Time for a little gardening update!
We have reached a stage I now call "Death of Summer", a hot lull between our two growing seasons. I have given up on the lettuce and am pretty sure the tomatoes have given up on me for the next six weeks. This morning I pruned the tomatoes back and tied them up; if I can keep them alive until the end of August perhaps they will take off again.
I think that for the first season of gardening we have done fairly well for ourselves. We definitely don't have what you might call fertile soil, but I'd be more inclined to label our experience a learning year than to leave it with this sucks.
Today my gardening helpers spent a little time outside with me collecting what we could from our garden. Lulu tasted the largest of our seven watermelons, and we decided it's not quite ready yet.
Boo has been bugging me for weeks to pull up the carrots. They probably could have gone longer, but the watermelons are seriously hogging that box so today I gave in. We have five or six finger size specimens that will be part of our dinner tonight!
We found some tiny orange eggs neatly attached to the bottom of a carrot leaf. Boo informed me those are ladybug eggs, and that means we need to get some aphids for them to eat when they come out. Yeah, what do I know? But I have to say to that, NO.
I did put the leaf with the eggs back in the watermelon patch, hoping maybe hatchling ladybugs eat the bad bugs off of watermelon plants.
Then I thought I had seen a bean on Rooster's lima bean plant (the one he brought home from preschool), so next we turned our attention to that. To my surprise the kids found another, and another, until they had collected two big handfuls.
To my greater surprise, I examined the beans more closely and figured out they are not lima beans at all, but something resembling snow peas. I wasn't sure what to do with lima beans, but I know I like snow peas! This is a revolutionary piece of information, for now I know that sugar snap peas will do well in cooler times, but these will continue to thrive into the hot part of the summer.
The jalapeno plants are still acting finicky, but this week 15 flowers finally turned into three baby peppers. My goal is to get to the point where I have a dozen ripe at the same time, so I can try my friend Hollis' stuffed jalapeno recipe. I also fantasize about homemade salsa, but I'll have to get some of my big tomatoes producing first.
The artichokes continue their long, slow development. They supposedly take six months to mature, then produce fruit for six months. I've got four plants, all planted at the same time, that all seem to be growing differently. The big one now has leaves about 15" long, and I think they will come along eventually.
Gardening has been a good stretch for me this summer. I really enjoy getting out there every morning for about 15 minutes to check and water all my babies.
Every success gives me courage to reach further. I now have 7 cantaloupe plants growing indoors in anticipation of planting at the end of August. I also started red, yellow and orange sweet peppers this morning. Looking forward to adding more goodness to the soil in my garden boxes, stocking up on pesticides, and starting round two in about a month!