Sunflower Update

I’m really enjoying having sunflowers in my garden this year. These flowers are over 10 feet tall, and I hope we’re eventually able to harvest some seeds. Here are a few recent photos of what’s happening with these huge flowers.

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For about a week, bees were all over the flowers. This looks like it was taken at eye level, but only because of the angle and the fact that the photo was taken with a telephoto lens: The actual bee was way over my head.

 

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Also, during that time, I think the sunflowers had some oddly human expressions. I look at this photo and think “Gasp!” Doesn’t it look surprised?

 

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But, we’re now past that stage, with the sunflower petals withering and the heads all flopping over, so that they face the ground. This development is not especially attractive in an ornamental plant, but exciting if you’re growing sunflowers for the seeds. They’re not ready yet, but even here you can get a sense of the seeds forming under each little yellow flower.

Kale Haircut

The kale I planted early this spring is still hanging on, but there was a point where we were out of town in July and the cabbageworm party got a little out of control. The leaves were all so damaged, that I went ahead and cut almost all of them off, knowing that the plants would sprout new leaves. So far, so good! Here’s a photo of the plant sprouting new leaves from a week or so ago.

Kale Haircut

I need to stay on top of it though. Here’s a picture from today. Time to hand pick some more worms!

Kale Haircut 2

Really Big Squash Blossoms

Vertical photos don’t fit very neatly into a blog post, but I like these squash blossoms so much, I’m going to go ahead and post them anyway. These are blossoms from the ‘White Cushaw’ winter squash. They’re astonishingly large compared to the summer squash blossoms I’ve been seeing this summer:These flowers are almost as large as the squash leaves. (You can get the best sense of scale in the last photo.)

Blossom

White Cushaw Vertical

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Really Big Sunflowers

This aptly named plant is a ‘Titan’ sunflower, and it grows to over 12 feet! This year I have several of these sunflowers towering over my vegetable garden. The seeds are also supposed to be especially big, so looking forward to seeing those.

Sunflower 2

Three Sisters 2016: August Update

This year I’m growing a three sisters garden¬† bed with corns, beans and squash planted together. And, it’s starting to look pretty good! Here are a few photos.

Three-Sisters-Update-Small

In the photo above, you can see all three plants doing more or less what they’re supposed to do. The beans are using the corn stalks as a trellis, while the squash plants fill in around the corn and beans.

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I don’t have any actual beans yet, they’re much later than last year. However, the plants look strong and are starting to flower. These are ‘Kentucky Wonder’ beans, which are usually eaten fresh, but can also be dried and used as a shell bean.

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Meanwhile, for the winter squash, I have a lot of squash blossoms and a few recognizable squash fruits on the vine. Here’s the largest one so far. This is a variety called ‘White Cushaw.’ One reason I chose it is that it’s supposed to have good resistance to squash bugs. It must, because it’s still alive.

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And finally, here’s the corn, which I just started harvesting today. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be green. This is ‘Oaxacan Green’ corn, and it’s a kind of grain corn, so the end goal is to make some really odd looking -but tasty!-corn bread.

Cherry Tomato Color Mix

In general, my full-sized tomatoes are not looking too promising this year, but the cherry tomatoes are looking pretty good, so let’s focus on that! As in past years, I’ve planted a mix of colors, because they’re just so pretty that way. These are ‘Jasper’ (red), ‘Sun Gold’ (orange), and ‘White Cherry (light yellow.)

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Two Herbs: Borage and Burdock

I’m growing a couple of new-to-me herbs this year, borage and burdock. Here’s a little about each.

This is borage. Both the flowers and leaves are edible, and they taste like cucumbers. I’ve been sampling the plant as it grows, and I like the taste, but my husband tried it and did not like the texture. I’ve read that borage can get as tall as 3 feet, but these plants are closer to 1 foot at the moment. I have just a few borage plants in among a few other herbs and vegetables, including chives and cucumbers. It’s an unusual looking plant, but I think the flowers are pretty. Borage is also supposed to be a good plant for bees.

Borage 2

And this is burdock, a plant that is usually¬† grown for the roots, which are harvested and eaten like other root vegetables. It’s popular in Japan. If left alone, these biennial plants will produce a flower stalk in the second year, but I’ll dig them up in the fall and harvest the roots. Looking forward to seeing how that goes! I planted this burdock in a bed with two other crops that were harvested earlier in the season – lettuce and purslane. That actually worked out well. I was able to harvest those crops while the burdock plants were still small, and then they gradually filled in the extra space.

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