It's been a good year for my kitchen garden in spite of the extreme heat, humidity and almost daily thunder storms. I planted 'tried-and-true' vegetables - nothing new - and had a good harvest; some veggies still producing. I grew bush beans, pole beans, snow peas, peppers, egg plant, tomato, red beets, zucchinni, cucumbers and onions. Of course, I grew annual flowers from seed and placed them near the vegetables to encourage pollinators: zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, borage, morning glory and gerbera daisies. There are various milkweeds at the bottom of the garden. In addition, over the years some perennial flowers (purple cone flower and phlox) sneaked in from the cottage garden border on the other side of the fence. Consequently, August is a very colorful month in my kitchen garden.
One of my most successful veggies this year is the snow pea. As a cold-season plant it is usually completely finished by July. This morning I picked yet another handful to steam and add to H.H.'s dinner plate. I froze several pints last month.
|'Mammoth Melting' Snow Peas -- Annie's Heirloom Seeds|
I purchase only organic vegetable seeds and use organic methods of gardening.
|'Mammoth Melting' Snow Pea|
I'm experiencing a superabundance of cucumbers. Usually I press zucchini on all my friends, neighbors and family, but this year they are trying to escape my cukes. I should have counted the dozens I've picked. I've put them in salads, made cucumber-dill sandwiches and freezer pickles -- we'll be eating freezer pickles until next summer. Good thing we love them.
|'Straight Eight' Cucumber -- Annie's Heirloom Seeds|
I bought one tomato plant from a friend's farm stand. He didn't have it labelled so we took a chance. It is loaded with tomatoes but they are really slow to ripen, so we've only picked four or five so far. I sliced them and made our favorite Caprese salad with mozzarella and basil. I have the BEST basil this year.
|Tomato (unknown) and Tagetes erecta Marigold "Moonsong'|
We have an excellent feed store owned by our friend Mel who supplies us with hay and all we need for my miniature horse and goat. She even took care of them while we were away recently. Mel sold me a set of onions that are becoming fat and full of flavorsome promise. (How's that for alliteration?)
The 16 squares of red beets I planted (I use the square-foot gardening method) produced many more than I expected as I was sure the sparrows had eaten most of the seeds. Grandson Jon and I already canned several pints including one labelled for entering at the West End Fair. Our pickled beets took a blue ribbon last year.
|'Detroit Dark Red' beets in front of Zinnia 'Cut and Come Again.'|
|Shelf of pickled beets in the jelly cabinet.|
More flowers in the kitchen garden ...
|Pink phlox and 'Giant Cactus' zinnia.|
|My first attempt at growing gerbera daisies from seed.|
Every morning I examine the milkweed for Monarch Butterfly larva. I've seen none this year. The dill plants, however, have hosted several Eastern swallowtail butterfly caterpillars and I saw one on the parsley.
|Eastern swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on dill plant.|
The herb garden on the patio flourished all summer with parsley, basil, sage and lettuce. I also planted Swiss chard there. Around the patio I placed containers of canna which provide a sense of enclosure and privacy. Canna 'Striata' is especially lovely for its gold striped foliage which seems almost translucent when the setting sun shines through.
|Patio herb garden and giant pots of Canna 'Striata'|
Another new plant this year is my dwarf Joe Pye Weed. I'm really pleased with this choice because I don't have room for the regular sized one. It is a bee magnet.
|Eupatorium dubium Joe Pye Weed 'Baby Joe'|
|Volunteer morning glory, orange flower of the canna and hydrangea 'Pinky Winky'|
|Lobelia siphilitica 'Great Blue' Lobelia|
|Lycoris squamigera Surprise Lily|
Finally, a peep into Serenity, the shade garden that is no longer in full shade since we removed the silver maple. I hate the openness and strong sunlight, but have switched out some plants and it's looking better. The lawn, destroyed by sawdust, is slowly greening again with the addition of some nitrogen.
|Less serene Serenity Garden|
|Hakenechloa macra Japanese Forest Grass 'All Gold' in front of Red Twig Dogwood 'Pucker Up!'|
We hosted another picnic and garden tour this weekend. Some of the young guests had great fun giving Dude a new 'do' by braiding his mane. He very patiently allows many indignities. When I took his picture this morning I saw that most of his braids had fallen out. He still looks cute.
I'm linking to Carol's blog, May Dreams Gardens, for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day -- a day late (sorry, Carol.) I'm picking red beets as my must-have plant for Diana's Dozen at Elephant's Eye on False Bay -- also late (sorry Diana.) Red beets are not pretty like Diana's Dombeya, but I have to have them. Do check out these two excellent blogs!
How is your kitchen garden this year? I hope it's doing as well as mine.
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