July 19, 2011

Garden Fun!

It's mid July and the garden is coming along! In early June, the beds were up- we got the dirt delivered- a lovely blend of compost and good soil- my husband's father, aunt and uncle were so sweet- they came over one morning and helped us haul it up to the beds! So kind! The plants have been in there for several weeks and they are definitely coming along. To keep the pests out (rabbits, birds, squirrels and chipmunks) I added these 10' long 1/2" pvc pipes- that was an amusing trip to Lowe's for mommy and baby- I don't know why I thought I could handle six 10' long poles and a toddler in a cart?! Anyhow, they eventually got home and on to the beds- then we have added this black plastic hardware cloth (not the metal kind), attached to the pipes with zip ties. The zip ties only go about halfway down, the hardware cloth lifts up from the bottom to give you access to the beds. Down the center I have tomatoes and vine plants. Each has a large tomato cage- they were slightly too tall, so I had to saw off all the legs with a small saw in the garage- and the garage gets 10 degrees hotter than outside so it was like 110 in there- like a hot yoga class!

So far, we've gotten a few strawberries and a bell pepper (so delicious!), and one jalapeno plant has three peppers coming along. The lemon cucumber has a nice sized cucumber, and the regular cucumber has about 10 small cucumbers growing. Surprises have included- hey, the chives are all dead! What are these crazy caterpillars? Two poblano seedlings died, as did a sweet orange bell pepper. And, one of the hardware cloth sheets wasn't totally secure and overnight something crept in and ate an entire tomatillo plant. Seriously, the whole plant. The bottom of the hardware cloth sheets are tied with ribbon strips that I untie when I want access to the plants. Finally, the two most exciting things happening in the garden are, first, the French melon plants are literally insane, you can watch them grow before your eyes and second, three of the five tomato varieties have started to flower! I'm so excited, I may have my very own tomatoes soon!

La Dolce Duchessa will be taking a short break. I will be back in early August with wonderful new ideas for you! (Seriously, there are two posts upcoming that are SO EXCITING- I've gotten permission to share with you a recipe for homemade butter (courtesy of the fantastic Ricki Carroll, Cheese Queen and the force behind the New England Cheese Making Supply Company) and Liqueur 44- an unbelievably delicious homemade aperitif courtesy of Susan Loomis, who, if you haven't heard of her yet, you should, she's an incredible cook- has several wonderful books including the French Farm House Cookbook and On Rue Tatin, and, she has a cooking school in France which is definitely on my list of future trips! Until then, enjoy your summer and thank you so much for reading!!!

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