Harvest Monday: 9/24/2012 Summer Produce

Unbelievable summer weather continues, I know it’s all going to end when that one cloudy grey day arrives but till them I am enjoying every minute of it.

Here’s what weekly harvest looks like –

2 bunches of Chuka

Early girl and cherry tomatoes along with green/wax beans

Yellow/purple carrots, first zucchini and regular picking of beans and tomato

My attempt at Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella, not a most appetizing photo but it was indeed very tasty.

Harvest Summary for week
Green Sorrel – 2 bunches
Green/wax Beans – 26
Early Girl/Cherry Tomatoes – 15
Zucchini – 1
Colored Carrots – 4
basil –  big bunch


Harvest Monday: 9/13/2012 Summer seems endless

Here’s 3 week recap of the gardening and weather events:

1 – It has been BEST summer ever. Temperatures are staying within 65-75 range, not too hot, not too cold. Sun god has been shining brightly over Puget Sound. We have had second best stretch of rain free days of Seattle – 49 days with no rain. It’s been great. Someone wouldn’t call length of rain-free days as great but for us living with cloud cover, vit D deprived, tan less people of NWesterners – It’s great. Our kids are slowly learning that color of the sky is actually blue, not grey.

2 – Summer garden is producing well. Here’s what I harvested over last 3 weeks –

5 generous full bunches of Green Sorrel – no pictures. Used one to make curry, gave away rest.

 Clockwise:  Radish pods, wax beans, bunch of fenugreek and first tomato.

 Mix of Green beans (contender, Harvester) and wax beans

More wax beans, lettuce and single small tomato

Clockwise:  Green and Wax beans from bush plants, Tomatoes early girl and dried pea pod for next year’s planting.

Happy Gardening!!

Harvest Summery for the week:
Green Sorrel – 5 bunches
Wax Beans, Green beans – (57)
Fenugreek – 1 bunch
Radish pods – enough to make 1 curry serving
Tomato – 3
snack tomatoes – 4
Lettuce – 1 bunch

Mid July Garden Update

All plants are liking warm weather we have had for last 10 days. It’s been in 70s and occasional 80s for last 2 weeks. I am suddenly seeing seeds germinated (which I forgotten that I ever seeded) , beans showing visible new growth day by day and much more. Here’s mini tour of the garden.

Garden in mid-July is looking greener and fuller with warm temperatures. It has been mix of sunny, overcast and few showers for month of July. Sunny days followed by some rain are making good conditions for greens. Tomatoes and other warmth loving plants are not vigorous yet, I am hoping rest of July and august bring some high temps. We’ll see…

Here are 3 smallish potato plants.  One is volunteer and other 2 are planted.  Potatoes are flowering; I’ll dig up when potato fruits are set.

This is one of the unkempt raised beds. There are few things growing on there, I have to weed in and plant fall/winter veggies in here.  Few buttercup squash is growing on side.

This side has cabbage and cauliflower with one tomato plant. Cabbage is ‘early Jersey Wakefield’ type.

Bed 1 has pea plants on left side, these are planted back in Spring, most are picked by now and vines are slowly dying. I’ll plan to clear them in next 10-15 days. Next to it is random radishes and few beans planted. Middle is dill greens; these are close to being harvested. Right side of the bed is green Sorrel.

Green Sorrel

Here is Bed 2. From left  – purple Kohlrabi, Chard seedlings, Beet seedlings,  Cucumbers and  Green beans.

Containers with Mint, Tomato and shoebox onions.

Summer Garden Tour

Tour of Fenugreek Love’s garden, this is how garden looks in early August.

Below is BED 1, growing from left to right – Lettuce, Turnips, last of bunching onions, French Breakfast Radish, Marigolds, baby Beets and Swiss ChardDSC_0016

Below is Bed 2, towards back are 4 tomato plants which are recovered from yellowing due to constant rain. I am growing tomato varieties – Celebrity, Tumbling Tom, Lemon Boy and Early Girl. All are store bought plants.  Towards the front are 3 Zucchini plants.


Container garden: Ornamentals, Muncher Cucumbers, Golden Oregano, Marigolds, Cosmos, Chicks&Hens,  Beaverlodge Tomato and 1 Ichiban Eggplant. 


BED 3: This sits in partly sunny space. From back to Front: Blue Lake bush beans – 2 types, 1 Jalapeno, 1 sweet pepper and few bell pepper plants. Front row is Cabbage. There’s also one tomato plant hiding somewhere – Kimberly.


