Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Curb Appeal

The heat also benefited the new plantings in the front yard. The dark-leaved Dahlias are doing well, but a cucumber beetle is devouring the petals. Those things are so cute (like big yellow lady bugs) they are hard to kill, but I've taken to smashing them. The pink and burgundy mottled dianthus is full of blooms, and I really like the big purple grass. I am going to dig up all that scraggly day lily soon and plant azaleas I think.


Next year I'll have an earlier start, so a much expanded flower garden. But I am pretty happy with the results this year: one mega teddy bear sunflower and Tithonia rotundiflora (aka Mexican sunflower).
Lots of nasturtiums, Calendula, Zinnia, and Echinacea round out the bed.

I pruned our sickly rose back completely and it has come back nicely--plus, a second rose has revealed itself (and a much better color than the red one):

A Peck of Peppers

Well, not quite, but we are getting some peppers. Check out the difference between these three plants.
The first is a variety called "Key Largo." It seems to be suffering some kind of sickness, but has 3 peppers on it.

In the other bed are two varieties purchased at the farmer's market, a red bell and a long Italian. I crowded the bell, but the Italian seems to be doing well. Overall, I think we just haven't had enough heat for peppers this summer.

While We Were Away...

... the heat finally came, and the garden really thrived. I'll actually have enough basil for pesto.

The blackberry, which I had pruned after reading about how at Vegetable Gardener, is twice as long.

A lone eggplant was picked before vacation, but with all this growth I think we'll have more:

The asparagus continues to grow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Death in the garden

When a hawk decided to visit our yard, we were too dumbstruck staring at it to notice that it had prey in its sights. I am guessing that the victim bird (most likely a dove, but it was a blur) was already hit when the hawk swooped in. The hawk sat on the fence for a minute and then hopped off--onto a bird. We let nature take its course, as it was likely too late--and watched the flapping stop and the hawk fly away with it. The hawk appears to be a Cooper's or sharp-shinned hawk, but I'm not sure of that id.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I said Home Improvement, too

...and I said adventure. Well, the DinkyDo had its first crisis when, uh, the kitchen ceiling fell on our heads. Drops of water were spotted on Wednesday evening, which we assumed were a leak in the roof. A widening crack appeared on Thursday night (an appointment with a handyman had been made for Friday morning), and minutes later--"here it comes!" Luckily, I have cat-like reflexes and jumped back as it fell. Mr. Do got hit on the leg with the heavy, saturated 3/4 inch plaster-infused 50s-era ceiling. After freaking out for an hour, we managed to clean it up. The culprit was a leaking a/c drain line running above us. It is startling to realize how little you know about the mechanics of a home, but I do know we're lucky. It happened in the kitchen--where we do not have wood floors, no one was hurt (especially kitty Captain Shorty or any visiting children), and we have insurance and were here when it happened. So, alls well that ends well, the a/c drain line was repaired and a layer of drywall is already up, and it'll be fixed soon.


Aside from work, the main reason for the lack of posts is that the garden is in a static state right now, just waiting and picking. We've got all the herbs we need. The tomatoes are amazing--like candy. Definitely the biggest success of the garden. And the birds seem to be letting me have them since I have been picking them before full ripeness.
Here's an overview of the rest of the crops:
The mesclun harvest ended with the heat, but the cool summer gave us a long season.
The lone eggplant is coming along, and I think it will have companions soon.

The peppers are finally taking off with the heat too.

The tomatillos are still a question mark--the question being, will I even get enough for a batch of enchilada sauce? They take up a lot of space after all, but they are a really neat plant.

Biggest surprise, the lima beans are finally taking off. They said bush beans on the package, but these are really benefitting from something to climb.

Stay tuned, I'll be creating another raised bed soon, complete with cold frame for the fall/winter garden we're planning.

Bitter Fruit

On the (thankfully short) list of garden disappointments: Why are my cucumbers so bitter? Like inedibly so. I think an irrigation issue but have not had time to research. They are plentiful, so I'll try watering more and earlier, and picking them smaller.


This is my asparagus. I know it is too close together, but I was tired of digging and I just needed to get it out of the pot. There were about 7, and it was a spring leftover at the garden center I'm sure. I figured I'd go for it just as an experiment, and lo and behold it is thriving! In fall, I'll continue the trench (heaviliy enriched with compost, with plastic weed block embedded around it) and give it some space. In a couple years, maybe we'll get a nice harvest. I love the way the feathery leaves look in the meantime.

I found this really lovely Garden Rant post that begins with asparagus but is really about gardening or anything you might procrastinate or hold back on.

Apple Pie...

...not! I don't think enough apples will be harvested for even a pie. After the birds, the racoons, and the squirrels have gotten completely sick of apples, there will be none left. The flowers will be nice in spring, but that's about it.