Monday, August 9, 2010

    Mid-summer yard update

    This is the year of the great squash experiment. Not knowing a blessed thing about the plants we were planting (as in, did you know that pumpkin vines can grow to be 35-40 feet in length? I didn't!), we have overloaded our tiny backyard garden box with two pumpkin vines, a yellow squash vine/bush, a zucchini plant, four cucumber plants and two broccoli plants.

    The overall effect:

    Up close with squash overload. Zucchini in the top right and one of the pumpkin vines in the bottom left:

    Produce! This is so far the only pumpkin we have produced for our pains. It is ripe, beautiful and lovely. So now we have a pumpkin in August.

    These pumpkin vine tendrils wrapped themselves around patches of grass in the backyard, holding on for dear life. I think they're gorgeous on their own, though.

    The broccoli...that we're hoping will turn into something edible one of these days:

    The cucumber vines and our nascent basil plant:

    Fresh cucumbers from the garden are our top delight this summer:

    Pepperoncini, for which I have my doubts, mostly due to serious overshadowing by pumpkin leaves:

    That's all in one garden box. In the other backyard box, we planted a couple of varieties of carrots (Danvers, Nantes, Little Finger and Carnival Blend -- Carnival was the least successful).

    And this is what happens when you get a radish packet from Matthew Moore at Sundance and figure, eh? Why not? But then realize that neither of you like radishes (nasty little things):

    Then, we have a third garden box (clearly in over our heads) by the kitchen. By and large it has been scorched by the heat and exposure of our site, but a few things have survived. Namely, the tomato plants that I didn't kill are now threatening to take over the house:

    And this is the end of a fight with arugala. It started out so lovely, with spring greens that we added to salads and quiches. It ended with an insane patch of flowering plants that crowded out everything else. So I hacked it back:

    ...and made room for a watermelon vine that has showed its appreciation for the extra space by doubling in size over the last few days. I'm still hoping that this will produce something before the first frost.

    In the rest of the yard, our front yard on the south side was not getting full coverage from the sprinklers. So now that Tai is a pro, he added a few extra heads to hit our borders:

    But the best thing about the summer has been slowing down and enjoying the results of all our hard work over the last 18 months. It's a bit surreal to think of where we were a year ago and where we are now. That was a lifetime ago.


    Bob Ligget said...

    As a long-time gardener, I got a charge out of this, Kersten. Yes, pumpkins need more room than you can imagine, and broccoli is a cold-weather crop; plant in March/April depending on frost dates. Looks like you're following the square foot gardening method and that's great for small areas like yours. Good luck with it all.

    Kersten said...

    Haha - I could really benefit from your advice, Bob! This year was definitely an experiment. I have a couple of pumpkin vines stretching out in the front yard, and are you saying that there's no hope for fresh broccoli this year?

    You may be proud to know that I just planted my fall lettuces, though.

    justin + camille said...

    Ditto on the radish comment. Sometimes I think I might like them one day if I keep trying them. Every time I eat one, though, I ask myself, "Why did I just eat that?" I do NOT like radishes.

    On another note, your gardens are lovely! I can't wait to build some boxes in our backyard for next season.

    Anonymous said...

    How can a parent have failed so miserably and raise a child who does not like radishes? Argh!

    Diane Rane Jones said...

    you are an inspiration. my last attempt at a vegetable garden was a dismal failure. i'll try again the next time we have a yard.