Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cure for Curcurbits

Other than killing cucumber beetles (and they're so cute, I feel bad!), not much is happening in the cucumber garden, which is a good thing! No disease. I pulled the two plants that looked suspiciously wilty, and the rest look healthy. They are very prone to bitterness, but if I pick in the morning, rinse immediately, and cut the ends off (old wive's tale?), they are fine in salad. But what I really want are those perfect middle eastern thin-skinned ones I get at the farmer's market--and which are certainly grown in greenhouses. Anyway, I'll try lemon cucumbers next year.
Maybe we'll do some pickling when all of these are harvested:
These seem to be doing okay on the triangular tomato ladders:

Tomato Time

It cannot come soon enough! The golden cherries are great, but when will I ever get everything right where I can have pounds of big ripe tomatoes at once? Here's what's coming:

Asparagus Progress Report

The uber-skinny spears of spring, which I left alone--they've got one more year to live--have some company. New spears occasionally pop up, and happily, these are considerably larger--meaning I'll be eating my own asparagus next spring! Maybe the blackberry net was impinging on their growth (They front the blackberry fence and so were covered by the bird net.) Apparently we have some female plants, as there are some berries.
I'll have to do some research on letting the seeds fall where they are or if I should harvest them to plant elsewhere--the bed is already crowded, with a blackberry on one side and strawberries on the other. Also, I am reading that the berries attract the asparagus beetle. I'll report back later!

Something Fishy

The eggplant is the success of the season. I discovered fertilizer--fish emulsion with kelp. Stinky stuff, diluted with water every 2 weeks. The eggplant and lima beans seems to like it quite a bit. I think it accounts for the improving peppers too, but the heat wave ending should also help.
No regrets though, last year the garden did pretty well with just compost, and I wanted to just plant and figure out the soil later. I have still got to do that soil test though. I can't wait to compare this year's lima harvest to last year's (one quart of frozen beans, eaten this week!).That whole bed seems to be doing the best. The okra is finally developing clusters of flower buds, so I hope more of the one pod we've harvested is on the way.

In other news, the herbs were moved to a pot--to be close to the kitchen door and to make room for a pomegranate in the valuable real estate along the sunny back fence. Plus, the rabbits were eating the sorrel.

Friday, July 23, 2010


A measly 3 tomatoes so far (Cherokee purple), but lots of golden cherry tomatoes, lots of cucumbers to pick tomorrow (Will they be bitter?), but the okra, eggplant, and lima beans are looking really promising!

Even the potted may pop is fruiting:

Not so sure about the peppers. The bell is giving one measly pepper. One of the "bull horn" peppers is thriving and the other has no fruit at all.


It take a good deal of time and toil to make a garden, as well as planning. I think I've made some good choices for a foundation, and we'll slowly fill in as time and budget allows.
For the shady side of the yard, native red-twig dogwood and oak-leaved Hydrangea.

I really should have placed this Hydrangea in a more shady spot, but I misjudged, and you can see the scald on the leaves. It seems to be establishing itself, so I will just plant something big to block the Sun--maybe a beauty berry.Here is the mystery Viburnum, doing a nice job of blocking the compost pile.
This lime Hydrangea suffered when the apple tree fell on it after snowmageddon, but it is coming back nicely.

Our exciting newbie, the dwarf pomegranate. Not likely to get much fruit, but a nice homage to our favorite place to travel, the Mediterranean.


I am going to have a gazillion fennel babies. I hoped to move the patch (I doubt the nighbor wants it in her yard.) How am I going to manage this? I think I might be able to catch a good deal of seed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rascally rabbits

I was worried the rabbits would devour the lima beans, or break another one at the stem (that was a bummer), but they are doing great, just started flowering:
The rabbits did feast on the carrot tops, but no harm there. I just wish they would eat all of the bolting lettuce and leave my flat leaf parsley alone. I think they are also eating the Easter lilies and moon flower--which I thought was poisonous, so maybe they will be gone soon after all? Rabbit, bird, or squirrel also took a bite out of my perfect red jalapeno.

Irregular watering

When my tomatoes were not producing enough, I thought it was the heat but read and heard that maybe I was watering too much. Then just now I look up what causes cracking and it says irregular watering--we just got a ton of rain after a drought. So what is the solution?
Some of them seem to be getting too big and cracking, but the unripe one I picked and let ripen inside tasted great. These are rose and brandywine.
At least I can count on the cherry tomatoes.
Last summer, the problem was cucumbers--and my irregular watering resulted in some horribly bitter cukes. Here are the first ones of the season:
I think that curvature means this one is not getting watered properly--which is going to continue to be a problem in the bed along the fence, which has lots of clay and is not luxurious like the soil in the raised bed. Or, maybe it was just the 100 degree heat. Hoping for no more hooked cucumbers.

Garden after long weekend away

What a pleasant surprise--everything thrived in my absence, especially the peppers. I think the fish emulsion/seaweed fertilizer really helped.

These are the beds that really show a difference--the okra, lima beans, and eggplants grew a lot, and the cucumbers are taking off.
I just made a batch of pesto, and already have enough basil for more:
Best of all, we have baby okra! (Look at that ripe jalapeno--something took a bite out of it)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Four coneflowers

I want every variety of Echinacea, except the true red ones.
This sunset looks better than this strange photo reveals, but of course my favorite is the tried and true purple:
This white one gets devoured by bunnies or something:
The coconut lime pom pom is the winner in terms of vigor.

Garden before long weekend away

Maybe a watched garden never grows? Here is the garden last week, and later I'll post the growth explosion that occurred during my four days away.
well this tomato and pepper bed always looks like a jungle, with all of the seeding lettuce and all the stuff behind it from this angle, but the other two beds really took off.
cucumbers and okra, plus some parsley, dill, and marigolds.
eggplant, lima, peppers, and more okra, plus a smattering of carrots (tops now devoured by rabbits)