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It’s a beautiful summer day outside, yet my mind is on fall and Halloween?


Why?


Because, this is what I discovered growing in my vegetable garden this morning…



Okay, maybe you cannot see it yet, but once you part the leaves…


You can see a white pumpkin happily growing.


I’m so excited to have a pumpkin growing in my garden again.

You might be scratching your head at this point and wonder why I have a pumpkin growing in the middle of summer.

Look at any vegetable planting calendar for zone 9a deserts and you will see that pumpkin seeds should be planted in mid-June if you want pumpkins ready for Halloween.
Pumpkin vines are fairly easy to grow and they will spread out a lot!  We found that out the hard way when we grew our first pumpkin vine a few years ago.

Even though pumpkin vines grow well, they rarely form pumpkin fruit (yes, pumpkins are technically a fruit) when planted in the middle June as recommended.

Our first pumpkin in 2010

BUT, pumpkins will often form if you plant the seeds a couple of months early.  I’ve grown pumpkins from seeds sown in spring before (click here).  Unfortunately, I have had no luck having pumpkins from from seeds sown in June (as recommended).  

So my plan is to allow my pumpkin to continue growing and then pick it when it is ripe in late July  or early August.  

I’ll then store it in a cool, dry place where it should (hopefully) keep until I put out fall decorations in September.  I’m hoping it will last through October, but we will see.

*Incidentally, my mother has a white, heirloom pumpkin that she purchased last October that is still doing well and shows no signs of rot.  


I planted some heirloom pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin that I bought last fall, and the vine is growing well.  I hope to see a pumpkin forming on that vine soon.

From what I have observed, heirloom pumpkins with hard outer skin/shell seem to last a long time.  


I’ll keep you updated as to how my pumpkin patch is doing and when my new pumpkin is ready to pick!


Last year, my mother gave me a blackberry plant.


She had planned on using it herself, but then gave it to me instead.


To be honest, I hadn’t really thought seriously about growing berries in my garden.  But, as a child, we had quite a few blackberry bushes in our backyard and I remember eating blackberries over vanilla ice cream.  


So, I planted my single blackberry bush in my edible side garden where one of my vegetable gardens is located along with my fruit tree.


This spring, I was delighted to find the beginnings of little blackberry flowers…



Soon, I had tiny, green berries covering my blackberry bush…


I could hardly wait until they ripened.


Every few days, my son, Kai, would run outside to check on how they were ripening.  He would always come in with a few ripe ones.


I froze the berries in batches since they did not all ripen at the same time. 

Then I stored them away in the freezer until a special occasion in which to serve them.

BUT, you know what happened?  
I forgot about them until the other day when I was rummaging about in my freezer.


So I brought them out and prepared to make a blackberry topping for my homemade angel food cake.


I added sugar to the berries, which helps them to release their delicious juices.  

A couple of hours later, I mashed them and served them over cake…


They were so sweet and delicious.

It was fun to surprise my family with this truly homemade dessert.

**Last winter, I planted 6 additional blackberry bushes.  I can’t wait to harvest berries next year!

What is your favorite type of berry to eat?  
Do you grow any berries?  
What kinds?

Last week, I hinted at the garden video that I created for the folks at Troybilt as part of my paid partnership with the ‘Saturday 6’.


In the past, I have been in gardening videos, but I had a film crew who did all the filming and editing for the videos for their website.


This time, there was no film crew.  I was asked to create a homemade ‘how-to’ video for Troybilt on a gardening subject that I selected.


I decided to create a video on one of my favorite subjects…

“How to grow vegetables with ornamental plants in containers.”



The video is supposed to be amateurish and not polished.  I can assure you that I fulfilled their requirements.  There is no way that anyone can mistake my video as professionally done.


But, I had fun and I hope you like it.




 




I love getting a great deal, don’t you?


Back in October, I spent $2.40 for eight heads of garlic, from my local grocery store.


I planted them and 7 months later, it was time to harvest them.


As I stepped into the side vegetable garden, I took a good look at my garlic.  It was a lot bigger then in previous years.


I started pulling and realized that it was a lot harder to pull out then last year.

It was the biggest garlic that I had ever seen in my garden and I was thrilled.

Until I realized that I had planted twice as much garlic as last year and still had to pull out all of the remaining garlic.

A couple of hours later, I hauled in my garlic harvest…

All this for an initial investment of $2.40!

I had so much garlic that I couldn’t carry it in one load.


The larger heads were almost 4 inches wide.  However, the garlic that I grew in containers was quite a bit smaller – more like the size you find in the grocery store, which was fine with me.

Now all I have to do is to let my garlic ‘cure’ for a month in a dark, dry spot.  That usually means that I put them on top of my large freezer in the laundry room.

Garlic will last about 8 months if kept in a dark, dry spot out of the heat.  I don’t think we will be able to use all our garlic.  Thankfully, I have plenty of people to share it with.

For more info on how to grow and ‘cure’ garlic, you can check out my earlier post “Got Garlic?”.

Have you ever noticed that not all treasures (and by ‘treasures’, I mean vegetables) in your vegetable garden are obvious?

A particularly sneaky vegetable are cucumbers.
You can look at a beautiful cucumber plant and not see any cucumbers, despite the fact that there may be quite a few just ready for the picking.
Cucumbers are very easy to grow and need support to grow up onto.  I use both tomato cages and thin bamboo stakes tied into a ‘tepee’ shape.
One thing you may not know about cucumbers is that each plant produces two different kind of flowers – one is male and the other is female.
Above, is a picture of the male flower.  They appear before the female flowers.
Female flowers have a thick base, which has the shape of a tiny cucumber.  It is from the female flowers that the cucumbers are formed.
Earlier this week, I went out to check my vegetable garden and to make sure there were no pests bothering my young cucumber plants.
All five of my cucumber plants looked happy and I didn’t expect any cucumbers yet.
But, just to be sure, I moved the large leaves aside and found….
A beautiful, fully ripe cucumber.
In fact, there wasn’t just one, there was another cucumber as well.
So the moral of this story is to check up on your vegetables often and look beyond the large leaves.