1 Wilmer and Ryan have been meticulously weeding the vegetable garden.
2 The extreme heat combined with not enough rainfall can be a dangerous combination for a vegetable garden. It's important to monitor the health of each plant and water regularly. However, there are many plants that thrive in the heat.
3 Tomatoes happen to love heat, so I am expecting a good crop. Last year, because of Hurricane Irene, I lost many of my tomato plants.
4 I'm pleased to see so many growing this year!
5 When a tomato begins to mature, it produces a chemical called ethylene. This chemical is responsible for its red color.
6 Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and believed to help the heart.
7 Summer squash, like zucchini, is another heat lover and will not begin to germinate until the temperature is above 70ºF. As you can see, it's growing large and healthy.
8 Zucchini is a type of summer squash. Summer squash have thin skins and tender flesh, while winter squash, such as acorn squash, have thicker skin that makes them last longer after being picked.
9 Squash blossoms can be picked and eaten as an edible flower. They are often fried, stuffed and baked, or eaten raw on top of salads. Use them the same day they are picked as they do not last very long.
10 If left alone, the squash blossoms will develop into vegetables.
11 As the squash grows larger, the flower withers away.
12 There are many varieties of zucchini, ranging from long and green to more bulbous and yellow.
13 Zucchini Striato di Napoli has dark green stripes and a strong flavor. Originally from Italy, these are sometimes picked when they are very small and cooked like you would asparagus.
14 Delinel beans, also known as French beans, are ready to pick when they reach three inches or more in length.
15 On the other side of the garden, peppers are popping up.
16 I also have several different varieties of eggplant. This one is American, the most commonly found in grocery stores.
17 This longer, skinnier variety is a Japanese vegetable. They have thin skins and a sweet, delicate flavor.
18 Cucumber plants will grow outward if you let them. These plants will be strung up bamboo poles to keep them from overtaking the bed.
19 Okra. also known as lady's fingers, is one of the most heat-tolerant plants in the world. The edible seed pods are delicious in stews and soups and are quite prominent in gumbos.
20 Most of the plants that were started in the greenhouse have been transplanted to the outdoor vegetable garden, leaving mainly herbs in here. Ryan recently planted endive which the chickens love.
21 Ryan planted yellow, white, and red onions during the winter in the greenhouse and recently harvested them.
22 They will be left to dry out, or cure, which will increase their shelf live. These will be cleaned and transferred to a dry bin for the curing process.
23 Many carrots are peeking out of the soil. You can tell when they are ready to pull by the size of the tops and the leaves.
24 Most carrots grow straight, but factors like the consistency of the soil and how close they are to one another can affect the shape. The carrot on the right had the root of another wrapped around the base, resulting in the strange tip.
25 As you may recall from earlier this spring, I have a new pumpkin and squash patch. They are growing quite nicely next to the hazelnut trees.
26 Hazelnuts are beginning to form but will not be ready until September. The nut will fall out of the outer husk when ripe.
27 Last year, I did not get to enjoy the hazelnuts as the squirrels got to them first. I'm keeping a closer eye on them this year!
28 This amazing flower grew through the top of the window of the greenhouse.
29 Aristolochia gigantea is a deciduous woody vine with large flowers, with a fragrance much like lemon.
30 While the clematis in the pergola have final started to fade, bright sunflowers have begun to take their place. They attract both bees and birds, both of which are welcome visitors to the farm.
31 My apple espaliers have grown quite large so it's finally time for a pruning.
32 Chhewang carefully trims the top branches. There are many clusters of apples forming already.
33 I save the apple branches for cooking. Applewood is excellent for adding a smoky flavor to meat and fish.
34 A view of the finished pruning—pruning is important as it removes old growth to stimulate new growth, which keeps the plant young and healthy.
35 Nearby, my French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey, have been keeping watch on the corn crib that now houses my growing guinea fowl. The birds are still too young to roam the grounds, but are growing larger every day.
36 Some other fowl on my farm, my Pomeranian geese, have been keeping cool by bathing in their new tub.