The few apples holding onto my young trees have been stolen by the squirrels or whatever else thought they were tasty enough to pick before they were ready. I’m not very sad because I know that next year we will have many more and I’ll be taking more precautions to protect the trees and the apples during the coming year.

20120714_103720

The kohlrabi in the keyhole looked completely awful a few weeks ago. The leaves were riddled with holes and basically lace. The collards in the back never made it because of the same issue. I pulled those, but just picked off the worst of the kohlrabi leaves and let the plants stay. Now, the kohlrabi has recovered and the plants have put forth lovely new leaves that don’t have holes in them at all! Whatever stage of insect that was feeding on them has grown up and moved on. Thank goodness I didn’t pull those plants! This gives me hope for planting more brassicas for my fall garden.

20120714_103435The potted plant at the bottom of the steps in the photo is a family heirloom! My Mom gave it to me this week because it was very dry and slightly suffering in her front living room when I noticed and commented on it. She asked me to take it and I gladly accepted. It was given to my grandma, but her mother-in-law many years ago and has been divided at least once. Hard to believe that’s my great grandmother’s plant! I hope I can keep it alive!!

The whole back yard seems to have gotten away from me and when I walk around the yards each morning now I have found myself lingering far longer in the front and just skirting around the edges of the back gardens. I haven’t been motivated to clean up the old pea vines or cut back the overwhelmingly thorny blackberry, or deal with the pumpkin vines that had gotten out of control. So much of the lettuce had gone to seed that it was hard to find a crop I was actually looking forward to! The few tomatoes seem to be doing ok, but besides tying them up to their stakes occasionally, I had abandoned the backyard maintenance for the most part.

Today I donned my sneakers, gloves and pruners and set to work, cleaning up the beds and getting ready to plant again. I’m disassembling the blackberry to be replaced by a thornless variety in the fall and I’ve removed the spent pea vines. My new compost pile is heavy with the new green yard waste and I feel like I’m making some progress. Below is the before photo. I’ll build a trellis for the new blackberries about 3’ in front of and parallel to the fence, right over top of the horseradish that’s come back to life in the middle of the row. Then I’ll move the newest strawberry plants to form 2 or 3 rows in front of that with a path between the blackberries and strawberries.

20120714_103936

I am considering taking apart the new patio I built and using the pavers to create new pathways around the backyard beds. Right now, the mulched paths and mulched beds all seem to run together and are looking messy to me. The railroad tie bed borders are all but buried beneath the mulch and I’m not sure what to do about cleaning up the structure there. I’ll need to keep my eyes on craigslist for more pavers  because I fear I won’t have enough right now, but it’s something to consider.

The loquat tree was worrying me because it was starting to wilt at the tips every day or so, even with consistent watering. I don’t think I have much luck with planting in containers and so I put it in the ground a day before a big thunder storm and now it seems to be singing with joy and relief. I hope it makes it through the winter, but if it dies (this isn’t really the right zone for it) I will probably replace it with another fruit tree because I think it’s in a good spot for one.

I’ve laid out the garden plan in the back now so that when it’s time to plan for next spring, I know what the beds looked like mid summer, for crop rotation purposes. It’s a mess and honestly looks fairly empty, but such is life. There are bush beans and bolted lettuce tucked into some of the empty spots, but most everything is laid out here.

2012_7_gardenplan

My front yard gardens this week…

20120714_103513

20120714_103545

20120714_103642