The Fasolds have long since topped their strings and are now engaged in further sky-reaching endeavors, twining around one-another in an attempt at the Indian rope trick of sorts. They’re all a-flower now — started sometime mid last week — so I should expect to see some wee beanage on them shortly.
The Climbing French, on the other hand, are of markedly different inclination. They’re only half the height of the Fasolds at the moment, but the cunning things put off multiple vines, so it’s not surprising. Fasolds just have the one, central runner from which they leaf, flower and bean-up. The Climbing French are at least bifurcate, if not more — I haven’t rustled about in them to count the number of branchings — so one can imagine that their energy is somewhat divided. No flowers ‘pon them yet.
Ah, and speaking of flowers, the very heavily scented Stargazer lilies began to open on or about July 18th. Man, they have a heady scent. Particularly at night.
One or two of the Italian honey figs (Lattarulla) are looking ripe as well. The recent 100° days can’t have hurt … though come to think of it, I’m not sure if figs care about growing degree days or not. Anyway, figs soon. Hooray.
As I write this, C. is downstairs plunking away on his new bass and has been for at least an hour now. Since purchasing the amp, he has practiced playing everyday. It’s quite pleasant having live music in the house, I enjoy overhearing his practice sessions.
Anyhoo, the real point of this post is simply to note the progress of the garden in the clutch of bullet points listed below:
- The Paprika Supreme and the Thai Hot peppers are doing quite nicely, despite being potted in containers. Both have put forth a nice batch of peppers — green for now.
- The Lemon Cucumber has a few small cucumbers on it. The plant seems a bit wee to me, but healthy enough.
- We have now harvested a couple batches of both Zucchini and Yellow Crookneck Squash. I think that thinning down to one plant per mound was a good idea. We seem to be getting just as many squashes out of each single plant as we have out of double planted mounds in the past. The plants are healthy and green.
- The Correnta Hybrid Spinach is a bit of a disappointment. There are maybe 8-10 spinach plants surviving out of — oh, gosh — 50 some plantings? I think the summer sun was simply to harsh for the seedlings which came up during our 100 degree heat streak a couple weeks back. I’m thinking about starting some more seedlings in peat pots and keeping them in a sheltered spot until they are strong enough to stand the full sun.
- Both eggplants, the Black Beauty and Asian Eggplant are blooming but seem a bit small. No eggplants have made an appearance, yet.
- The Fortex Pole Beans are growing like k-razy. They have topped the trellis and extended into the empty air another 3 feet or so, I think they would climb another six feet if we gave them a taller support. The French Climbing Beans are also showing good progress, though they are overshadowed by their surpassingly dynamic neighbor.
- Early Cascade Tomatoes are present, but still green.
- A second batch of lovely orange Tiger Lilies are blooming. It looks like the pink (Stargazer? Sorbonne? I’m not sure) lilies are about to bloom, too. They are more fragrant than the tiger lilies, and I am greatly looking forward to them. They are purty.
- The Yellow Banana Potato plants seem to be experiencing about a 60-75% success rate. I think they didn’t get enough water early on (the drip irrigation to the barrel in which they are planted was turned off, unbeknownst to me, but is now on again). The plants that haven’t withered and disappeared seem to be doing okay, though I’d feel more confident if they were leafier.
- I picked what I thought was our first ripe Fig today, but it was just on the cusp. Soon, soon.
That’s really all that I’m prepared to report on. If anyone is reading this, I apologize that the “weekly report” has evolved into something more monthly, but them’s the breaks.
I was redirecting a few Fasolds that had strayed from their allotted strings the other day and noticed that they were all twining in a counterclockwise fashion (as seen from above). Apparently this is the case for almost all beans, though runners twist clockwise for some reason. Can’t say I’d paid particular attention before. Whaddayaknow.
The lettuce has bolted. All of it. I blame several days of temps around 100°F, but they probably weren’t long for the table anyway. A couple of weeks of salads didn’t begin to put a dent in the rows that I planted (all at once, I might add. Thus the merits of succession planting are made manifest), so there’s a wealth of vegetable matter headed for the compost bin.
The beans are bolting upward as well, in a good way. The Fasolds are much more spry than the French Climbings — the former are climbin’ the twine with a vigor, while the latter are just looking promisingly leafy. Not a lotta vine action from them yet.
