Feed Me, Seymour…

Summer Squash Takeover

(Something tells me we're going to get a lot of late summer squash this year!)

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You Win Some, You Lose Some

Ever wonder what happens when you plant something in a cast iron tub that only has one drain hole and then it gets watered a little too much? Yeah… I’ve never wondered that either. But today I was privileged enough to find out:

Potatoes- 1, Veronica- 0

Answer? It basically becomes one giant waterlogged rotting smelly mess that can only be cured with sunlight, a bucket, and more cowbell. It’s only too bad I wasn’t growing rice in the tub; I’m sure it would’ve fared a bit better given the slop-like conditions.

In other news, I picked my first batch of cucumbers today:

Mini-Harvest

Apparently I planted two types of these puppies, but totally forgot until today. The smaller bumpier cukes on the left and right sides of the photo have a slightly bitter yet firm flesh with crisp skin, while the larger one in the center is of the usual mellow creamier flavored variety with a thinner skin that most people are probably used to.

Unfortunately, I’ve been eating Armenian cukes since they hit the grocery store in full bloom a few weeks ago, so I’m a little burnt out on chopped salads and tzatziki… but I couldn’t let these bad boys go to waste! What to do, what to do???

The answer?

Icebox Pickles

Garlicky delicious icebox pickles! Really super easy- just chop some cukes, throw them in a jar, and add whatever floats your boat. They stay good in the fridge for at least a week or two- you can even cheat and use an empty pickle jar with the brine still in it, or pickled jalapeno leftovers, or… well, you get the idea. This time around I did fresh dill, bay leaves, garlic, vinegar, water, chili flakes, a pinch of sea salt, and steak seasoning (cause I don’t have any pickling spices right now and they’re almost the same thing… right? Sort of?)

P.S. Potatoes: Round 2 coming at you later this week!!!

What- you didn’t think I’d give up that easily, did ya? 😉

Compostest With the Mostest

Fence Posts Begging for a DIY
A couple of weeks ago I really wanted a compost bin, but after pricing both pre-made bins and the materials to make a bin? I realized my budget was a little short for such a project. Luckily the house I live in has a lot of scrap junk in and around the yard, and after poking around the pile along the back fence I realized that there were more than enough random fence boards of various length to build… well, something. So out came my trusty jigsaw and power drill, and after measuring the space I had (a 3×3 plot along a back wall) and the height of the shortest boards, I got to work. The end result before sunset was something like this:
Compost Corner, Front View

I know I know… it doesn’t look like much, but it keeps all of the organic garden waste neatly contained without having to stare at a giant decomposing pile every second of the day. And of course, the side view:
Compost Corner, Side View

I’m still trying to figure out some sort of gate for this side (instead of the makeshift plywood piece, not shown, that I’m currently using) but I think it’s not so bad for a simple afternoon recycling project. And hey, it gets the job done! And I think it looks alright doing it too.

Weeding, Watering, and Waiting

Pickling Cucumbers
About two weeks ago, I went into the local nursery near work in a total panic.

Me: “I don’t know what the problem is with my garden! It doesn’t seem to be growing!”
Garden Center Lady: “Well how often do you water?”
Me: “I was every 2-3 days but I’ve cut back to once a week.”
GCL: “Do you have any pests?”
Me: “Mostly ants- I hose the aphids down with soap.”
GCL: “And you said you amended your soil?”
Me: “From scratch, with everything it could possibly need. And it’s still not a huge jungle yet and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!!!”
GCL: “Hmmmm… well, when did you plant?”
Me: “I don’t know, maybe end of June? So what’s my problem?”
GCL: “Well… it sounds to me like your problem is… that you’re impatient.”

Yeah… anyway… it’s really hard to believe that it has been nearly a month since my last post. I’ve had a few projects here and there in and around the garden, but in all honesty, it’s been mostly weeding, watering, and waiting. And it’s a strange thing, planting your edible crops so late in the season. You see heirloom tomatoes and summer squash littering the tables at the farmer’s market, and come home to stare down your own hardly doubled in size vines that aren’t even close to setting fruit, wondering what you’re doing wrong (when subconsciously you probably know the answer.)

Luckily, I’m finally getting a little light at the end of the tunnel here, and a miniature harvest to boot:
First Cherry Tomatoes Ripening
Yellow Pear Heirloom Tomatoes
A Few Long Beans
Serrano Chilies
More Zucchini

Don’t get me wrong though- the wait hasn’t been all bad. At least I had my cottage garden out the kitchen door to keep my plates occupied with greens and vases full of flowers:

Lettuce Garden

P.S. I had no idea that lettuce grew so insanely fast. (I’m also at the point where I feel ridiculous paying for salad anywhere I go, as it freely grows in my backyard now for around ten cents a square foot.)

Some of the more recent projects to come in the next day or two- stay tuned!