Sunday, June 27, 2010

daylilies and curtains

The daylilies serve only one purpose--brightening up the dreary shed for a month or so. My home made curtains (and some other planned improvements) will brighten it up all year.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blackberry progress

They've turned red, and I threw on the bird net. They did not ripen in time for the can jam, but I'll start canning eventually.

Calling all predators

Will this fennel entice you?

Scratch that

All that business about fava beans and cauliflower actually forming heads that is. The day after the last post I was ripping those out. No point wasting space on them in 100 degree heat. More room for the okra and other heat lovers.
The cucumbers are expected to climb those trellises. I added some marigold, nasturtium, and dill. There are a few remaining letttuces that have not yet bolted, but most look like this:
The golden cherry tomatoes were the first to ripen. I wish I'd spaced them more, given the threat of blight. Even the basil is at risk this year.

Now I can only wait for cucumbers, water, and start planning the fall garden.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

State of the Garden

Tomatoes are coming, basil is bushy, peppers are flowering, lots of lettuce (letting some of it go to seed), lima beans growing--so keeping an eye on the bunnies, but they seem satisfied with clover.
Fava is petering out in the heat--waiting to get a few more pods. The okra and cucumbers are coming along. More lettuce.
I gave up on most of the cauliflower--two of these three might be forming heads. More radishes to harvest and hopefully more carrots. Okra and limas will take over this bed too, along with pepper and eggplants.


The blackberries are starting to show some color--I counted about 60 berries! Soon I'll have to throw the bird net over.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Round, from Paris

I've finally found a carrot I can grow successfully, Tonda di Parigi. Yes, it is supposed to be round. Though my soil is not the compact stuff this carrot is designed to tackle, it does help when you loathe to thin that this variety can grow pretty close together. Plus, look how cute!
I was more vigilant with the thinning this spring, and my carnival blend did better, too. The purple ones are especially gorgeous (with orange inside), and they were delicious roasted.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pleasant surprises

I thought none of the flat leaf parsley I planted had germinated, but I found a few growing among the crowded mesclun.
The mystery plant has also been identified. Because I did not make it to the garden center, and horticulture is hard, I went the lazy route and asked my botany professor, who immediately pegged it as a Viburnum--unfortunately, it is not the fragrant one, so I am 0/3 in trying to buy fragrant Viburnums (unless one of the ones in the front yard ever blooms). They look nice though.

Attracting tiny predators and squashing bugs

I'm doing my best to attract beneficial (i.e., predatory) insects to the garden by planting flowers like yarrow, which is also quite pretty. I guess the tiny predators like tiny flowers. I see tons (probably hover flies but hopefully some predatory wasps too) flying away when I walk by, so I think it's working.I think the birds help too, but even birds don't eat the harlequin bug (in blurry picture below, on a cauliflower). It concentrates chemicals from the cabbage family plants it prefers to make itself taste bad. This one got squashed. I read roly polies eat the eggs, and there are plenty of those so I hope they are eating them!

Easter in June

The Easter lilies I planted are finally blooming. Thanks, Mom.

Hello, warm season fruits

First tomatoes of summer (under the watchful eyes of Mr. Frog):
Okra seedling!
Lima bean:
I think rabbits ate some of my lima seedlings last year, so I am on guard. I think they are eating the basil in the corner, as I see no slug trails or signs of what else could be munching it. I planted two more, so if this is all they eat, that's fine by me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Goodbye, cool season greens

Tat soi:
I will only grow tat soi in fall from now on.

You can eat the flowers too.
I would have liked to save seeds from both of these, but I needed the space to start okra seedlings. Now that I know how prolific the arugula is, I will be more frugal with the seeds. The tat soi likely needed more space than I gave it.

The lettuce is mostly hanging in there. I'm letting some go to seed to return later. The rest I am hoping will hang on in the shade of tomatoes and other summer stuff.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flea Beetles!

If it has made it this far, this eggplant is likely to survive, but I hate to see those holey leaves on such a beautiful plant. Next year, I will use floating row cover on the seedlings. For now, I am smashing the beetles when I can catch them.

More blooming, sprouting, and fruiting

The blackberries and raspberries, which started blooming in May, are now fruiting.

Even better, this summer won't be like last (cool and rainy), so the tomatoes and peppers are already in bloom.

And the new addition to my garden repertoire, fava, has three beans on it! If all 6 plants produce at least a few beans, I'll have one whopping serving of favas. I'll try these in fall next time, as they do not like the heat.
The cucumbers have sprouted, and will soon be reaching their trellis. Last year they grew in the luxury of the raised beds (in compost and purchased top soil). This year, for space reasons I am growing them along the fence in amended soil--so time to start learning more about my soil. If I keep them watered regularly, they should do better than last year.
Finally, the fennel is blowing up--I think these may need to be harvested.

When I returned from vacation...

I found some things blooming:
Including this unpleasant surprise:
The label said sweetshrub (Calycanthus), and the leaves look similar, but this mystery plant lacks the beautiful flower and even more sadly, the fragrance. Will be taking a sample to the garden center this weekend--and asking for a credit so I can get the shrub I wanted.

I was ready to dig this nandina out in late winter, but fortunately I researched how to prune it and I'm glad I did. Check out my awesome sidewalk edging.


Hmmm, I amended my soil, and I guessed it was acidic anyway based on nearby plants, but apparently I need to do a soil test. I was hoping for blue hydrangeas (like the small one at top was last year), but these pale pink ones are nice, too.