The Kitchen’s Garden Garden!

The gardens this year have largely been a disappointment. Crops like the potatoes, cucumbers, zuchinni, butternuts, pumpkins, and beans have either refused to fruit or  curled up and died due to that extreme heatwave we had.  But the aubergine, beetroot and capsicum all in the drought resistant frog garden are doing very well.

Now that it is cooler, and it is delightfully cooler with the temperatures for the next ten days forecast to be in the eighties we have begun to replant.  Once again gardening is a joy and ever so slowly little showers of rain are popping in to visit. We had a squall that arrived when we were out yesterday evening. All the windows and doors were open as usual and we came home to a rain soaked bed and puddles on the kitchen floor. Lamps were blown over, every window sill on that side was cleared as a few screens were blown in but luckily the mattress has a sheepskin cover so it was not soaked through. No-one minded mopping that rain up!! It was a good drop!

Anyway lets have a wee look at the garden.  These gorgeous things are Post Indicator Valves.  John brings me rocks from work sometimes or he brings me fire hydrants, some of which are very old and the other day he brought me another one of these. The one in the foreground is quite old. They have been made from the same mould for almost a hundred years but are all dated. I have no idea what these do so don’t even begin to ask me. I just like the colour and their lovely strong shapes in the gardens. 

Some men bring flowers!! 

The tomatoes are the best crop so far this year. The crockpot has been going almost 24 hours a day for a few weeks now, making summer sauce, and there is more to come.  I make the sauce in tiny batches with whatever I pick that day, last night as I wrote 4 jars of summer sauce were jiggling in their water bath. Wonderful. 

My grapes are rocking along. They don’t mind it dry. These are the Vidal Blanc, they are the wine grapes and we will have a great crop this year. Touch wood. (We should call this blog Touchwood-I have you guys doing it with me so often!!) There were almost no Japanese Beetles out here this year and this has made a fantastic difference to the grapes. There is a marked lack of bugs this year. I have not seen any mosquitos.

How about this for optimism. Remember how Our John put his tomatoes in early predicting an early spring?  Now I find he has started reseeding summer crops in the middle of summer. Is he looking  for a long summer or a long mild autumn?

I hope so. The late summer crops are being sown too. Cabbage and brocolli mainly. More lettuce soon and cilantro and beans. My summer beans have been rubbish so far. May as well pop in some more and see what happens.

Good morning. I have a rain gauge now, thanks to my kindly neighbour, and yesterday evening it had measured  3/10ths of an inch, with another tiny shower during the night.  Another little gift. We are very cool today with a high of 77.  I had planned to take in the rest of the honey this week but as I don’t have an extractor, I need the honey to drip out into the buckets and for that to happen it needs to be hot!  Brilliant problem! But the cool is perfect cheese making weather. And so stress free.

We will wait for the honey. I love this cooler summer weather.

You all have a lovely day.


what we were doing exactly a year ago – sustainable, what does it mean?. I am not very fond of labels. Being organic, or vegetarian, or bio dynamic or natural or whatever. I wriggle under the constraints of other peoples rules.  Every one of these clubs has a list of don’ts. I do prefer to just do what we can and roll with life. Quietly discover who we are. I try to explain this here. If this were rewritten in a more intelligible way this should probably be in my opening chapter of the Farmy book.  See what you think.


62 Comments on “The Kitchen’s Garden Garden!

    • This is a good idea Misky and John has had the poles up around the frog garden for a while, maybe this year he will cover it, I must chat to him about that!

  1. Sorry about the soggy bed, but glad you’re having some coolth and some welcome rain. We are having it hot – as high as 75 today and yesterday! See what an ocean does for one’s view of heat and cold!

    “I do prefer to just do what we can and roll with life.” Exactly: we can’t do what we can’t do, and that’s that – just do our little best.

    • I reset my camera as per MD’s instructions and I think this has made a difference. I don’t know, but everything was getting so bleached.. or maybe it was the rain.. c

  2. Loving the bright red in the garden – it looks like post box red to me 🙂 It sounds like we have all had are ups and downs with our gardens – too dry, too hot, too cool, stick with the positives and all the wonderful tomato sauce !
    I’m off to read your non-labelling post, it’s horrid to try and label and boxed – what happens the? The boxes are neatly stacked and forgotten about !

    • morning Claire, now how did your beetroot come out. I have some that needs bottling today! if i get time.. c

      • Hi Celi, I had some fab recipes posted on the blog, all worth a try and a play with, including one Marie posted for me. But as yet I haven’t made any more, I’ve been trying to get ordinary clear vinegar from the local shops, but to no avail, so the inevtible trip to a supermarket is calling…. bluergh.

  3. Fall planting – it’s been on the to-do list for 2 weeks, and the seeds are still sitting on the counter in their little paper packets…sigh…
    Wonderful rain, wonderful cool! It’s been so dry this week, I actually hauled water up to the pumpkins in the wheelbarrow!

