The Hawk-Mo Hotwire

Micro Entrepreneurism, Simple Living & Art

The Garden, the Garden, the Garden Oh MY! What’s going on in this Southwest Virginia Garden: July Update.

Garden and colorful bee boxes

The garden is a beautiful place to be this time of year. Everywhere I look there is some kind of flower in bloom – Bee Balm, Dill, Ecinachea, Calendula, Nasturtiam, Zinnias, Mint, Cilantro, Basil plus various weeds and wildflowers in the uncut grass.

Bee Balm

Now that we have bees again, I have a little bit of a different routine on mowing the lawn. The stuff we walk through all the time, we keep pretty short to keep the bugs down, but the rest of it we let grow up and flower again each time before mowing. Free bee food + a flower strewn yard = double bonus. The bees are totally stoked about this plan.

Happy bees

 

On the vegetable side of things, I’ve done a much better job this year at continuing to start seeds. Right now I already have fall broccoli and cabbage planted (first time ever!) and I’ve actually got 6 second round tomato plants strewn about in case of epic failure of the first crop due to overstuffed bed syndrome. My tomatoes currently look like a 6 foot hedge. This was them 2 weeks ago:

Tomato Hedge

It feels like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for one of them to ripen so tomato season can officially begin. I’ve been cheating and buying local greenhouse ones that show up whenever I can find them because I couldn’t handle the wait. Finally, two days ago, I picked my first semi-pink giant monster of an heirloom tomato. It’s currently ripening on the porch. I have my fingers crossed for eating it tomorrow. Next year I’m going to plant two super early ripening plants (rather then all heirloom like I did this year for superior flavor)  just so that I can hopefully start eating  homegrown tomatoes in June. Yes, it’s that important.

Baby Cucumbers

The cucumbers on the other hand have come in nice and strong and early and fast. We got our first one about 4 weeks ago and now I’m picking 8 or 9 a day it seems. Mom’s already made 2 or 3 batches of pickles for Hank and I’m sneaking grated cucumber into just about every meal I cook.  Which brings me to the next veggie star of July – Summer Squash. Holy Bajesis. Last year, I lost pretty much every squash I planted to squash bugs. They were merciless. This year, we had a lot less rain and it seems to have really kept things manageable in the war against squash bugs. Knock on wood. Every day or two Mom or I would check for the eggs on the underside of the leaves and rip them off and squash them between our knife and the side of the garden bed. It’s worked! I saw my first batch of baby squash bugs a couple days ago, but all in all the plants still look healthy and we have about 10-15lbs of squash coming in every other day. We grill it, we eat it grated in eggs, I made zucchini spaghetti, and we grate it and freeze it for use in soups and baked goods in the winter. Hurray for squash I say! But tonight, tonight we’re eating corn!!!!

Southwest Virginia Garden in July 356

I’m proud of our little corn bed. We tried planting some last year, but it was late and it stayed really stunted and never grew. These babies are way over my head and I picked 6 little ears today to grill up for dinner. They aren’t very big, but the kernels look plump, so I have high hopes for deliciousness and no corn worms!

dill

One of the things we decided to grow a lot more of this year are herbs. Last year I don’t think I had anything other then basil, but I read over and over again that having herbs in your garden is really good for attracting beneficial insects, plus they’re pretty, plus they smell good, plus Mom is all about drying some herbs. We’ve turned a whole cabin into herb drying planet and she is furiously cutting, drying and grinding so that we have medicinal and culinary herbs in our pantry all winter long. It’s very exciting.

drying onions

I pulled our garlic about 3 weeks ago, and this is our first round of onions that I just finished curing. I’ve got probably this many again still in the garden that I planted 3 weeks or so later then the first batch. We’ve been eating new potatoes for a month now and Mom has perfected breakfast taters (Zak, you’d be so proud). I’ve been sneaking a mild green pepper or two or three just this week, and we’ve had just enough jalapeños to make some spicy pickles and marinades.

Already looking ahead to Fall, I’ve got carrots, beets, rutabagas, parsnips, kohlrabi & napa cabbage all just coming up this week.

We’re eating out of our garden hard core this year folks!

zinnias

 

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About mudly

Mud is main blog writer extraordinaire, picture guru, and the garden and adventure instigator. She loves to cook, but doesn’t much like following a recipe. She also loves typewriters, the color turquoise, and wearing tie dye with stripes. And she dorks out on permies.com while dreaming up and planning her next garden.

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2014 by in Bees, Garden.

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