Admittedly, the garden area has been somewhat neglected of late, with our attention being diverted toward other projects.  Today though, I actually took a little time to stop and look at the garden a little more closely to see how things are doing.

'Argentina', a beef-steak tomato, is blooming profusely

The plants we’re always the most excited about here, are our tomatoes, and our heirlooms are coming along nicely.  All of our plants were started from seed this winter, every variety has set fruit, and they’re all blooming as if their lives depend on it.  Last year’s tomato harvest was remarkably good, in less than ideal conditions.  As the gardens weren’t fenced, last year we grew them in pots.  This year, now they’re settled in the garden, we’re crossing our fingers for a significantly more robust crop.

Cherokee Purple is setting lots of fruit

One of last year’s star performers was ‘Black Pear’, and we had to plant it again this year.  When mature this variety has Roma-sized fruit with a rich mahogany color, and a sweet, slightly smoky tomato flavor.

 

Black Pear is a Roma-sized, dark, smoke-flavored fruit when mature

For the past two weeks it’s been a race with the other tomatoes to see who cracked the top of the tomato cages first.  Black Pear has won, again, and is now significantly taller than me.  Certainly a variety that does very well here.

 

Black Pear is now taller than the tomato cages!

We’re particularly excited to see our Russian Persimmon tomato plants set fruit, as these were from seed we’d saved over two years ago!

 

This Russian Persimmon plant was produced from seed we saved ourselves. We'll save seed from our other tomatoes as well this year.

Apparently everything is bigger in Texas, including the flowers of ‘Texas Star’…let’s hope the fruits become whoppers too!

 

The blooms on Texas Star are huge

 

Texas Star is a yellow and red bi-color variety with 1-2 lb fruits at maturity

There’s more to life to tomatoes?  I suppose.  We’ll leave the rest for a later post.

There’s also zucchini, and soon it seems we’ll be swimming in it, both green…

 

Zucchini 'Raven'

and yellow…

 

Yellow Zucchini

I love zucchini blossoms…and they’re edible too!

 

Zucchini blossoms are excellent stuffed with ricotta cheese

Just ask 'Katy', she likes squash blossoms too

Our late spring crop of Yukon Gold and Rose Finn Apple potatoes should be ready soon.

The Rose Finn Apple fingerling potatoes are about to bloom

Soon to be followed by a variety called “All Blue”, with purple skin and flesh, and whose stems even have a lovely dark contrasting purple tint.

All Blue potato plants are distinguished by their dark purple stems

Despite our recent hot weather, another crop of our bolt-resistant lettuce is ready to harvest.

 

Loose leaf lettuce, like this green oak leaf, thrive despite the occasional hot weather day

 

Red oak leaf is bolt-resistant too, albeit slightly slower to mature

For a little zing and color in our salads, nasturtium ‘Copper Sunset’ is blooming, and it’s a fabulous rich color.

 

A new favorite, nasturtium 'Copper Sunset' is rich in color, upright in growth, and well behaved in small spaces

Some Swiss Chard isn’t quite there yet, but it won’t be long now.

 

Swiss chard will be ready soon

Another splash of red in the garden, planted primarily to entice pollinators, our scarlet runner beans have almost made it to the top of their tee-pees, and are starting to bloom.

 

Scarlet runner beans are edible, but the blooms are irresistible to pollinators

What self-respecting hummingbird could resist?

 

The hummingbirds and bees both love the blossoms on the scarlet runner bean

At their feet, our pumpkins promise to bloom soon. While there’s construction going on in the garden, we didn’t plant corn this year, so we only have two instead of the classic ‘three sisters’.

 

The buds on this pumpkin promise to bloom soon

This weekend we started to sample some of our beets, and the Golden Beets were fabulously sweet and tender…

 

Golden beets have a beautiful color, and a sweet, mildly earthy flavor

Unlike red beets, they don’t ‘bleed’ all over their neighbors when combined with other foods.  They went especially well when added to a roasted root vegetable medley on the grill, accompanied by citrus-glazed humanely raised pork sirloin chops, and grilled stone fruits.

 

We added some golden beets to this grilled root vegetable medley...

 

...paired with citrus-glazed pork sirloin, and grilled nectarines and pluots from the Farmer's Market

July 4th weekend we’ll be constructing another set of boxes for the garden for our bell pepper transplants, winter squash, and perennial herbs.

In the meantime, I think our garden hens have the best view in the house, don’t you?

 

Our garden hens have a fabulous view of the tomatoes

…maybe that’s why our retired girls are so happy?

 

This morning's gift from our garden hens

Since moving out to the gardens, the old girls have begun laying eggs more regularly again!