Thursday, June 30

Two New Plants in the Garden

I am a follower of An American Homestead - a great Youtube channel with practical homesteading advice, stories, how-to's and just general Ozark fun. They are currently producing videos for season 3 so I strongly recommend that you start at the beginning of season 1 and binge. Very entertaining and educational - gardening, homestead chores, projects, aquaponics, livestock, canning, recipes and tons more. 

One of the episodes that I really enjoyed discussed the achocha cucumber that they grow on their cedar trellis. Having never heard of this variety I was eager to try it. Luckily, they were offering seeds for sale from their own plants through their website, and I now have them in my garden for the first time this season. 

Right now they are getting established and sending out their first spiraling tendrils. I am excited to see how it does in our climate and if I can save the seed.

My achocha cucumbers from An American Homestead
They also introduced me to another plant - popalo. It is a cilantro substitute that does not bolt in the summer heat. I ordered this one as well and I have some nice small plants that I will find a permanent home for shortly. I might construct a separate garden bed for this plant as they suggested on their video.

They have a great salsa recipe and they discuss their uses for the popalo plant in this episode.

The rest of the garden is doing well for the most part. The beans have suffered a few loses from my evil resident wood chuck but I always plant extra beans of many varieties so the losses should be minimal. Our harvest so far this season has included strawberries, kale, lettuce, spinach, radishes and peas.

This is the first year I have ever tried beets. The foliage is pretty and the plants seem healthy. Since I am new to growing beets I over planted the seed so I did have to do a lot of thinning.

Also my first year growing kale. Two varieties - Scotch Blue (compact plants with blueish green crinkled leaves)  and Forager (a leafy, stem-less, fast growing variety). The wood chuck prefers Forager.

The sun chokes are about 5 feet tall right now, although you can not tell from this picture. I am amazed every year at how fast they seem to grow after they show their first green leaves in late spring. They are aggressive and take over everything. Right now they are competing with the mint. I am curious to see who will win.

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