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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Farming update

I will post soon about out weekend road trip. Suffice to say, it was awesome. I’m lucky to have found someone in my life who will gladly get off the beaten path and onto dirt roads with me. We saw some great stuff!

When we got home, I was delighted to go check on the plants. I watered them deeply before we left, and even moved the sweet peas and cilantro and onions onto the front porch. The temperature settled into the mid 80’s over the weekend and I didn’t want the cilantro to go to seed or the sweet peas to burn out just as they are starting to bloom. Overall, things are coming along wonderfully!

We are going to have tons of strawberries soon. I bought “everbearing” strawberry plants, which means they will continue to produce a steady crop of berries through the summer. Yay! We’ve been enjoying the strawberries from Costco since early May but I think we might have bought our last pack. I love strawberry shortcake!
The Orange peppers are producing a lot of flowers but I still haven’t seen signs of setting fruit yet. I’m a little perturbed with the black discoloration at the intersection of the limbs but haven’t done anything about it yet. Thoughts anyone? Regarding the lack of fruit, maybe it’s not getting pollinated by bees or the wind?

The Red pepper plant is a lot taller than the orange. I’m pretty sure there is a flower setting fruit on this one. The flower looks very swollen, and well, knocked up! Which is great, I love red bell peppers!
I purchased a tomato plant only because DJ likes tomatoes. I really don’t. Something about the texture combined with the lack of taste in store-bought tomatoes. Yet I swear, DJ buys a tomato every week at the grocery store. And throws away a half a tomato every week. So I’m chagrined to admit that the tomato plant is producing tons of tomatoes!
The snap peas are really producing too! I actually have a Tupperware of half carrots (store-bought) and snap peas from the garden in my lunch today! We should really snap a bunch of them off and make stir fry but we’ve been trying to get through all the leftovers we have in the house right now.
The front porch has mostly been graced with the flowers this summer. I can’t remember the name of this blue ground cover flower off the top of my head, but I LOVE it! It is so bright and vibrant. I’ll definitely plant it again next year. The pansies mixed in are also doing well, with the help of deadheading them every few days. The impatiens just aren’t thriving like I thought they would on a north facing porch though.

Before we left for the road trip, I moved the cilantro and onions to the front porch. This is what I love about having everything in pots: mobility. Cilantro will “go to head” if it gets too hot, so I moved it around. And yes, I am currently picking off the second pot of cilantro, while having the third pot planted for the fall. I love cilantro. I’ve taken to adding it to salads too; yummy!
I started the sweet pea plants in pots on a south facing windowsill on March 1 (along with the snap peas, and “Money Plant”) as a nod to Bozeman’s Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts. I’ve never really been around them before, but oh my gosh, as they begin to flower they are LOVELY!!! I’ll definitely plant these again! Right now I’m only getting purple flowers, but hopefully we’ll get blue, red and white too.

So that’s the rundown on my current farm. After talking to my mom last night, I think I get my green thumb from my grandmothers. They are actual farm wives, who used half acres of their 1,000 plus acres to grow and can a ton of vegetables through the 1970’s. My grandma Joyce had a huge garden when I was a kid, and my cousins and I loved sneaking out there for strawberries as a between meal snack.

I’m already thinking about what I want to plant next year. If we, for some reason, are in a house by November or so, I definitely want to plant irises- I might steal some of the bulbs from the lake place. I love their color and height. I tried to do bulbs in the posts over the winter, but they just didn’t make it. I think the warm February we had, followed by a cold March killed them. If we have a yard, I’d also like to plant red potatoes and maybe corn next summer. Along with a pumpkin and maybe even a zucchini plant. I’m a little afraid of the zucchini plant; my mom grew them when I was a kid and we ate so much damn zucchini that its taken me like 10 years to like the green things again!

I’d really, really, like to try to plant a salsa garden next summer. Tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, garlic, tomatillos and I’m not sure what else. I’d like to try to make salsa at the end of the summer and can it to have on hand. Crazy? Probably. Channeling my inner ‘50’s farm wife? Definitely. Especially when I admit that I’m thinking about buying a grow-light next spring so that I can start all of my plants inside early. Or that I’d like to host a seed-exchange party next spring.

Even if we are still in the condo next summer, I think I’ll continue collecting five gallon buckets and try growing a salsa garden. So if you’ve got a bucket you’re willing to give away, I’ll take it!

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