Monthly Archives: August 2011

Photos from the last week of August.

My daughter reaches for a tomato, later I turned this bowl of garden goodies into dinner.

Three giant fennel are the last to be harvested. I kept them in extra long because they attract butterflies and beneficial insects.

I pulled the beets. They weren't the largest beets, but they were packed with flavor.

Look, a square tomato!

The 'Green Zebra' tomatoes are ready to pick when they turn Packer green and gold.

Aha! All those purple peppers on the 'Chinese 5 Color' pepper plant are now turning different colors. So pretty!

Here is a peek at the corn.

A 'Delicata' squash. It doubles in size every day.

Variety, Quality and Quantity in a Small Garden

My garden space is limited.  I only have so much usable space, so I’m careful to make the most of it throughout the growing season.  I keep three goals in mind for my garden: variety, quality, quantity.

Now I know I could plant all my space with peppers and tomatoes and I’d surely have quantity.  But I wouldn’t have variety.  Or I could always plant the tomatoes in the one space that I really like to put them, but that might risk quality because tomatoes (and most other crops) benefit from being rotated to different spots in the garden–that way pests and diseases are deterred.

To maintain my three goals I really need to plan for a full season of growing in which my space is used wisely.  Most of my spaces are planted twice–once early in the season (or in the fall, depending) and again later on when the first crop is harvested and the space becomes available.

In the two photos you can see the difference between the early season in this garden bed, and how it currently looks.  Earlier this season I had it planted with radishes, lettuce, peas and garlic.  The tomatoes were also in the garden at the time I took the first photo.

The second photo shows that all but the tomatoes are now gone, and instead it is filled with corn, beans, squash and cucumbers.

Other areas of my yard get the same treatment.  Where I had beets in May and June I’m now growing ground cherries.  Where I had arugula this spring I’ve now got basil, dill and cilantro.  The bed that had tulips for cutting is now filled with tomatoes, fennel, cabbage, leeks, beets, carrots, beans, celeriac and peppers.  Earlier in the season that same bed had radishes, arugula and spinach.  And in a week or so when the fennel is harvested I’ll be planting kale and more spinach.

In my garden I’ve planted spinach twice already this year and plan to do it again!  Pots with nasturtiums will soon be planted with lettuce.

My garden definately has variety.  I garden organically, so the quality of my produce is high… maybe things have a few holes in them from sharing them with the insects that are in the garden, but nutritionally this homegrown stuff can’t be beat.  And quantity?  Well, I don’t get too much of one thing.  I don’t always get to “put up” produce for later.  But there is plenty to eat from the garden and it’s in a rainbow of colors and flavors.

Photos from the second week of August.

This tomato rainbow includes "Italian Heirloom", "Tommy Toe", "Black Cherry" and "Sun Gold".


A "Nadia" eggplant. Really love the purple and white striping on these.


This "Caraflax" cabbage has formed a nice tight head. It has required frequent spraying with the garden hose to keep pests away, but I'm pleased with the results.


My Three Sisters planting is doing great! The corn has soared past the roof of the garage and the beans have grown right up the corn stalk.


I choose "Delicata" squash to plant as part of the Three Sisters. Here is a blossom.


Look closely to see a small yellow and black bird among the sunflowers. It loves to snack on the sunflowers and is sometimes hard to spot because its coloring creates a nice camouflage.


Monarch butterflies like this one--as well as other butterfly varieties--have been visiting the butterfly flowers and snapdragons in this pot.

Time for the Fair!

It’s time for the State Fair here in Wisconsin.  I love movies that feature scenes of a County or State Fair.  (Like Rodgers & Hammersteins State Fair… love it!)

So Dear to My Heart is an utterly charming movie that came out of Walt Disney Studios in the 1940’s, when you could still make a mainstream movie with family values that acknowledged God as our Creator.  It’s a special movie that I’ve shared with my children since they were infants.  It’s simply the best.

Enjoy this clip about the County Fair.  In the movie a young boy raises a black sheep and takes him to the County Fair to try to win a blue ribbon.

Edited to add:  I should mention that this is a live-action film, but the scene I’ve selected is one of several animated scrapbook musical montages throughout the movie which feature a wise old owl who shares many nuggets of wisdom.  So sweet!

Garlic Update

Remember a few weeks ago I was hanging my garlic in the garage to cure:

Here is my garlic 3-4 weeks ago.

Now the garlic has been brought in, cleaned and trimmed up for storage.  Looks pretty good.

Garlic is now ready to use.

I have a dozen or so bulbs in the garage curing, these were harvested later than this first group.  I’m not sure how long this garlic will last us (we use it up pretty quickly around here) but I’m happy with the crop this year, and the fact that I can cook with my own garlic.

I’ve already been using this garlic in dishes (including last night’s pesto) and so far it’s tasted great.

Photos from the last week of July.

Colorful peppers. These are the Chinese Five Color, but apparently we are only going to get purple ones. They are lovely though!

Beans hang from their vine, ready for pickin'.

A look at my monster cherry tomatoes through the trellis.

Rose of Sharon puts on a nice show.

My attempt at growing the Three Sisters--corn, beans, squash--has been semi-successful. Very few corn survived my planting conditions and children trampling on them.

The first eggplant begins to take shape.

I put the chair there to show the enormity of these cherry tomato plants. From left to right: Tommy Toe, Black Cherry, Sun Gold. These are in regular potting mix--no added plant food of any kind. I believe they like the heat that radiates off the house.

It's been perfect weather for basil, which means pesto is for dinner tonight!