Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Holy Crop!

Ahh... I love this time of the year.  That sweet spot straddling spring and summer. The days are noticeably longer but the temps remain pleasant.  The first long weekend after a considerable drought is peeking its head.  The smell of sleepy wood burning stoves are replaced by the scent of barbeque dinners, usually accompanied by the sound of laughter and gatherings, especially on the weekends.  The orchestra of critters are back in the evenings and in the morning, the birds, the birds - you cannot escape them.  It's delightful!

This also means that I have a temporary and much deserved reprieve from all the hard work in the garden!  Except for those that are still too small to be planted outside, 95% of what I've grown from seed is in the ground.  For a brief, impermanent moment, the cold and warm stuff share real estate in the raised bed.  And I have really nothing to do in the garden - except harvest!

The cold crops are getting amazingly huge, like this broccoli here.  The leaves are bigger than my palm! No florets yet, but a voice inside my head keeps saying, "Any day now.. Any day now.."

Meanwhile, I underestimated the peas.  I read online that they don't flower in warm weather.  Well, guess what?  They do.  At least here where it has been getting up to 80's during the day some days but the night temps still hover in the high 40's. I picked three peas today and holy snap!  I didn't realize until today that THAT was how peas were supposed to taste like - sweet and VERY oozy juicy!  What a revelation!

These are the tomatoes I've grown from seed that I transplanted this weekend.  They're protected from the evening chills by these Wall O' Waters and they seem to like that since they've grown up so fast right before my eyes!  (Wall O' Waters is this round plastic contraption that goes around plants.  How it works it has vertical pockets that you fill with water.  It absorbs the heat during the day and releases it at night.  This effectively increases the night temperatures within the wall by maybe 5-10 degrees, give or take.)

And here's more food sleeping together in the same bed.
Spinach and Kale (that I made tonight into pre-dinner kale chips)

Strawberries mixed in with a bunch of lettuce varieties
Garlic - easiest thing to grow EVER!
"Volunteer" thyme from last summer - it dropped seeds in the pot and came back this spring on its own.  No coaxing required!
Pineapple Sage - when it flowers, it attracts hummingbirds!

I've succumbed to the urge to get one more self-watering container.  This City Pickers was on sale at Home Depot for $29 and with a $5 off coupon, I thought it wasn't bad a deal at all.  I really like self-watering containers/sub-irrigation planters because they are literally hassle and worry free.  Especially when gardening in the high desert, I've found that these self-watering containers work well.  I tweaked the potting soil altogether (Kellog's potting mix from Home Depot - never again!).  I made my own mix using high quality organic Black Gold compost, coconut coir, perlite, and Full Circle Compost's Soil Elite.  I have a cucumber, a green bean bush, and a few peppers in that box.  

Growing our food in the yard takes time and energy, yes, no contest.  But it's time well spent knowing that I'm part of the solution to the growing food crisis in the world.  There's a certain reassurance that I am putting the best quality food I can on our table everyday.  The profanity at the table at how everything tastes exponentially better than what we're used to is excusable.  And yes, a sweet bonus.

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