Monday, July 27, 2015

White Wonder Cucumber Growing!

Finally, my white wonder cucumbers are growing. I've been delayed this year with my cucumbers for a number of reasons. First, I started these plants from seed and I ended up planting them a little later than I normally would. Then the turnip plants I had planted in the spring had blocked the sun to the young seedlings, delaying their growth even more. 

However, now that I have removed the turnip greens and we've experienced some warmer weather, the cucumbers are taking off! 

The plants are starting to grow up my nice trellis that held my Boston pickling cucumbers last year. And this morning I noticed a few baby white wonder cucumbers growing! I'm super excited! How cool is a white cucumber! Hopefully, a lot more our on their way! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

First Cherry Tomatoes of the Season!

It almost feels like Christmas in July! I finally have been able to pick some ripe cherry tomatoes! These small, yet beautiful orange spheres are from my Sun Sugar tomato plants. I was able to pick two ripe tomatoes from both of my plants this morning and there are plenty more to come in the next few weeks! 

Cherry tomatoes have always done really well in my garden. Usually, I grow the Husky Red Cherry Tomato and end up with a constant flow of cherry tomatoes from mid-July through September. Although I'm not growing them this year, I am growing three cherry tomatoes plants, which will hopefully give me even more tomatoes! 

We have also finally gotten some summer heat here in the northeast, so I'm hoping this will give my cherry tomato plants some added boost. I've been waiting to eat fresh cherry tomatoes for months! I'm glad it's finally that time of year! 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomato on the vine. 

Small morning harvest of raspberries and cherry tomatoes. 

Backyard Raspberries are the Best!

For about the last week or so, I have been lucky enough to pick a handful a raspberries almost every day from my backyard. The berries couldn't be more delicious! Most days, I end up eating most of the berries before I even get them back to the house! 

I'm loving every berry I've grown but was hoping for a lot more this summer. I think I may have to expand my raspberry patch! Below is what I picked on the  morning of July 20, 2015. What's even cooler is the third picture below, which is a photograph of the new raspberry flowers blooming! These flowers are on the new canes that have started to grow this year. They'll produce a small crop this fall and then a larger crop next spring. Besides the obvious benefits of having the berries in the fall as well, I'm happy to see the flowers because it means my plants are doing well! 

Part of me would love to start my own berry farm one day, or at leas have enough land to grow a year supply of berries! That would be delicious! 

A handful of raspberries, out in my garden. 

Delicious, ripe red heritage raspberries ready to be picked. 

First year raspberry canes flowering for fall crop. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Beautiful Mint Plant

Mint is an awesome and easy herb to grow but it can also take over your garden! This is why I plant my mint in containers. It keeps it contained and easy to get too. 

Usually my mint will come back every year, even in the container. However, with really cold and snowy winters lately, some of my mint has been killed off. However, this year my spearmint did come back! Although it took its sweet time coming back, I didn't see new growth on it till late May. By that time I had planted a peppermint plant in the same pot. 

Now they're growing together in the same pot and it's actually working out pretty well. Not to mention it makes for some nice green foliage in the garden. 

I've used the mint to flavor my water recently and to chew on some leaves to help with indigestion. 

I could also try drying some and saving it for peppermint tea in the winter! 

Raspberries and New Fall Buds!

My heritage red raspberries are finally starting to ripen! I'm getting a couple of berries every morning. However, they don't make it inside to the kitchen! I tend to eat them first!  

I've also had a few berries eaten by birds, a problem I haven't had with my blackberries. 

What caught my attention this morning was the beautiful red berries but also the new buds on first year canes! Raspberries will usually produce a small crop of fruit in the fall on first year canes. However, I'm surprise the buds have developed so wary, especially since I'm still harvesting the spring crop. So cool! 

New Blueberry Canes!

This year has been a little disappointing for my blueberry plants. I think it's mostly due to the fact that I hadn't trimmed the plants at all since I bought them a few years ago. However, it looks like the trimming I did this year is going to benefit me next year and years to come. 

