If you saw my first garden update last Sunday, you're going to be amazed how much plants can grow in only a week. I think the surprising things you find some mornings when you're checking your garden is part of what makes it so fun to grow your own food. This weekend it's rainy and cloudy in Utah, but luckily on Saturday morning I got up extra early, full of the anticipation of three days off from work, and went out to the garden to take a few photos. Here are some things that caught my eye this week.
Last week there were flowers on the cucumbers, and this week, there are several little baby cucumbers. I love cucumbers fresh from the garden, almost as much as fresh tomatoes. Isn't this just the cutest thing you've ever seen? I train my cucumbers to grow on a triangular-shaped tomato cage that I lay down on its side over the plants to make a kind of frame, so that's what you see in the background.
A few years ago I learned how easy it was to grow basil from seeds. Now I plant a few basil plants just to feed that early summer basil craving, and then plant lots and lots of seeds. Eventually I'll have somewhere between 20-40 basil plants, depending on how well the seedlings survive. Here they are just barely starting to poke up.
If you saw the flowers on this Blushing Beauty pepper plant last week, you may be surprised there are already some peppers forming that are this big. The largest one is about the size of the end of my thumb. I'm hoping for peppers in a few weeks from this plant, which produces peppers that can be picked when they are yellow, orange, or red.
This year I'm experimenting with arugula and swiss chard on the west side of my house, where there's a bit more shade than in my garden. Last week I showed the arugula seedlings, and now the swiss chard is up. If you haven't tried growing chard, I think it's one of the easiest of all the greens, and it's lovely sauteed in a little olive oil and then sprinkled with a dash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
I have a long row of perennial herbs on the north side of my garden, and they're all starting to come back, but so far this oregano has filled in the most. I'm thinking it's time to make something with fresh oregano soon.
Last week I showed my squash plants which were being eaten by snails. I even had to replace one of my zucchini plants during the week. Master gardener Steven from the blog Dirt Sun Rain left a comment which suggested leaving a saucer of beer overnight, which should be full of snails the next day. In Utah, beer can't have more than 3.2% alcohol, something which is a sore subject with a lot of beer drinkers in this area. I'm very sorry to report that the snails seem to be completely uninterested in the Utah beer. I put out four dishes of beer like the one in this photo and after 5 days, still have not caught even one snail. Luckily, the new zucchini plant seems fine.