Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Way A Garden Grows...

Slow.... very slow!  At least here in North Idaho!

I've learned that gardening here in North Idaho requires a LOT of patience!  Coming from Texas with warm days and warm nights, we had double the growing season there, and it seems you would plant something into the ground, and a few days later, you would see results quickly, and within a month even be eating the fruit of your labor.

I've been learning that is not quite the case here in north Idaho.  Here in the summer the days do get quite hot, with a few days marching up to the 100-degree mark... but for the most part, the temperatures stay in the high 80s-90s, but then at night, cool down to the low 40s, which means there is no growing season at night, only during the day, which translates to mean, that fruit/vegetables take a lot longer to mature. 

Of course most of my northern gardener friends have long been working under these conditions for several years, and are used to this.

For me, I am still learning how to be patient!  I've done all I can do, but now is the time to sit back and wait for all those tomatoes to finish their business, turn red, and find their place in a canning jar!

These were the first tomatoes I picked from our garden, and I've slowly been having 1-2 tomatoes ripen a day.  There is nothing like a freshly ripened tomato on a sandwich!  There are no store bought tomatoes that come anywhere close to the taste you get from a fresh homegrown tomato!

I planted some okra seeds that I had brought with me from Texas.  Silly me!  These poor okra are struggling with all they are worth to deal with the tough weather conditions they have been faced with.  They love the hot days, but the cool nights have stunted their growth.  After growing for over a month now, I only have one okra that is just about as big as my thumb growing, and the rest are about the size of your fingernail... But I am hoping that with the month of August still to go that perhaps I will get a few okra to fry.

I planted a few parsnip this year, and you can see that they seem to be doing just fine!  I am going to give them a bit longer in the ground before pulling them out to see how big they've gotten.

While I was in the greenhouse taking some pictures, I heard quite a racket, and at first I was wondering who was in the greenhouse with me.  I spotted this poor little hummingbird who was flying frantically around in the greenhouse.  I quickly snapped a picture of him, before I moved towards him hoping to "shoo" him towards the open door, as it seemed he had become confused on how to get back out.  As I moved towards him, and got very close, all of a sudden, it seemed he had a burst of energy, and "zoom" ... out the door he went.  I'm sure he was breathing a huge sigh of relief, as I was also for the poor little guy. 

I've been fighting blossom rot with my squash this year.  I've done some research into why squash develop blossom rot, and there can be several things... ground too wet, ground too dry, lack of calcium, nights too cool... so.. not really a firm answer as to why some of my squash develop blossom rot, and others are doing just fine. I've treated my squash with a tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon in hopes that would help.  While it did seem to help, with most of the squash now seeming to be fine, I am still seeing a fair share of the squash develop blossom rot. 

I planted some calendula in the garden as it has tremendous medicinal properties, and also it is a magnet for bugs... to keep the bad bugs away from my good plants.

It is definitely doing its job!  There were a lot of these little black bugs crawling around on the calendula plant.

 A quick peek at some of my Roma tomatoes growing on the vine... I am patiently waiting for these lovely beauties to begin to turn red!

I planted several different varieties of tomatoes in the garden, and most I started from seed indoors.  I am so excited to see these tomatoes beginning to grow, slowly but surely!

A close-up of my yellow squash growing.  The squash has really just taken over the greenhouse, and overshadowed my peas and beans. But because a lot of the squash have developed blossom rot, I am hoping that this batch of squash will actually go on to finish growing without developing the blossom rot!

You may remember that I planted some corn and sunflowers outside the greenhouse, and because I had a visitor or two, I had to replant them several times.  Finally, we got this fence in place around the corn and sunflowers to keep out unwanted visitors. Finally the corn and sunflowers were free to grow, and they have really taken off too.

My sunflowers are starting to bud!

And my corn has tassels!  Yeah! We might, just might, get a taste of our own home-grown corn this year.

Well, that just about sums up the garden update around here.  I am learning the art of patience, while everything takes its time to continue growing.  I am sure the end of August will be a busy time as we will be trying to harvest the garden before the frost and cooler weather show up.  With any luck, perhaps we will be able to extend the growing time into September. 

Until then... I will be patiently waiting and watching each day to see how my garden is growing, and I'll keep you posted on any new developments!

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