Saturday, June 27, 2009

I'm Featured on AOL's Garden Site!

Several weeks ago, the woman who manages the AOL Garden site left a comment asking to work with me on a feature for their site. Of course, I'm always thrilled to get any press I can, so after e-mailing back and forth, we put together a list of tips for urban veggie gardeners!Check out the full article here: An Urban Veggie Garden. And, Welcome to any new readers from AOL!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Second Harvest of the Week

On this rare sunny day among all the rain lately, I couldn't resist going on the roof to check on the blackberries again. Monday's somewhat sour taste of nearly black blackberries had me craving some ripe ones! Well, to my surprise, there was quite a lot ready to harvest besides the blackberries! I got some more spinach, lettuce, peas, the last 2 strawberries I expect to get (unless the everbearing variety I planted makes some fall fruit, which I won't be around to eat) and a couple more amazing raspberries!
I know I said I love blackberries far more than raspberries, and I might just replace all my brambles with Lock Ness blackberries. But, perhaps that would be a mistake! I LOVED these raspberries! They're SO soft, they just fall apart. But they're incredibly tasty. It almost makes me heady, thinking about them. I wish more would grow!
Surely, that's not to say these blackberries weren't fantastic. And there were so many to pick today! You couldn't see them all in the bowl, as many were covered by my salad greens. Look at all the ones still to come!
The Arapaho blackberries also appear to be coming on. They look so interesting, as they ripen. Very firm. I wonder how they'll taste... =)
In pea news, I'm beginning to think that fungal inoculant really did it's job. The peas were loaded this year, and are making big juicy pods. Some of these are probably too big to sauté and eat as I normally would. On Monday, my guest taught me that I can shell these fatties and eat the peas inside! They were so sweet! But, I'll leave these on the vine so I can get some seeds for next year. I wasn't able to buy any Sugar Ann's in my latest seed purchase because Baker Creek was out of stock.
And, in this second year of peas, I have found some more stowaway snow peas. I'm not complaining! Snow peas are wonderful, and it seems like they develop a little later than the snap peas, so it extends my pea season. I wonder if it's possible that snap pea seeds sometimes just don't grow true? Were these seeds really from a sugar ann plant gone awry?
Finally, the showiest plant growing in my garden this year is starting to get interesting. I think this is a Yellow Straightneck Prolific Squash, but it is possible it could be a Black Beauty Zucchini. I planted both varieties but 1 didn't make it. This one has a nice female flower, which you can tell has a squash-making ovary. I had thought that the male flowers normally open first, but it doesn't look like they are ready yet. I hope that doesn't mean this female will go to waste. It helps to grow more plants, so the flowers can cross-pollinate and these kinds of problems don't happen. If only I had more buckets...
Here's a close-up of the squash flower. Pretty!
And here's my harvest, all separated out in my kitchen. =)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Garden Guests and Dinner Party

Today 2 guests joined me for my first successful garden fare dinner party! Here, you can see part of the harvest, including some small strawberries in the background, and this big salad of spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, beet greens, and shelled peas. We also had a nice bunch of sugar ann snap peas that I sauteed for a bit. The first raspberries and (somewhat unripe!) blackberries didn't make it to dinner ;-)
It was really fun to have visitors up in the garden, helping me harvest our food. In the first 3 growing seasons I've had so far, there has rarely been a time when the garden was growing enough food for 3 people. But, I am finding that the amount and variety of produce I am able to grow increases every year. This year, I'm not even growing tomatoes or watermelons! The fact that fruit production is increasing also helps, as rooftop fruit is such a special treat =)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Should be Summer, but Feels like Spring

The rain lately makes it feel like it's still April showers, so things in the garden are lush and verdant. I am the proud owner of one cute blueberry! This year, it seems that the flowers were poorly pollinated. I wonder if that is due to the rain and lack of pollinators. There were so many flowers before! Many of them dried up and the ovary fell off instead of turning into fruit. I'm not sure what can be done about it, but I should still get a few more berries. Hopefully next year will be better. The bushes themselves are still growing wonderfully.Check out my strawberries! I was away for a bit so didn't harvest some of them in time, but the good ones were DANGED good. And so much bigger than last year! I'm glad =) I thought I was doomed to puny strawberries forever. Many of these are actually a respectable size. How red and joyous they look, all hanging off their white buckets!My peas are also finally grown and producing. I thought it would never happen. Granted, I did sow them a bit late. I tried using that fungal inoculant this year, to improve production, but it is unclear if it worked. I guess it doesn't hurt to just use it, useless though it may prove.
The lochness blackberries are simply banging away!!! Look at all these fruit! Nothing seems to stop them! I hope they really fulfill all this promise...There are a few raspberries growing too! All 3 of the blackberry and raspberry plants I have left are producing this year, though the lochness is really the most vigorous. I may replace them all with lochness in the future. Let's face it, I love blackberries more than raspberries anyway.Here's a shot of the flower boxes. When I was home for 5 days, I took various cuttings from my mom's garden plants. They were ground cover types. Some didn't really have roots, but I figured I could try rooting them. It is unclear whether or not I have been successful yet. There are bunches of some pink creeping phlox; you can see one in the lowest right. There are some funny plants that grow pink flower balls on cute stalks; you can see one on the right, 2nd from bottom. And, I took a branch of juniper and buried it in the lowest left, hoping it'll root.
I'll leave you with a shot of all the garden. You can't see what's growing in the far buckets, but there is def. stuff growing in there!