Yeah, so this year's summer garden is HOLY HELL YEAH.
Mostly because of the peppers.
People - this has been my best pepper year in...ever.
I mean, yes, I did plant 4X more peppers than I usually do, but I did that because my pepper plants usually struggle and get all lanky and don't do much more than pop loose a few fruit somewhere around the end of the summer and I get all WHOOPY THERE'S ONE FUCKING PEPPER YAY and then it's over.
I mean, usually, I'm sitting by the plant(s) waiting for it to produce, like, two more peppers so that I can have enough to can ONE jar of peperoncini, and then that one jar comes and goes and I wonder why I even bother with peppers at all.
|So, I'll just have the one sandwich then, I guess.|
Until this year.
Dudes. This year has been crazy with the peppers. And I haven't even harvested any of the many habaneros just a'dangling from the plants.
|Prepare thyself for MOUTH MELTING HEAT.|
|Once upon a time...|
|...in a garden not so far away...|
|...there was a pepper showing me its ass...|
|...some peppers dangling from their branches all sexy like...|
|...some of them were loners...|
|...but mostly there were just ONE MILLION OF THEM HOLY HELL.|
No. The whole story is WHOA and for the Pepper WHOA, I'd like to thank straw.
|Add straw to beds...|
|REAP EXPLOSIVE AMOUNTS OF PEPPERS|
Yeah - the straw mulch that I used this year, spread at least an inch thick over all the bare soil in my garden, has worked some serious wonders with pretty much everything it's touched.
Moisture kept in the ground, soil kept warm, weeds kept THE FUCK OUT, homes for spiders - it's good times with the straw.
Also - fertilizing with the worm casting tea on a monthly schedule has been pretty yay, too.
Have I told you that I love my worms? Because I do. They poop a lot and eat a lot and if they had fur, I'd bring them in the house and let them use Jada's dog bed because they'd basically be the same animal.
|You're dead to me, mom.|
OK, no, that makes no sense, but what I'm saying is that I'd like to cuddle the worms because they deserve it. They're hard workers and their hard work is making the garden super rad this year.
So rad, in fact, that I'm considering ditching both of my composters and expanding my worm empire with a much larger worm bin set up where the composters are because the worm's results from food scraps are way more impressive than the composters'.
But whatever - you didn't come here to listen to me talk about poop. Or did you? Because, no. That's weird.
The gardenblahblahblah! Let's do that...
The tomatoes. Yes - they're happening. They've happened. They're going to happen a little bit more and then I'm going to rip them the fuck out and put in kale and onions.
Meanwhile, the three varieties I planted this year all did well, though some markedly better than others.
|The Better Boys did well as always, but not as prolific as previous years because I put them in the garden's least productive spot. In the back where they get the least amount of sun. But they handled it, so nice going fellas.|
|The Jaune Flamme, last year's surprise hit, did super well and put out probably 1/2 of all of the tomato yield I've harvested so far. Effing prolific if you ask me. Also, remind me to tell you about how orange tomatoes are ripe tomatoes. Oh, I just did. So, just a note to you all, because some people don't get it, orange tomatoes are not under ripe - they're just orange. Don't be dumb.|
|Yeah. I see you working.|
Beyond the tomatoes, I grew beans as always, though this year I also grew the not-pole-type-even-though-I-was-sure-they-were Cannellini beans that are dry and ready for winter soup and stew cooking in my cupboard right now.
I also grew the Forte pole beans, which were good as usual and provided the atmosphere in the garden what with their handsome galvanized Bubba-built tepee.
|At least the tepee looks good.|
I grew a new variety of watermelon that sucked ass, even though I did get to enjoy one fruit off of the thing before giving up completely. I'm going back to Moon and Stars melons next year because this shit with the only-producing-a-few-tiny-fruits thing is not for me. Especially not when I give the thing half a bed of gorgeous soil and it sorta looks around and goes, "Meh."
And then there were the muther effing cucumbers.
|Ah, so pretty and innocent.|
|OR GET THE FUCK BACK!|
|But oh so cute.|
|But then ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHH!|
|Would you like some cucumbers? Because I have a few extra.|
Seriously. That's how many pickles I've made and eaten this year. I feel hypertension coming on.
|This pretty photo will comfort me when I can no longer bend my fingers due to the swelling|
|This is, like, 1/100th of the pickles I've eaten this year.|
Then there's the impromptu squash patch that I threw together in the front yard when my Meadow Clean Up resulted in some unsightly bald spots that I felt would be better filled with squash.
|Somewhat less unsightly.|
So, I planted two pumpkins (gifted from a friend), a zucchini, a Delicata and a spaghetti squash (gifted from the neighbor) and everything gave up and dwindled except the zucchini which has been surprisingly under control. Which I suspect is a result of the lack of watering I gave all of the plants. Which is probably the reason why the whole Squash In The Front Yard experiment, like, barely worked.
|For the first time, a CUTE zucchini plant. In no way scary.|
But, I got a few zucchini and I'm not running around frantically trying to figure out what to do with them, so that's a nice change.
OH! And we got hops. Hops from our first year rhizomes totalled out at around 2 dry ounces, which isn't bad for three baby rhizomes that looked like dead sticks when I put them in the soil back in the early part of the year.
|The Cascades were...CASCADING. Yes. That's cheesy.|
|But, come on. They were.|
|Kind of amazing that this dries down to just 2 ounces, but I'll take it.|
That's enough to brew one five gallon keg of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone, so I'm good with it. Plus, I have a lot more than that from my hopyard at school, so we're in the black when it comes to hops.
Which barely makes sense when I read that back to myself, but I'm not changing it because it's already typed and WHOOPSY moving on...
We also had a lot of basil this year. And those purpley and specialty types of basil (lettuce leaf, Thai, etc) that always sorta hang around doing nothing and not growing to any impressive degree, have actually done quite a lot this year.
|See? I can be awesome, too. Jerk.|
|Italian Large Leaf transplanted from my hydro leftovers|
|Lettuce Leaf - clearly showing off.|
I'm into it.
Also, I'm into the 8+ pounds of Concord grapes we had, the millions of pounds of huge tomatillos from which I made and canned many jars of Salsa Verde, the handfuls of kumquats that I ate while standing around contemplating the rest of the yard, the first Baer limes and the Gravenstein apples. Those were all really awesomely good, too.
So, yeah. Now that the summer garden's coming to an end, I'm moving on.
Because we're going to have to eat something this winter and it ain't going to be just all popcorn and gin cocktails. I mean, not all the time. That would be expensive. And probably someone (hi mom!) would stage an intervention.
So, on deck for the winter garden is Red Russian kale, Waltham 29 broccoli, Pacific Gold mustard greens, Red Baron onions, Circus Circus carrots, French Breakfast radishes, Parisienne carrots, Hollow Crown parsnips, a bunch of herbs and companion plants like alyssum, chives and dill.
Plus, you know I'll plant some shit in there that's not on the list just because I'm a sneaky bitch like that. Also because of my not having any self control.
So...that works for gardenblahblahblah, right? Is it possible that I forgot anything?