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Food appears and Spike returns - a mid-July kitchen garden update

After a busy June full of travel, it's been nice to have a few weeks back at home, working and enjoying summer on Vancouver Island. And it's also been nice to be able to keep an eye (and hands) on how my backyard kitchen garden is doing.

It's starting to look like the hot weather we're getting here this July is going to lead to my first bumper crop of cucumbers. Every plant is exploding with flowers and growing cucs now.

My adopted mystery pepper plants are starting to reveal their varieties. I rescued these four plants on their deathbeds (ie heading for a friend's compost bin) but have no idea what kinds there are. This one is starting to look like it might be a green Anaheim hot pepper. Time will tell.

The first signs of ripeness are appearing in the tomatoes! I'm seeing little green orbs everywhere now, and am shocked at how well all my tomato plants area doing overall. I counted the other day, and between the heirloom tomato plants I bought and others I rescued, along with a few 'native' seedlings that appeared unexpectedly in the strawberry patch from random overripe fruits last year, I've got 60 tomato plants growing in my tiny garden. 60!! Granted, not all are going to make it as many had indeed, been left for dead, and of those that do grow all summer, who knows what I'll get for a crop. But I think with this many plants, the odds of a good haul of fresh tomatoes this year is high.

More tiny brussel sprout buds are popping out on the plants. Knowing nothing about brussel sprout growing, each week of growth is interesting to me.

The last salad leaves of my epic lettuce garden are finally bolting now. There seems to be some sort of Lettuce versus Stevia plant showdown going on now. Must admit, I'd forgotten all about that Stevia plant 'til now... Any suggestions of how to eat/use it? Iced tea?

Snow peas and English peas have been climbing the wire up my deck in rapid fashion, popping out pea pods as they grow. Some plants are reaching 10 feet high now, and are producing a nice steady crop of peas for salads and stir-frys.

It looks like my four kale plants have finally recovered from the indignity of being repeatedly snacked on this spring by visiting deer before the garden fence went up. They sulked for a good month and a half, and are finally now growing out rapidly. I see Spicy Lime Kale Chips in my future...

And speaking of kale-devouring deer, my old backyard visitor Spike stopped by today. I named her that when she was the adorable baby above because of her bitten up ears that made her easy to ID. I've watched her and her twin grow up over the past few years and it's amazing how different she looks now. She politely respected the garden fence and didn't try to get in after that fluffy, delicious kale, so we remain on good terms.


Looking forward to seeing how the heat of July is going to get everything growing for a big crop of backyard veggies for my kitchen later this summer (positive thinking!). Grow, garden, grow.

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