The general health of my garden is much better this year as compared to around this same time last year (click here to see photos from this time last year). The plants are fuller, stronger and overall they look better. I’ve harvested the lettuce twice so far and I may get another harvest in before the hot summer temperatures kick in. I let my herbs flower to provide the bees w/ some extra nourishment. The herbs are growing so well this year that I’ve had to thin out some of the plants. The cooler, wetter weather St. Louis is currently experiencing has not negatively impacted any plants as of yet. I’ll take this weather over the extremely dry and hot weather of last year!
The following photos were taken on June 14th:
So far, so good! Thank you Mother Nature!!
The lettuce mix I’m growing this year is so beautiful I had to share a couple of close up photos!
(click photos to enlarge for a better view)
Loving the greens!
Everything’s in the ground as of May 13th and 14th. Grow babies grow!
Hummingbird Haven flowers
Greetings! Spring is upon us here in St. Louis and it’s time to start another year of the veggie garden chronicles. This year I again have grown my plants from seeds. The seedlings in the above photos were germinated on April 4th and are doing well. I began hardening them off about a week ago so they will be ready to go into the ground in a couple of days. The crop for 2013 will be an interesting one because I sprouted many unusual types of tomatoes and have added kale, rosemary and Asian basil to the lineup, Also new for 2013 are California poppies, a variety of zinnias and some cardinal vines to keep my wisteria company. The top photo is of my tomatoes, hot peppers, kale, Swiss chard, basils and rosemary (specifically: green zebra, brandywine, marvel stripe, black krim, gold medal, speckled roman, and white tomesol tomatoes; ancho, New Mexican, jalapeno and habanero peppers; Italian Genovese and Siam queen basils; red winter kale and red ruby Swiss chard). The bottom photo shows my California poppies, zinnias and cardinal vines (the zinnias include: art deco, envy, California giants, peppermint stick and hot crayon colors). Not pictured are what I directly seeded into the garden: wild arugula, oak leaf arugula, curly endive, mizuna and red mustard lettuces; butternut squash; spider flowers; nodding onion flowers and a wildflower mix called Hummingbird Haven which is supposed to attract those fascinating creatures with flowers that have a high nectar content. If all goes well, this will be a very colorful and fruitful year in the garden!! Fingers crossed!
To all of you gardeners out there, may your thumbs be green and your gardens be bountiful!!
Picked on October 26th… Would have left them in the garden, but the forecast was temperatures in the 30′s overnight! The oregano was harvested the day before.
Looking forward to next year’s growing season!
Pesto in a jiffy! My basil rebounded well after the hellish summer temperatures we had here in St. Louis. So happy to have a nice batch of pesto for the fall and winter months. The pistachios in this recipe add an additional layer of flavor and complexity to traditional pesto. Try it and see for yourself!
Basil Pesto (recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)
6 cups fresh basil (packed)
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated)
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup pistachios
9 medium sized garlic cloves
salt + pepper to taste
1) Combine the basil in with the pine nuts and pistachios; pulse a few times in a food processor.
2) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
3) Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
4) Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse again until blended.
5) Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Yield: Approximately two 16 oz. jars
Lately I have a lot of sympathy for the small farmers who depend on their produce – it’s their livelihood, not just a hobby like it is for me. The small farmers don’t have crop insurance to cover their loses unless they grow commodity crops. I read an article in the local newspaper that mentioned how the small farmers are trying their best to eke out an income during this drought – replanting after the initial planting died from the heat and lack of water; trying out new plantings that are more heat and drought resistant so the can fulfill their CSA obligations and have a product to sell at the farmers markets.
During the last few weeks the temperatures have normalized here in St. Louis and we are getting rain so hopefully fall crops can be salvaged.
Here are the photos I snapped in my garden throughout this brutal summer (click on the photos to enlarge the image):
Photos from July 20th:
Photos from August 1st:
Photos from August 14th:
Garden bounty from August 18th:
Garden bounty from August 25th:
Photos from September 3rd (after 3 days of rain):
Garden bounty from September 25th:
Hoping for a better growing season in 2013…
Things are popping up nicely in the garden this year! It’s amazing how much the plants have grown in the past two weeks. I’m very pleased w/ the current status of my garden, especially in comparison to last year at this same time. The following link will take you to the post I did around this time last year so you can see for yourself. The only things that were doing better last year were the zinnias. As w/ everything else this year, the zinnias were started from seeds. They are forming flowers so it won’t be long before I get the bursts of color they provide to my yard all summer long. In the veggie garden this year I have 12 tomato plants (4 pineapple, 3 black krim, 3 yellow brandywine and 2 yellow tomatoes), 6 butternut squash plants, 4 jalapeno, 2 New Mexican chile, 1 ancho chile and 6 Swiss chard plants. The herb garden has a new location which provides more space and more sun. Due to the mild winter we experienced in St. Louis, my rosemary plant survived (a first since I moved to this house seven years ago!). Also new this year is another butterfly bush added to the wildflower garden and wisteria (which you will see in the photos). The plan is to attract more butterflies and bees to the yard to pollinate the vegetables. Although it’s been hot and very dry, everything is thriving due to my new watering regimen (1 hour daily early each morning). Also, I finally have piece of mind that my veggies will not become food for the local squirrels and rabbits thanks to my new garden enclosure (definitely lovin’ it!!). However, it seems that the resident rabbits have developed a liking to the type of zinnias I put in this year (Hot Crayon Cutting Zinnias). They’ve eaten the leaves off 5 of the plants so I’ve begun applying Bobbex… so far so good!
The following photos were taken on June 20th:
Rabbit-eaten zinnias and what’s left of the asparagus
Left to right: butternut squash, chard, and hot peppers w/ tomatoes in background
New home for the herbs and wisteria (next to trellis)
Herbs (clockwise from top left): basil, oregano, rosemary, chives, sage, lavender, tarragon and thyme
Wishing everyone a Happy Summer and a successful gardening season!
I’m excited to report that my new garden enclosure has been completed!! Now I can have peace of mind that my garden bounty will be shared w/ the squirrels and other garden critters only when I want them to taste the garden goodness! The enclosure is wrapped from top to bottom in a sturdy metal mesh and is tall enough for me to stand up in it completely while I work. Here are a few photos:
All the plants for this year are being grown from seeds and are currently being hardened off. They should be ready for planting in their new home by next week.
Hoping for a great gardening season!
This year’s asparagus crop is a reflection of the damaging heat and drought we experienced in St. Louis last summer. Out of the 15 plants I started w/ last year, only 7 have survived. The rest died from an insect infestation last season. The surviving plants are producing stalks that are much smaller than those from previous years. I plan to dig up the remaining plants after they have finished producing for the season and start from scratch w/ a new batch of asparagus crowns.
Fingers crossed for the rest of this growing season!