31 August 2009

more stuff

I haven't been able to get into the garden for several days, laid up on my foot. Things looked a bit dismal. Lots of the Tomato leaves are yellowing, with spots, and many of the cherry Tomatoes split their skins and get eaten by bugs before I get to them. Still picked at least a pound of good ones today, and two heirlooms. Something is affecting the Green Beans- even though it's been at least five days since I last picked, the plants yielded far less than usual- and many of their leaves are mottled, browning and curling. Then I found the culprit- the nasty old cucumber beetles. I picked off all the ones found, then treated the plants with basil spray and smashed a few more as they tried to fly away. They were all big fat bugs, too. Found a few caterpillars on the large tomatoes that might be tomato hornworms? and tons of grey caterpillars with pale yellow bellies underside leaves of the Broccoli- I'm pretty sure they're from the cabbage moths that fly around, I haven't been dilligent enough at catching them.

But there's tons of Lettuce seedlings, and all the Beets I planted are coming up quickly. In that other G Bean plot I planted all that was left of my seed- at least twenty five or thirty seeds but only fourteen grew. Probably too cool, now, or wet from all the rain.

27 August 2009


Lettuce seedlings are coming up everywhere I added compost into the soil. I might let some grow a bit bigger and make a baby greens salad. Planted Beets, Broccoli and a few Cauliflower today. The cauliflower didn't grow in spring, but maybe fall weather is better condition for it.

26 August 2009


The Cantaloupe was good, but not great. It's the first thing I've had out of the garden that didn't taste better than produce form the grocery store. Weeded the garden this morning, and picked more Green Beans. Some of the second plot I planted are shoving their curled sprouts up through the soil, I was excited to see that. When I weeded out the plot under kitchen window found another dozen Lettuce seedlings. I need to turn that soil over w/compost and plant the fall lettuce, but my foot is still not healed enough to work a shovel.

25 August 2009

garden bounty

More garden bounty. That first Cantaloupe picked last week was a disappointment. It smelled wonderful, but the taste was very bland, faintly like a honeydew. I ate my portion, husb and child refused theirs. Kept a close eye on the rest of the melon patch; today picked the largest Canteloupe when I noticed it was beginning to turn yellow. It smells good; but I won't anticipate much until cut it for tomorrow's breakfast.

A nice fat Zucchini, today. Those plants are all lower leaves covered in powdery mildew, but it doesn't seem to hurt the plants much. They still produce. And I'd rather welcome the rain than worry about a little mildew. It rained heavy a few days ago, enough so that I haven't watered since, and the ground is still dark with dampness.

I can't keep up with the Tomatoes. Shared some with the neighbor to one side of us, gave more to upstairs tenant and told him he could pick as many as he likes. Pick about a pound of cherry Tomatoes every other day, and two or three beefsteak heirlooms on the other days. We eat them sliced on mozarrella with Basil, or diced into green salad, or sliced onto bison burgers, or chopped into husb's home-made guacamole. The volunteer tomatoes (which I will yank up ruthlessly next year instead of coax along) ripen more slowly and don't taste quite as good, but they're still fresher and flavorsome than store-bought ones.

A while ago pulled all the onions; recently ate the last of the white ones, in a chicken soup. They were very small, nesting kind of onions, but quite sweet. They looked so pretty and pearly after dirty outer skins rubbed off I had to take a photo.

Tonight we're eating garden-grown Potatoes and Carrots with a roast. And snacking on cherry Tomatoes all day; and a Zucchini bread for dessert.

20 August 2009


I have not been able to do much work in the garden because of my broken toe, but it is still producing! Today dug up most of the Carrots, left a few of the smaller ones to keep growing until I have time to reseed the bed for fall. Scrubbed them all, set aside the smallest and deformed ones (three legs, stubby w/many legs, etc) to chop up in a soup tonight, and the rest went into the fridge. Ripe Tomatoes every day, although the volunteer ones don't seem to ripen as fast as the heirloom varieties. I've read up a bit more on saving seed and realize I can't save tomato seed this year, because my different plants are too close together and will have crossed. Next year plant them clear across the garden and it might keep them pure. The largest Cantaloupe is almost ripe, and the next smaller one turned all yellow, so I picked it, pulling up some of the sickly vines too. Haven't quite been able to keep the cucumber beetles off enough. Since I picked the Zucchini to sautee, there haven't been any new ones- but some flowers, so hopefully we'll get more. Every day or so there's more G Beans ready, we've been eating some and blanching others to freeze for later. Planted another patch of G Beans next to the zucchini where the potatoes came out, used up all the rest of the seed. Marked the best plant of the first plot to leave the beans ripen all the way and save seed. The Sunflower seeds I picked out of birdseed mix and planted have grown nicely, made pretty flowers. They're only three or four feet tall, but nice and straight and cheerful, not drooping from too-heavy heads like the giant ones on the other side.

14 August 2009


I always feel so pleased when I can make a meal with more than one ingredient from the garden! Last night we ate garden items: a salad made of garden baby Lettuce, red Onions, grated Carrot and cherry Tomatoes; the accompanying sphaghetti dish had fresh grown Garlic in the sauce, and a bowl of sauteed Zucchini finished off the meal. Today for lunch I made a small meat pie which included Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, Green Beans and Oregano from the garden, and tonight I'm fixing sauteed Green Beans to go with a chicken dish and a salad of beefsteak Tomato and Basil (w/mozzarella cheese and a vinaigrette). It feels grand to cook so.

