The Italian Honey Fig tree has set an abundance of fruit this year and it looks like the first figs of the season are ready for picking.
From my experience, figs aren’t really ripe until they appear a touch over-ripe and ready to fall off the tree. Look at the fig with brown spots in the lower right of this photo. That looks about right. Figs are very sensual fruits when they are mature, the ripe one appears to be weeping sticky fig juice onto its neighbor. Of course, it would figure that those first ripe specimens would be just out of my arm’s reach.
In all previous years, I’ve taken the presence of ants as a sign of ripeness. They seem to have a sixth-sense about ripe, oozy figs and can be seen running in and out of the fig’s pore when the fruit is at its peak. Strangely, I haven’t seen any ants on the tree this year. I wonder if there has been some trouble in the ant community.
I was going to mention the towering flowering beans, but C has already done so. Of all the plants in the garden, they seem to be the ones that most capture his attention. What can it mean?
All the watering we’ve employed to combat the recent 100+ degree temperatures has really made the weeds in the garden walk happy. They are knee high in spots. It’s a jungle out there.
My poor Correnta Hybrid Spinach. Most of the seedlings died in the last heat wave, and those that survived have now bolted before reaching a consumable, useful size. So much for my summer spinach experiment.
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.
Exciting things on the garden front! After a couple weeks of a finding only one or two strawberry du jour ripe and ready for consumption (usually by me), the little strawberry patch has finally come into its own. This morning I picked enough strawberries to generously top two bowls of cereal. We have different varieties sharing the same plot and it is my observation that the Hood variety, while oddly shaped (elongated and ovular) and smaller than the others, is by far the tastiest and most prolific.
The tiger lilies along the hedge are blooming. It seems like ages ago (2002?) that C planted the bulbs in that part of the garden. This may be the first year that blooming stalks have exceeded the number of original bulbs planted.
The spinach, Correnta hybrid, that I planted as seed has emerged. The beans are still sleeping. Our lettuce is lush and beautiful. The pressure is on to consume many salads before the lettuce bolts! C and I have not been cooking at home as much as, perhaps, we should be. Our vegetables are gaining on us.
We planted brussel sprouts this year in the hopes that we wouldn’t have the same aphid situation as before with brassicas. But, as I suppose we knew it would turn out, they are now rife with the squirmy grey critters. Ew. We lean toward organic methods and hesitate to use pesticides. C is on the lookout for a good pepper spray.
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!