Tuesday, July 05, 2011

this week in the garden: part 2

I couldn't not show the progress of everything else, so I bring you part two! This is my little cabbage patch. If you remember, I accidentally planted too many in one square foot for the square foot gardening guides, but my plans to transplant a few to another square were thwarted when I realized the only open squares were near tomatoes and peppers, which aren't good neighbors for cabbage. So, I lazily left them in place, and all six cabbage plants seem to be doing fine, surprisingly! They are folding inward to a head slowly but surely.

Swiss chard is doing great. I am not used to cooking with this leafy green, so why don't you Swiss chard lovers send me your favorite recipes/ways to eat it? I would be ever so grateful!

I meant to snap a picture of these beautiful eggplant flowers a few days ago, but as you can see, eggplants are just around the corner! I love eggplants. My college roommate Casey and I even created what we call Eggplant Club because we love them so much! We have eggplant-shaped coin purses to validate our membership, of course.

Peppers are popping up every day it seems! We have a Hungarian hot pepper, yellow bell pepper, purple bell pepper, and red and green bell pepper. Can you tell we love bell peppers? I think they are too versatile not to love! I am into vegetables that are great raw or cooked, because I can use them in so many ways.

Three Hungarian hot peppers are ready to be picked! What should we do with them?

Purple bell peppers! I was introduced to these by one of my favorite farmers at my Arkansas farmers' market, Tara of Rattles Garden. Since I can no longer frequent her table at the market, I decided to grow a purple bell pepper plant this year.

After a few "hot" days (so I am told by my fellow Ohioans, but to me, the mid to upper 80s just doesn't feel that hot! It is truly wonderful, in my opinion) the lettuce has bolted. I think it is quite beautiful. I'm now scrambling to eat some of these luscious leaves before they get too bitter, though.

The mesclun, however, planted a little later, is still going strong! It is quite beautiful to see a salad with so much color and variety.

The peas have arrived! There are so many of them! Oh, I love peas. I recommend growing peas if you are new to gardening. They are so easy and will increase your confidence in the garden. The flowers are pretty too!

One thing I learned the hard way (and I'm pretty sure I learned this last year too...oops! A lot has happened since last year, and I may have forgotten a few things I meant to do...) is that my pea trellis was not strong enough to support such a lively crop of peas. After a little engineering with string and extra bamboo rods, however, things seem stable enough to prevent any harm from coming to them. Any suggestions for a strong trellis for my fall pea crop?

The cilantro is also bolting. I knew cilantro would not last long so I seeded more just as these began to grow leaves! That is exciting to me. My salsa recipe uses cilantro, and I think it is so delicious. I like it in salad and on tacos and sandwiches and pasta salad and my list goes on...

The tallest sunflower...which is actually only about two feet tall. I should have put them in an area with more sun. Maybe they will still come through, though. We'll see!

This is kind of funny. Yes, that stick says "Triscuit Basil." Have you seen those little cards on the Triscuit boxes lately that have basil seeds embedded in them? I thought it was humorous so I planted one. This tiny basil sprout is all that came up (out of 10 seeds in the card) after about three weeks, sadly. I am not sure if embedding seeds into processed food packaging is the best way to get the average person into gardening, but Triscuit, you get an E for effort.

This is my sad little lime tree. Only, lately, it is a little happier. My brother gave me this teeny lime tree last year after he visited Florida. It really hated the Ohio winter (indoors, of course), and all its leaves fell off. I moved it around the apartment to sunnier spots, and gave it nutrients, and water, even when it had no leaves, and every now and then, it would sprout a new one. Then it too would fall off. But I never lost hope because I just wanted it to live so much because I thought it was the sweetest present! So when it got warmer here, I put a little jar over it to trick it into thinking it was back in Florida, and set it out where it gets a good amount of sun every day. In the past two weeks, it has sprouted six new leaves! I am so proud of it, and hopeful. I don't know if it will ever produce limes at this rate, but I am happy to have it just the same.

It seems that lettuce seeds are so small and light that they are always blowing away into uncharted territory. This year, one blew across the yard and planted itself in my chocolate mint! I never have the heart to remove these little nomadic lettuce plants, so I just let them live free in their chosen homes. I wonder, however, if this lettuce would taste at all minty?

There are fire flies in abundance in the yard every night. I love watching them. It reminds me of childhood and catching them in jars. So magical and summer-like.

Finally, my beloved pot of zinnias is getting ready to bloom! I have been anxiously awaiting this since I planted the seeds. It feels so good to grow things successfully from little seeds. I can't wait to see what their colors are!

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