  4. Its started to get cooler in our parts too, and rain; I know the garden needs it but my heart is aching for summer. The fire hydrants look really cool in the garden, my little garden is also filled with little surprises throughout. The tomatoes look wonderful.

  5. I loved the sustainability post and agree completely that it belongs as an early chapter. (“Bugger off indeed!” Hah! perfect!) The term that came to my mind reading it is Common Sense. Something it seems this world has very little of anymore… Our old place is very like yours in that there are remnants everywhere of things used and reused until used up…Anyway, here’s what we do here (in addition to hoop houses) for season extension into late fall for cold hardy crops like lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, and other greens, and turnips, beets, carrots, etc: we use 1″ electrical conduit bent into a hoop shape, pushed into the ground and covered with agricultural fabric (reemay, agribond) and secured with sandbags (or rocks) along the sides and tied off with ropes and stakes at the ends. We have a supply of plastic conduit and one person can set up one of these tunnels in about 20 minutes. These work only until snow, when they have to be taken down. Other folks use the metal conduit and bend them into hoop shapes permanently. These can be covered with greenhouse plastic and can withstand some snow load. I don’t know if these tunnels would work on your windy prairie though!

    • they would probably do alright in the autumn,the winds are way worse in the spring, though last nights squall would have lifted them, I really would like to try though.. I shall write this down for john, I think we have some of that conduit in the shed too.. excellent idea! c

    • This mornings summer sauce is tomato and basil, all the basil tips including the flowers and the house smells like Italy! c

  6. Good morning, Celi. Here in perverse California we got our first day of heat (79 degrees) and I went swimming in the Marina yesterday. Lovely. We have bean plants coming up beautifully — Mom tossed some old seeds in the front yard — and I had a volunteer tomato show up in my usual tomato bucket: lazy person’s gardening. The lemons are finally getting almost ripe and I have been foraging for windfall apples in the streets of Berkeley — why, oh, why do people have fruit trees and not pick the fruit?

    • I long for a lemon tree, you lucky thing, In NZ they are lining the streets to the schools with apple and pear and mandarin trees and putting signs on them, PICK!. EAT! I cannot imagine people not eating their apples or at least making some apple sauce. Good for you picking them up! I love the idea of lazy gardening!! c

      • Is it too hot in Illinois to grow lemons?(I mean, normally, not this year) Wouldn’t they grow in partial shade, or is it that you can’t protect them during the winter? Greenhouse? Cold frames? Lemon is one of my favorite flavoring agents and we are lucky to have them.

      • Wish I had apples to pick up..2 straight nights of a hard frost this spring did my apple supply in….so no dried applesauce!

  7. This second planting of garden crops is all so new to me. Here in Minnesota we’re lucky to get one crop to full maturity. Beautiful weather here, in the 50s overnight, humidity gone and into the 70s today. Plus we’ve gotten some rain this week.

    • great that you got rain again, our second planting is always done without promises, it is very dependent on the weather being kind. One early frost and we are finished, however it is always worth a crack I say, rather than let the seeds go old in their packets!! But August and September and right into October are usually good growing months. morning Audrey! c

  8. Another blogger was talking about her garden not doing so well this year. Sounds like you both are not to be discouraged and are keeping at it!

  9. Interesting to hear of your lack of bugs. Scotland is well known for the midge, a teeny tiny bug which lives in vast numbers, all of them hungrily following anything with a heartbeat. But, the extremely dry recent months has resulted in a swat-free summer and gardening tasks have been achievable without wearing a clausrtophobic net! Enjoy your cooler days and much welcomed showers!

  10. It’s amazing to me how we get the same weather as you, here in Canada……….only a day later lol!
    Hurray for the RAIN!!

  11. I love the image of your jars of sauce jiggling away. It’s a cozy thought and you’ll have all those jars of summer when the weather is dreary and cold.

  12. Your tomatoes look amazing, Celi! Is good to have a break from all this heat. Here at Madrid we are having like 41º (105 ºF) we can barely move…
    Good morning, have a lovely day 🙂

  13. Good luck with the second planting – I surprised the potatoes died. The grapes and tomatoes look lovely 😉

  14. Hooray for some rain and a bit cooler weather! You’ve certainly put in your time with the extremes, so a break must feel heavenly! Our heat is here now, and with a vengeance, but because it was so late in arriving my tomatoes have been very disappointing. I’m still hopeful we’ll catch up, but I’ve waited all year for a taste of really fresh, and I go out every day after work and just look for evidence of a bumper crop! Not yet! You encourage me, though, Celi, with looking forward and just continuing to sow. I don’t think I’ve ever been as tuned in to it all as since I started reading your posts! You are an education for me! Enjoy your weekend…and let the cooling trend hold! 🙂 Debra

  15. My 15 pots of Gerbera daisies are refusing to rebloom but I’ve fertilized them and am hoping for some new blooms with the cooler weather. I got carried away this spring. But when I read the WORK you put in on your farmy day after day, Cecelia, I feel embarrassed to complain. (the pots are heavy and I’ve moved them in and out of the heat so many times a day –Eeks!)