On my oldest blueberry plant, I noticed new canes growing out of the soil. New canes will produce more blueberries. 

This is why trimming blueberries canes are a very important tip for growing blueberries

Cherry Tomatoes After a Rainstorm

My cherry tomatoes have taken off! They are huge, spreading out and growing to at least six feet tall. They're taller than me!  

There are a bunch of green cherry tomatoes on my plants but they haven't ripen yet. I need some sunny days for that to happen, it's been rainy and cloudy  lately. 

However, the rain made for some cool pictures this morning. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mushrooms in the Yard!

It's always interesting to discover something new growing in your yard. After a very dry May, which resulted in a moderate drought, June has been a little bit wetter. It hasn't eliminated the drought just yet but it has been wet enough for some cool looking mushrooms to start growing in my yard. I came across these mushrooms the other day and couldn't resist taking some pictures. Now, I have no idea what kind they are and whether or not they're poisonous but I'm not eating or even handling them, so no worries there! 

There was two different types of mushrooms I came across. One mushroom was brown and growing in the mulch, while the other one was white and growing by the wood pile. Both mushrooms were growing in shaded areas, which makes sense. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beautiful, Bountiful Berries!

Growing your own fruit is pretty easy, especially when it comes to growing berries! I'm growing blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I have three varieties of blueberry plants in containers, two varieties of raspberries and one blackberry plant. I wish I had more space for more plants! 

At this point in the season, the berries are all starting to grow. With the growth of the berries also comes the growth of my excitement for their harvest! Homegrown berries are the best tasting berries! 
Below are some of the berries growing in my garden as of mid June.  

The first photo is of a blackberry! 

The second photo is of a developing cluster of fall gold raspberries. 

The final photo is of a cluster of blueberries. These are pretty much done growing, just need to turn blue now! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

First Signs of Tomatoes!

The first buds of tomatoes are forming! These formed on one of my three cherry tomato plants! I can't wait for the sweet little tomatoes! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Root Vegetables Growing!

Finally! A sign that my root vegetables are starting to form! The radishes and turnip have produced lush and beautiful greens but there was no sign of the root vegetable till today. 

The purple top turnip starting to grow! 

A red radish sticking above the soil line! 

The lush rows of radish greens! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

What Does a Turnip Flower Look Like?

What does a turnip flower look like? See the photo below. One of my turnip plants has bolted in my square foot garden this year. I surmise why it happened here

It has finally flowered and although it looks somewhat like a weed, it's actually pretty cool. The flower is bright yellow with four petals and multiple flowers on the one plant. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Early June Berry Update!

My Fall Gold raspberries are starting to form! They're coming along much earlier than the heritage red raspberries! 

Meanwhile, the heritage red raspberries have begun to flower! Also new growth for next year's crop is very thick! I'll have to thin it out after the berries ripen. 

My blackberry plant continues to slowly flower and one of the canes is taller than me! And I'm 5'10! 

I also noticed new canes are taking off nicely after a few days of much needed rain. Plants seem to always do better when watered by the sky versus the hose. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

White Wonder Cucumber Sprouting!

Just five days after planting white wonder cucumber seeds, they've already sprouted! I can't wait to try these white cucumbers, they're going to be so unique! 

My trellis that I used for my cucumbers last year is still intact, so now all I need is the plants to grow! 

The seed packet for white wonder cucumber. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Found Strawberries in the Garden!

I'm As I was watering some perrenial flowers the other day, I noticed some bright red spots in the garden. To my surprise they were ripe strawberries! 

I was a little shocked, I knew the strawberry plants were there and I knew some of them had berries on them but they had grown and ripened so quickly! And to do so in a drought! 

It was a pleasant surprise and i immediately picked them, washed them off and enjoyed the amazing juiciness you can only get with a homegrown berry! 

