The Summer Vegetable Experience

July 14, 2013

This is the time of year when I try to keep up with the vegetables.  New vegetables are arriving every day.  I need to harvest at least every other day to keep up with them.

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I came home late Wednesday evening and ran out to harvest before sunset.  Half the leaf lettuce is for the salad that I bring to work each day, and half for Phil, in case he wants to make a smoothie.  I went into the neighbor’s yard, since he did not seem to be around, and picked a bowl of yummy raspberries, before they just fell on the ground.  There were a few peas and beans to pick, too.

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“Green Arrow’ peas.  Just a few peas to pick now and then.  I think they are just about finished now that it is warmer.

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‘Climbing French” pole beans.  These beans are not always easy to spot, but you have to catch them before they get huge and tough, though this variety has been pretty tender this year.  I made a mistake, though, and planted these beans not far from a very aggressive tomato plant.  I think both vines will be fighting it out over the next month!

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“Hungarian Heart’ heirloom tomato.  This is the aggressive tomato plant I ordered from seed savers exchange.  It will take a while for this to ripen….

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Collards.  I bought a nine-pack at Wal-Mart and seven of the plants survived.  Here you can see three big plants.  This is the first time we have grown collard.  You just keep picking outside leaves from the bottom and new ones grow from the top.  You might be able to see a very sick looking, bug-eaten eggplant in the back.  We did get two or three eggplant fruits off it.  Also on the left one of the cucumbers is starting to grow and you can see some curly kale leaves.  I only used small tomato support hoops for the cucumbers this year, so I have trouble coming, as the cucumbers are already beyond the tops of the supports!

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Leaf of Russian kale.  We have three big Russian kale plants.  I don’t like them as much as the curly kale – winterbor, but I am sure they are full of vitamins.

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Yellow bell peppers.  These peppers are still green but would turn yellow if I left them.  I usually pick some of the early ones, when the plant is still small, and leave later peppers to yellow in the fall when the pepper plants are bigger.

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The mulberry tree is still going, and in fact seems to be at its peak now.  The birds love it and we see a variety of birds visiting.  I usually pick some either for my oatmeal in the morning or in the evening to eat with a few raspberries and a little ice cream!

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I took a break from this blog to harvest vegetables for Dan to cook, and came across my first praying mantis, here hiding in an old spinach plant.  He jumped away to try to camouflage himself in the blades of grass in the lawn.  There are a number of interesting bugs doing multiplying activities in the garden now, so its good to have a number of predator bugs and birds around to keep them in check.

Seen in the garden:  the first bunny in a few years.  I only saw one, but our bunny fence has gotten a little sloppy and needs to be tied up.  I also heard a short cat fight in our yard under the heavy shade of the shrubs and grasses.  The cats should keep the bunnies in check even if they decimate our other biodiversity – birds, toads, snakes, mice, etc.

Cooking:  Dan has been cooking a huge batch of vegetables on Sunday for his work lunches.  He mixes the vegetables with rice and beans for a healthy meal.

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