A Row of Curly Endive or Frisée

In a fairly straight raised garden row, as nature intended, right? Over several vigorous afternoons, I cleared away back yard weeds (nearly done) and was overjoyed to see that they were not able to overtake the redoubtable but delicious and elegant frisée. They’re almost too lovely to eat, but I do and I am tempted to leave a few to stay on simply because they class up the place. I’ve more frisée seeds to indulge this idea.

As in past seasons, I am keeping track of what will really grow well in my microclimate. It’s often quite frustrating to read the back of seed packets and seeing that “crop X” grows in my area, but then it doesn’t, or not very well, despite efforts. Other times, I take a chance and grow something I don’t guess would do well but it does.

In the meantime, I’ve got bottles of fancy Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar ready for one these frilly beauties this evening!

Curly Endive or Frisée

Frisée sounds so elegant, oui? Curly endive is a wonderful addition to a food garden and several of these lovely plants are growing in my raised row bed garden. Started from seed a few months ago, these true beauties are gracing my garden with their very elegant frilly leaves. They are destined for my salad plate but in the meantime, I am enjoying the very lovely difference they provide for my entire backyard garden!img_1716

Mesclun

After a failed attempt earlier this year, I am pleased that the mesclun seeds that I planted several weeks ago have germinated. This is the first time I’ve attempted to grow mesclun (among other new seeds). I’m taking note of which seeds are likely to successfully germinate into mature crops, the time of year that success happens, etc. Speaking with friends, they’re surprised that the food plants that have succeeded in my area, as well as those that have failed, and vice-versa.  The microclimate of my food garden is always a great classroom for hands-on learning and experience! These young salad greens will (hopefully) make it to my salad bowl before too long.img_1659

Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomatoes

You’d think I’d never grown tomatoes before, but I’m so excited when a tomato plant is fruiting! I ran out of raised row and container space (first world problem) so I planted one Aunt Ruby’s German tomato seed in the ground. It must love this location because the plant has grown tall and wide and is covered in tomatoes. Wow! This makes me want to plant a third of these and other tomato seeds in raised rows, a third in containers, and a third in the ground next year. Best laid plants!

The tomatoes are in various stages of maturity, but the one pictured may be ready to pick in no more than two weeks. This beautiful heirloom tomato looks mighty fine and, I’m sure, will be very, very delicious!img_3374

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Lemon Cucumber

Mildly sweet, this cucumber is wonderful straight from the vine. I pulled one off the vine minutes ago, scraped off the bristles, rinsed it off with the garden hose, and ate it in the garden. IMG_3372Very luxurious, and delicious! The vines are still in various stages of maturity, so I will continue to enjoy them over the next several weeks. Started from seed and grown in containers, I will be growing this heirloom cucumber in years to come!

Armenian Cucumbers, Garden Debut

This is my first attempt growing Armenian cucumbers. Some I’ve grown in containers (as shown here), with tomato cages, and others I’m attempting to grow in raised row gardens. I only planted the seeds in the raised row gardens over the weekend. I started all of these plants from seed … which I’ve kept in an unopened packet for over a year! Be sure to keep those older unopened (and even opened) packets of seeds, because they may still be good. A type of muskmelon (as are cantaloupes, which I’m also growing in a raised row bed garden, from seed), I am very eager to make some wonderful salads where these cucumbers will be the star attraction!IMG_1536IMG_1537

Return of My Food Garden

In the past two years, I put my food garden on hold because of injuries. Now, mostly healed up, I am very happy to report that I’ve revived my food garden. After making two trips to the gardening center for soil, I have readied my raised row bed gardens and containers to (nature willing) produce extraordinarily healthy and delicious vegetables. Having planted seeds and watered, I am now enjoying just looking at my handiwork and dreaming of all of the good things to come in the next few months. At this point, I think that the food garden is in good shape, although, thankfully, I do have more space to put in more rows and containers, so, I’m limited by my imagination, space in my refrigerator and freezer,  (and budget!). This has been such a happy day, doing what I love to do most!IMG_3353

Autumn Clean-Up of Raised Row Bed Garden

I always feel a great sense of accomplishment and anticipation after doing my seasonal gardening clean-up chores. I had already finished my regular front yard work earlier in the afternoon and had finished off with a clean-up of the raised row bed garden. I was very happy to have enjoyed tomatoes and beans this past summer and now have to prepare my garden for cold-weather crops.IMG_3268

I had to gently pull out most of my expired or expiring plants. For my one large tomato plant, it required pruning shears to get at removing all of the roots. After a vigorous and productive few hours of front and backyard work, I was quite pleased to see the “spoils” of my efforts. The green waste bin was filled to the rim! Wow!

With my raised rows now mostly clear – a few lettuces that did not germinate in spring to early summer are now growing – I have the delightful decision on how many plants to start indoors in the coming weekend and how many plants to directly go into the soil. I will have to replenish the garden soil in some of the rows before doing any planting. I love loading up my mighty sedan with bags of the stuff! I am eager to have my autumn garden come alive!

Royal Burgundy Bush Beans: Plants Actively Producing Beans

I harvested some more beans this afternoon. I currently have 6 plants that are actively producing beans and several others on their way to doing so. I was thinking how fortunate I was to be able to have the space to grow beans (and other crops) in my own back yard. I can harvest every few days and enjoy fresh meals from them right after picking. This is the good life!

IMG_3265

Harvesting Beefsteak Tomatoes

This is my first successful attempt at growing these lovely indeterminate tomatoes and I am beyond words with excitement to report that I have enjoyed several of these very juicy, quite delicious tomatoes already. The four pictured were picked within the hour and I’m enjoying the largest of them right now, still a little warm from the sunlight, shortly after coming home from work. That’s over 1 pound of sweet tomato goodness. Now that is a welcome home!IMG_3266IMG_3267

In the past, I’d grown different, smaller varieties of tomatoes in 5-gallon containers with good success. But I’d not thought to grow this large variety until this year. The birds were too quick to eat nearly all planted seeds – so next year, I will start these tomatoes indoors to give them a good fighting chance. The very happy news is that the lone surviving plant turned out to be a monster in size, but very productive. Turns out, that works for me, but knowing how delicious they are, I’ll make a concerted effort to have perhaps at least 4 of these plants next time. This one plant has taken over a part of one of my raised row gardens, but no worries. I’m happy with what I have – giant tomatoes!

I am pleased to see and taste such good results having them grow and produce in a raised row bed garden. What a wonderful way to conclude a summer day!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

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