Bed 4 is completely dedicated to fenugreek, I do succession planting and harvest here. Right now, I have planted Dill and fenugreek in back part (still yet to germinate), front methi is ready to harvest.


Below is my pea patch. Not much action here, it is completely under-utilized (well, I think that for every other bed too). Tacoma bush peas, few pole peas and trailing cucumber vines are planted here.


Beaverlodge Tomato

Summer in Northwest is very unpredictable, we never have sunny days in row. Most of the summer days include morning cloud cover and afternoon sunshine with 4-5 days of abundant heat (maybe in 90s). Not so good news for us gardeners who want to grow main crop tomatoes. Here by the time tomato plants grow, bear fruits and begin to ripen – comes September/October and plants are threatened with frost. I see many many people (friends and co-workers) growing tomatoes during summer and end up with baskets of green, unripe tomatoes by frost.

That’s the reason I am growing ‘Ultra-early’ or ‘Cold-Set’ tomatoes. Tomatoes which ripe earliest or set fruit/ripen in relative cold. For main-crop tomatoes, I have never had success with seed started plants, they just never reach maturity before frost hits. I have bought plants from Fred Meyer for main-season. My house sits on cooler side with morning sun exposure so it is extremely important for me to grow tomatoes well suited for my micro-climate.

The very first tomato to ripen this year is Beaverlodge.

“Beaverlodge tomato is bred at the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada, these are Sub-Arctic series of tomatoes developed for short season gardening. They are considerably larger than cherry tomatoes and take about a month less than regular tomatoes. The plants are determinate, which means they form compact, bushy plants rather than sprawling ones. That growth habit makes these varieties suitable for container growing.”

Here is pictorial:
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It made to the daily harvest yesterday 🙂


First day of Summer in Nation’s Icebox

It’s first day of summer and it hardly feels like it. Today’s facebook status update from my friend reads – “bundled up like in winter, too sad I already vacuum sealed all my winter gear”. Really? it is that cold and wet? Yes, yesterday we were 17 deg below normal temp. Yikes!!

According to Komonews.com’s weather blog -  We enter Day 279 since the last time we hit at least 75 degrees. Yes, we are yet to reach 75 here and looking at next 10 day’s forecast, it isn’t happening any sooner.  It is COLD and it is WET, VERY WET. How wet are we? put it all together, and in the 37 days since May 16th, it has rained on 34 of them, with our only dry days coming on May 24, June 5 and June 18. That is completely unheard of for this time of year. 

Okay, so doing some comparable analysis based on weatherman’s ideas: Checking weather in some typical cold spots around the globe –

Sammamish 53
Seattle 55
Calgary 63
Toronto 73
Halifax, Nova Scotia 70
Oslo 68
Yakutsk, Siberia 67 ( what ??)

so Siberia is warmer than us? Pacific Northwest summer can be either ‘tomato’ year or ‘cabbage’ year – No doubt we have declared this year as cabbage year but all I want this year is at least one ripe tomato 😦

(Writing this is  inspired by Komo’s weatherman blog – http://www.komonews.com/weather/blog )

Garden Tour

We had record rainfall in last 2 days – 3 inches. Weatherman tells me that Saturday will bring sunshine, me and my plants really need some sun at this point. I ventured out in rain soaked garden and clicked some photos. everything is so soggy and drenched, I seriously think that water table level is reached at soil surface.  Here is latest in garden photos:

Happy Peas climbing up, first pea flowers appeared 2 days back. I did sow some more Tacoma Bush type peas 1 weeks back, yet to see germination. I think these are rotting in soggy soil. (See water puddles to right)


Row of beans, we have 2 types – Blue lake Bush and Yard long (or asparagus beans or Chinese long beans). Blue lake bush are short bushy ones, yard long are pole beans. I am yet to set up support trellis for pole beans.
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Cherries: This year I am seeing some rust on leaves and fruits. Yet to find out why.DSC_0104

Row of radishes almost ready to harvest, these are cherry belle radishes. Very unusual as these are not top heavy, this type produces big root balls without much foliage.  DSC_0102  

Flowering Strawberry, I am dreaming sweet juicy berries with no slug holes 🙂


Tomato starts: Few are tommy toes that I started with seed. These grew fast and then I mistake of putting them out without any cold protection. These remain stunted. Also I have been pinching ‘suckers’ from some of my store-bought tomato plants. I rooted these suckers hoping they’ll produce tomato plants.


