June 24, 2011

Growing Good

What weather we are having here in central Indiana. The springs are more unusual by the year. It is raining at least three times per week and the temperature fluctuates from 90s one day to high 60s the next. Most people I know are sick of the rain, and I was too until I was able to plant the garden. Now, I say bring it on!

The Cherokee Purple is out of control. In fact, I did some heavy handed pruning today. It is the only one with a tomato growing. No, the Early Girl has one, too, but it's still in its infancy. I am excited to see the Black Krim doing well. Two years ago I tried a Black Krim and something ate it down to the soil line and it never recovered. The Roma is bushy with flower buds and the Pink Brandywine has two large buds. The poor German Queen was growing sideways and when I tried to stand her up, I heard a crack in the stalk. Forunately, it had another, smaller, stem growing out of the soil so perhaps that will take off.

Cherokee Purple

Pink Brandywine

German Queen

The peppers all look great for the most part. It looks as though birds are trying to eat the leaves. There are long tear marks in some of them. There are flowers on most and a few fruits starting to grow on the green bell. The melon has several flowers, most of which appear to be male at the point. Rosemary, thyme, and parsley are holding their own. Cilantro bolted immediately and my son finished it off when he ripped it out of the soil. *sigh* Three year olds. At least he didn't pick my tomato.


June 17, 2011

Adventures in Strawberry Jam

I finally did it! My very first jam. I'm a little teary-eyed thinking about it.

The whole shebang couldn't have gone any better. I picked up fresh strawberries at Waterman's Farm. $14 for 4 quarts. Once home, I hulled, washed, and sliced them into a bowl. I mashed them with a potato masher to help them release their juice and reduce cooking time. I combined the mash with sugar and a little lemon zest. Once cooked, I added liquid pectin and followed the instructions from there. Easy Peasy! And tastes delicious, I might add.

June 12, 2011

Progress in the Garden

In years past, we had a tilled area for the garden(roughly 15'x15'). I made makeshift rows or planted in patches. Weeds inevitably took control of the garden and the crowded plants were a jungle. This led to a jaded temperament on my behalf and failure in the garden. This year, we changed it up. We sectioned the garden off into four quadrants and boxed them in as raised beds measuring 6'x6', leaving a 2' walkway in between. Compost will be added regularly in order to build up the soil level. Once the soil reaches the tops of the board, I envision adding another board to really make some raised beds (and save my back)! Eventually, I'll add mulch or hay to the walking paths and perhaps a little picket fence around the garden.

Everything was bought from the store this year. I had too many time constraints with the pregnancy and delivering to focus on starting them all from seed. I am finding the 6x6 to be a bit large, having a slightly difficult time maneuvering around. That is why you see big empty spaces in the middle, which I am not happy about. I did have a zucchini planted with the melon, but something ate it. I want to give the melon plenty if room, so maybe I'll save that space for planting garlic in the fall. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Below are pictures of what I have planted for this year. Like I've said before, we are focusing on a "salsa" garden. Although, the cilantro bolted the day after I planted it. I lost the ID card for the melon, but it promised a bumper crop.