Happy July 4th Garden Update!

Well good Fourth of July to everyone!

I missed getting the pictures taken yesterday.  The past week I have been dismantling the upstairs bathroom because we are going to fully re-do the whole thing with new drywall, flooring, tub, mirror, and all (except the toilet which was purchased a few years ago).  Yesterday I spent most of the day putting the old vanity and sink in the downstairs bathroom to replace the bad one that didn’t work well down there.  In order to do so, I wanted to do it right and put up a wall around it.  The vanity/sink would have been sitting against a foundation brick wall – but the water lines and drain line prevented it from sitting flush with the wall.  So I built up the wall behind the vanity/sink, made a wall to the left, and then hung up a new mirror.  Several years ago we purchased some paneling that looked like tile specifically for this reason – to make it look nicer.  I got enough of a wall up to put the vanity/sink in permanently so it doesn’t need taken out again – but the room isn’t done.

Below shows an older picture of the bathroom with the old toilet in (also replaced this when we moved in a few years ago to match the one upstairs).  The old paneling on the left side of the picture has all been redone since.  But, this was the only older picture I had of the bathroom.

Before Bathroom Renovation

Now, here is what it looks like after the renovation thus far.

Bathroom After Remodel

Eventually I will have a wall around that vertical sewer pipe so it is completely hidden and then another wall behind the toilet.  That will full enclose the bathroom.

Alright, let’s get back on topic for what this blog category is really about – gardening!

It has been over a week now without any rain.  We have a 30% chance of rain today and a 20% chance for the next couple of days – but we really need it!  The beginning of the week was great – around 80 degrees and humidity of 40 – 50%.  Big change from the 90+ degree weather with 80% humidity.  Well, the hot weather and humidity returned yesterday.

After a week of no rain, I’m almost out of water in my 500 gallon rain barrel system.  Cannot believe how fast it went!

Today I harvested a couple of cherry tomatoes, a few peas, and then almost a half pound of Greencrop green beans.

July 4th Harvest

All last week the basil has been drying in the dehydrator.  I tried to leave the leaves out on a plate for them to dry out, but it simply didn’t work.  It did seem that they dried out a little bit and therefore made for less time in the dehydrator.  From all the basil that was picked, the herb container is now about 3/4 full.

Crushed Basil

I have been using a little bit of the basil on things- like a potato yesterday.  I have to say – it is amazing at the difference between store-bought basil and basil out of your own garden!  Although after I crushed the basil, the chunks are much larger than what the store has, but the flavor is at least twice as good as what the store-bought provides.

The cilantro still seems to be slowly drying out in the kitchen.  I tried to crunch some of it a few days ago but didn’t get anything; so I’m leaving it alone for a bit.  A few people have commented that it smells like urine!  Hmm.. I sure hope it doesn’t taste like that!

Dried Cilantro

Next year I don’t know if I am going to plant cilantro or not.  Just didn’t seem like we got a whole lot before it bolted and is going to seed.  I definitely know we’ll be planting basil next year – and hopefully I can get some oregano to grow better than it did this year.

While speaking of herbs, here is the herb garden.  First up is parsley.  It isn’t doing too much.  When we had the cooler weather the beginning of the week, it seemed like the plants were trying to put on new stems and new leaves.  Now that it has warmed up again, they have stopped.  I am not sure if we’ll plant parsley next year; we haven’t even clipped anything off of it yet!

Parsley

Here is the oregano that has managed to grow.  I did a lot of reading this morning on oregano and it is said that it can grow 30 inches tall.  Well, mine just seems to be spreading out like a ground cover or a weed!  With as small as these leaves are, I can’t imagine trying to pull each leaf off and put in the dehydrator.  I’ll probably just leave it on the stem (when the time comes) and dry the whole thing.  Basil and oregano are by far my two favorite herbs and I use them quite often.  I don’t really use anything else except garlic salt.

Oregano Plant

Here is the cilantro in bloom with its white flowers.

Cilantro in Bloom

And the basil continues to grow.  It is now also beginning to flower.  I plan to allow one of them to flower so I can gather the seed, but I’ll clip off the others so we get a lot of basil.

