Thursday, July 31, 2008

Returning from Italy

Coming back to my garden after two weeks away is a bit of a nightmare. Some of our friends in Davis were extremely thoughtful to water our garden for the time we were gone, and my sister stopped by in the middle to water the tomatoes, pick green beans, and generally set things in order as much as possible in an hour or two. Going to the garden at least every other day really hid from me the amazing changes that go on every day, but which are so small that I don't even notice them.

Primarily, despite my warnings to my friends to not touch my tomatoes, apparently they didn't know they also weren't supposed to water them. So for two weeks, they got way more water than I ever intended, and the resulting growth is incredible. I have vines falling all over the place, and have already spent a lot of time trying to get them back under control. I don't have all that many tomatoes yet, for this time of year. We've had a few heirlooms, and I have a basket of romas, and that's about it so far. Hopefully in another week or two I'll be able to start canning. Since we have so many jars of sauce from last year still, I'll probably make more tomato juice and ketchup this year instead. Yum!

We have had three beautiful melons - two were extremely ripe when we returned from Italy, and one isn't ready yet. We've already eaten one and a half of them, they're super-sweet and delicious. I don't know if I'll plant them again, though. For the amount of space they take up, I don't know if it's worth it.

We had tons of green beans. Unfortunately, the plants seem to be drying out quite a bit. We'll see what happens. I'm having a hard time with the weeds, they inter-grow with the bean plants and it's really hard to pull them. The beans are also getting huge and falling over - I may try staking them to keep them off the paths.

We also have lots of carrots and beets. The latest batch of carrots look great, much better than the older ones. It's about time to start planting new ones for fall. We're just about out of beets, I'm not sure if I'll try to grow them in the fall or wait again until early next spring.

Another thing that is doing great are the shallots. I've essentially stopped watering them, but some of them are still in the ground. I'll probably pull them all out today and store them with the garlic in our carport. They're delicious, and I think well worth growing.

The peppers are also doing amazingly well, but are suffering a lot from the weeds as well. I plan to do some major weeding after work today, and if I don't finish, I'll have to get to it on Sunday. We eaten a few peppers raw and in salads - none to roast yet. The yellow ones are so light green that it's hard to tell if/when they're ripening.

Basil and parsley is all doing well, really getting big. Both zucchini plants are huge and producing well, and the lima beans grew amazingly fast. It's hard to believe they're the same plants I left 2.5 weeks ago. The cucumber, sadly, isn't looking so great, but it's not a big loss if we lose it. And the eggplants are starting to produce - woohoo!

And that's my not-so-quick update! I'm starting to keep a written garden journal, so that I can post more stories, meals, and essays here instead, and not write out updates and lists and pretend to be interesting.

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