Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My first tomato of the year!

Hi there,
I have gotten my first ripe tomato of the season today! Unfortunately for you there are no photos...it didn't last very long among ravenous tomato munchers. I should have one more ripe tomato tomorrow and I can snap a photo of the plants then...as long as I don't munch it first.

On a growing method note: I leave most of the weeds that grow under and around my garden (with the exception of anything that is perennial, has spines, or that may become a problem in the future). The plants seem to like the extra drought protection that the layer of live mulch provides. I do not hesitate to pluck weeds if they do seem to be stealing too much water or space from my planted babies. I also tend to have grass growing in my garden beds, despite my efforts to keep it out--it appears that the garden is the only place that grass likes growing here in the desert, but I am none to fond of how well it can choke out other plants.

In other news, the potatoes are almost ready for early picking--they have flowers, but are still green on the plants and have not started to die back. This would be the perfect time for fingerling potatoes, if my family liked/needed them. Instead, I will be waiting until the taters are a little more mature before going after them. Besides, I have local potatoes to last me for the rest of the week at least!

Other than that, the zucchini are growing like mad and I have two large ripe green zuchs in my fridge, and the cucumbers are flowering, but no fruit as of yet. I have a large pumpkin sitting in the garden, as well as some baby watermelons.  The corn, as expected, grew vertically very well, but did not produce much along the lines of edible cobs thanks to heat, wind, and moths. I did manage to get one two foot long corn cob that had some kernels that were tasty. (Yes. 2 feet long. Too bad it never developed into a real ear--I still have hopes for the later-planted corn to maybe get one or two edible ears). I am hoping that the extreme dry and wind we have been having will not affect the garden too much!

Now I think that I will go outside and dance in the rain before it passes (or turns into hail... ug...that four letter word would send me to tears right now)!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Garlic Harvest Time!

Well, I just came back from a two week medical emergency trip (everything is okay now) and had good friends taking care of the garden. Everything in the garden was quite happy and growing away. Before I left the rest of the garlic was almost ready to pick, but not quite, so when I got back it was really ready to be plucked!

All told there are about 30 bulbs, including some that fell off of their stems, and one that I ...um...dug into. oops. I dug them up yesterday afternoon and let them sit on the ground overnight. They did get rained on a bit, but not enough to cause any problems. Today I cleaned them up and braided them. Cleaning just involved removing the clinging dirt and any loose skins, then tearing/cutting off the roots to prevent space for things to grow and moisture to collect.  Braiding is occasionally hard to start, but easy once you get going. One word of warning: it is easy to get garlic splinters if you are not careful when braiding--don't slide your hand down the stems and leaves if you can help it. Learn from my fail.

Anyway, here is a photo of the newly braided garlic!

And another one

From here they are going to be hung in my pantry to cure and be eaten.  I may mash up some with olive oil and some salt and keep it in the fridge as instant garlic, but I have to find motivation and time for that.  

One thing I did notice is that some of my garlic is already greenish blue. Apparently I have sulfur/copper enough to turn the skins green, but that will not affect the taste at all. This particular variety also has purple skins at times, so I am wondering if the blue/green tinge is related to that. 

Happy garlic munching!