Saturday, July 14, 2007

Where was I?

Right. Well. Sometimes you have to choose between gardening and blogging about gardening and that's been the choice I had to make for the last month. Gardening, harvesting, jam making, spending time with my daughters, caring for a dying dog (she was diagnosed with cancer less than a month ago), and of course the omnipresent day job, which pays for the roof over our heads, the garden, and the internet connection. I started taking pictures this evening for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and discovered the camera battery had gone dead. While it recharges, (boring entry alert!) a state of the garden report for my journal.
  • Soft fruits: I'd attribute the record strawberry harvest to the fact that the dog was too sick to do her share of surreptitious harvesting, but everything else is bearing heavily this year as well. The black current bushes were so loaded that some of the the branches lay flat on the ground. I put up 4 pints each of black currant jam, jelly, and strawberry jam. The golden raspberries are bearing better than ever, but nothing we can't manage to eat out of hand. Likewise the cherries that we were able to get to before the birds stripped the tree. The wild red huckleberries seem to be having a banner year as well but I never had time to go down to the woods to pick them.
  • Peas: I normally get just enough shelling peas to use as an ingredient in some other dish (pasta shells with peas, chopped mint, and prosciutto, mmmm). This year we are pigging out on peas, and I've even put some in the freezer. Same with the sugar snap peas, which in spite of the heat wave last week, are still going strong. The secret to getting a good crop seems to be: get them in early--late January is not too soon, inoculate the seeds, and most of all, cover the planted rows with floating row covers, well anchored, to keep the field mice from digging up and eating the seeds! (Seriously. My two worst garden predators are not deer and rabbits, they're field mice and slugs)
  • Speaking of slugs, they have wiped out my last three plantings of lettuce, in spite of my best efforts at controlling them. I think they may have actually acquired a taste for Sluggo pellets. Diatomaceous earth doesn't faze them in the least.
  • I've harvested nearly all of one row of carrots, out of fear that the temperature fluctuations would cause them to split. It must have been too warm by the time I got the Japanese turnips into the ground. They all bolted, without ever bulbing up. As soon as the weather cools off I'll replant root crops for Fall.
  • Harvested most of the main heads of broccoli, but the varieties I planted will provide plenty of side shoots for the rest of the summer. My romanesco broccoli hasn't formed heads yet.
  • Out of 6 or 7 zucchini plants, I still have three (slugs again!) and one or two tiny zucchs that will be ready to pick in a few days.
  • In the greenhouse all the tomatoes, except Anna Russian have set at least some fruit. Ferline and Sungella are leading the pack, with Early Girl and Early Goliath not far behind. San Marzano is, quite simply, in a class by itself.
  • Eggplants are blossoming. This next week will tell whether I've gained anything by burying the heating cable in that bed, if those blossoms turn into eggplants. One pepper plant has set fruit, as have some of the melon vines. I had hoped I wouldn't have to artificially inseminate my melons again this year, but looking back at last year's entries, I had bigger melons on the vine on this date.
In other news, the ducklings look like actual ducks now, and they've moved to their new digs in the orchard. (photos to follow when the camera is ready). The Cornish hybrid chicks are huge, and I've lost a couple to the heat. I won't raise them again. They are just too fragile, not to mention stupid.

While I wait for the battery to charge here's a a couple of parting shots of my gardening companion for the last 10 years. There never was a better dog.


Blogger Inland Empire Girl said...

As soon as I read your previous post, I had a feeling that was what had happened. Here is a favorite quote of mine that I always have hung up by my desk to remind me of my own past gardening companions.
"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made." M.Facklam
No words to ease the sadness.
I am glad for an update on the garden. How nice to be making jam. I keep throwing my berries in the freezer, but we will get some jam made soon!

14 July, 2007 22:35  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

I'm sorry for your loss Molly. It is hard to lose such a wonderful pet.

It's clear that you have been very busy lately. Fresh peas, mmmmm delicious!

15 July, 2007 06:25  
Blogger Michelle said...

Glad to read the update. Big hugs to you for the loss of your friend. :(

15 July, 2007 06:58  
Blogger MrBrownThumb said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your fur friend.

That last picture brought a smile to my face as it looks like he's smiling for the camera.

Thanks for posting this.

17 July, 2007 16:24  
Blogger kate said...

You will have lots of good memories of your dog ... they are such faithful creatures and they stay with us long after they are gone.

And yes, gardening definitely takes priority over blogging about it. You have been busy with lots happening on the veggie and soft fruit fronts. I had to laugh about the Cornish chicks and your comment about their stupidity.

18 July, 2007 08:41  

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