Monday, September 22, 2014
It’s the beginning of the end here already — we had our first frost warning two days ago. I brought in some green tomatoes from an ailing plant, and they are ripening nicely along the windowsill now.

It’s the beginning of the end here already — we had our first frost warning two days ago. I brought in some green tomatoes from an ailing plant, and they are ripening nicely along the windowsill now.

Monday, August 25, 2014
Salad fixings, from the garden.

Salad fixings, from the garden.

Friday, August 22, 2014
This year’s great melon experiment was a resounding failure. I pulled up two plants, and immediately felt bad when I noticed one of them was carrying little melons. I don’t think they would have had time to mature before temperatures become too cold, but still.

I tell myself it’s better to use that space to grow lettuce or chard. I hope to experiment with melons again next year, hopefully in an in-ground garden, with better weather!

This year’s great melon experiment was a resounding failure. I pulled up two plants, and immediately felt bad when I noticed one of them was carrying little melons. I don’t think they would have had time to mature before temperatures become too cold, but still.

I tell myself it’s better to use that space to grow lettuce or chard. I hope to experiment with melons again next year, hopefully in an in-ground garden, with better weather!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cabbage worms have become the bane of my existence. Along with leaf miners, they are the only pests doing serious damage to my crops.

I pick them off the kale and arugula manually every couple of days and have found that sticky tape works well for the smallest worms and eggs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bunches of herbs for drying: winter thyme, pineapple and regular sage, variegated marjoram and Greek oregano

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The first hot chili pepper harvest of the summer. I’m going to dry them and then… Well, I’m not too sure since I’m not a big fan of very spicy food! I will probably give some away as gifts.

I’m also going to save some seeds and start seedlings next year for a few friends and acquaintances who have expressed interest.

The first hot chili pepper harvest of the summer. I’m going to dry them and then… Well, I’m not too sure since I’m not a big fan of very spicy food! I will probably give some away as gifts.

I’m also going to save some seeds and start seedlings next year for a few friends and acquaintances who have expressed interest.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My patio garden: A mid-August review

Summer is winding down and I’ve been taking stock of this year’s garden. Truth be told, I hope this is the last year that I’ll be growing vegetables in containers, since we’re planning on buying a house with a sunny yard this winter/spring. 

The good:

  • Once again, the bean harvest did not disappoint, and is still ongoing. Sowing seeds at 1- or 2-week intervals was a good strategy here. 
  • Both ground cherry bushes are producing well, and I gather a handful of fallen fruit almost every day. I sometimes snack on them, but usually remove the husks, wash them and freeze them, and I should have enough to cook up a few jars of compote at the end of the season. 
  • Herbs. I have regular and pineapple sage, regular and lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, dill, oregano, spearmint, chocolate mint, chives, lemon verbena, lemon balm, marjoram, curled and flat-leafed parsley. The only one that is doing poorly is lavender. I’ve never gotten the hang of lavender: Every year, I purchase a lavender seedling, transplant it, and watch the flowers wilt and the stems hardly grow. At least it’s not dead!
  • The peppers are doing very well. I have jalapeños, super chilis (?), mini sweets and Espelette. I will actually harvest twice as many Espelette peppers as I did last year with the same number of plants! The only plant that is not producing much is the chocolate Bell. Interestingly, it is the only pepper plants that I purchased in a nursery instead of starting myself. 

The okay:

  • My leafy greens (Swiss chard, spinach, kale, mustard, mixed lettuce) are doing alright, especially now that the weather is unseasonably cool, but I’ve been battling pests lately. Cabbage worms attacked the kale and mustard, and leaf miners were doing in the chard and spinach. I *think* I managed to get rid of them by physically removing the worms and affected leaves.
  • The tomatoes are actually doing pretty well, but because the weather has been very cool and rainy, they are not fruiting and ripening as quickly as I’d like. In fact, we’re almost a month behind last year, which is a lot when you live in zone 4! This year’s harvest will definitely be less than last year’s. 
  • Both cucumber plants have been producing only enough to give us one or two cukes a week. One plant is sick with powdery mildew (I think), but it still has several growing fruit on it, so I’ll wait for it to stop producing before pulling it up. The other plant is just “meh”, but also has a few maturing fruit on it. I will definitely be trying different varieties next year.

The bad:

  • Melons. I was pretty excited to be trying early dwarf melon varieties this year, but only Minnesota Midget will be giving us some real fruit. I think I’ll be pulling up the Golden Midget and Early Nutmeg plants. They have fruit on them, but they are still tiny, and I do not think they will have time to ripen before the season ends, especially since the forecast is for temps in the 10s (°C) (that’s in the 50s-60s °F) for the next week. 
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Today’s harvest: cucumber, a few tomatoes, two mini sweet peppers and a big handful of beans.

Today’s harvest: cucumber, a few tomatoes, two mini sweet peppers and a big handful of beans.

Monday, August 4, 2014
Morning glories continue to bloom, despite the vine having been relegated to the compost heap days ago.

Morning glories continue to bloom, despite the vine having been relegated to the compost heap days ago.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This morning’s bean harvest. We have enough beans for two healthy adult portions every two days! 

I also picked up a few ripe ground cherries. I usually snack on them as soon as I find them, but last week I had enough to make a delicious clafoutis.

This morning’s bean harvest. We have enough beans for two healthy adult portions every two days!

I also picked up a few ripe ground cherries. I usually snack on them as soon as I find them, but last week I had enough to make a delicious clafoutis.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am so excited today! We just got back from a 3-day trip, and the first thing I noticed in the garden upon my return were baby melons! I wasn’t even sure we’d get some this year, since it is my first time trying to grow some in containers. 

Both the Minnesota Midget and the Golden Midget have set fruit. Nothing yet on the Nutmeg Extra Early plant though, which is a shame because it is supposed to be the most delicious of the varieties I’m trying out this summer. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I let my cilantro flower (oops!) and it’s going to seed. Fortunately, these can either be resown or used in the kitchen.

Lots of beans are ready to eat, and the cucumbers will soon be too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Bean blossoms - this photo was actually taken a while ago. Since then, we’ve begun picking enough beans to go with dinner a few evenings a week.

Bean blossoms - this photo was actually taken a while ago. Since then, we’ve begun picking enough beans to go with dinner a few evenings a week.

Friday, July 11, 2014
Today’s harvest: green beans, kale, chard and spinach.
I’ll be blanching and chopping the greens before adding them to the Smitten Kitchen’s tomato & sausage risotto instead of the baby spinach called for.
The green beans will be for munching before dinner!

Today’s harvest: green beans, kale, chard and spinach.

I’ll be blanching and chopping the greens before adding them to the Smitten Kitchen’s tomato & sausage risotto instead of the baby spinach called for.

The green beans will be for munching before dinner!