Nursery/Garden update Week of July 16, 2021

Many things have been growing well and the garden is filled with life. I love doing the planning, work, and research all year to have a garden, but this is the time of year I really love.  Things are growing and getting ready to harvest.  We get to be outside in the sun and enjoy the rewards of our hard work and planning.  I am so grateful for all of the good fortune we’ve had in our garden, all of the harvests we’ve already had, and all of the lessons learned from the things that didn’t work out.  

This year potatoes have been our biggest bounty so far (although with many pepper plants, I don’t think it will stay that way).  We’ve harvested 4 batches of potatoes, and there is one batch still in the ground.  The first two harvest were from grow bags and the next two were from a raised bed.  The remaining potatoes are in the raised bed too.  I’m going to have to say, even as someone who sells grow bags, that our yield on the same varieties was larger from the raised bed than from the grow bags.  It wasn’t a great difference, but it was significant enough to notice.  I probably should have weighed the harvests to quantify the difference, but as with many of these observational things this is going to have to wait until next year where I’ll try to be more methodical about comparisons.

Freshly dug potatoes with soil still on them.
Red Gold potatoes.

We’ve also harvested some blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries.  The variety of blackberries we have, Prime Ark 45, are super high yielding and produce all the way through summer.  The only problem is that they are patented, so I can’t propagate them to sell.  I am looking to add some not patented blackberry bushes in the fall to propagate for the future.  Blackberries are such a great perennial treat.  

For the most part we are still waiting on peppers.  I harvested two underripe Thai Dragon peppers.  Harvesting the first fruit in an underripe state is thought to signal to the plants DNA that it did not successfully reproduce/set seed and so the plant will put more energy into producing more fruit.  The underripe pods were quite tasty, with a very nice heat.  Very middle of the road heat, not too mild, but also not uncomfortable.  The Thai dragon plants are already loaded with flowers and fruit and I’m hoping to turn at least some of them into hot sauce. Other pepper varieties have flowered and some even have some small fruit forming, but nothing close to harvesting yet.  This year we are growing:  Habaneros, Habanadas (Habanero minus the heat), Tam Jalapeno (milder), Early Jalapeno, Thai Dragon, Grand Bell, Carolina Reaper, and Panamanian Creole peppers.  I think I get most excited by peppers from the garden.  

Two small green peppers in hand
Underripe Thai Dragon peppers – The first peppers of the year.

The garden is also filled with life in other ways.  In our Japanese Maple tree we had a couple of Robins make a nest.  They had two chicks who we watched grow up.  I know human kids grow up fast, but wow, these little ones went from chicks to fledglings in a little over a month.  It was wonderful watching the parents bringing food back for them and seeing them grow and eventually leave the nest.  A couple years ago we had some Morning Doves with a nest in one of our hanging baskets.  It seems they stuck around a little while longer.  We love having avian visitors in our garden!  

As far as the nursery goes we’ve been propagating edible and landscape plants to have ready for next year.  We recently rooted Hansen’s and Nanking bush cherries.  We are currently rooting 2 varieties of arborvitaes:  Emerald Green and Little Giant.  We’ll be rooting various plants in preparation for a large plant sale next spring.  

That about what’s going on in the nursery and garden.  Oh, and this weekend we’ll be making pesto with fresh harvested basil and garlic.  I’m pretty excited about that.  We always freeze half of our batch of pesto to enjoy in the winter.  Do you do any food preservation with your harvests from the garden?  If so, I’d love to hear about it, tell me all about it in the comments below.           

Pollinators enjoying the garden

  PS – Do you live in the South Hills and have an awesome garden? Would you like to be featured in this blog? I plant on starting to do a garden feature in the near future. I want to show off the gardens of some friends and readers. If you are interested in having your garden featured, please let me know!

Best of wishes and have a great weekend!

Published by scottmeneely

Gardener passionate about organic gardening, fresh food, sustainable landscaping, home brewing, and much more! Our nursery also includes my wife and 2 kids. We work together, learn together, and travel together. My wife is Panamanian and we try to grow lots of good Latin American ingedients. We live in Baldwin, Pennsylvania in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

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