garden

Home Garden/Mid Summer

The past two weeks in Central Oregon has finally warmed up, we have dealt with 34°F nights since the first day of summer. This meant running outside every night and covering all of the tender young vegetables to make sure that they would make it until warmer weather appeared. Since the previous post there has been quite a bit of growth and some surprising returns from last year.

Baby artichoke!!

One artichoke plant has growth but the other seems to be struggling, it is surrounded by the borage plants so some thinning may be required.

Borage flowers

Sweet like honey, these flowers make a great addition to light summer dishes. The leaves can also be blanched and used in soups. They will add a nice refreshing cucumber flavor.

Multi-colored carrots

The carrots arrived a little late so I may just end up with baby carrots, and there is nothing wrong with that!

The tomatoes have finally started growing and producing after the cold spring, I have all cherry tomatoes because the season is so short in Central Oregon.

Still to come:

Squash, potatoes, sunchokes, and lots of herbs

Summer Garden 2012

My garden as of 5/27/2012

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We are still getting a lot of frosty days so I am watching the little plants carefully to make sure they don’t die.  Amongst all of the dirt are a variety of cherry tomato plants ranging from chocolate cherries to sungold cherries.  I have small patches of rosemary, oregano, lemon thyme, tarragon, and chives, which have been flowering for a few weeks now.  The two white-ish plants in front are violet artichokes, and in the back are some holes with a variety of potatoes.  The little tiny sprouts scattered all of the place are borage sprouts, They will need to be thinned once they get a little bigger.  Borage grows very quickly and bees love them for their little blue flowers that taste like a sweet cucumber.  You can also blanch the leaves of the borage plant and eat them, they taste like cucumbers.

Now we wait for sun….and summer!

My Crops

This spring I planted a few odd items and a few staples in my home garden. At first when I plant from seeds, I hope to see growth and I don’t really care about the production of fruit. This year I planted butternut squash (the seeds came from squash I used at work), sun chokes, quinoa, potatoes (also from sprouting spuds from work), mustard seed, and a variety of herbs.

The squash was planted late so I didn’t get much fruit before the first frost, but I did enjoy some squash blossoms. When picking squash blossoms, make sure to pick the male blossoms because they only help pollinate and will not form into the squash. Female squash blossoms grow close to the vine with the fruit below it while male squash blossoms have a longer stem.  There are so many male flowers that trimming a few here and there will not affect the females from producing fruit and you getting a food crop.

The sunchokes were very successful this year. One plant has flowered so far and the root will be harvested in January or February. Sunchokes are in the same family as sunflowers and grow very tall while producing beautiful yellow flowers. The root’s flavor resembles that of artichoke hearts when roasted.

For my first time growing potatoes, it went fairly well. I ended up with about two pounds of potatoes which included French fingerling, russets, and reds. I was anxious to harvest them so their skin is a little thin but that just means I have to eat them all faster! I have much bigger plans next year for potatoes since I love them so much. I am looking at making “cages” out of tomato cages and bamboo to help with the piling of the dirt over the plant and harvesting.

I learned that the mustard needed a little more room to grow but I will definitely double the amount of seeds I plant next year. Mustard is great to grow since it grows quickly and produces a lot of seeds. Next fall I hope to have my own batch of mustard!

Quinoa is one of my favorite grain like seed. It is very high in protein and grows like a weed. Next year quinoa will be a definite must with it’s high yield, ability I grow with little water, and beautiful colors.