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As promised, a lot has happened recently in the garden.  The biggest change…..the corn….is gone.  We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 360 corn plants each with between 2 and 4 ears of corn.  Now, all that’s left is a tiny, tiny fraction of that.  Say hi to everyone’s favorite garden pest…the rat.  Upper left is what the corn planter looks like now while upper right is what the typical damage looked like.  It gnawed through the husk of the ears of corn and ate about a quarter of an ear on each one.  Traps are out and set, but thus far no luck.  Additionally nothing else in the garden has been touched.  Great shame because the corn was successfully growing (unlike last year) and we were going to have a load of sweet corn to share with my readers.  We’ll be planting again soon to try once again.

In other interesting news we harvested our carrots today.  Upper left is the haul.  Keep in mind that there is nothing to reference for scale and most of these carrots are between 1 and 3 inches in length.  Nothing huge, but still quite a nice little harvest.  We’ll be seeding again soon to try for a fall harvest.  Upper right is a picture of what happens when you plant carrots too close together.  Carrot seeds are tiny and hard to evenly space.  You’re supposed to thin them when they come out of the ground, which we obviously didn’t do quite well enough.  Interesting effect though.

Upper left are the newly emerging green bean plants.  You’ll recall they were planted during the previous update.  You’ll also notice a new layer of straw on several of the beds.  With the weather getting so hot and dry some mulch becomes helpful for more than just weed control.  Mulch will also prevent water loss and help keep the root zone cooler, conserving water by preventing the need for additional watering.  It also protects some vegetables and fruits (watermelon, pumpkins, etc.) from rotting due to sitting on wet soil.  Upper right shows our red onions.  Still not quite red, but coming along nicely.  Again, these were planted too close together and may eventually hinder their growth.  Only time will tell.

Upper left, our largest watermelon.  For scale, you can see a smaller watermelon towards the bottom right.  It is roughly the size of a softball, so obviously this one is quite large.  Believe it or not, this one also managed to hide from us until only a couple weeks ago despite it’s size.  Upper right are our pumpkins.  The plant looks like it’s suffering, but it isn’t.  For any of you that have ever been to one of those pick-your-own pumpkin patches you know that the pumpkin vine always seems to look partially dead when it’s time to harvest.  Unfortunately these pumpkins aren’t going to make it on the vine until October (we’ve already picked one).

More to come in the coming weeks as the garden will gradually begin to shift from a spring/summer garden to a fall/winter one.  I’ll be trying my best to keep up better with the updates.  We’re still harvesting loads of produce every week with more on the way.  Along with lots of cherry, roma, and heirloom tomatoes we’re still getting lots of cucumbers, zucchini, and squash we just had our first ripe honeydew and our first few bell peppers.  We’re also starting to see flowers and fruit on our raspberry vine which will be getting attached to the iron fence around the patio as soon as it’s large enough.  Until next week…


Well, I realize that it’s been almost a month since mt last garden update.  I’d blame it on an overwhelming workload but the reality is that’s it’s because of my own procrastination.  These pictures are from July 19th and will be followed by a post showing the garden as it is presently on August 4th.

Plenty has happened over the last month.  Some good some bad.  Upper left, we pulled out all of our green beans and added them to the compost.  They had begun drying out and had stopped producing a plentiful crop.  Given their quick growth period though we planted seeds in their place and should begin getting green beans again in the late summer or early fall.  We also succeeded in trimming back the lemon cucumbers into a much more manageable size.  Upper right: a case of powdery mildew popped up on some of the melons (both water and honeydew) which resulted in us having to immediately tear out the afflicted portions and dispose of them.  Note: do not compost anything suffering from any pest or disease.  You are simply inviting it to continue, and perhaps spread.

Upper left: a picture of our heirloom tomatoes.  Heirlooms come in many, many types, but ours grow to be small to medium sized tomatoes with a very wrinkly, mutated appearance and slightly pinkish red coloring.  As of July 19th the heirlooms had only just started to ripen.  Upper right:  the cherry tomato plant is thriving.  At this stage we are able to harvest cherry tomatoes almost daily and get probably 20 to 30 tomatoes per week from the one bush.

Upper left: the dry, hot weather has begun to take it’s toll on the garden as well.  Many of the larger leafed plants tend to wilt in the midday sun…at least until they receive water.  Then they tend to spring back by the end of the day only to repeat the cycle again the next day.  Our pumpkins are ripening and although large it doesn’t appear that any of them will get quite large enough to carve them.  Upper right: our giant sunflowers are all now open.  They are certainly impressive looking, but will probably start to wilt fairly quickly once the flower opens up.  Although we probably won’t you can harvest and season your own sunflower seeds from these giants.  To harvest the seeds you want to cut the entire head off the plant and hang it upside down in a cool, dry space.  After letting them thoroughly dry out you can then remove them from the flower and salt or season them as you wish.

Be on the lookout for a more current update to see several changes that have swept the garden.

Melaleuca nesophila

Pink Melaleuca

Not to be confused with Melaleuca quinquinervia (the Paperbark Tree) the Pink Melaleuca grows naturally as a small tree between 15 and 20 feet tall but can be used in a wide variety of instances from clipped hedges, to a large screen shrub/tree, as an accent tree, or even as a shade tree.   The Paperbark Tree is the common Melaleuca everyone thinks of and that is seen all over with its distinctive peeling, spongy, whitish to light brown bark.  The Pink Melaleuca doesn’t share this annoying trait with it’s brother although it does have interesting, swirling bark.  A very tough tree that can take abuse, ocean spray, heavy winds, high heat, and poor soil and come out the other side looking attractive and thriving.  It has unique, attractive flowers that appear as feathery globes on the branch ends throughout the year.  An additional reason for it’s use is its growth habit.  Often developing a gnarled, sprawling appearance it can easily provide a very interesting visual addition to the yard or garden that can even evoke a sense of banzai at times.

