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Fruit and Vegetables from a Summer Garden

Garden Share Collective January 2016

first apricot on new tree

This post is part of a regular monthly series of the Garden Share Collective. Vegetable gardening enthusiasts from around the world provide an update on what is happening in their gardens. You can join in on the last Monday of the month by linking to this post or via Rosehips and Rhubarb.

The theme of this month’s post is fruit. 

We have a few young fruit trees – 2 types of apple, orange, lime, lemon, feijoa, nectarine, peach and apricot, mandarin, and a miniature pear. Our back yard is a suburban sized yard. It is possible to grow a good variety of trees if you choose to do so.

This year has been the first year we have had a little harvest from most of them – except the nectarine and pear which were planted after the others. The peaches were so gloriously juicy and sweet that they were mostly eaten straight off the tree when we were in the backyard.

first peaches homegrown

One of the apple trees (Pink Lady) has just a single fruit on it. It may sound silly, but the tree stalls tall, with the branches reaching straight up, it looks proud to have the one perfect fruit growing! The first it has developed since we planted it.

Single Apple

The other little apple tree is completely laden with fruit. The branches are bowing with the fruit.  I have removed many of the immature fruit so the tree would have the strength to grow some of them them. The apples seem to have a black dot on most of them. I am not sure what it is, I’ve not had the chance to research it yet but it doesn’t look good. I am not sure it is is a pest of something else.  If you have any ideas on what it could be and an organic solution I’d love to hear it. Please share in the comments.

It seems like an eternity waiting for a fruit tree to deliver. Years for the trees to develop to a reasonable size to bear fruit, then more for the fruit to grow. In comparison to the quick wins provided by the vegetable garden, when the fruit finally comes it seems precious.

Planting:

This month I have raised seeds of the following:

  • Carrots
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Pumpkin – to add another variety in addition to those that are growing
  • Rocket
  • Spinach – The summer ones have gone to seed
  • Tomatoes – as an experiment to see how late I can plant them and still get a decent harvest.

Some of these vegetables listed above are better suited to autumn planting so if you are following my lead, do so with care. I am carefully monitoring their location and care to protect them from the summer heat.

Harvesting:

Summer Garden Harvest

Summer is my favourite month in the garden. It is so incredibly bountiful. I love that I rarely need to buy vegetables during this whole period. There is a constant supply of gorgeous produce, so much in most instances that I can dehydrate, freeze, make sauces, chutney and relish that lasts us throughout the year. I love it. It is also the busiest time of the year, in the kitchen and the garden to stay on top of harvesting, watering and the cooking. I need to get creative around this time when the zucchini, capsicum and cucumber are starting to pile up and the tomatoes are overflowing from their bowl.  I have been handing many over the two fence borders to my neighbors and need to remove myself from holiday mode and start to work on some new recipes.

I am just beginning to get to the stage of an involuntary sigh escaping when I go to check what is ready in the garden and find another few cucumbers and zucchini and a bowl full of tomatoes to add to those from yesterday that I still haven’t finished. I am not complaining. I love the excess, the gluts, the creativity that it instigates and the opportunity to share with friends and neighbours.

Healthy zucchini plants

I harvested 4 cucumber yesterday and counted 9 on the plant soon to be ready!  Eeeek… The cucumber variety is “Mid East Peace”. It is a rare heirloom variety, included in the Kitchen Garden Box. It is the best cucumber I have ever grown. Healthy, vigorous, with lovely fruit. I planted three of them, we would have had plenty with a single plant. You can see them in the picture below, climbing up and spreading over their frame.

Cucumber

This month we have been collecting:

  • Apricots
  • Capsicum
  • Chilli
  • Cucumber
  • Herbs – basil, chives, coriander, cress, mint, parsley, vietnamese mint,
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Kale
  • Rocket
  • Spring onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

The pumpkins have set and are beginning to swell in size. There is a decent number on the vines with more developing. The eggplant are the only summer plants yet to set fruit.

pumpkin

The tomatoes and pumpkins are loving their vertical set up and are spreading in a contained manner at this point rather than all over the yard!  The tomatoes have reached the tops of their strings and are now starting to head across in the other direction (towards the pumpkin).

growing tomatoes and pumpkin vertical

tomatoes grow on string

The variety of corn we have planted this year is TALL. They seemed to take a long time but there are now a couple of cobs on each plant. The silks are a pretty shade of pink.

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve collected corn from the garden to eat so I have high hopes for these beauties.

Corn silks

To do:

I collected four big bags of sheep manure on a recent road trip to the country so the first job on my list in the coming week is to get that into the garden beds.

The weeds are going as crazy as the vegetables.  All of the garden beds need to be weeded.

The laterals on the tomatoes need some attention – eg: they need removing.

 

What are you up to in the garden this month? Are you collecting some amazing bounties for meals?

The next Garden Share Collective themes are shown in the image below. Join us.

Garden Share Collective


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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Grant Nowell January 25, 2016, 7:28 pm

    Your garden is an inspiration and your passion and commitment are qualities I admire. A productive garden gives us so much, a sense of achievement, food to enjoy, things to smell or just look at with pride, they teach us to love and nurture and a great garden gives us things to share with friends.

  • Vickie January 26, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Great article. I’ll need to start following. My black eggplants have given me 4 large fruit so far this year. I planted them in a wicking barrel in compost and soil in full sun. They are very healthy strong bushes. In contrast, the eggplants I planted in the garden with a little compost and a dripper system are scrawny, and the fruit is only an inch long. I’ll definately plant them in wicking beds next year.

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