Basil

Also planted in the herb garden was some Greencrop green beans.  16 were planted and only eight came up.  I had to re-plant eight a week ago and none of them have sprouted yet!  Just seems that no matter what kind of green bean that is planted – only about half of it germinates.

Greencrop Green Beans

Kennebec potatoes are doing well – still.  Nothing much going on with them – but this patch is heavily flowering now.

Flowering Kennebec Potatoes

Figured I’d take a quick picture of the Granny Smith apple tree.  It only has one apple on it now since all of the others were removed; the branches just cannot support them.  But, most of the leaves have been completely eaten by the Japanese beetles.

Granny Smith Apple Tree

The back garden is still just how it was – can just barely walk through it.

Back Garden

This is one of the Burpee Pickler cucumbers.  While you can’t really see it in the picture, there is a small cucumber starting on it.  Lots of flowers on the plant.

Burpee Pickler Cucumber

And one of the Sugar Snap peas.  I am leaving the rest of the peas on the vines so I can save the seed for next year.  Hopefully it turns out to be a success.

Sugar Snap Pea

The side garden with the tomatoes still looks the same – overgrown and out of control!

Side Garden

The Red Cherry tomato plant still keeps on climbing and won’t stop!Red Cherry Tomato

The Roma tomato plant has dozens of small tomatoes starting.

Roma Tomatoes

And the Best Boy tomatoes also have large fruit on them as well!  Going to be a good year for tomatoes I’d say!

Best Boy Tomatoes

Going to the front yard – let’s look at the marigolds.  These things just keep growing and putting on more flowers!  Looks very well and has filled in the area beside the road very well.

Marigold Flowers

A total view of the front garden:

Front Garden

And one of the best-looking California Wonder pepper plant:

California Wonder Pepper Plant

Here is the one large radish plant that I’ve let go.  I’m waiting for the seed pods to ripen so I can save this seed as well.  You’ll notice green little pods; these hold a few radish seeds in each of them.  They’ll turn brown just like green beans of peas when they are ready.

Radish Seed Pods

I’m going to see if I can get anything out of the Green Goliath broccoli as well.  This plant was left in place and it has a large shoot on it now.

Broccoli Shoots

What about the Copra onions?  Well, the onions have really taken off and they are bulbing well now.  Here is a photo of one from the front garden:

Copra Onion Bulbing

And one from the back garden where it sits in a foundation block:

Copra Onion Bulbing

Now, moving on to the next part – the corn.  I posted on GardenWeb about being upset that the Silver Queen corn was losing much of its pollen before any silk even emerged on the plants.  Well, FINALLY yesterday a few Silver Queen corn had silk on them!  Today there were another six that put on silk as well.  I have been babying these things lately and have been giving them all a good amount of compost tea for the past three days.  Hopefully all of this extra ‘fertilizer’ is what is causing them to spurt up and add the silks.  It was going to be really bad if – just like last year – all of the pollen was gone and we didn’t get much of any corn.  Now, we still may not get very much – since only eight of 36 Silver Queen plants have silks on them.  Most of the plants also have two – or even three – areas where ears of corn are developing.  Would be nice if we get an average of two ears per stalk for a total of 72 ears.

Silver Queen Corn

Something i am going to pay attention to as well is these suckers at the bottom of the plants.  This one alone has three suckers coming from the bottom!  If there are not any ears that grow on these suckers, I’ll know for next year to cut these off so it doesn’t steal nutrients from the main plant.

Silver Queen Corn Suckers

Now – the Sugar Dots corn.  A guy on GardenWeb mentioned that they are stunted because of nitrogen deficiency.  I already figured this was the problem – but what is interesting is the area the Sugar Dots was grown in is NEW soil that was just all added this year.  However, it was tilled in with the underlying clay soil which may be causing part of the problem.  The Silver Queen corn is HUGE and doing very well (minus the silking problem) – and that soil was all put in last year.  Below is one of the ears from Sugar Dots.

Sugar Dots Corn Ear

That is all for this week.  Now I need to go get started taking out the cabinet from the upstairs bathroom and some of the sofet that was built (like a box of drywall up near the ceiling).

 

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