nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
We had one sunny day on this three-day weekend, so clearly today was the day to get stuff in the ground. four photos, after the cut )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
Update #1: Okra! Aren't the flowers pretty? (You can also see one okra pod hiding behind the flower.)

Okra blossom

Two plants aren't nearly enough. By the time we can collect enough for a side dish, some of the pods are so long they get woody and tough to eat. I'm trying to collect them as they mature now instead of waiting until there are enough to eat, but clearly the right solution is more okra plants, because this stuff is delicious.

I'm even willing to give up space for one cucumber plant (I really need to just admit that three is too many for our small household) and a couple of tomatoes, because even with only four of the six tomato plants producing, I pulled this out of the garden today:

What 5.5lbs of homegrown tomatoes looks like.

That's five and a half pounds of various tomatoes (large brown one = Paul Robeson; small brown = chocolate cherry; yellow/pink = Garden Peach; red = Fourth of July), and there are plenty more lurking out there right now.

So next year: two cukes, four tomatoes, three basil, one parsley, a bunch of peas, and as much okra as I can fit in the remaining space. If you'd told me earlier this year I'd be willing to sacrifice my beloved tomatoes and cukes for more okra, I'd wouldn't have believed you ... but here we are.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
Garden, 2012

The six plants on the right are the tomatoes; the one in the near corner with slightly peculiar-looking leaves for a tomato (you may have to click through to see in more detail) is the blue tomato. The peas are along the trellis, obviously, though the plants at its far side are pickling cukes. There's basil and parsley running in a line down the middle, two peppers at upper left, and the big empty space in the middle is reserved for the two okra seedlings currently under a grow light on my front porch. (They'll go in around mid- to late June.)

+7, after the cut, including kitty photos )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
I've made all kinds of pickles over the year, but somehow have never made relish. Since the cucumbers are coming in like gangbusters right now, I grabbed a few and made this recipe. It yielded fewer jars than expected -- I knew I had exactly 1.5lbs. of cucumbers, cut the recipe in half, and yet still only ended up with a jar and a half of relish when I should have had three -- so that's something for me to keep in mind for next time. Because there's definitely going to be a next time: this stuff is delicious.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
This one's permanent:

Columbines

This one's probably temporary. I was at most two feet from this little guy, and he never once tried to fly away. He did move along the fence several times later and was gone by evening, so I'm hoping that means he wasn't sick.

Juvenile robin
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It's going to get awfully close to freezing this week, so it was finally time to pull everything out of the garden. This meant puréeing the basil and parsley so we can enjoy it all winter long.

Four cups of green goodness, now sitting in six individual bags in my freezer.

Basil-parsley purée
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
I only have one aster plant, but it's covered with flowers right now. I should really put in some more next year.

Asters
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
As annoying as it was when the neighbors chopped down their giant Norway maple, leaving 8" holes in my yard and a (now deceased) colony of refugee carpenter ants in my house, the extra sun in the herb garden is making the flowers very happy. Especially the pyrethrum daisies:

Pyrethrum daisies

+3, after the cut )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It's a little early to start planting – the frost-free date in my zone isn't until the end of the month – but I'm putting in peas tomorrow morning and figured I might as well go buy some seedlings today, even if I won't put them in for another week or two yet. (I always plant ahead of the frost-free date, since our growing season is short enough as it is, and so far, knock wood, haven't lost any plants yet.)

This year's haul:

2010 seedlings

+2, after the cut )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
One of the azaleas in the backyard is deciduous, and I've never bothered to take a photo of its leaves this late in the season until now. Which was obviously a shame, as it's quite spectacular this time of year. (In mid-June, it looks more like this.)

Azalea
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
I've been worried for a couple of months now that my giant rudbeckia was dead. And look what I found when I went out to the garden today! I am unspeakably happy.

Return of the giant rudbeckia!
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
The tree pruners finally left, so I went out to the backyard to check on the damage and discovered that not only is our yard now full of impact craters, my beloved giant rudbeckia is GONE. One hundred percent, totally, completely gone, cut down to a few inches of stalk. It was in full bloom and one of my favorite plants to look at.

