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Lammas: Early Harvest

Lammas is the first harvest festival.  I was starting to wonder if I'd have much harvest by now other than herbs, peas, spinach and mulberries, which are by rights spring crops; the weather has been very dry after a long, cold spring.  However, finally, I have some harvest, the first large tomato and the first cherry tomatoes, the first cayenne pepper, and the first of the purple beans.  I also have a bunch of green tomatoes of various types, a few green bell peppers (still small) some leaf lettuce, and one cabbage that is starting to look nicely round, though it's also still small.  Oh, and there's still peas, a tribute to a very cool summer, though some of the pea plants are finally starting to die.

The other garden news is that we spent some time this evening shaping the mulberry tree.  In the spring, before the mulberry started to form its fruit, we bent the tree down, with the plan of eventually forming it into an arbor-like arch; this year, we just wanted the top of the tree low enough so we could pick berries.  (The parent tree, over by our garage, has no low branches, and does little but feed the birds and racoons.)

Today, now that the berries are gone, and the branches have grown longer, we went out to shape it.  First, we braided the top four branches together, tying them and re-adjusting the twine holding them to the stake in the lawn.  Then we similarly wove side branches to either side of it, tying one set to another stake, and the other to the top set of branches.  We could have trimmed off the extra branches (and we did trim a few), but we like the berries, so the primary goal was to make sure the branches are high enough for even My Angel to walk under and low enough that I can pick the fruit.  Secondary, but also important, was to have a good-lookign tree when we finished.

And My Angel says that once we get the arch trained the way we want it, we bury the tip of the tree, and it will take root there too.  I didn't know that mulberry trees would do that!

Looking at the results, it's clear that what I was imagining would be a simple arch is actually spread wide enough that in a few years, if we keep training it, it will become a nice shade canopy over part of the yard.  We will just have to keep weaving the new branches sideways, not letting them grow upward (out of reach) or down to where they would hinder walking underneath.  The silhouette is currently rather mushroom-like, which pleases My Angel considerably.  I wish I could have taken a picture of the tree after we tied it, but it was too dark.  I'll take one soon.  But in the meantime, here's a few pictures from yesterday and earlier today.

Photos, from the top:  cherry tomatoes over cabbage; bell pepper and purple basil; some of our many green tomatoes, with a view of the neighbor's house in the background; purple "green beans" growing above the bricks that border that patch of garden; the first brandywine tomato; candid shot of a peapod; ripe and green cayenne peppers; habanero and two lettuces, and sage with more of the purple basil.

And thank you to the people who recommended picture editing programs.  It's nice to be able to crop pictures again!


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
Your garden looks lovely, it's going to be a very yummy harvest! We haven't hit spring yet, Solstice is 21 Sept, and the weather has been on the wet side. But my new dwarf nectarine & peach have started budding (bought them this year). I planted carrots a few weeks ago and have some silverbeet starting to sprout. I've got some 'tiger tomato' heirloom seeds from a friend's garden last year and will re-use some of my old tomato soil hoping some of the seeds will germinate. I usually do tomatoes in pots (clay soil) but I'll see how it goes having a couple large pots instead of several smalller ones.
Aug. 6th, 2009 08:54 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I remember reading that tomato seeds have to ferment to germinate; if you got the seeds fresh, I'd look up the process on the net. You are basically trying to mimic the tomato rotting around the seeds in the ground, which is what happens if people don't intervene. Of course, if your friend has been growing them for years, they will know what works for this particular variety. Heirloom tomatoes usually have great flavor.
Aug. 6th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)
That is very good to know! I have been growing them for years myself and never thought about that. He gave me a tomato and I forgot about it in the plastic container, I think it got fairly ripe (not quite rotted/fermented but not regular ripe) so hopefully that did ok. Maybe I'll plant 1/2 to all the seeds anyway and hope one comes up. My old soil should be ok then, since that should have 'fermented' seeds. They are heirloom varieties too, I had a couple of green tomatoes, Black Russians and a 'rainbow' tomato that was yummy. I neglected my garden last year and we had a dry year so I didn't get very many because they didn't get enough water. With both of us working full time and then I have to also cover the litter box and all the cooking because she's also studying I can't get out and water as much as I should. I'm going to try to do better this year.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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