Saturday, July 5, 2008

Duck, duck, duck ...

Since their arrival 4 weeks ago, the ducklings have transitioned from a safe, contained area to the wide-open pond. They seem to get on well with the other ducks, and their fluffy down has turned into full-fledged feathers. I present below, a Pekin and what we think is an Indian Runner crossed with ... something:

On another note, last week we added a new duck species to our life list; here are some family members celebrating the event:

Mid-Season Garden Progress Report

There's been a lot happening in the garden! Overall I'm pleased with the results, and am keeping detailed notes to guide next year's planting: more of this, less of that, change the bed layout, rotate, and on and on ...
I met my personal commitment to berries, made last year. The strawberry harvest was great, yielding 3 quarts a day at its peak. It was much more than we could eat, but I now have several bags of berries in the freezer so they will not go to waste. Unfortunately our raspberries haven't done so well; we have a couple of bushes yielding pretty berries but several where the berries are tiny and dry.

We planted about 8 rows of peas this year, and the yield was OK. But we will plant more next year, because fresh peas are wonderful, and even with decent yields it takes a lot of plants to enjoy the peas for more than one meal. We harvested the dried pods to save as seeds, tilled the bed, and this is what we're left with. I'm trying to decide whether we want to plant something else this season -- carrots, perhaps?

The lettuce hasn't done so well; I think we planted too late. And then, just as some harvest-ready leaves appeared, we went on vacation. Bunnies enjoyed them during our absence.

Zucchini is known the world over for huge yields that send you searching through your cookbooks. Being new to gardening, I was sure I'd kill half the plants, so I've probably overdone it. Of course we're experiencing the yield that gives zucchini its reputation. Take a look at this guy, standing at attention! I just took two loaves of zucchini bread from the oven ... tasty! Surplus squash will undoubtedly be cooked in many forms, and foisted on unsuspecting neighbors and office colleagues.

Tomatoes are in flower. Like zucchini, these are relatively easy to grow so we may end up with much more than we could possibly consume. But with tomatoes, that's by design: I cook a lot of dishes that call for tomatoes, so I'd like to try my hand at canning and enjoy the abundance all year 'round.

It looks like we'll have beans soon as well; I'm seeing lots of pretty flowers like these on the more mature plants. I've tried seeding these rows in succession to stagger the yield.

And last but not least, the potatoes are growing like mad above ground; I only hope they are prospering below! This is a bit like waiting for Christmas, knowing full well I mustn't peek. In any case, we have about 35 plants which may or may not deliver more potatoes than we can handle. Stay tuned ...