I have to think that something large fell on it, and the guys had no choice to cut it back. But I am very, very, very angry that no one checked with me first.

If this plant doesn't come back next year, the neighbor is buying me a new one.

Giant rudbeckia with optional bee accessory, #3
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
There are people cutting down the massive Norway maple in my neighbor's yard right now, and while I'm not sorry to see that tree go -- Norway maples are an invasive species around here, and the thing clearly looked old and sick enough that I've been convinced for years it's going to fall on our house and kill us in our sleep -- I was also not pleased to hear a massive thump coming from the backyard a few minutes ago.

There are still several huge and very tall branches left to go, and if one of them totals my tomato plants, THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

ETA: Have I ever wondered what a chipper-shredder being run less than five feet away from me sounds like? No, I have not. And yet now I know, and will probably continue to know for the next half-hour or so.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
After a relatively cool and very wet summer, we have finally hit hardcore August: 90+ degrees and humid, and scheduled to remain that way through the end of the week. This means that the cantaloupes – or maybe they're muskmelons, since I've long since forgotten what I planted – are finally getting enough sun and heat to bear fruit:

Baby cantaloupe!

Okay, okay, it's only one baby melon out of the the many, many flowers on the vines, and odds are it won't get a hell of a lot bigger by the time things cool off again, but still, it's one more melon than I was expecting given the weather earlier this summer.

Three more photos, after the cut. )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It's been a surprisingly long time since the last Garden Madness entry, but there's finally something exciting to post about: TOMATOES. Even more exciting than usual, what with the CSA having lost its entire tomato harvest to late blight – makes me glad I planted my own, and that I've been lucky enough so far to miss the blight.

First tomatoes of the year!

They're sitting on top of what's probably the last big harvest of sugar snaps, though I won't count out the peas just yet; they've been quite prolific this year.

Three more photos, after the cut. )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It was 90 billion degrees and humid out yesterday, and the massive cucumber war production machine in the vegetable garden was in full swing, so I bought some buttermilk and made cold cucumber soup for dinner last night. This left me with more buttermilk than expected, so I thought I'd surprise [livejournal.com profile] columbina with biscuits in the morning.

For some reason, we haven't been having good luck with our usual Cook's Illustrated biscuit recipe, so I decided to try a different one they printed a few years ago that claimed to make tall, fluffy, flaky, buttery biscuits of perfection. The batter was sticky and a bit of a pain in the butt to work with, especially when forming little balls you then had to roll in flour, but oh boy, were the results worth it. Best biscuits I've ever made -- I had to walk away from the kitchen after eating one lest I try to eat them all -- and a few will end up under whipped cream and locally grown blueberries for dessert tonight.

I would consider just having the biscuits and berries for dinner if it were not for the fact that I already have panzanella hanging out in the fridge waiting for all the flavors to come together so we can have that instead. It is just a little bit too early in the summer for the panzanella to come mostly from my garden: the tomatoes, alas, are from California, but at least the basil, chives, lemon thyme, and cucumber all came from the backyard. There's also some semi-local (Connecticut) corn in there as an experiment, because how bad can panzanella with fresh corn be?

Still, at least the tomato plants are now covered with little green guys, so soon enough I'll have most of the ingredients for panzanella (and gazpacho!) ready anytime I care to pick them. I can't wait.

ETA: From now on, all my meals shall consist of blueberries, freshly whipped cream, and biscuits. SO LET IT BE WRITTEN; SO LET IT BE DONE.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
God, what a long and stupid day. At least I finally remembered to go outside and photograph some of the flowers, like this dwarf dianthus in one of the front pots:

Dianthus

Four more photos, after the cut. )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
This is Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower, the tree peony we put in two years ago:

Tree peony

And this is what I found on it today:

Our first bloom!

Guess it was worth planting after all.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It's been a busy weekend outdoors. Today I planted the peas, pruned the rosebushes, and started weeding the front garden, and yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] columbina and I drove up to New Hampshire to visit our friends [livejournal.com profile] lisanh and Frank at their farm.

Several photos of farm residents, including cute little lambs, after the cut. )

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