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Small Kitchen Garden Bloom Day, July 2011

This onion barely qualifies as “in bloom” on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. A few petals remain, and I assume the white bud-looking things are future onion seeds. If these grow anything like wild onions, I expect to see sprouts emerge all over this ball within a month or so… assuming I can continue to work around it—at this point, it’s kind of in the way in my small kitchen garden.

It’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and my Small Kitchen Garden actually has something to offer! My vegetables are a few weeks behind compared to past years, but things are finally shaping up. (Understand that I had virtually no spring crops this season because my planting bed was underwater until the end of MAY.) Tomatoes have formed (seedlings went into the garden in early June) and I’m projecting the first will ripen in mid August… which is just a bit later than usual.

Peppers are the hold outs this year. While my bell pepper plants are lush and growing, my jalapeno, banana pepper, and poblano plants have stood for weeks with no apparent growth. Now that the soil is seasonably dry, I hope these struggling plants finally get it in gear.

For long-time readers of Your Small Kitchen Garden, the cilantro and dill pairing should seem familiar; it has starred in many a Bloom Day post. The dill (right) is poised to blossom, while the cilantro (left) is about to produce coriander—seeds from the cilantro plant are, in and of themselves, a popular seasoning.

My herb bed helped me through the wet spring; it was never as wet at the main planting bed so I was able to start annuals alongside the perennials I’d set in in the fall. The purple flowers—clearly in bloom—are on a volunteer that I recognized when it first sprouted; it had snuck in from my wife’s ornamental plantings. The modest blossoms stand out against the lush greens of sage, cilantro, dill, and basil.

Mint blossoms! I don’t know what type of mint it is… it started growing two years ago in a planter containing tarragon plants. I’m OK with it as long as it stays in the container. But if it escapes, I will almost certainly eradicate it; mint is aggressive about colonizing planting beds.

The broccoli was a joke this year. Because of rain, I left seedlings in their starting pots about a month too long. When I finally set them in the garden, the soil was too wet—and then it rained. When the plants finally sent up florets, each would have filled about a tablespoon. The side shoots have been even less impressive. I’ve pulled all but three of the plants, and a rabbit recently pruned two of them. Climbing beans are now emerging from the decimated broccoli area. Pretty yellow flowers will not save the last broccoli plants from a move to the compost heap.

Happiness is a tomato blossom presaging the coming harvest. (I said “presaging” because it has “sage” in it.) I’m growing 10 varieties of tomatoes this year if you don’t count the Cherokee Purples that have sprung up in the compost heap.

There seems always to be at least one interloper at my Bloom Day photo shoots. Here, a fly-looking thingy tries to steal the spotlight from a bell pepper flower. I so hope my peppers have enough growing season remaining to turn red; I’d like to make a batch of red pepper relish using only peppers from my garden.

Yep: weed. At least that’s what my wife says. I think it looks like a morning glory, but my wife assures me it’s not. Still… it really wants to be a morning glory. I suppose I should believe my wife given that these things grow as abundantly as purslane wherever we work the soil.

That’s a cosmos about to burst into song in my vegetable garden. It irks me just a little to have been planting flowers, but I planted corn this year (which I haven’t done since I was a kid). I mentioned one week during #gardenchat (a weekly gathering on Twitter of anyone wishing to discuss gardening) that I was going to plant corn, and someone assured me that if I plant cosmos with it corn ear worms will not visit my crop. I hope this wasn’t just a mean trick to get me to plant flowers… We shall see.


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6 Responses to “Small Kitchen Garden Bloom Day, July 2011”

  • Good luck with the cosmos ‘n’ corn. Don’t hold too much of a grudge against the flowers, even if all they turn out to be is pretty. There’s still something to be said for pretty in a garden. :)

  • jeff:

    Interesting pepper problems. Mine seem to be the opposite. Bananas and Jalapenos are coming in fine, but the bell peppers plants seem weak and none have blooms on them. Granted, this is my first go at having a garden, but still a bit disappointed.

  • Daniel, Veggie Expert!
    I have a question about my one Big Boy tomato plant. (It’s the only plant I’m growing.)
    It has about a half dozen tomatoes on it (the size of ping pong balls), but the plant itself is scrawny and vine- like. I have a friend whose Big Boy plant every year usually looks like a “bush.” What can I do to help my weeny tomato plant fill out? I just need the plain horse facts about this!

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Marsha: There are so many possible reasons for scrawny tomato plants. Here are some guesses:

    Sunlight – Does the plant get every hour of sun available in a day?
    Nutrition – Is the plant growing in decent soil? Can you mulch with compost? Add some fertilizer? Even when these things are in good shape, if you plant a seedling with soil up to the root line, the original stem might not fill out as more stem grows. This can result in a weak plant. Early, you can mound well-aged compost around the stem, heaping it six or more inches, and roots may develop along the covered length of stem. This can help beef up the plant. In future years, plant seedlings so only the top three leaves protrude from the soil; if the stem is 10 inches, you might have to bury 8 inches of it.
    Water – Too much water can stunt a plant, and too little water can stunt a plant.

    Good luck. Let us know if you manage to coax better performance from it.

  • Janice Hansen:

    Your “morning glory” looks very much like a Datura. I’ve actually planted them, because they’re so pretty. :)

    Some info:

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Janice: Thanks for visiting my blog. I agree that the flower has some resemblance to Datura, but on some. The leaves are even vaguely similar. Also: my morning glory weeds are vines; I could never describe them as bushes.

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