Midsummer Garden Update

It being 4th of July weekend, it seemed like a good time to take our camera out into the heavy, humid great outdoors and take a look at the progress of Maple Hoo’s bouteous bounty. This is about as lush as the garden’s going to look this year:

The potato thicket is bustin’ out of the back of the fence:

And the volunteer pumpkin at the front door is starting to make plans to eat the house:

The volunteer pumpkin at the other side of the door isn’t quite as impressive yet, but we have high hopes for it still.

Meanwhile, the actual, intentional pumpkin patch out front is… doing only okay. We half-assed the planting this year, and then totally neglected it, so it’s pretty well overrun with weeds.

Almost none of the seedlings we put out there did anything, but we have some robust volunteers growing like gangbusters, and a handful of full-on pumpkins we’re starting to keep our eyes on.

And speaking of volunteers that just won’t quit, two years ago we planted “pocket melons”, little melons that are a hair bigger than golf balls that were grown in Victorian times to carry around in your pocket. They don’t taste like anything, but they are delightfully aromatic, and would be trucked around for their perfume. We grew them for fun, and must have left a few in the patch by accident, because, lo and behold, for the second straight year we’re getting them without trying.

In the orchard, only one of the ten apple trees is growing any apples — here’s one of the Enterprise’s massive bumper crop (read: “six or so little bug-eaten fruits”):

Meanwhile, inside the garden fence, things are looking great for the gherkins we thought were never going to amount to anything. Here’s bed with a calypso bean plant, the three gherkin plants, and our most giant black plum tomato:

The gherkins proper have stopped looking like fingernail-sized, eensy-weensy sweet pickles and now look like finger-sized sweet pickles.

I was having fun trying to take artsy pictures of the plant today…

…and when I focused on one of the flowers…

…look what flitted in long enough to strike a pose then disappear off to more flowery pastures!

The Black Plum there is starting, like all the other tomato plants, to eagerly pump out fruits that can’t wait to be made into delicious sauce.

We left a handful of radishes in the corner of one bed to see what would happen when they went to seed, and they’ve developed these totally wacky seed pods in among their pretty pink flowers.

Elsewhere in that bed, we’re learning why you’re supposed to take the first few flowers off your pepper plants. Our tiny little nardello plants are being weighed down by their ever-huger peppers.

The big news today, though, was the harvesting. We took up the remaining two Desiree potatoes and the three All Blue plants, as well as the rest of the garlic (Chesnok Red and Persian Star).

The yield was just over ten pounds of potatoes:

And a counter covered with garlic:

After we were done digging up the garlic and potato beds, we went around to the side of the house to check on our blueberry haul. One of the bushes was positively groaning under the weight of its scant crop.

But any amount of fresh-picked, ripe blueberries is better than none.

They were sweet, juicy, and outrageously delicious. It was a pretty good day to be gentlewoman farmers, if we do say so ourselves.

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16 Comments

Filed under 7. July, Garden, Harvested

16 responses to “Midsummer Garden Update

  1. Amazing as always!

    I am a little afraid of that one volunteer pumpkin patch though. It is definitely headed for the house!

  2. Amy

    Between the wildly growing potatoes and that one pumpkin patch, it looks like IPB Manor could be the set of a cheesy horror movie like “Attack of the Killer Veggies.”

    And I have to ask, what is a “volunteer pumpkin?”

  3. That window down behind where the pumpkin’s growing is Matsui’s favorite place to hang out and watch the world go by. As soon as she’s afraid to be there on account of the pumpkin, that’s when I’ll start to worry! :D (“Attack of the Killer Veggies”, indeed, Amy!)

    And a volunteer plant is one that grows on its own, from seeds spread by the wind or by birds or whatever. In the case of our pumpkins, they originally sprung up our first Spring in Maple Hoo from Halloween pumpkins that had been left out on the front steps by the previous owners. (Full disclosure: after two years of actual volunteers growing there, we may have “enlisted” this year’s “volunteers. Maybe. That’s between us and the pumpkins. :P)

  4. LizD

    Awesome pictures of the garden and harvest.

    Here’s the big Q of the day, now that I’m inundated with zucchini from my CSA – whaddya do with them? I’m stuck with the usual pan-fry-them-up-with-onions-or-garlic. Need advice. Or a recipe. Help.

  5. We do have an honest-to-gosh, no-question-about-it volunteer pumpkin in the backyard. Last year we deposited all of the pumpkins in the back next to the compost bin. We were going to compost them but then discovered that the deer and squirrels seemed to be enjoying eating them. (It was really cool to see a deer pick 1/2 a pumpkin up in it’s teeth and the shake it around to rip off a hunk to eat.) Somehow in the process of them being eaten, a seed must of traveled out to the middle of the yard. The whole neighborhood is going to be teeming with them in a few years!

    Liz, as for zucchinis, Schnookie’s got an awesome ginger-zucchini muffin recipe. So good!

  6. And it should be noted that all the pumpkins growing in the pumpkin patch are volunteers!

    Liz, I have the hardest time thinking of what to do with zucchini. Pookie doesn’t like it, so I havent made any forays into zucchini-as-the-centerpiece meals, and often just do the pan frying with the onions and the garlic, or compost them. Sometimes I get wild and crazy and grill them. It’s… not a great scene. I know andrew over on IPB suggested slicing them thin and doing them up with onions and peppers in fajita seasoning for zucchini fajitas, which sounds great. I sneak them into Pookie’s diet by making these cupcakes. I’m thinking of branching out into other forms of zucchini baking, though. Epicurious is a great resource for zucchini recipes!

  7. Amy

    Schnookie, thanks for explaining the volunteer concept. That’s such a cool name for it.

  8. I love calling the surprises that grow in our garden “volunteers”. Whoever came up with that term for them RAWKS. (And now that we’re in our third year of gardening in these beds, with a healthy crop rotation, we’re getting all kinds of wonderful volunteers. Especially these crazy little yellow pear tomatoes. They’re growing EVERYWHERE. Oh, and tons of things are coming up in the bed that we spread our homemade compost in.)

  9. Sarah

    Your garden looks so lush! Note that we are not posting any pics of our vegetable garden…. The way things are headed we’ll be harvesting stuff in November. And not the stuff that’s meant to be harvested then!
    Liz, great picture of your little bee friend dropping in to say howdy!

  10. And not the stuff that’s meant to be harvested then!

    Hee! Sorry, though. Just think how nice it’ll be to have fresh food then? Really, the thing to remember is you’ve got the beds all ready to go for next year! You guys won’t have to put any effort into putting the beds in order, so you can skip right to the fun part of dumping seeds in the ground! Yay!

  11. Whew! That is a lot of garlic, ladies! And ten pounds of potatoes! So jealous!

  12. You should have smelled the garlic when it was first drying! It really was a lot!! :D

    And the potatoes are just the tip of the iceberg, I hope. There are still 16 more potato plants waiting to be dug up! Yummy!

  13. Holy cow, ya’ll are going to have a lot of spuds. Yum!

    I was looking through your food pics and found something I was unfamiliar with, scapes or scape? What is it?

  14. Myra, scapes are the shoots that grow out of the center of the garlic plant. You cut them off in order to encourage the bulb to grow bigger. The scapes themselves look kind of like scallions (only solid) have a really nice mild garlic flavor. We put them in salads, mashed potatoes, pesto, stir-fry, all kinds of stuff! They’re sooooo tasty. They’re also why we started planting anything in the first place — we didn’t get enough scapes from the farm share so we planted some garlic of our own. Thus began the veggie garden obsession! :D

  15. Thanks! They do sound good. I love garlic! Glad they led to your garden obsession.

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