Find out why my strawberries are growing randomly in my garden here! 

Bolting Turnip is Going to Seed

It looks like one of my many turnip plants has decided to bolt! No, it's not running away from the confines of my raised bed. This turnip plant has decided to grow really tall and skip producing a turnip in order to flower and produce seeds. 

It doesn't happen all the time but plants will do this if they are stressed. Unfortunately, it means I won't get a turnip from this one plant (don't worry I still have plent more!).  

When plants start to go to seed (usually when you notice flower buds forming), the plant focuses its energy on the seeds of the next generation. Sometimes, this can be delayed by clipping off the flower buds (you can do this to most herbs) however, it won't help with turnip. 

From my research online, turnip usually bolts to seed when it's stressed by one or two things. The first is poor soil. Considering I added healthy compost and soil to my raised garden this year, as well as the fact that other plants are fine, I don't suspect it's the soil. 

The other reason is stress due to too many hot days. Bingo! It's actually been a pretty warm May for southern Connecticut, especially after coming off a record cold start to the year! Turnip is a cool weather crop and therefore doesn't do well in the hot weather. 

I'm guessing this one plant thought it was just too hot to do the work of producing a turnip and decided to go to seed and let the next generation do the work! 

The rest of my turnip should be ready in ages more weeks! I can't wait! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Raspberry Flowers!

The first of the raspberry flowers have opened up for 2015. I actually noticed one flower on each of my raspberry varieties. The photo below is of the flower on my Fall Gold raspberry plant. This is the first year I'll be getting the golden, yellow berries! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stages of the Blueberry in Photographs

The blueberry, its the gorgeous marble of fruit that is loaded with antioxidants and deliciousness! This healthy treat from Mother Nature is considered a superfood but do you know what it looks like before it turns blue? 
Below are some photos I took of my blueberry plants in my backyard and the progression from flower to fruit. I think many people underestimate the beautiful bell-shaped flowers of a a blueberry bush. They also don't realize where the actual blueberry starts to form! 
If these photos encourage you to grow some of your own superfood, blueberries in your backyard, here's some facts, tips and tricks! 

The first photo is of the blueberry bush in bloom. The beautiful bell-shaped flowers look so delicate but are in fact pretty hardy. They form in clusters and will eventually become blueberries. They can also come in various shades of white, blue and even red! 

At the next stage, the flowers begin to fall off leaving a small and thin blue base behind. This is in fact the actual blueberry! 

Before the berries start to beef up, they look like these green flat stars. It's actually pretty interesting looking! 

The final stages, from the green plump berries to the ripe blueberry and it's famous blue/purple color! Photo from Wikipedia commons.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fall Gold Raspberries Buds!

I'm getting super excited! For the first time since I bought my Fall Gold raspberry plants, i'm finally seeing some flower buds forming on the plant. This means I'll have the very cool looking gold raspberries this summer! Woo-hoo! 

The berries are very similar to the red heritage raspberry, which I am also growing. Both plants will bear fruit and ripen around the same time, providing what I hope to be a beautiful assortment of raspberries! Both varieties are sweet and delicious, excellent for eating fresh. The only difference is the color. Red Heritage raspberries are your traditional bright red, these will be a beautiful yellow, gold color! 

Below are pictures of some of the buds forming on my Fall Gold raspberry plants! 

and what they should look like at harvest time! This photo is from wikipedia commons 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Garden Filling In! 5-18-15

Finally, after 23 days with no measurable rain here in Connecticut, we got about .33 inches of rain on Saturday morning. Not a lot but enough to give my garden a boost. Add in some sunshine and warm temps on Sunday and my garden is starting to fill in nicely! 

I love the way my garden looks! 

Radishes all lined up! 

Turnip getting bigger! 

Kale is getting big!!! 

The vegetable garden isn't the only area doing well. My blackberry plant is taking off as well! 

Even the flower buds are forming, which will eventually turn into delicious blackberries!