12 August 2009


Today was perfect weather for working outside- cool, slightly overcast, promising rain later. Did a lot of work- tilled (with a shovel) the ground where potatoes had been, and the row of weeds I thought were marigolds edging the patio, and dug in two buckets of nice black compost. Half of it was some I had bagged up to let cure in the shed for months. Turned the pile, topped it off with weeds from the front flowerbeds and edges of the main patio. Swept up dead leaves, leaf litter and fallen flower petals, dumped that all on too. The front flowerbeds are still pretty bare, but the Hostas are doing well- they even flowered!- and the low plant I got from someone's cuttings is still there and slowly spreading. (The tall one she gave me died). After I've turned over the rest of the veg beds and raked in compost for fall planting, if there's any left over I'll put it on the hostas.

The red Onions, though small, have excellent flavor. A loves them thinly sliced in salad, or his homemade dip. I've brushed the dirt off and hung them all up to cure in a mesh bag, next to the garlics.


The few Cauliflower plants that grew are getting big. I love their blue-green color, cool against all the other greens.

11 August 2009


I had thought the Bell Peppers a lost cause, but there are a few small fruits slowly getting bigger. But when I thought I was planting more peppers, the seedlings coming up look like Tomatoes. I don't need more tomatoes, we have so many, I wanted more peppers! How did I mix up the seed packets?

10 August 2009


The Canteloupes are nearly big enough to eat- with two smaller ones coming after.

turning orange

The Pumpkin is getting very orange, and the second one is starting to get speckles on its green coat.

09 August 2009

garden food

Picked and ate our first Zucchini yesterday- in choc chip cookies. A half dozen cherry Tomatoes a day, tons are green on the vine. There's enough G Beans ready every third or fourth day for a side dish. The Bell Pepper plant is dropping all its small unformed fruits after the flowers fade- I wonder if it's because there was only one plant, and it didn't pollinate properly?

Pulled up the last of the Lettuce, and Cilantro plants, gathered seed. Saved only the largest seeds off the biggest Cilantro plants. A few still hung up drying. Pulled up the Onions- all the leaves had died off and shriveled, the bulbs were small. Dug up the Potatoes, as those plants looked very sickly or dying. Surprised to find quite a few potatoes, most of them tiny. Both of those- onions and potatoes- I feel like didn't get any more out of the ground than what I put into it. Did I not water them enough? something- anyway, I don't know if I'll grow them again.

There are tiny baby Lettuces growing in all the spots were I had let plants bolt to seed. In a week I'll pull up all the plants for a baby greens salad, and reseed the bed for fall. The Chard is growing back new leaves, where I cut it all down. I was going to reseed that bed for fall, too, but maybe I'll just let it grow back.

I think I have made a discovery- cucumber beetles don't like Cilantro. When cutting up the plants after taking the seeds off, I put the chopped leaves and stems into the small bucket keep on the counter for kitchen scraps. At the bottom was a bunch of (I thought) dead beetles I had dumped out of the gather-jar last night. When I dropped the chopped Cilantro on top, all of a sudden a half-dozen beetles crawled out to the top and tried to fly away. Maybe if I plant Cilantro among the Cucumbers next year, it will deter them from making themselves at home.

08 August 2009


I've been cutting some of the smaller Sunflowers to bring inside the house. They look so cheerful.

07 August 2009

green beans

Picked the first mess of Green Beans today. A. really likes them- a more mild flavor than the variety I grew last year. I like the stronger flavor, but happy that he will eat these, and the kid doesn't notice the difference. So I'm going to grow these ones again. Planning to plant another plot of them soon, to get a second crop when these die out.

05 August 2009

garden stuff

Time to tell more about the garden! We ate our first heirloom Tomato yesterday, and a few cherry ones- delicious! I need to buy more tomato cages next year- all the extra plants got staked with sticks and the poles from my compost bin- now the bin is floppy, and so are the staked plants. The ones in cages are so much more neat and tidy.

I pulled up the second planting of Peas- it was too hot for them. Try again when fall comes. The Green Beans are almost ready. Zucchini plants are getting huge. The Pepper plant among the beans has tiny peppers where the flowers were- and the second lot I planted where the early peas came out are sprouting! I don't know if they'll grow fast enough to make fruit, though. Cut the last of the Chard for pasta dish tonight. I'm gathering the last of Lettuce seed today, and then will turn the bed over with compost for a fall planting.

The cutting of Sunflowers to make the plants spread more didn't really work. One that got chopped off by accident when young made a few tall stems with small flowers and looks nice- the ones I cut off on purpose at fence level branched thickly and with the flower heads on droop heavily. One fell over so hard it cracked and split itself- I cut it down and tossed on the compost pile. Next year I'll leave them alone to grow straight and tall- and plant a different variety, I think. It turns out no one wants to eat sunflower seeds, so I just want to grow them for the pretty flowers, and natural screen it makes. Nobody wanted to eat Radish, either, so I won't plant those again- although their flowers were pretty, too. And the Potatoes have all nearly died- I don't know what I did wrong there- but I don't mind as A is not crazy about potatoes.

I've gotten pretty good at picking cucumber beetles off- no more plants have sickened since I lost the Cucumbers. Every morning I go out with tweezers and check all the blossoms of Zucchini, Pumpkin and Cantaloupe where they like to hide. I don't get them all- a few fly up and away each time- but enough to keep their damage in check.