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This blog chronicles the adventures I share with my husband, daughter and son. It is also a place to share what I am learning as a homemaker, gardener, book lover and homeschooling mother. Welcome.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

the july garden

 peegee hydrangea

 raspberries

 zinnia

althea/rose of sharon


golden beets

 kohlrabi

 sweet peppers

dutch yellow cucumber

japanese long cucumber

 zinnias

sunflower

Harvest Total thru July ~ 333 lbs.

Herbs ~ 3 lbs.
Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Basil and Chives

Fruit ~ 92 lbs.
Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

Vegetables ~ 238 lbs.
Kale, Lettuce, Endive, Spinach (8 lbs.), Cosmic Purple, Chantenay and Parisienne Carrots and  (36 lbs.), Sweet Peppers (6 lbs.), Japanese Long and Dutch Yellow Cucumbers (45 lbs.), Bush Beans (13 lbs.), Forum Onions (23 lbs.), Caribou Russet Potatoes (56 lbs.), Garlic (4 lbs.),  Beefsteak Tomatoes (3 lbs.), Roma Tomatoes (35 lbs.), Cherry Tomatoes (4 lbs.), Kohlrabi (6 lbs.), Golden Beets (4 lbs.) and Squash (3 lbs.)

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An entire month between posts means my mind has been elsewhere. The Summer heat and busy schedule has me feeling I've neglected the garden, however, since we've set it up to be manageable the plants keep growing well even without my presence. As long as we took the time to water when there was a prolonged dry spell we felt good even if the weeds mocked our neglect!

This past month of July began the season of heavy harvest and not having enough room in the kitchen for all the produce. The tomatoes are really strutting their stuff now, which means a daily morning task is to roast a pan for freezing. I usually prep them the evening before so all I have to do is slice them, place them on the pan, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and roast. These provide a much welcome staple in the freezer come winter.

Our root vegetables have done well: carrots, potatoes, beets. I could grow more beets than I do, but they actually aren't as easy to germinate/grow as carrots and potatoes. We've harvested 4 out of the 6 boxes of potatoes and eat them almost daily. This Caribou Russet variety is pretty great as mashed potatoes, but we also enjoy them roasted, as baked potatoes and hashbrowns. 

I'm very pleased with a new-to-us vegetable, kohlrabi. This vegetable is in the Brassica family and while Kale always does well for us, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts never have. Kohlrabi has a thick covering, but once that is peeled/cut away you get to the edible portion which I dice and roast, similar to my preparation for roasted potatoes and carrots. It has the look and texture of potatoes, but the taste of brussels sprouts. We are really enjoying this vegetable. 

I'm diligently trying to succession plant as we harvest a complete bed. Mostly, I'm attempting to grow more greens for salads and carrots for storage. I've started more green beans for good measure to see if they will do well for me too. 

I will mention this is the first year we've had pest problems. Japanese Beetles have discovered the raspberry and blackberry canes as well as the apple trees and a few ornamental bushes. We have never sprayed, but this year we are sparingly using Neem Oil so that those specific plants are not decimated. I will say we haven't used the Neem Oil on the raspberry and blackberry canes, although it is considered okay to do so. Now that the intense heat has subsided we are being more diligent to check the plants ourselves and last weekend eradicated around 100 of them. Since we don't have chickens any more we are wondering if this is part of our problem and now considering adding them again to our backyard. Chickens are amazing at eating bugs and weeds. We'll see what we decide.

Overall, we are pleased with our garden harvest and are grateful that we don't have to be helicopter gardeners for it to produce well!

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