Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Walk through the Kitchen Garden



The kitchen garden is having its first peak of the summer season. We have been picking raspberries for several weeks and the blackberries are beginning to mature. The cold snap that we had in spring followed by a much cooler start to summer must have helped the blackberries grow because we've never had them this big before.


One of the kids' morning activities is to pick the blueberries. They have been bringing in at least 5 lbs. every day. The pinkish berries are from the "Pink Lemonade" variety. They turn from light to dark pink when ripe.


We harvested a handful of figs just this week. Figs must fully ripen on the tree. The timing is tricky...getting the ripe fruit before the birds find it!


The tree is good size and is the anchor tree to this slopped garden. It is surrounded by pollinator loving plants including salvia 'hot lips', purple coneflower, several varieties of euphorbia, Russian sage, and clematis. 


The tree is full of fruit ready to ripen. I am looking forward to making some fig preserve but eating it fresh off the tree is just as scrumptious! Even one of our garden helpers thinks it makes a great shady spot to escape the heat. This is Biscuit. He is a great watch dog! Sasha on the other hand is our hunter and spends her time outdoors catching voles and moles. I'll spare you the photos of her presents.
 
Biscuit hiding under the fig tree

Squash, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers are growing in the raised beds.


It has been challenging controlling the squash bugs this year. Inspecting the leaves daily for eggs and scraping them off helps. Watering at the base of the plants brings the insects out and I can hand pick them off.  Those I miss will hopefully fall prey to spiders, tachinid flies or parasitic wasps.

squash bug nymphs and eggs

Despite the "pest" problem, the pollinators are busy doing what they do best...

bee in zucchini blossom
As we are a "heat" loving family, we have a significant number of pepper plants in one of the 10' x 5' raised beds...habenero, cayenne, chili, sweet banana, jalapeno, scotch bonnet and caballo. I think my eyes are watering already!

cheyenne pepper....balance of sweetness and heat!
In the other 10' x 5' raised bed are tomatoes including Tribute, Bella Rosa, and Beefy Boy.


The good news is that all the rain we've gotten this year means very little supplemental watering.


Rainfall Scorecard: 
 2013: 37.32 inches
2012: 37.03 inches

We've had as much rain in the first 6 months of this year as all of last year!...and there is more to come.

For a look at the raised bed project: Kitchen Garden Raised Beds

I am joining: 
Garden Bloggers Harvest Day hosted by The Gardening Blog

Next up I will show you what a bee does when it gets caught in the rain.

22 comments:

  1. You are getting a lot of berries, which is great. I don't envy the extra bugs you have to deal with though. The photo of Biscuit is precious.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks Cher! Yes, the bugs this year are significantly more than "normal". Seems the wet and rain has been good for them.

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  2. Happy 4th Miss Karin hope you and yours had a wonderful time..
    I have not checked our rainfall amount for the year yet but I'm betting it will be like yours. Tomatoes and berries are doing great but the bugs are winning the battle with everything else.
    and it is raining again right now..lol
    hugs, Cherry

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    1. We had a great 4th albeit no fireworks. We seem to have rain in the forecast for the coming week. It is hard to believe that just two years ago we were doing rain dances! Hope you don't float away!

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  3. The squash looks like pumpkin flowers. I recently planted my pumpkin patch. Last year, the bugs were a nightmare. What do you do to keep them at bay, last year I was wanting a flamethrower out of frustration.

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    1. They do! The best defense against the squash bugs is to kill the eggs before they hatch. I inspect the plants everyday for eggs & nymphs. If you can hand pick the nymphs & adults and drop them in a jar of soapy water that will help too. I hope you have a successful harvest this year!

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  4. Looks like your garden is providing a wonderful assortment of fresh foods. I am especially jealous of your figs.

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    1. I am hoping to get a better yield this year. Last year we were on vacation when many of them were ripe and the birds enjoyed them much more than we did.

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  5. Everything looks yummy! The rain has been nice for gardeners - especially those of us without irrigation systems.

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    1. Indeed! We have hardly used our irrigation system. Other than the vegetable garden I am a "survival of the fittest" type of gardener.

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  6. I too envy all the fruit and veggies - and the rain a bit. The rain around the country is so disproportional and I hope our food belt is getting the right amount. I love those squash bees. They are so darn busy in each bloom. I had them last year. I did not have as much trouble with the squash bugs though. At least I got pumpkins.

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    1. I can't ever remember getting this much rain, and during the summer months no less! We are making up for years of drought. I just hope that the conservation efforts people practiced then will continue so we don't end up in the same dire straits as before.

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  7. WOW! You must have quite a large patch to harvest 5 lbs of blueberries every morning and that fig tree is huge! We've had tons of rain, too. This has been the rainiest spring/summer I can remember. Everything looks so lush and tasty. :o)

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    1. We have 12 bushes to harvest! It keeps us busy every morning. The rain has been great...enjoying not having to do any supplemental watering. However, I am seeing slugs which I have never seen in the garden before. Where did they come from?

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  8. Mmm, I love blackberries - even more than blueberries. I just planted some squash this week. I joined a community garden and one of the gardeners advised not to plant any squash until after the 4th of July in Santa Fe to circumvent the squash bugs. I guess, I'll find out. Biscuit looks pretty cute under the fig tree.

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    1. Good advice! I have read about waiting until mating season is over to plant squash. In warmer climates, like ours, I think we can have a good late harvest. I am interested to read about how you do with the squash and your experience with the community garden.

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  9. Looking like a great harvest!! We planted blueberry plants a couple years ago, but now that we've moved we'll have to start over. I tell my family that I need a pie garden - a garden filled with lots of different berries for pie! Yum!

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  10. What a gorgeous potager and figs....oh I wish we could grow figs. Your harvest is certainly happy due to the rain and your garden loving hands!

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    1. The rain has been very helpful. But it has also been a stellar year for "pests". I guess we can't have it all!

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  11. Fresh figs! lucky you. years ago travelling in Australia I got to eat fresh figs and was blown away by how wonderful they were. Too cold for them this far north unfortunately. Like Biscuit, my cats are spending lots of time hiding in the greenery these days trying to stay cool.

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    1. Lucky you to have the experience of exploring Australia! On my bucket list...

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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