Mid-July Garden

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The mid-July garden has bought a slower strawberry harvest (search in hopes of finding 1-2 per day), eating peas, flowers and pods setting on the drying peas, turnip greens as we thin them out, an accelerating blackberry harvest, and asparagus pea flowers.

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It has also raised a few questions in the quasiallotment:

Why are the kale leaves turning red?

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Why is the calendula so stunted?

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What are we growing here with the carrots? Do we want to grow these things?

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What is this plant?

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Why were the picking peas growing vertically and refusing to climb the support (but holding on to one another? I’ve wrapped string around them and just tied them in closer.

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June Garden

Whew! Another month flew by.
Our quasiallotment is now growing. I’ve never seen anything gather weeds so quickly, but I think that’s an indicator of our usual square foot gardening approach. In the plot, it’s pretty much a scatter cluster!

Anyway, our second sowing of peas and beans is creeping along. The picking peas gave us their first harvest late last week and I grabbed another few this weekend. Our soup peas are reaching high and have begun flowering.

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The runner beans (picking and soup) seem a bit stunted. Our first indoor sowing leapt for the sky but these are just short wee things.

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The kale seems happier than the cabbage…

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and the asparagus pea is still to come into its own. We think the soil  in the plot may have laid fallow for a while and are taking the learning as it comes while planning for improvements next year.

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One thing that will help our plans for next spring is this absolute beauty.

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Not only were we gifted this wonder greenhouse, but a neighbour broke it down, moved it, and set it up for us! I am still trying to figure out a thank you.

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On Friday, I moved out the 20-some tomato plants that have been growing on our table in the living room. I chatted on the phone with my sister for two hours while moving, potting up (some of) the plants and then attempting to provide support. I’ll need to look into proper support because we were given some vine tomatoes and have grown bush varieties in the past.
In the rest of the garden, both our volunteer potatoes in the veg patch and our cultivated potatoes in the quasiallotment are growing well.
We have strawberries and tayberries setting fruit, and wild strawberries beginning to ripen.

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We also have many other things flowering. A foxglove is flowering in the veg patch, which means it was obviously there last year. I love watching the bees crawl deep inside the blooms.

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In the front yard, mallow and common loosestrife are blossoming for the pollinators…

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And my cat has enjoyed stalking the creatures that camp out in the lady’s mantle.

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May Garden

The May garden still belongs to flowers. Right now, our lilacs, columbine, strawberry, tayberry,  chives, and rosemary are in bloom.

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The (quasi-allotment) plot is planted up with picking peas, soup peas, runner beans, drying runner beans, asparagus peas, kale, cabbage, potatoes, calendula, beets, bok choy, and chard. Only the transplants and potatoes are visible right now.

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We haven’t gotten to planting the veg patch yet since the zucchini we planned to plant died.  The same variety of zucchini also died off last year and we thought it was just because it was wet. We’re going to go back to a f1 variety for zucchini because we’d rather have sterile plants growing than none at all.

What we do have growing in the patch so far is the nasturtium (that I was worried hadn’t come back), dead nettle, and about 17 volunteer potato plants in two areas.

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The indoor tomatoes (awaiting the greenhouse) are doing well and I potted them up in the beautiful sunshine this weekend.

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Easy Throw-Together Lentil Loaf

I wanted an easy lentil loaf that would hold together and taste nice. The recipes I found online had a lot of spices to measure and I wanted something simpler.
The weather was beautiful and I didn’t want to be stuck inside so I cooked the lentils and threw the rest together later.

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2C cooked lentils, soaked then cooked with stock
1 small chopped onion
1C egg whites (I had this in the fridge, use whole eggs if that’s what you have). Add last so you can season to taste
2-ish tsp nutritional yeast
Salt, pepper
Seasoning (I used smoked paprika)
Pour into lined loaf tin. Cook at 175C for 10 minutes or so, then reduce to around 155C. Cook for a while (I didn’t time it…check at 30 mins), perhaps around 45 minutes.
Full of protein and slices well for freezing.

Garden Update

As we finally approach the frost date for our area  (mid May!), the garden is slowly coming together. We’ve been given use of a garden plot in our neighbourhood! It measures 5×3 metres and we plan to plant the longer growing plants over there. Last month we built the bean poles and then decided to plant out the tall beans and soup peas under fleece. Unfortunately, April optimism gets us every year and all the beans are dead. Some peas are hanging on and we’ll soon be able to plant out directly.

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In trying to figure out the best way to reach the middle of the plot without stepping in the patch, I took to instagram to ask people with allotments how they managed. The consensus seemed to be either plant it and then step back for the season, or divide and conquer with paths. I was worried about compacting the soil but this seems to be unfounded.
We purchased some round stepping stones (our local B&Q doesn’t stock them but we managed to find them at Homebase) and I dug them in across the middle of the plot. That’s when I realised we’d need more to reach the rest of the plot.
Just then a neighbour walked by and commented on the plot and as we chatted, she offered me spare stepping stones from her garden. This neighbourhood seriously fills me with such gratitude. I went to collect them and she also offered me strawberry plants, which I gratefully accepted. That evening, I dug in the new stones, tilled the soil until my hand blistered, andadded the strawberries to our patch out back.

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Mogget really likes our quasi-allotment and follows me there whenever he can!

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Our backyard has been a base for roofers over the past few weeks so we haven’t gotten much done there, but outdoor fruit has received some attention. We tied up the tayberry, weeded the strawberry patch, un-fleeced the small pear (upper right corner of photo below), rescued an ailing supermarket blueberry plant (bottom right), and are trying potted raspberries. A few years ago we tried growing raspberries from canes and they never established. They kept moving away from the place we had them and they never thrived.

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We need to get back on the ball and start more seedlings. All we have at the moment are brassicas, zucchini, tomatoes, and asparagus pea. Planting, and photos, to follow…

Artful Mending

Although my play jeans have grown with me over the past year, they’ve begun to wear through. In my late teens and early twenties, my favourite jeans became a network of patches over time. And I loved them.

When looking for mending inspiration, I was captivated by the ideas of visible mending, artful mending, and Japanese boro and sashiko stitching.

Since I wanted to feel secure and have confidence that extra fabric really is there in the crotch area, I put the rectangle of fabric inside rather than outside (as common in boro techniques) of the jeans. I pinned it in place and then started stitching.

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I used two colours of blue embroidery floss (for greater compatability with future patches) and took my time, finding pleasure in the process as well as the outcome.

Brownies!

Having given up sugar over a year and a half ago, and being off gluten and dairy, it’s been a while since I had a brownie. I found a coconut flour brownie recipe from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures and they’re wonderful! I omitted the chips and made them one weekend. Honey tried them and really liked them. The next day, a friend and my sister-in-law tried them (neither of them are used to trying my style of food) and they both approved. The friend even requested the brownies a couple of weeks later when I was heading over to her house. Brownies for the win!

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