Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bountilicious

With summer weather finally here, it seems that Mother Nature is gardening up a storm, and she intends to feed a crowd.  The trees are laden with california native plums, which I've found to be a real treat for the chickens, and for myself as well.  Every walk is an opportunity to grab a snack, and just the other day I was treated to the first of the ripe blackberries.

Wild Plums

I've been enjoying some domestic fruits of my own labor recently, with the first picking of Turkish cucumbers, and more strawberries than I've ever been able to produce before.  I've finally found the right sunny nook and last year transplanted about six plants to a deep raised planting box in the new spot.  Now I need a basket to harvest what used to only require a small pocket, or a quick slight of hand to the mouth on the way back from watering.

First Turkish cucumber
Hardly any seeds in these cute little 4" long Turkish cucumbers.

My impatience paid off when I decided it was time to harvest one of my potato containers.  Sometime in mid-April I planted some buttercream varieties in a #15 black plastic nursery pot and also in a landscape fabric sewn tube supported by a wire cage, with potting soil added as the plants grew taller.  They're in two different locations.  I've tried the potato tower before but without the landscape fabric and using garden soil, and it was a flop.  This time I was encouraged by how fast and lushly the plants grew.

Potatoes in pot on the deck
I swear, these things grew at least an inch a day.

Without ever blooming the tops of the plants in the nursery container had recently started to yellow and die off, so I figured it was time to see if I had a success or a failure on my hands.  Ready or not, I needed that container for a tomato plant that had outgrown its own pot.

Sweet Success
Score!

Sweet success!  I emptied the pot into a wheelbarrow and discovered not gazillions, but quite a few decent spuds, with quite a range of sizes.  Some were much larger than I expected, about 4" across.  Totally cool, and definitely worth the small effort required to plant, water, and feed them (using a low-nitrogen fertilizer and worm castings).  I can't wait to see how the big TOP (Tower O Potatoes) turns out - shouldn't be too much longer on that one.  I also read that around here you can get two plantings each year, so I'm going to turn some of these right around into starts for the next batch.

First crop of buttercream potatoes


Here's the pot the potatoes grew in, with the tomato in its new home already, and my bountiful harvest.

Next time I'm going to use a larger pot, or at least rig up a cover around the base of the pot.  This one seemed to get quite hot from the afternoon, and I half expected to be digging up baked potatoes.

Snow peas
The snow peas preceded the cucumbers in the pot on the deck.  When the plants started to die off with the warmer weather I planted the cucumber seeds at their bases.

Gift from Chica Loca
Chica has been laying almost every day now, and each time we find an egg it's a celebration.

These are only the things grown in the "hers" garden, which also includes mint (love those summer Mojitos), basil, citrus, chives, parsley, French tarragon, and figs.  I've been gardening in containers on the deck and in another spot that I know to have at least 6 hours of sun each day.  My tenacious husband continues to garden in raised beds in the increasingly shady fenced-in vegetable garden, and is tending zucchini, corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and basil.  Is it a competition?  Perhaps.  OK, yeah, so it is. 

What's growing in your garden right now?  Are you overrun with anything?  Have you left a zucchini on anyone's doorstep yet, or stashed one in their car?

5 comments:

SummersStudio said...

Doesn't it feel good to grow a bit of your own food? We have had a late start here in gardening because of the move. But I have a ginourmous tomato that is loaded with fruit. We'll put in fall crops once some of the heat passes. Alice, my naughty dog managed to wipe out the carrots and rutabagas with one leap throught the garden bed. Ugh. I'm quite interested in your potatos. Those are the ways I'm thinking of raising them next year. Your vegies are so beautiful!

Patty said...

Your tomato looks incredible, and you are going to be swimming in fruit!

I will surely post when I find out how the big Tower O Potatoes turned out. I have my fingers crossed for this one...with luck I'll have too many potatoes.

mairedodd said...

wow! so not only can you do the art shows, you can man a stand at the farmer's market! i am so impressed... had never seen anyone grow potatoes... your last post was very powerful... i remember reading 'diet for a small planet' many years ago... and then learning that burger king has cut down rainforest to plant grass so their cows can eat nearly sent me to looneyville... seriously, how can anyone find that to be feasible/ethical/sane? thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience...

kate mckinnon said...

Too wonderful! Again, it makes me wish I stayed in one place long enough to really host a garden and worms and chickens. Someday.

Patty said...

Kate, next time when you visit you can partake in my home grown bounty. :-)

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