Last week was dedicated to picking peaches, and this week is dedicated to processing them. Yes, it's that time again. Every year, I curse my poor peach-thinning abilities. Although I attempt a tough-guy ruthlessness throughout the spring, I always fail to pick enough of the little marble sized peach babies, and end up thinning several more times, up until summer, when I realize the branches are about to crack. Last week I picked about 4 1/2 5-gallon bucketfuls, and many more are on the tree or the ground.
Peaches a la carte
I also curse my lack of spraying knowledge. I have tried to create a diverse habitat in the front yard to attract bees and beneficials insects. But aside from that, I just let the night-flying moths attack my little peach darlings, and many, although not all of the peaches, get infested. I've come to the conclusion that I need to spray SOMETHING, but I'm not sure what. I heard on the NPR garden show that a clay-based spray was effective, but I haven't tried it yet.
The bush beans are yielding nicely. Purple and gold varieties are fun to pick and fun to cook. I didn't plant enough to can, just enough to dine on two or three times a week. Last week I cooked Great Green Pesto Pasta and Thai Tofu and Green Beans. Both recipes are from the cookbook Simply in Season, which has really helped me start eating more seasonally. I hope that the pole beans I planted around our home-made been teepee will pick up the pace once the bush beans start to peter out.
Three-legged Bean Teepee
I harvested my little batch of garlic - probably 15 bulbs total. After I set them on a screen to cure for two weeks, I put them in an old oatmeal container in the pantry by the back door. For a week I smelled garlic whenever I came in from the garage! They were pretty easy to raise, and I plan to plant them again in September or October. Next year I will try to braid them instead of cutting off their tops. Although I barely water them, the onions that I have distributed throughout the garden are still alive, and we harvest them sporadically.
Curing the garlic harvest
I have spotted two baby butternuts, some little zukes, and the okra are starting to flower. The sunflowers are getting HUGE! The pepper plants are a little puny, but I've eaten a few Grape tomatoes already. Unfortunately, three of my seven tomato plants have evidence of spider mites. I have been spraying the undersides of the leaves (where the wee mites live) with a full-blast of water in the mornings, but so far no improvement. This always happens whenever the summers start to get hot. They tend to recover later in the year and deliver a bounty in September.
My major frustration is the kiwi trellis. Despite the heroic efforts of my husband (who has done all of the work while I watch our toddler), the trellis is not complete due to various design flaws, lack of proper parts, and a particularly irritating incident wherin a certain big-box store shorted us 15 feet of trellis wire. At this point, it's a $150 boondoggle just sitting there laughing at me. Worse, the arguta kiwis don't seem to be exhibiting the incredible growth spurts that were advertised. Even worse than that, the male kiwi seems to have bit the dust from the heat. Will this be a kiwi trellis or just a massively overbuilt clothesline? Check back in a month and I'll let you know.