Kalyn's Kitchen

Garden Update #2

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.

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    11 Comments on “Garden Update #2”

  1. Nerissa, show us your garden when it gets going.

    Cyndi, I can relate. I remember those days.

    Mae, I’m going to try Farmgirl’s trick with the board.

    Gattina, never thought about the cucumber flowers being edible. I bet they are though.

  2. Kalyn,
    I enjoy so much seeing those plants and herbs in your garden! I wonder if the cucumber’s flower is edible just like zucchini’s… and hope your arugula and swiss chard continue doing great, I love them!

  3. Wow, Kalyn! All those plants. Good luck with the slug problems.

  4. I miss having a garden, but with all my travel in the summer, I wouldn’t be here to tend it. Your garden is lovely!

  5. Such lovely piccies. I’m green with envy. All I have coming up right now is my arugula and butter lettuce. The weather has been downright horrid for anything but the most cool-weather tolerant plants. I’ve others that are growing that were already well establish but the new babies are taking forever.

  6. Steven – I actually don’t even like beer! This was leftover beer from a guest who stayed at my house, and I have two more bottles, so I will try again.

    Ivonne – show us your garden!

    Farmgirl – I will try the trick with the board next! Great idea. Love the sound of your arugula pesto.

  7. Hi Kalyn,
    The garden is certainly coming along nicely. If the beer tricks don’t work, you can try laying an old board next to your plants in the garden. Turn it over in the morning, and it should have the slimies clinging to it.

    Also, diatomaceous earth might work, as it kills soft bodied creatures (like caterpillars) with its microspcopic glass-like shards. When the softies slide over it, it literally cuts them to death. Sounds gross, but sometimes it’s gross or an empty dinner plate. : )

  8. Wow, Kalyn!

    We just got in some of our plants today so I can’t believe that your garden is already in full swing! Everything looks wonderful and I agree with you … it’s so exciting to check in every day to see how your plants have grown and changed!

  9. “Master” gardener, you are too kind!
    Its amazing how plants will shoot up literally over night if the weather is good, every time I turn my back, my potatoes seem to grow an inch.

    Linda makes a good point about making the container level with the ground. Give it another shot because you’re certainly not going to drink that 3% are you?

  10. Linda, thanks for the additional tip on how to get the snails to drink beer! The bowls I used were quite high, so I will give it another try and bury them as you suggested.

  11. Beautiful garden Kalyn ~ you are truly lucky…
    I just wanted to comment on the beer thing. When we do it, we bury ramekins in the soil so the edge of the ramekin is level with the soil line. We have successfuly used lower alcohol beers as slug deterrent this way.