Mid-Season Evaluation

I am seeing an explosion in produce this week as the tomatoes are coming into their own. I picked the first of the heirlooms a couple of days age netting a couple of large, delicious Cherokee Carbon tomatoes and a large Lemon Boy. There will be more today and a lot this week. Zucchini are coming in at a reasonable rate and Natalie made stuffed zucchini last night. The cherry tomatoes are producing in abundance. I needed to run a rope from the top of the large cherry tomato cage to the crossbeam of the hanging basket support on the deck. The plants are almost 8 feet tall. I picked the first chocolate cherry tomato yesterday. I tied up the San Marzano tomatoes, but the tomatoes are still small.

The Champion and Early girl plants stopped ripening over a week ago, but now are starting to produce. It is strange how they will produce some fruit right away and then stop for a while.

First Broccoli

We had the first head of brocolli last week and I will cut two or three more today. I am ready to pull up the second batch of beets. Peppers are producing well, the Shishito plants are loaded and there are 3 or 4 large green peppers ready to pick. The rabbits (or squirrels) have been attacking the Jalapeno plants. There are some small eggplants and at least one should be ready in about a week.

I pulled up the peas which were a total bust and planted “Lazy Housewife” pole beans. I learned how to massage Kale with salt and oil and we used some on Bacon, Kale, and Tomato sandwiches and it was quite good.

I’ve been munching on blackberries when I am out in the garden and probably will pick some today.

Tomatillo plants are growing well and have lots of fruit, but ripe fruit is still a couple of weeks off.

All in all, it’s been a good gardening year so far except for the Alaskan Peas and the fact that I couldn’t find any Okra plants. I’ll plant it from seed next year. I’ve been able to keep up with the weeding – I am hitting the tomato patch with the string trimmer which seems to work well if I pull the weeds close to the plants by hand. The rest of the garden is either my hand or with the hula hoe.

More Garden Photography

This is a night shot of the mint garden with all of the lighting installed. LED solar lighting is relatively inexpensive, and the installation cost is almost zero in time and money. Material cost here was between $150. and $200.
Overhead shot of the garden with my Mavic Air 2S taken on its first flight.
The whole garden from another angle.

Catching Up on the Garden

Other than harvesting and watering, the garden has been somewhat neglected as I’ve been consumed with getting the mint garden done. The mint garden is done just in time, as the daily harvest is increasing and I need to make sure that the garden is picked and that I use the vegetables or give them away.

Mint Garden Progress

Making good progress, almost all of the plants are in, roots are removed and garden graded. Started the walkway on July 4, 2021, hope to finish tomorrow.
The garden is done except for the finishing touches and more planting. Finally finished it this afternoon on July 11th.
Here is the front view of the finished garden. I started it a little over three weeks ago. Not bad.

What’s in the mint garden? A lot of different mints for openers! My yard has been invaded by escaped lemon balm for a number of years and I’ve had a pot of chocolate mint growing on my deck for a number of years. But a couple of years ago, my good friend, Danielle, got me into drinking mint tea, or “weed water” as it is called in her blog post. <https://www.makeaheadofmonday.com/blog/weed-water> So, it has become our summer drink of choice, as opposed to regular iced tea. I am also working mint into different recipes.

I wanted to experiment with the different types of mint, and bought the varieties that were available at local nurseries. Here are the mints in the garden: Chocolate Mint, Sweet Mint, Spearmint, Mojito Mint, Apple Mint, and Pineapple Mint. I didn’t plant any lemon balm as it is already everywhere. The mint is planted in the steel rings that are buried 1 foot in the ground to help control unwanted spreading. I also have Lemon Verbena, Pesto Perpetua Basil, regular Basil, Mexican Tarragon, Bronze Fennel, and Pineapple Sage, as well as a few ornamentals for some color. Cucumbers are planted along the trellis at the back of the garden.

This area was overgrown with invasive plants and neglected for a lot of years so I am happy to finally have it beautiful and productive.