Produce, produce everywhere!  We’re basically now at a spot where we’re picking fruit and vegetables pretty much daily….and that’s with probably half the garden still not being harvested.  We still haven’t touched the corn, pumpkins, potatoes, peppers, celery, or watermelon and only started to get produce from the strawberries, squash, eggplant, and honeydew melons.  Additionally none of the heirloom tomatoes and few roma tomatoes have ripened at this point.  Basically…we’re busy, but we’re going to get a whole lot busier.

Above left is a picture of Monday’s harvest.  Keep in mind that’s just from Monday…we picked another tray almost equally as big on Friday as well.  Loads of lemon cucumbers and green beans with good showings of several other veggies.  Above right is what a blooming potato bush looks like.  Somewhere under the dirt there are hopefully quite a few potatoes developing.  We won’t know for sure until we harvest them (dig them up) in another month or two.

Above left is a developing sweet corn.  You can plainly see the husk and silk.  The corn is only about half size so far and it’s one of our larger ones.  Still a ways to go before we have sweet corn but from the last couple of weeks you can plainly see that the corn plants themselves are giant.  The pollen on the tassles of the corn needs to be blown down to the husks and pollinate the strands of silk so that kernels will form.  Last year that didn’t happen and we ended up with no corn.  Hopefully with all the additional corn this year it works.  Thus far you can actually see the pollen blowing around when the wind picks up so our hopes are high.  Above right is our first large sunflower to begin opening.  We have probably 6 to 8 large sunflowers and they should all start flowering here very soon.  Should be quite a sight.  The flowers will all be close to a foot across.

Above left are a group of pumpkins that are developing nicely.  We have a lot of pumokins as you can plainly see.  Already we have far more than we did all of last year.  Above right is a group of honeydew melons.  We harvested the largest today and plan on seeing how it turned out a little later after it’s spent some time in the fridge.  Like the pumpkins, we’re going to have a lot of honeydews.  There’s four in this picture alone.

There are some other developments in the garden as well.  As you might be able to see in the pictures the two artichoke plants that were so bountiful and beautiful earlier are now an eyesore.  They may make a comeback next year but will not be given the chance.  Because they were part of the original garden (and as a result are not in the raised planting beds) and are in the way they will be removed and composted…hopefully next week.  Also, one full row of green beans as well as spots elsewhere are beginning to drop off in production and look like they’re dying.  Sam collected beans (seeds) today and we will be ripping those plants out and replanting them with more green beans next week.  We should hopefully begin getting our second crop of green beans sometime in August as a result.  Last, the raspberry plant has been really growing.  There’s not much to show, but in another week or two it will probably be large enough to begin attaching to the iron railing around the raised patio.  It should produce quite a sight once it’s been given time and gets really large…hopefully next year.

Last, our largest watermelon.  It’s probably around half it’s eventual size.  Still a ways to go and not as plentiful as the honeydews but always a favorite.

We actually have some things to show off this week.  Took plenty of pictures after being a little bit lacking in the updates.  Our lunch breaks are starting to get to be hot, sweaty affairs as we get out there most every day to weed, pick, and trim.  Lot’s of work to keep things looking attractive, and even then there’s only so much we can do.  We are reaping the fruits of our labor however with everything from cucumbers, to green beans, tomatoes, and even some strawberries with a whole lot more on the way.

Things are truly getting gigantic at this point.  We didn’t experience anything like this last year…apparently some good, well drained soil can make all the difference in the world.  Take a look at our corn and sunflowers.  Massive.  We have sunflowers now up to 9 feet tall with leaves that are up to a foot and a half across…and they haven’t even flowered yet.  As you can plainly see our corn is now nicely tassling and corn husks have started to appear.  Now we just have to hope that the pollen from those tassles get down and pollinate those strands of silk so we will actually end up with some sweet corn this year.

Top left:  I spent three of the last four days clipping branches off the tomato plants.  They were getting so big and thick that we were having trouble identifying the tomatoes.  As you can see…yes, we’re going to have a few tomatoes.  That’s one plant out of about 20.  Top right:  Our little bundles of celery.  Slow growing, but finally starting to come around.  You can just start to see the celery stalks appear.

Top left:  BIG pumpkin.  Already bigger than anything we grew last year and still growing strong.  You can easily tell it’s bigger every day.  Top right:  More pumpkins.  We’re not going to be lacking for some nice pumpkins this year.  Perhaps a BMLA pumpkin carving contest is in order this year when Halloween comes around.

Top left:  The sweet corn is now more than tall enough to block our composting area.  Here is Sam cutting up some trimmings for composting.  Top right:  One of our most active areas…we dump all our garden waste here to turn in into organic mulch for the future.  You can also see our back bed.  Not as far along as our other beds, nevertheless, the bell and chili peppers and other crops are making progress.  You can still see though that we’re missing bark mulch for the paths still and still have some weeding ahead of us.

Top left:  Our largest Honeydew Melon.  Currently it’s about the size of a small grapefruit (we also have watermelon at a similar size).  Top right:  Kristin’s personal request and the newest addition…a spaghetti squash.

Erin adding some organic fertilizer to the green beans.  These things are prolific.  We’ve already harvested close to 20lbs. of green beans total…with no sign of them slowing down.