Mid-Summer Gardens

'Bout time I post again. Summer is too quick - it's very hard for me to believe that it's mid-July: spring is barely over and already summer is half gone. The cicadas are even singing in the evenings now, a sure sign of mid to late summer. How quickly it goes.

Anyhow, my new community garden at McCormick street is finally growing a little, with mixed success. The soil here is very clay with poor drainage. All the rain we've had has resulted in some pretty heavy flooding in some of the plots. Luckily mine seems to be OK - it was a good idea to cart as much compost to the plot as we did, and planting everything in raised hills also helped.

The watermelons. The foreground is Moon and Stars - a large red melon. It barely seemed to grow all June, but it's recently started vining, and there's even a few flowers starting to come on. The background is a smaller orange watermelon. Not quite as vigorous, but I'm still hopefully that we'll get a few melons.

Watermelon flower.

This is an interesting case study. The melon on the left is Pride of Wisconsin, a local heirloom. On the right is Charantais, a French variety which although very tasty, obviously doesn't like the climate quite as much.

This is the sad little circle in the middle. I planted a bunch of sunflower seeds here, but someone (a bunny probably) ate all the sprouts before they had a chance to do anything. I can't blame the bunny really, sunflower sprouts are delicious. There are a few survivors, but mostly there's just purslane. Purslane is a weed, but it's edible, and quite nutritious, so since nothing else was growing there, I decided to turn it into my purslane patch.

The winter squash is doing great. Lots of flowers, but no little squashes yet.

This is the saddest quadrant of the plot. Lemon cucumbers on the left.... only one plant has made it. Maybe I'll get a few. On the right is a green French melon (I forget the name). Not looking too promising.

The okra is looking nice. I've never grown this before, so I'm not sure what to look for. The plants aren't huge, but they're healthy.

Another view of the Pride of Wisconsin. The pride of this garden plot too. I hope it tastes good!

On to Main Street, and what a lush lovely place it is.

The lettuce is just about done - going to seed. That's OK, there's so much else ready for harvest I won't miss lettuce a bit.

Beautiful broccoli.

The dill is taking over the old lettuce bed.

I took these pictures when the sun was high, so they're a bit bright, but you'll get the idea. The red potatoes in the foreground are starting to die back and will be ready to dig soon. The purple potatoes are a little behind, but it won't be long.

Tomatoes and peas (hard to tell the difference, huh?) What a jungle! The peas are done, I took the plants down today - the tomato plants will enjoy the space.

Hard to believe that my little tomato seedlings grew into these monsters in just a month and a half.

We'll have tomatoes soon!

The family plot is booming. Summer squash, green beans, baby onions, lots of tomatoes on the way, cucumbers (hopefully)..... the summer bounty has begun!

The beans have gone crazy. I didn't crouch down to take this picture - this is really how high they've grown. The poll beans haven't started to produce yet, but the bush beans have.

and how. We've been picking ever day, and getting more than we need. I'll have to start thinking about fun preservation methods.....

The cucumbers are not doing as well as other things, but I'm hopefull that we'll get a few before all the plants wilt.

Onions. Dave planted these very close together, so we've been thinning them for spring onions.

A day's harvest. Summer squash, beans, lettuce, onions, dill..... I also picked a bunch of mint to dry. I don't drink much tea in the summer, but I love it in winter. It will be wonderful to to have homegrown peppermint tea when the weather gets cold. I'll have to post about my new drying method sometime soon - I'm really happy with it.

As I pick vegetables for myself to eat, the mosquitoes happily dine on me. Picking beans is very difficult when you are being bitten by five to ten of these buggers all at once. It's worth it though.

Even my sad little garden at home is finally starting to look decent. The tomatoes and tomatillos are a bit leggier than at Main Street (it's not full sun, so I expected as much), but they're still nice, and I'm confident that we'll get fruit from them.

See? Baby tomatillos.

The basil is starting to kick into gear. I've harvested a few small batches, and it's growing fast. Pesto soon! The chickens like to dust bathe amongst the basil, but luckily they don't seem to care about eating basil, at least not yet. (knock on wood for me would you?)

Phew! How's that for a whirlwind tour?

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