As summer officially began this past weekend, we welcomed the solstice with a trip to Hanover Day. Lots of little vendor tents set up, people selling their jamberry and scentsy stuff, a cool local organic garden supply place had a presence, people selling handmade items like clothing, jewelry, artwork and other assorted knicknacks and an area set up for kids to play.

And play, my kid did.

One of the few photos I could get where he wasn’t a blur.

We also saw some animals.

The rest of the week was pretty much just being at home and tending to the garden, which includes harvesting goodies.

These komatsuna and zucchinis went into a delicious soup.

And watching my yellow squash mature.

And it produced a weird mutant conjoined blossom.

I also cast on a new project since I finished a golf club cover for Nate. It’s a Milo for the kiddo. Hopefully I’ll finish it before he outgrows size 2T.

I’m finally getting some good stuff out of my garden. In the last, it’s been a few greens and some disappointing radishes, but now the main event is beginning.

Some baby chard.

 

First zuke!

 

Everything is growing nicely.

During the time I was pregnant, through this last year and a half since I had my son, I’ve had a hard time completing projects I start. Terrible habit, I know, and I’m sure there’s a variety of potential causes to blame, but it is what it is.

Now that my son’s fully into toddlerhood, I’ve started going back through my unfinished things with the intent of finishing them before I start anything else. This mostly applies to my knitting and crochet projects for the time being. Illustration is still a goalpost too far from my reach just yet.

I started a simple toy snake for my boy last winter and finally got it done a couple of days ago.

I used this pattern from the purl bee with Plymouth Happy Feet sock yarn on size 3 needles.

I’m also revisiting my poor, neglected Saroyan that I’m knitting up in some delicious Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend I’ve had for years.

In garden news, we had a couple of days of sustained rain and my zucchini seems to have really loved it, despite unseasonably cool temperatures that tagged along with the clouds. I found the first maturing blossom this morning.

I’m pretty sure it’s a male flower, so hopefully a few females are going to follow soon so I can pollinate and maybe start seeing some fruits develop.

Things are going well with my green babies. Except for the fact I don’t seem to be able to grow herbs, everything is coming along, some growing faster than others, but all progressing.

My zukes are really coming along, and so is my chard.

My little yellow summer squash is growing up, sporting a true leaf now that it’s been put into a bigger pot. I’m sure it’ll really start taking off once it gets hotter and the little jiffy pot I planted it in begins to disintegrate.

My sunchokes are growing like crazy. Ideally, they’ll each fill the pot with tubers so I’ll have a good supply once the season’s over, plus “seeds” for next year. Waiting on my horseradish to emerge stil.

My peppers also finally sprouted. I’d all but lost hope after my dill shriveled likely due to the cooler nights we’ve been getting the last week or too, but I’ve finally found little shoots poking up in their pots, so that’s fantastic. Really looking forward to at least one harvest of shishito this year. The other balcony with my partial-shade and cooler temp loving radishes and brassicas are also doing well. No sign of taproots yet, but I have hope.

I’ve also been knitting.

My plants are doing well, overall.

My catnip sprouted, finally, but then shriveled and died. I think it damped off, which is unfortunate, but I planted some more in a larger container for better drainage and dusted the soil with ground cinnamon to discourage fungus. The yellow straight-neck finally emerged as well, which I’m very pleased about. Still no sign of the peppers or dill, though my sunchokes and Kyoto Kujo Negi scallions are popping up now.

I’ve pulled 3 of the 5 zucchini sprouts I had, because there would be too much competition in the container for all of them to thrive. When I pulled the third sprout, I noticed it and one of the others had silver streaking on the leaves and I’ve sprayed the remaining two plants with a milk solution in case it’s powdery mildew.

I also ordered a bottle of neem oil to try and prevent outbreaks and discourage insect pests. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll be really bummed out if I lose my zukes after they’ve been growing so vigorously. I asked on a gardening site if it looked like PM and someone responded that it looked like a nutritional deficiency, so I’ve done another round of foliar fertilizing with my Neptune’s Harvest stuff and I’m hoping that’ll help.

In the last week, things have really begun taking off; my zucchini is doing very well, many of the sprouts have begun growing second and even third true leaves.

My shiso (perilla) and chrysanthemums have finally sprouted and my chard is coming along. My kale and cherry belle/champion radishes stalled out and I decided to scrap them since, as it’s climbing into the high 70s and 80s now (we basically jumped from winter to summer here), it doesn’t seem like they’re going to thrive. I’ll try again toward fall and hope they’ll work out in more appropriate conditions.

I planted my shishito peppers, yellow straightneck summer squash and dill today. Now that it’s warming up, I’m looking forward to going whole-hog on summer crops and hope they work out better than my first run did. Oh well, it’s a learning experience, after all.

This is what one of the two balconies my condo has looks like currently. There are more pots on the other balcony, but they’re waiting for seedlings to be big enough to be transplanted. This is also the balcony that gets the most sunlight through the day.

…and where I raise seedlings until conditions are right to move them (don’t mind the condition around the floor, we’re working on getting someone in to fix some damage left over from the previous owners).

 

So far, we’ve got several varieties of seedlings growing:

Kale

Radish (regular and Korean Tae Bok)

Wasabi microgreens

Mustard

Swiss Chard (rainbow)

Cilantro

and, as of this morning… ZUCCHINI!

Zucchini babies

Baby zuke

 

This is a pleasant surprise, as I thought for sure my zucchini didn’t germinate until we lifted the sprouting tray up and saw fat, hairy little roots poking out of the drainage hole of a few cells.

 

Encouraged by the progress of my scallion regrowth experiment, I got myself containers, potting soil and a variety of seeds —  a few from the local nursery and Lowe’s and some from Kitazawa Seed Co., based out of my native SF Bay Area and which specializes in Japanese and Asian heirloom vegetable seeds.

Lacking proper sprouting containers, I used a plastic clamshell package from some apples I got at Costco to serve as a tiny seed bed. It actually worked quite well. To start, I planted kale, swiss chard, radish and cilantro, saving the heirloom seeds for when I got proper cultivation trays. The radishes wasted no time germinating, with the kale following closely behind.

 

The chard took a little longer to get going and the cilantro actually got me worried because it didn’t show any signs of life for at all.