And So The Garden Grows

I woke up this morning when the alarm went off (ugh, Monday) and realized that the summer has been rapidly slipping away. How is it nearly August already? This summer has been a study in what not to do – do not take business trips, do not work 50 hours per week, do not spend time indoors too tired to do much else…

I’m hoping I can get back on track as we move into the tail end of summer and the beginning of fall. I’m seven months into my job promotion, so I’m starting to feel a bit less like every day is a panic attack (although only slightly). And we’re house hunting – oh, did I mention that? So while weekends have been consumed with seeing real estate in every free moment, there will be an end in sight once we find the right place.

All that aside, we made it over to the garden plot today to assess the state of affairs, and have mixed results. The row of yellow onions is looking amazing. We had half a row of chard come up and it’s huge – definitely ready to harvest some of that this week. I’m think pork and chard hand pies are in order! The beans are mixed – the edamame and Jacob’s Cattle have been ravaged by the rabbits, but are still producing beans. The rattlesnake pole beans are hardly doing anything at all – they’re barely a foot off the ground. By comparison, the ones my sister is growing at her house are topping six feet! Grrrr, that’s gardening for you. But we do have a nice showing of green tomatoes, and the plants have finally grown to a good size. We’ve got a few jalepenos and one solitary sweet pepper has survived. And happy surprises – we have a little watermelon, with more flowers on the plant, and cucumbers just starting to form. And shockingly – the pumpkin plant that I thought was dead and was tempted to rip out has rebounded and is taking over. All of the potatoes rotted in the ground and didn’t do a single thing.

So, a mixed bag. Much like my summer I suppose. You get out what you put in, so I’m glad it’s not quite over yet. Still time to make the most of things.

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Time Flies When You’re…

Having fun? But also when nature completely elects to skip the entire spring season, and winter instantly fast forwards to summer. So, Apartment Farming has consisted of the following mad dash to get ahead of the three months of the year that we basically lost –

– Transplanted and summarily killed an entire flat of tomatoes and peppers that got set out into the garden without a proper hardening off period due to extreme weather fluctuations (I will not go into a rant about climate change…).

– Killed half a flat of peas due to some weird dampening off situation and too-late transplanting (again with the weird weather…).

– Waited for weeks on end for the mud pit otherwise known as our community garden plot to dry out so we could actually plant out any surviving plant matter that we could lay our hands on (thank you commercially grown vegetables starts from a psuedo-big box retailer – not the Devil That Shall Not Be Named, but perhaps an equally onerous competitor…)

– Discovered that you can, in fact, regrow green onions. Oh wait, I did take a minute and blog about that… small miracles!

– Started the DIY key hook project from way back when. As it my typical trend, the simplest concept is proving to have unexpected roadblocks (like the screws are too long for the wood I chose; seriously!?). Hindsight will likely prove all of these obstacles are 100% attributable to human error, so stay tuned for the post on that.

– I have backslid on how I want to be feeding my family. Commercial lunch meat has re-entered our lives. Now I’m not going to be too hard on myself, because in some respects this is a first-world problem from someone who has a decent income to make the choices I want regarding the type and quantity of food I put on the table – and that’s a luxury that not everyone has. But damn it, I could probably do better here.

So yeah… all that and a woefully neglected blog. Have I mentioned my day job is giving me a literal run for my money on top of it all? But I am still here, and still Apartment Farming – and god help me if I can’t find 20 minutes per week to write something interesting and/or mildly amusing about it here!

The Trouble With Herbs

There is nothing better than fresh herbs when you’re cooking. The flavor is just so much better than the dried. So I was excited this year when we signed up for our plot at the community garden – I’d have bunches and bunches of fresh herbs to cook with all summer! It was going to be great!

But I forgot one thing. The herbs and I were going to have to have a long distance relationship. And that is where we failed. I have four huge, beautiful shrub-sized basil plants that smell like heaven in the garden. Unfortunately, that’s where it will stay because it went to flower one day (a day we just happened not to go by the garden, of course) and once basil goes to flower it’s so bitter that it’s basically inedible.

The thyme is doing well, but it’s basically buried under the giants bushes of basil so I forget about it every time we go by, remembering that I meant to pick some as we’re driving away.

Oh well – probably next year I’ll go back to a few pots of herbs in the kitchen window and keep the garden plot going with the veg. I’ve never really been good with high maintenance long distance relationships.

First Harvest

Our plot in the community garden is starting to pay off – this week we harvested our first almost-pint of cherry tomatoes, a couple of Hungarian Hot Wax peppers and a good handful of jalapenos.

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Happy Summer!