Just a Day in the Garden

Things are humming along in the garden these days.  Our tomatoes and raspberries are jockeying for position, and the basil is finally growing up. If you look carefully, you can see it in the lower, right corner of the box near the hose  I was too lazy to put away. [ahem]

tomato, basil and raspberries

Tomatoes, Raspberries and Basil

The potatoes I didn’t plant, jumped the edge of the box, happy in the heat.  The strawberries look nice, but for the first time in my gardening history, they’ve been over run by ants.  Ack!  I reached in for a juicy red berry and came out with a handful of swarming ants along with the fruit.  When I did find an unencumbered strawberry, it looked great but tasted bland.  I think this is the last season for them.

strawberries and potatoes

Compost potatoes spill from the box

My EarthBox pumpkins are growing well, but for some reason the water wicking system isn’t working.  I’ve had to hand water three days in a row as they’re drooping by mid day.  I may remove the compost covers tomorrow when it’s still cool and give them a long soak.  I’ll let you know it that does the trick.

Ever-mischievous Mouse the cat cornered an iridescent lizard on the garden path.  I put Mouse in a ‘time out’ for a spell, then encouraged the tiny lizard to make haste. He was happy to oblige.

Western Fence Lizard

Western Fence Lizard

Mouse asleep

Mouse looks innocent when he’s asleep

One of the squirrels dropped by and offered to sample the apricots and plums.  Just a couple of bites out of each one should do it.  Yep, yep…carry on, carry on.  Nothing to worry about here.

half eaten fruit

Sampled Fruit

grey squirrel

Taste testing the fruit: we passed!

I have a new theory about their bushy tails. I think that’s where they store their ego.

In better news, the  fruit covered in netting remains untouched.  Hurray for that.

Thanks for following along on my garden adventures. Your companionable comments are among the highlights of my day.

The Fruits of my Obsession

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but I do tend to fuss and fret over the fruit growing in our garden. Since the rats, birds, ants, snails and squirrels take their share, I’ve realized that volume is key. If your plants produce, say, five strawberries, chances are slim that you’ll be able to harvest any for yourself. On the other hand, dozens of strawberries, oranges, raspberries or plums make for a fruitful harvest. Hence, my fruitful obsession.

This is year five in the garden for our 4-in-1 fruit cocktail tree. All the pruning I did years two through four has paid off. We have a bumper crop this year from two of the four grafts.

apricots

Apricots

plums

Plums

peach

Lone Peach

dead nectarine graft

Four grafts (the small ‘twig’ should be a nectarine)

One of the grafts died early on, but I recently learned from my friend Doug that we can re-graft! That was a bit of good news. The apricots and plums look great. The peach graft suffered leaf curl this year. So far only one, rock-hard peach.

We’ll still have plenty of fruit to eat and share, so that is pretty exciting.

Our 25-year-old orange tree is covered in fruit year round. The oranges are no longer sweet enough to eat alone, but my boys love making fresh-squeezed orange juice. We’re also doing our part to keep the neighborhood rats from getting scurvy. They have their own little health clinic in the backyard.

orange tree

Orange tree

Tree Rat

Tree Rat

After several dismal years with the blueberry plant, I’m seeing signs of honest to goodness fruit this year. In addition to being tasty, blueberries are loaded with high antioxidants.

blueberry plant

Blueberries beginning to form

A few strawberry plants jumped from the box and continue to happily grow in the nearby gravel. Thanks to composting, they’re surrounded by volunteer potato plants. It looks like a party out there with the gorgeous greens, reds and lavender.

strawberries and potatoes

Strawberries and potatoes

The early heat sent our raspberries into overdrive. They’re pumping out flowers and fruit, in addition to providing nectar for the hummingbirds. I’ve seen the little hummers sipping nectar twice from the white flowers, but didn’t have my camera in tow. I’m happy to see them enjoying the flowers; we’re happily enjoying the fruits of my obsession.

My oldest son turns 17 today. Happy Birthday, C!

fairy garden birthday

A wee birthday celebration in the fairy garden