Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Mid- Summer Garden Update

Since our next door neighbors recently did their mid- summer garden update, I thought I should do one. You'll remember (my May 8 post) that our garden area used to be quite lush years ago but was left to fend for itself getting overgrown with grass, morning glory and berry bushes over my 10 year hiatus with gardening. It's been a struggle to regain that ground, but I am getting it back.

Here's what it looks like now as you head out back. Remember that this entire area you're looking at was 6' high in bushes a year or so ago.

The bed to the left has three tomato plants. The little plants sticking up on the bottom left are some tomatillos that were given to Connie. She just jammed them in there to see how they'd do. As of now there's some small green tomatoes on all of the plants, none of them bigger than a half inch.

The bed on the bottom right has a row of fava beans that are a couple feet tall now. To the right of them are some broccoli plants that, again, were given to Connie. I thought it was a bit late for broccoli but Connie planted them anyway since the space was empty. They're doing ok for this late in the summer, but I suspect we won't get much from them.

Here's a closer up look at the fava beans and broccoli with the tomatoes pretty much unrecognizable behind them. The white flowers at the top of the picture are from morning glory vines. They're all over the place but don't show well up in the vegetable beds. There's at least a few of them in all the beds. They are very difficult to eradicate.

Here's two rows of Kentucky Wonder bush beans. They only grow about 18" high. I think it's the first time I've grown a short variety. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible and didn't want to hassle with trellises for the high beans.

You can't tell the rows apart in the photo but the row in back was planted back in early July(?) and is putting out beans now. We actually took our first harvest a few days ago. I was surprised at how many beans we got. A lot of the beans were hidden in the foliage. The row in the front was planted a month or so ago so no beans yet.

What you can't see in the picture are some blackberry vines popping up through the beans, along with morning glory. I tried to clear the area but they popped up after planting. I can't do much more about the berries until the beans are done and I can dig up the bed. Doesn't really seem like the berry vines hurt the beans, though.

There's a zucchini plant behind the bean bed but you can't really make it out in the photo. It's actually pretty large right now and is putting out a fair amount of zucchini.
This bed would be behind me as I took the picture above and on the far side of the broccoli in the first picture. I call it the "dead bed" if only because it's mostly just sitting there right now.

I planted some fava beans and beets in it earlier on but had too hard a time watering them so gave up on it. Since then, some of the beets survived, along with the fava beans. Connie even planted a couple broccoli plants in there. You can see them on the right.

Also on the right you can see one of my old raised beds from years ago Connie uses for flowers. On the far side is where I'm still trying to clear out the old beds.

Now we're getting back towards the current wilderness area. You can still see remnants of the old raised beds on the right and left. The bed the bucket is sitting on is one I've been working on the last few days, digging deep and trying to find all the morning glory and berry roots. You can see stepping stones standing upright behind the bucket. I've had to pull them up to get at the morning glory roots that tunneled beneath them. That bed seems pretty clear now except for morning glory beneath the bed frames. I'll probably have to pull up the wood to get at them.

I haven't really started clearing the bed on the right yet, except for the overgrown stuff that covered it as you still see in the background. That bed actually goes back eight feet as it's a 4x8 foot bed. There's even another 4x8 bed you'd be hard pressed to see behind the bed with the bucket on it. It runs parallel to the "hedge" along the back fence and was covered by that hedge until a month or so ago when I started cutting the brush back. I'd forgotten that bed was even there.

Here's looking north past the bed I'm working on now with the bucket in it. You can see the 4x8 bed on the right that I'd forgotten was there and, towards the back, an area overgrown with berries and morning glory I'm fighting my way through. One of my old compost piles still sits under all that greenery. I don't know if I'll ever get it back.

On the right, you can see the last section of the "hedge" I need to cut back. The Strubs are livid over me cutting it. They didn't care much, at first. Problem was, the foliage that grew up and gave them a fence of sorts started growing further back into our yard and that was the stuff I needed to clear out. When I cut the bushes over my raised beds, it killed much of the shrubbery that gave them their fence. It will probably take some time for it to grow back. In the meantime, they're not even speaking to us. Oh, well.

(Oops. Almost forgot to add this close up of the overgrown corner with the compost bins underneath it.)

I'm hoping to clear that bed with the bucket on it and the one behind it within the next month. Then I might try starting some late crops there. Maybe brussell sprouts? That's yet to be determined and depends a lot on how the clearing work goes.

Still much work to do and I'll admit I don't enjoy doing this sort of stuff as much as I used to. It's more like doing the dishes: Not something I enjoy but it looks good, or at least better, after I'm done. And I'll have to say I feel a lot better looking out in the back yard the way it is now than the way it was.


At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It won't be long before you'll have a booth at the farmer's market!

At 8:41 AM, Blogger julie.strub said...

I didn't realize we weren't speaking to you... I'll just have to prove you wrong with a "hello from across the hedge!"

-one of the strubses

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I almost said hi yesterday, but you were having your Sunday dinner party.

Hey, are you two getting any zucchini? We've been getting some if you need any. Picked 4 yesterday and was going to offer them to you but, again, you were having your dinner party.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Oh, and don't think we don't know you two are just seething over us tearing up the hedge. :-)

At 11:58 AM, Blogger julie.strub said...

I thought there was something wrong with our zucchinis because they were small and yellow, until Laura told me that she planted a yellow variety. But they are still really small and not turning out that great, so we would be happy to get some of yours.

Can you hear us saying, "Damn that Fred, tearing down our fence! We'll just have to smoke him out with more Barbeques!!" Actually, it seems to be growing back quite nicely, so we've managed to forgive you!

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Rose Golden said...

Nice garden! Great job and thank you for sharing!

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Tabby Dragon said...

I think nobody wants to the dirty job of gardening. But we do it for the pleasure of seeing the garden bloom with fruits and vegetables after the dirty work. That is where we get the inspiration for doing the dirty work. Good job on your garden, at least now you are satisfied with your work.


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