Oh, and we have tomatoes. Green, yes, but they’ve all set some early fruit. Strange, given that they’re still relatively wee, height-wise (dwarfed by the 10′ cages they’re planted in), but doing their thing.
And yeah, damn the aphids. Never found anything kind to apply to the Brussels sprouts — not that we looked that hard — and previous experience has been borne out in spades, as they almost vanish beneath a milky-grey layer of insect love. Eh, it was but a lark. I’m not interested in high-maintenance crops anyway. Take that, brassica family!
The beans emerged last weekend — the Fortex were followed by the Climbing French within a day. All the tomato plants are still small, but they are blooming and growing. The strawberries are still producing, but at a lesser rate than last week. Still, I had enough berries for my cereal this morning. The lettuce is still gorgeous and tasty. In honor of our lettuce crop, C and I dubbed last week The Week of Salads and managed to have dinner size salads last Sunday through Thursday. We’ve eaten two whole heads of the Romaine and now I must find some summer friendly lettuce starts or seeds to take their now empty places.
The eggplants have a dusty, sickly look. I wish I had photographed them previously, then I would know for sure whether they have grown since they were planted. I’ll give ‘em a dose of fish emulsion and hope that helps. The brussel sprouts continue to be aphidy — we have yet to try anything to remedy it. We have no good excuse for this.
Inspired by the perfectly ripe local strawberries on the market right now, and the red speckled leaves of our lettuce, I concocted a super tasty salad of my own imagining. I’ve written out the recipe below. Feel free to swap any of the ingredients, but keep in mind that the strawberries must be perfectly ripe for the recipe to achieve super tastiness.
Ms. A_’s Strawberry-Balsamic Salad
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
- 3/4 – 1 pint fresh strawberries, perfectly ripe, sliced
Ripeness is important!
- Balsamic Vinegar
I used Lucini 10 year Gran Riserva Balsamico
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce
Forellenschuss is tasty and its maroon speckled green leaves look beautiful with strawberries
- 1 or 2 handfuls of sunflower seeds, toasted and salted
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
We used Rogue Creamery’s “Smokey Blue“
- Coarse salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Rub the inside of a large salad bowl thoroughly with a halved garlic clove (my recommended first step for almost any green salad). Mince remaining garlic and add directly to the bowl. Using your own discretion regarding the amounts, add balsamic vinegar and olive oil in equal proportions directly to the bowl. I think I used about 2 tablespoons of each, but I just eyeballed it so I can’t say for certain. Add coarse salt, fresh-ground black pepper and sliced strawberries. Mix gently. Some of the strawberries will dissolve a bit, creating a strawberry vinaigrette. Wash and dry lettuce, then tear leaves into slightly larger than bite size pieces — we’re going for rusticity here. Toss ‘em in the bowl. Add sunflower seeds and blue cheese crumbles. Toss until every leaf is well coated. Serve and enjoy!
In addition to the beans and spinach, today also saw the planting of some Russian Banana fingerling potatoes. Buffalo Gardens had some wrinkly seed potatoes on sale when we were in to acquire jute twine for the stringing of the bean trellis. As the half barrel had previously been emptied of its Jerusalem artichokes, it seemed a likely spot.
I’ve only planted three — it’s not a large barrel — probably too many for the space, but given that it’s filled with the choicest compost, perhaps they’ll make out OK.
C’s Bamboo Bean Trellis
I harvested the spinach that C planted in early May (it was ready to bolt) and replaced it with a summer-lovin’ (“…had me a bla-a-a-ast…”) strain from New Zealand, “Correnta Hybrid” (Territorial Seed). This is our first attempt growing this type of spinach. It doesn’t *quite* get full sun, as it supposedly requires, so we shall see how it fares. I gave it a dose of diluted fish emulsion for luck.
I finally found Fortex (Fedco Seeds) at our local independent nursery, Buffalo Gardens. I also picked up some “French Climbing” beans sold in bulk. This will be the first time that particular bean has been planted in our garden.
C finished constructing a bean trellis earlier today, and has just now finished planting the Fortex and French Climbing. He tells me that the Fortex have been planted on the inside row, and the French Climbing on the outside. Let’s hope it’s not too late for a good crop!