Black Beauty Zucchhini, butternut squah transplants in container. I’ll let them get little bigger before deciding their final spot. Seedlings have gotten mixed up, I don;t know which one’s which.


Spinach and bunching onions

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Left: Row of beets, these are Detroit dark reds, usually take 80+ days to mature
Right: Unknown late cabbage variety and leaf lettuce

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Broccoli Raab/Rapini/Italian brocolli is almost ready for harvest.

And finally sick looking tomato transplants, I cover them up during nights. Too much rain, excess water is bad for tomatoes. They were in bad spot with bad drainage before, almost 3 weeks of this never ending northwest rain tomatoes were looking so sick, almost dying. Yesterday I moved them to this bed. This is not the sunniest spot but at least these will live, I hope!


June Flowers

What’s blooming on this first week of June?

Top Row – Purple Chives flower and beautiful rhododendron 
Middle Row – unknown and
Mexican Orange or choisya
Middle row -  Japanese Snowball and orange geum Mrs. Bradshaw
Bottom Row – tomato flower and strawberry flower

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How’s the garden growing? – One More Seedling Tour

Enough of the seedlings, really, I am waiting for warmer days so many things can be moved in to the garden. Here’s photo tour of the seedlings and garden in last week of May.

There is no germination in directly seeded green beans, Intense rain last 2 weeks managed to rot the seeds. Out of frustration, I started trayful of green beans inside, these have come up nicely.


Spinach on left and chard on right, spinach is growing beyond 4 leaves, this is first time for me.


Broccoli raab has put on new growth  


Dill has sprouted in container, it is densely planted because I’ll am growing dill to use as greens, won’t be growing for seed


Neat rows of radish, I have 2 varieties growing – Cherry Belle and icicle. Seedlings are about 1 week old.


And now, now so good photos – Due to intense rains and cooler temps, warm weather crops are suffering. We still have temps in lower 60s during days and nights are 40s. Feels like March… Basil is dying, Agatha tomatoes are stunted. I am being lazy to bring them inside during nights, I think should start doing that.

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Weekend Update

Phenology says – “When dandelions are out then plants beans“ and “When Bearded Iris starts to bloom then transplant eggplant, peppers”.  Dandelions are out in dozens, my girls are having ball blowing dandelions with wind, I think it’s perfect time to plant green beans and yard-long beans. While driving around I am seeing lots of Iris in bloom, but in my backyard iris is yet to show color so I am holding off on planting squash to transplanting peppers. Every garden has it’s own micro-climate, I am sitting on lower side of the hill so cold air settles in my yard almost always. I am 15 days behind warming up than plateau just 1 mile away, likewise frost hits me 10 days earlier. Rhodies and Iris are starting to bloom elsewhere but not in my yard yet, I am waiting……

Sowing: Sowing more seeds continues, but I am getting bummed by poor germination on lot of things. Cilantro, lemongrass and Dill seeds aren’t sprouting. Few of my flower seeds (red Columbine, begonia, marigolds and cosmos) aren’t showing any hope either. I’ll try some different approach – maybe sprouting in paper towel? Haven’t tried yet. Few of the Indian veggies I am trying haven’t germinated as well – Guar and karela.

Growing: Radish, lettuce and spinach has germinated. Fenugreek, peas, rapini are doing well. I should be able to harvest fenugreek in next 1-2 weeks. This will be my first real harvest of the year, I am looking forward. Bunching onion are shaping up, they are due for haircut, tops are yellowing. I wonder if it’s common or they lack some nutrients.

This weekend I bought 4 tomato plants from local Fred Meyer. Ciscoe Morris suggested in Sunday paper that this week is perfect time to acclimate tomato plants outside. I follow Ciscoe religiously and I do whatever he suggests for the week, but problem here is my tomato seedlings aren’t growing beyond 2 leaves. Well, I thought, why not acclimate store bought plants? I have never grown tomatoes ever, so this year it’ll be store bought + seeds grown (if it happens). Since I am no expert on tomatoes, I randomly chose 4 plants – Celebrity (local store fav, IND), Lemon Boy (Yellow tomato, IND), Sweet 100 (IND) and tumbling tom (DET). I have Agatha, Kimberly and Tommy toes seedlings growing.

This weeks weather forecast calls for cloudy, cold temps. Hope cool weather crops shoot up this week. Grow please grow.