucchini in a pot blows my mind! I'll have to try that.

  3. Wow, everything is looking amazing!!!