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Surprises in the garden as fall approaches

As the wonderful weather continues in the Seattle area, I’m enjoying, mostly, finding surprises in my garden.

Strawberry IMG_0566

I’m occasionally finding a strawberry or two or three, which are so tasty now that the raspberries are long gone.

Cucumber IMG_0580

This cucumber is a surprise because it’s from my smallest cucumber plant, which I thought might not produce any cucumbers.

Tomato Among Chard IMG_0585

It’s fun to see the cherry tomatoes ripening, especially ones like this that get lost among the chard.

Tomatoes Ripening IMG_0589

Here, tomatoes always are a challenge. It’s tricky getting enough hot weather to ripen them. Although I’ve mainly switched to cherry tomatoes, I couldn’t resist an Early Girl plant, a favorite of my dad’s. The surprise here is that my tomatoes are ripening well. If we have two to four weeks more of warm weather, I could have a nice crop of red ones, instead of green tomatoes.

Watermelons IMG_0611

When my grandchildren were visiting, they picked out some free watermelon seeds at a yard sale. They had fun planting them the last week in July. With a 60-day grow time, we’re not expecting to get any melons.

Lettuce IMG_9187

My grandchildren also planted lettuce. However, a rainstorm drowned the tiny that had just sprouted.

Squash Delicate IMG_9892

I planted some pumpkin plants, but pulled them out when the plants got powdery mildew early in the season. My neighbor gave some delicate squash plants that she didn't need. I planted them in my patio garden, and they began growing over an azalea bush. One day, I look the plant over carefully and found two squashes growing among the azalea branches.

Delphiniium IMG_9865

Two years ago, I planted delphiniums in a pot and put them on the patio. I was surprised a few days ago to look in the bushes to find them beginning to bloom. I had company for a party, so I put all the plants in the patio garden off to the side. Maybe the delphiniums liked it better in the shade.

Spider IMG_0607

My last surprise wasn’t that welcome. I was walking through my rhododendrons and saw a huge spider on my hand. Yikes. I brushed it off. Then I saw another one like it on a branch, so I took a photo. I’ll have to keep my eye out for these big, scary spiders.

I hope you’ve been able to have a garden this year and that it’s offering an abundance of food now. Gardening a great thing for consumers to do. It's good for your health to eat fresh vegetables, and it's a great way to exercise your body.

Copyright 2014, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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