Thursday, July 21, 2011

Home at Last

      Vacations are fun, but so is the return home.  To check on the garden to see what has boomed in a week.  Quite a bit as usual.  So much so, that I hardly know where to start.  A bonus this year was finding a ripe Ox Heart tomato over at the park garden.  Early for me, though other gardeners have tomatoes in abundance.  Still a delight to have the first tomato of the season.

First tomato, 7/16/11

      Also to complete a nice harvest were contributions of zucchini, cucumbers and beans.

Harvest 7/16/11

      In a recent conversation with my brother Tom, he related to me that I have been nicknamed "George of the Jungle" by my fellow park gardeners.  Easy to understand as my gardenus operandi is to let most things go to seed, to encourage volunteers, and to have a much more "naturalized" garden than other folks might tolerate.  In the spirit of things, the park garden has done its best to live up to the jungle title:

What path?  South of compost pile.

Even worse, north side of compost pile

Browned garlic ready to harvest, beds 2 and 3

Overgrown sunflowers, north end

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garlic Harvest

      The second and last vacation of the summer is over.  Wow did good and bad plants grow for the week we were away.  So now I am back for the summer without interruption, and it is time to get the gardens into better shape.  If only one could garden for more than ten minutes without completely drenching a shirt in sweat.  Not to mention the poor crops drooping in 90 plus heat.
      The garlic crop this year had mixed results.  The cheap garlic that last year worked so well for starter cloves had probably a 90% rot rate over the winter in the bed at the park.  Some plants that came up on their own from the prior year's hide-aways grew into some very nice bulbs.  Some garlic that I had replanted from my own cloves from the prior year is shown below.

Picked from park, 7/17/11

      These plants were grown from cloves from last year that were considered too small to eat.  They are a hard neck garlic, and produced the little piggly wiggly seed stalks.  The stalks were cut from the plants, to supposedly let more energy go to the bulbs, but obviously I left the stalks on too long as indicated by the size of the bulblets shown below.

Garlic piggly wiggly bulblets

      I was being lazy on purpose, as I actually want these bulblets to plant.  The head can be taken apart to individual little cloves, each to be planted to make new larger bulbs.  It may take two to three years to get edible size cloves, but the price sure is right.  Some of these bulblets are actually fairly large, and just might provide edible garlic next year.  After cleaning up the garlic from the first photo, I had this harvest:

A nice garlic harvest

      The garlic on the left are nice keepers, future delights in nature's perfect wrappers.  The bulbs to the right will be separated to individual cloves to be replanted in October or November.  Next year's seed crop for free!  And if this is not enough, shown below is today's harvest from the back yard garden.  These bulbs were from spindly garlic plants that some one had discarded to the park compost heap last summer.  I transplanted the green garlic shoots to my garden, with sure to be scrumptious results.

Back yard garlic, 7-19-11

      There are still some individual garlic plants over at the park from small cloves from last year.  Also some plants from tiny little bulblets from last year.  I doubt any of these will be edible this year, but certainly can be replanted for next year.  You do need to pull them though while the stalks are still visible, or they will be lost to the status of volunteers for next year.
      If it stays so hot, maybe I can get caught up a little on the blogging as it it too miserable to be outside for any long period of time.  Even early this morning was fairly unpleasant.  Hope your weather is better.  But still, it is good to be back to gardening.  Weed on!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Early July Blooms

      Well it is pretty obvious that I didn't bang out a bunch of blogs about our recent trip to southern France.  Some how life intrudes on our best intentions.  I was fairly pleased however that the home and park gardens did not get too overgrown with weeds, as I had tried to get the gardens ready for some self cruise control.  The sun is out this morning, and it promises to be another day where I give up and seek the shelter of air conditioning.  So before it became unbearable, I took a stroll out back to grab some quick shots on July 7, 2011.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Simply Sunflowers

      Cindy and I just got back yesterday from a ten day trip to Spain and France.  It was a wonderful trip, and was an absolute relief to get off the plane upon our return.  The gardens here look fine even after a ten day neglect.  Obviously lots and lots of catching up to do, both in the garden and blogging areas.  So without a clue as to where to start either area, here are a couple of cheery shots taken on a drive through the countryside of the Aude area of Southern France.

Sunflower field near Alzone, France  6/30/2011

      Agriculture is very big in the Aude Department of Southern France.  There are vineyards and wineries everywhere, including in the small village where we stayed.  We passed many sunflower fields on our car journeys, with this field being the farthest along in bloom.  The sunflowers are used to make sunflower oil.  So here is a sunny start to catching up with gardening and blogging.

Sunflowers, Southern France, 6/30/2011