  16. Your post indicator valves are a nice, colorful addition to your garden. Unusual-looking tomatoes, I’m so used to “round.” Glad it is cooler there for you. It’s not as hot here as it was, but still creeps up to 90s.

  17. I don’t think I’ll be able to plant anything for this fall with our move and we could really use it. We’ll have to wait and see. I do plan on trying to dig up some of the pepper and tomato plants and put them in a hoop house. They may not make it but I’ll try anyway! Love the fire hydrants.

  18. Love the Post Indicator Valves. They’re gorgeous. This weekend I take down the kids’ snap-pea trellis, compost the bolted lettuce, and harvest the last of the beans. I’m not quite as brave as Your John with mid-season planting. I’m certain we’ll have snow up here by October. But the Nantes carrots should be ready for the kids to pull while they’re playing outside next week. I love watching them bound around like Bugs Bunny, carrot tops hanging out the sides of their mouths 🙂

  19. I have to say that I’d be quite happy and charmed if Dave gave me Post Indicator Valves for my garden…they are way cool! 🙂 We’ve had torrential rains, and tomorrow will be cooler, yay. I have some little baby tomatoes in pots and we’ll see if they ever color. Mostly the herbs have done well in my garden and pots this year, not much else.

  20. cooler here in Indiana also, actually have my fuzzy slippers on. the temps are in mid sixties and a big breeze. we need the rain but not in our beds. LOL, glad u r trying the garden again, may have better weather second time around

  21. I thought about you when watching the news last night. It spoke of the record heat in the USA this summer, and the draught, particularly in Illinois. So sad to see those lovely vegetables drying up.

    Your attempt at late summer gardening is interesting; I’ve heard of doing that for cool weather crops. and hope there is enough growing time for you to benefit from this attempt.

  22. How lovely that you have a few cooler days ahead Celi. Enjoy planting – I am sure you will have a better crop this time around.
    Have a happy weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

  23. Good luck, Celi, with the second planting. As you know, I don’t have much of a garden and this year was not exactly my best. That’s OK. Next year will be better, no doubt about it. Big Dog is becoming the “new” TonTon, finding a way to get into at least one photo per post.

  24. Hoop houses work really well, if you are up to trying them. If you want to build them tall enough to stand in I then use(d) plastic (the very thickest that I could find) and make a room. The heat from the sun warm up everything until late January then the cold got the greens. HOWEVER they just went dormant so come the warm up in March I had EARLY stuff to put on the table.

    Now I just cover the hen run and forget the gardening…rather lazy of me I know.


  25. Love the post indicator valves. They look like slender letterboxes, awaiting weather requests. Maybe they have been encouraging the tomatoes, being the same colour.
    Good on you for trying another planting; you might just get away with it. The rain and cool must be so welcome. We have a heavy rain warning here (again), but we will leave some for you.

    • Thank you for letting a little rain carry on! and fantastic comparison to slender letter boxes, I knew they looked familiar!! c

  26. I agree, very strange year in the garden–some things did horrible! Yet, I’m having the best peppers I have ever grown! They struggle early and just have grown and continued to produce.

  27. I’d take your labelling cue from Food, Photography& France’s, comment: wonderful, wondrous 🙂 I love your Post Indicator Valves, so much better than a bunch of flowers. The G.O. often brings home things off job sites, from small – old bottles, bits & pices, coins & marbles he digs up, to large demo site goodies – tables, water bubblers, building materials, and alive – a tiny kitten (who went to cat rescue as she was so tiny & we have no vet nurse skills or space 😦 )

  28. Love the look of THOSE tomatoes and the grapes: wow! Love the ‘reads’ from around the world too and am slightly [and sweetly!] amused when someone says there is a heatwave when the temps are in the upper 70s 🙂 ! They surely would have a bit of a problem when Sydney figures hit 100-104 degrees plus 🙂 ! Methinks ‘bluejellymidge’ in Madrid would understand!!

  29. Men who bring home only flowers may be lacking in imagination. (Cyclo, back from London for a day off from being an Olympic Gamesmaker bought me a poetry book 🙂 )

  30. Despite the mess, hooray for rain! (We have heatwaves of high 70s too, this is England, 80 is a freak occurrence which has all passing out!) I’d accept flowers but those post things are very cool, they look pump-y. 🙂

  31. Love your spirit, C! Just mop it up and go on! Sometimes blessings come with a small price 🙂 I’d take a bouquet of tomatoes over roses any day! Especially garden fresh!

  32. We had a similar season. This was my first time ever growing a garden in my life and a lot of the local pros have told me this season wasn’t a good one. So I’m a bit relieved it wasn’t all my fault. Our tomatoes are doing good too. Cucumbers and squash…eh…

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