Our perennial herbs continue to thrive — the rosemary is healthy, sage is going gang busters, and although thin, we are still able to come out and snip a few pieces of thyme for cooking:
Tomatoes — what can we say, it has been a tough year for tomatoes. We got 5 or 6 off of our plants the entire summer. We did have a very rainy season but we're also blaming the plastic pots we have been using. Next year we're going to use some different pots and see if that doesn't help us out in the tomato department. That being said, we do continue to get some late summer straggling flowers and a couple green tomatoes are still hanging out on the vine:
We have a few peppers hanging on and like the tomatoes, they just overall also had a tough year! With the jalapeños, cayennes, and ancho's I'd planted back in the spring, I had dreamed of fresh salsa utilizing these paired with the fresh tomatoes. Oh well, there's always next year...
Back in the spring we planted 2 brussels sprouts starter plants in our front planters. Only one of them took the the planter but it has surprisingly shot up and held on throughout the whole summer.
We do indeed have some sprouts that seem to be growing with each day that goes by. Brussels sprouts actually form along the thick stem of the plant —see those little purple bumps forming below? These are the sprouts taking form earlier this summer:
Here's how the plant looks right now. It got so big it began to grow lopsided. We never got around to putting those wire supports on this plant, but it's still doing its thing regardless:
You can really see how the brussels have gotten larger along the stem. We hope with the weather cooling down these will get a new growth spurt and take off so they can grace our table this fall!
When the second brussels plant died, we replaced it with a little starter basil plant. It quickly became our star plant of the year:
With the proper cuts for propagating this was probably one of the bushiest and most beautiful basil plants ever! With fresh heirlooms from the farmers market I enjoyed cutting those tomatoes up tossing them with fresh basil and drizzling with olive oil for Mary's breakfasts in the morning.
The habaneros were another star this year. We had an initial 6-7 peppers and looks like we might get one more crop out of this plant Mary's mom gave me. Not a lot of peppers left, but you only need a few of these in the freezer during the winter to spice up greens, chili, or for a rub in the smoker!
I am most excited to dig our horseradish root up, cut a piece off for use over the winter and bury it back under the dirt to see if we get new growth next year! It was our first time trying to grow horseradish this year and it's been a really fun and easy one to watch:
I use horseradish grated on raw oysters, in Bloody Mary's, and mixed in mayonnaise for a spread on roast beef sandwiches!
The last time we left off with our grapevine plants, they'd been attacked by Basil and we weren't sure if they'd make it. I guess Basil is over his battle with the grapevines as he rarely walks by and gives them a sniff. We were excited to see how these have grown and intertwined under our deck:
Our strawberries made it through another year so it is a true perennial (we were not aware that they were when we first purchased them). We got a few more strawberries this year than last but not a bumper crop by any means. However, we do still have a few stragglers hanging on these guys as well:
As I write this update from NYC I am hoping to be able to get back to Richmond and get in one more good fig picking from our neighbor's fig tree.
Lastly we have an avocado! Well not exactly an actual avocado, but a pretty good update for you. The last we left off with these plants, we'd started a new seed since one of our originals died in the larger planter. We ended up replacing the dead one with the newer pit once it grew roots and actually took both the planters outside to see if the summer heat would help their growth since these are better suited to warmer climates:
This is how the newer plant looked when we first brought them out:
Within a week of being outside, both the plants had major growth spurts, producing new, healthy leaves:
Mary pinched the top leaves in the new plant to try to promote bushier growth, so we'll see how that goes. Here's what we're looking like right around now:
So, still no guacamole in our future, but definitely an improvement. It won't be much longer before we bring these plants back inside over the fall and winter months.
So that's a look at how all our current plants are doing during this late summer season. We were so inspired by the hidden urban garden we came across in our neighborhood last weekend that we're hoping to plant more over the fall and winter — we'll be sure to keep you posted with what actually pans out.
Just a little look from our terrace garden at dusk — it's a beautiful thing.