Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Solstice 2015 - Garden Update

This week's garden post starts on Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.  My husband found a group of insects clustered together while he was trimming trees and shrubs.

 It was larvae evolving to a bright orange beetle - it is a type of ladybug.  Chilocorus stigma

Next is a vegetable garden status update. Our experimental "cat's cradle" tomato cages made with fence posts and twine is working great even as the tomatoes start to get large and heavy!  I took the tomato plant pictures immediately below a week ago.  I have pictures taken from today Summer Solstice to compare the growth.

This is an excellent year for tomatoes.  Our vines are overflowing!

The peppers are doing well.  We have both bell peppers and jalapenos.


The cucumbers are growing up the trellis.  This is a good year for them.

 The squash and zucchini are starting to wind down and the squash bugs are starting to make an appearance, but they are still producing some fruit.

Here is a picture of the herb garden.  The honeybees are constantly buzzing around it, they especially love the catnip and basil flowers.  These same bees keep our vegetable flowers pollinated.  Asparagus continues to grow on the top.  We have rosemary, chives, basil, dill, parsley, oregano, catnip, and bay plant.

These pictures were taken today on Summer Solstice.  You can see that the tomatoes have continued to grow.  My husband added another row of twine today to hold them up.

 Our typical harvest about every other day.

 We harvested the cabbage today.  We didn't plant very many this year.  I plan to chop them up in a food processor.  My goal is to make sauerkraut.   Hopefully I'll get to make the sauerkraut this week.  Otherwise they will get frozen and used in stir-frys.

I harvested garlic several weeks ago.  They have been drying for a couple of weeks.  I cut off the ends - they are now ready for use in cooking.  The jalapeno peppers were harvested today. 

I'll make jalapeno poppers for my husband for Father's Day today - they are now his new favorite snack.  The hardest part is frying up the bacon and cutting up the jalapenos.  

I use the following recipe:  

I made the poppers several weeks before and they turned out excellent.

Around the yard now.  The Vitex is blooming now - it blooms most of the summer.  This small tree is a magnet for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.  They come in several colors and grow to approximately 20 feet tall.  They are drought tolerant but they grow lots of branches and require constant pruning. 

We found a dove nest in our Japanese black pine tree.  Unfortunately we think the doves abandoned it.

I found this five lined skink in one of my patio pots this morning.   This is a more unusual visitor to my yard.  In fact, this is the first one I have seen around here.

A nice morning on the front porch.

We had a beautiful sunrise in my neighborhood this week.  I loved the sunrays.

The echinecea (aka purple coneflower) is blooming now.

I also have another variety of daylily blooming now.  I really like the curly leaf on this one.

We had beautiful clouds this week after getting another 2" of rain.

I'll end the post with a picture of a blackberry cobbler I made this past week using our our harvested blackberries.  We harvested 13 quarts of blackberries this year from about 5 bushes.  I think the huge amount of rainfall in 2015 sharply curtailed our harvest this year.  I tried a new blackberry cobbler recipe I found on Youtube.  It reminds me of a dump cake recipe. It is easy and good and I highly recommend it.

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