Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summertime in the Garden

Thus far, our 2013 garden has been amazing! This is the sixth year that the garden has been in this location, and it has been the best year we have had so far. The fewest bug problems, the fewest disease problems, and some of the best plant growth we have had. We did lose most of the onions and a number of our summer squash plants (the latter to insects we believe), and earlier in the year during planting time, had poor germination of the melons, zucchini, beans, and cucumbers so we've had to make second (and sometimes third and fourth!) plantings of those. Other than that, though, everything is doing so well!

An 'areial' view of the garden :) . . . and behind the garden, is the orchard and one of our beehives.
(the photo was taken from the 'tower' of our old swingset that my Dad had built back when my brother, sister and I were very young.)

The garden was planted late due to the late coming spring so we haven't started harvesting much from it, but there is the promise for abundant harvests before long.
 
This year I planted radishes underneath each of the cucumber trellises as I had read that they are a good pest deterrent and especially once they flower . . . thus far, they certainly seem to be, plus they are so pretty! And the bees and butterflies like them, too.

One of the cucumber plants climbing up the trellis

A view of both trellises . . . the near one didn't have any cucumbers come up on this side so Mom replanted them several days ago, and they're starting to come up now.

Basil that is ready to be harvested and dried

Our pepper plants are still small, but there are several good-sized peppers on them already!

A long (around 30') bed of carrots with parsnips in the foreground

Our celery plants are doing really well! We have around twenty-five of them and are hoping to enjoy the celery fresh and be able to freeze a bunch as well

Cantaloupe

 Our cabbage plants were hit hard by the cabbage worms this year. Usually we spray the plants with an organic spray (Thuricide) which takes care of the caterpillars, but that needed to be done while I was in the hospital so the plants got rather bug eaten. At least we have a few heads (such as the one above) that we'll be able to harvest!

This idea is working so far! Pole beans running up the tepee trellis, lettuce planted inside, and nasturtiums as a pest deterrent planted around the beans.

Lettuce inside the pole bean tepee trellis

A Lemon Yellow Squash . . . a new heirloom variety that we are trying this year as it is supposed to be pest tolerant. So far, it is the only squash variety we have had this year that we haven't lost a plant of! 

Two rows of Mangel Beets (for the goats and chickens), tomatoes on the back left and Crookneck yellow squash on the back right

We planted a tri-color mix of snap beans and only a few plants came up (due to one of the wet cold snaps we had early in the spring), but they have been fun as the flowers and beans are purple!

Sunflowers :) . . . planted just for the pleasure of their flowers and for the birds

The back of the garden . . . yellow squash in the foreground, then the mangel beets, potatoes, and more yellow squash. To the right, in the barer spot, is where the melons are . . . it won't be long before that will be filled in!

I love morning sunlight in the garden :)

Swiss Chard

More tomatoes! These are not in the main garden, and they are all colorful heirloom varieties which are a lot of fun to grow!

 
 Blueberries . . . we've been able to harvest quite a few of these and have been enjoying them fresh and have put a lot up in the freezer to be used later.

This is our first year to have apples on our trees! We don't have many, but we're hoping the few we do have will make it to harvest time.

We have a few peaches on our trees as well. Thanks to last fall's major hail storm, the trees needed to be heavily pruned as they were so badly damaged, hence, the crop this year is a lot smaller than it would have been otherwise. We're thankful that we have at least some, though!

The next photo isn't anything garden related :), but while I was photographing in the garden this morning, Leah brought our two orphan Boer kids out to the dairy goat pen for the day (they spend the night in the barn and the day out with the Alpines) so I snapped this photo of them . . .  

Both these girls are so sweet!

In other garden news, the overwintered kale that went to seed is ready to harvest seed from now . . .

 

 
I have been able to harvest a lot of seed so far (and there is still a lot more out there) so we should be able to plant a large crop of kale from our own seed this fall!

So there's a garden update! Mom has done an amazing job getting things cleaned up and mulched, and it is exciting to see how well it is doing so far. Now the harvesting is just around the corner, and we're all looking forward to that!

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And as a little update on myself . . . since stopping the antibiotic last week, I haven't regressed, but am continuing to improve! We are so thankful to the Lord for that! There was one day (this past Sunday) that was a little bit concerning at first as I started having strange sensations in my legs and walking felt a bit strange. But then by Monday morning, they had dissipated and I found that going down the stairs was much easier for me and my legs were more coordinated, too! (Going down stairs has been the most difficult thing for me to do physically since coming home.) So . . . we think the 'strange sensations' were, in unscientific terms :), nerves reconnecting and muscles 'waking up' again. Another step forward! Day by day I am getting stronger and am able to do quite a bit more now . . . like beehive inspections with Dad this week and helping with the animal chores some now, too. Thank you all again for praying for me!