Sunday, October 6, 2013

Summer Vegetable Garden Recap

Hello blog! It's been a while.

early october garden

We had a busy summer around here, with short trips, visitors, weddings to attend, and work. The new job is still going well, although I'm currently working without pay because of the government shutdown. I wish I had insight as to when this will end, but we don't know anything. We just hope that we'll get back pay since we've been deemed "essential employees" and are required to work now. Just another reason to appreciate my low-maintenance vegetable garden and the ability to have some fresh veggies without having to buy them at the store! The plan worked like a charm and has been manageable with our limited time at home.

early october garden
tomatillos

My container garden this year consisted of tomatoes, peppers, and four tomatillo plants. We had a relatively mild summer in the DC area--plenty of rain and not too many scorching hot days. It seemed like ideal conditions for the veggies. Bugs didn't seem to be as big of a problem this year as in previous years. We didn't grow cucumbers or any summer squash, so cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and squash vine borers weren't an issue. We had aphids and spider mites, but were able to control them somewhat by spraying the underside of the leaves with the hose on the high-pressure setting. We still have spider mites on some tomato plants, but it hasn't been enough to affect the yield too much.

first 2013 tomatoes
harvest 9-8
I haven't been great at keeping track of how many pounds of tomatoes we have harvested, but I haven't bought tomatoes in about 6 weeks. This past week has brought back summer-like temperatures in October, and I think the plants are enjoying the surprise weather. The tomatillos have just starting ripening in the past week or so. You can tell they're ripe when the husk starts drying out and clings to the fruit. I'm looking forward to all the green salsa I'll be making once I harvest enough of them.


yellow peppers 10-4
We just pulled these beautiful yellow bell peppers yesterday.


jalapenosjalapenos
We've harvested more jalapenos, serranos, and habaneros than we can eat, so we've given some away. All of the hot peppers have had a lot of heat, more than in other years. I wonder if the milder temperatures and plenty of rain helped?


 pepper harvest july 2013
Our bell pepper harvest has been amazing. We're growing red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (all are green before they turn ripe) and use them in everything from soups to sauces to soffritos. 


big pepper
big red bell pepper 10-6-13
And the sizes have been great, too. Several of them have been big enough to fit and my hand and perfect for stuffing.


 bowl of peppers
We harvested this bowl of bell peppers mid-September and it yielded four pounds! 

I hope you and your garden had a wonderful summer. How's your fall garden looking?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Low Maintenance Garden

deck garden 7-4

I wasn't able to start many seeds this year for my edible garden, so we bought a few transplants instead.  This year's low maintenance garden consists of only 15 plants, about half the number I usually have.


tomatoes
super fantastic 7-27
Instead of planting squash, cucumber, beans, and other vegetables, I decided to keep it simple and focus on just two items for my kitchen garden this summer: tomatoes and peppers.
We bought both sweet and hot peppers, including a jalapeno plant because we have to have some hot peppers in the garden. So far the plants and pests have been manageable. There are even a few blushing Super Fantastic tomatoes right now.

tomatillos 7-4
I did start a few seeds, including two habaneros and two tomatillo plants, which are also doing really well.  Between the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, and habaneros, I expect to have a nice salsa garden this year. If only I could grow cilantro...

potato patch 7-4-13
And here's a nice surprise--two potato plants from my failed crop last year made an appearance.  Last year potato beetles decimated the potatoes I had started from seed. I was going to turn this into an onion patch, and these two potato plants surprised me by sprouting this spring.  I've left them alone just to see what happens. Wouldn't it be nice to get some potatoes this year?

How is your summer edible garden doing?



Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Blooms


hydrangea 6 11 13
While I wait for my vegetable garden to get going, I'm enjoying a few floral blooms...

This is the best my Endless Summer hydrangeas have ever looked. The plant is healthy and I love how the petal colors go from pink to purple to blue. And I think I finally figured out the secret to getting them to look this good--I left them alone! We've gotten so much rain that I haven't bothered to water or obsess about them, and I think they are thriving now that I'm not loving them too much.

snapdragons
My snapdragons have snapped back too.

yellow snap dragons

And here's a nice surprise: the yellow snapdragons reappeared this year! I didn't see them last year and thought that plant had just died. It's so nice to see this bit of yellow in my flower garden that seems to consist of a lot of pink right now.

rhododendron
The blooms are gone now, but in mid/late May the rhododendron was blooming. This variety is called Besse Howell and she's mighty cute. Besse was accompanied by a few pale pink Gerbera daisy blooms.

japonica
Lastly there's the Red Mill Andromeda (Pieris japonica 'Red Mill'). The white blooms are gone now, but what I really like about this beautiful shrub is that its new leaf growth is red. It's a nice addition to my garden.

I'm linking up with May Dreams Garden's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Check out the blog to see what other gardeners have blooming in their gardens this month.