Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lazy Day Tour of the Summer Garden

Well, after a week of bronchitis, strep throat, doctor's visits, chest x-rays, antibiotics and asthma inhalers, I am feeling mostly alive again.  Of course, the chipmunks and birds took advantage of my inattention to the garden and have mowed down the last of the late sunflower seedlings.  At least one chipmunk made an attempt at young squash plants, too, but was foiled by the floating row cover.  Still, it left its calling card.
Chipmunk Poop on Floating Row Cover
The first sunflower is in full bloom now, obediently facing the sunrise, no longer tracking the sun in its daily arc over the sky.  Only 2 foot tall with a 6 inch bloom, I believe this is on of the dwarf sunflowers called Sunspot.
The first set of corn is doing well, enjoying their heavily amended and composted bed.  They are heavy feeders, and at the end of last year, I put two wheel-barrels full of semi-composted chickie-poo and pine shavings in that bed to decompose and mellow over the winter.  This seems to have worked well as the corn is flourishing and putting out suckers.  I will trim the weaker suckers and feed them to the chickens; however, the more vigorous suckers may also fruit.  We'll see.  It's one giant experiment.  

The second planting of corn did not have the autumn prep that the first set did, so I have tried to compensate by adding finished compost and growing bush beans with them.  They are growing an inch a week, so I think they are happy.

The garlic harvest is just about complete.  Yesterday I cleaned 7.4 pounds of good garlic and 3.2 pounds of garlic that has one issue or another that will necessitate its consumption within the next two months.  Stored cool, dark, and with ventilation, the better garlic should keep 6 months.  Frozen, it will last a year.  I'm going to make some garlic and olive oil paste and freeze it.  Although it may lose some of its potency that way, it will also be edible for about forever.

Garlic that has been allowed to go to "seed."  The "flowers" are really tiny garlic bulbs.
First of the bush beans are starting to produce.  It will be a few days, still, before they are big enough to harvest.  I planted purple podded beans as my main crop this year, just because I like the color purple.  And because I wanted to add as much color to the desert as I could.  Especially since the critters ate up all the flowers that I planted.
Hopefully I am back to work on Monday, and able to hack down weeds sooner than that.  The beds in the garden are mostly weed-free; however, the paths and edges have the desert denezines creeping in: cheat grass, tumbleweed and some type of eucalyptus plant.

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