Friday, June 25, 2010

My Garden Crops

My garden started out as a full house. A house full of seeds, that is. Couple of months ago, I went seed shopping and picked out a bunch of seed packets that promised to grow into yummy looking veggies. I came home with two handfuls of seeds, and went all out planting them. All of them. Without regard for proper planting times.


The good news is that some of them are now growing. Fairly well, I might even add.
Look, zucchini is flowering! One of the female flowers got pollinated (I hope) and it looks like I might get a zucchini out of it (see picture). The other one (not shown) seems to have died a quiet, shriveling death. The rest of them are all male flowers. I need some girl flowers, quick!

The green beans are flowering as well, and growing teeny bean pods. Before I started my vegetable garden, I would have never thought that a few one-inch green beans could make me so happy. But they do! Very much so. I've been staring at them for longer than I'm willing to admit. Multiples times already this morning (I secretly believe that lots of visual attention aid their development.).

Cucumber is flowering, too, but no sign of any baby cucumbers yet. Maybe I'm not staring at it long enough?

Sadly, it's not all good news in the garden family, and some didn't quite make it. Sugar snap peas fought against the rising temperature, but did not survive multiple attacks from the local clan of wild rabbits. Same story for lettuce, spinach, and arugula.

The rest of the crops seem to be in some sort of a trial period where they are still deciding whether they want to stay put and grow, or give up and die. Carrots, peppers, onions, and chives are in this camp. Ugh.

I'm also growing some herbs that are growing and flowering out of control. I gave up on trying to corral them. I'm not sure what happens to them once they flower. Questions for the experts out there: what do I do with the perennial herbs (oregano and thyme) after they bolt? Can I leave them alone and they will just keep on growing after the flowers turn to seed? With the annuals (cilantro and basil), I assume that once they bolt, their harvesting season is over and they will just die. And what about parsley? Here is a picture of my flowering herbs:

cilantro - white flowers; parsley - yellow flowers; oregano - purple flowers

Whatever their future holds, at least the bees seem to love them right now. Next time, I think I will grow all my herbs in containers, which will hopefully control their growth better. I'm already doing that with my basil, and they are doing pretty well, except for some mystery holes.


Seana said...

Those little green beans are so cute! I'll admit it too, I stare at my plants allllll the time. It just makes me happy :)

And what sad news about the vegetables that didn't make it :(

Better luck next time!

debiclegg said...

I spend lots of time just looking at my tiny veggies, too! I think it is as relaxing as watching an aquarium of fish BUT, eventually, I get to enjoy my veggies!!

Enjoying your blog!! Thanks for following me!!

thyme2garden said...

Ohhh, so it's "normal" to spend lots of time staring at your baby vegetables! Whew. :) It's a good thing I'm not home during the week. There's no telling how much time I would spend staring at my "babies" if I were here every day.

Seana, thanks for your sympathy for my dead plants. I tried to make myself feel better today by thawing a couple of the frozen pesto cubes and tossing with pasta to eat for lunch. I think it worked!

Annie's Granny said...

I don't use a lot of herbs, but I plant them just for the flowers, and the bees that love them. You can save the seed from your cilantro and dill (they'll reseed by themselves if you leave them alone), but I've never tried saving basil seeds.

Your thyme and oregano should form a bush that lives year after year. I let my thyme flower, then clip it back a bit when it's finished. I don't grow oregano (my seeds did nothing), so I can't say, but I suspect it would do about the same as the thyme.

Parsley lives for two years, going to seed in its second year. I prefer to treat it as an annual, and plant new seed each year.

Let those bees enjoy them!

Robin said...

I have a fairly good size herb garden. We use a lot of herbs. The flowers on the thyme and oregano should be cut off. I try to keep the flowers cut back in order for the plants to continue to grow. I cut my oregano back to half it's size several times a season.

If you want herbs for the winter. You can dry them. Oregano and thyme are the easiest to dry.

thyme2garden said...

granny - that's a good idea about growing herbs just for flowers, if for nothing else. My bees (and other flying insects) sure seem to love them!

Robin - I haven't cut back any of my herbs (other than harvesting what I need), mostly because I didn't know any better. But now I do, so I will start doing that. I haven't tried drying any, but I like the idea of having my own dried herbs for wintertime. What are your methods for drying them?

Robin said...

Most herbs can be dried by simply hanging them up-side down out of direct sunlight. When they are dry, simply crumble the leaves off the stems and place in jars.

The two hardest to dry is basil and parsley. I have discovered a great method for drying them a few weeks ago. I take the leaves off, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven on the lowest temperature. I use the convection setting. If you don't have convection, use bake. Check them every 10 minutes for drying, cool, crumble and put in jars.

With the price of herbs these days. It's worth taking the time to dry them.

Annie's Granny said...

Parsley is the only one I dry in abundance. I've always dried it in the microwave, on a paper towel. I just zap it a minute at a time, and fluff it up with my fingers after each minute. I replace the towel with a dry one about half way through. It usually takes less than five minutes to dry a really large batch. It stays bright green and flavorful. Thyme dries well this way, too. Basil turns too dark, so I air dry that by rubber banding the stems of a few sprigs and hanging them in my garden shed.

thyme2garden said...

Robin and Granny, thanks for letting us know about your drying methods! I started drying one bunch of oregano upside down last week, but I don't think it's ready yet. I will have to try out the oven and microwave methods. Keith doesn't like it when I "hang stuff upside down all over the house" so he might appreciate these new methods!

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