31 August 2010

cherry tomatoes

My Cherry Tomatoes are almost done. The last few pickings have been meager, and most of the tomatoes don't look good or are half-eaten. Now that I've been clearing Basil out of the way, I noticed that the stems are all barren, the leaves brown or simply gone. (Whereas my heirloom tomato plants on the other side of the yard are still doing okay, nice green leaves and juicy tomatoes. Some are even still flowering!)
Today I found the culprit: the nasty tomato hornworn! Two of them, actually! Upset I didn't find him before he killed my tomato plants, but glad he's carrying these white eggs. They're of a parasitic wasp that will eat other pests out of my garden.


Today I cut all the yucky leaves out of the Pumpkin patch. Many are either stricken with bacterial wilt, or whitened by powdery mildew.
I heard cinnamon can combat the mildew, so now they all have a brown dusty coat, too.
And in cleaning up the patch, I found that besides my big fat orange pumpkin
I have two small ones growing now as well!


Most of my Broccoli plants are making heads, but they're all so small
and quit a few already bolting too tall, like this
but I cut enough for one serving, and they were tasty!

30 August 2010


Today I cleaned up all my Green Beans outside. The older plants were just starting to look awful
so I pulled them all up, and only picked off the younger beans (not many). Then combed through the younger plants, picking beans and cleaning up litter. Squashed a lot of stink bugs, too. Discovered that quite a few of my plants made crawly vines, which I hadn't noticed before as they were tangled all on the ground amongst themselves and the broccoli. So I put a few sticks in the ground and lifted them up, it looks awkward but at least the beans won't be all over the ground.
I had a whole boxful of beans so I decided to try canning again.
Here they are all cleaned and cut.
Almost half on closer inspection were too old or bad,
 so I was over ambitious in washing ten pint jars!
I only filled four. Here they are just ready to go into the canner
and just come out. They all made a nice ping!
I found it a lot easier this time to keep the pressure steady, too.


I can't remember when I did fall planting last year, but I know it was too late; the only fall crop I really got was Lettuce and Chard, the beets and carrots put in too late. I feel like it's too late now already, but today planted some stuff anyways.

Beets: used up all my leftover seed. Gave them an overnight soak. They do look odd, kind of like grape nuts I think. I do hope I get good fall beets; my spring ones were so lovely!
Carrots: two kinds, one from a packet my sister gave me. It was a bonus to plant carrots on the same day I did canning, as I had all that super-hot water and to get carrots to germinate well I like to water them first off with boiling water.
We ate the final spring garden Carrots today, funny shapes diced up into a beef pie

29 August 2010

cantaloupe end

My Cantaloupes are almost done. I've given away three, had to toss one that rotted on the vine- I couldn't pick them fast enough for eating! As is, we've probably eaten eight or ten; I haven't bought any fruit from the grocery store because every day we're eating tomatoes, cucumbers and cantaloupe out of the garden.

Today I pulled out all the vines that no longer had a fruit on the end, it was starting to look awful with all the dying leaves. Now there's just two left.
The vines look pretty sick from the cucumber beetles; I'm not sure if these will finish growing and ripen. And all the vines I pulled out had to be trashed, none to compost. I don't want to spread that wilt disease through my garden next year.

I am glad I planted Marigolds across the back of that side of the garden; it leaves something nice to look at when the plants have been taken out. Just wish I'd gotten enough plants to go the whole length of the beds, instead of just halfway.
Next these plots will be planted with Lettuce for fall...


I like the look of my Sunflower row, back behind the pumpkin patch with Cosmos in between making a jaunty wavery line of bright orange faces.
But I'm not so thrilled with the type of Sunflowers I grew this year. The pack had a variety of colors, but most of the ones opening seem to be dark red, and from a distance they don't look very attractive. Also their faces are very wide, with the petals smaller around the edge; I think I like flowers with larger petals.

They do look nice up close
Here's a half-opened maroon one with a visiting bee
and a bud closed like a fist.
In other parts of my garden the Cosmos have gone nuts. There's this one giant cosmos plant that towers over everything; it has huge thick stems and broader leaves, but no flowers. I left it in hoping I'd get some colossal flowers but instead it's just a freakish huge plant.
In my daughter's garden plant, where she grew Cosmos and Green Beans, one of hers is this bigger type, too. You can see the ordinary growth pattern behind it- long thin stems, leaves spaced apart, flowers. I don't know why some have grown huge with just greenery. A freak seed? something in that patch of soil?

25 August 2010

nature walk

Near Mom's house there's a wooded area with trails, madrona trees with peeling red bark, and choking blackberries. Some of the blackberry bushes had white flowers
and others pink ones.
A fireweed flower.
I love the ferns!
Another wonder; in her yard there's a rock wall and a while back Mom saw a junco going in and out of a crevice in the rocks. It built a nest there
but sadly abandoned it (disturbed by the lawn mower passing). Mom showed us where two eggs still remained:

mom's herbs

I always remembered Mom grew herbs under the backyard windows, but I never saw them so big before! She's had these plants for more than twenty years. Her sage
 and rosemary (on the left, it's smaller)
 are perennial shrubs, and she has so much parsley sprout every year it comes up through cracks in the pavement.
All three of these had seed heads on them when I was visiting, so I gathered quite a bit of seed to bring home, try and grow in my own garden. I doubt I can winter the plants over like Mom does (she's in zone 4 or 5, it doesn't get cold enough winters to kill them) but maybe I can get some more summer herbs out of it.


mom's flowers

I took some photos of things in my mother's garden while we were visiting. Here are a few of her roses.
This one seems to have a double center, which kind of forms a heart:
I like these smaller ones. I think they're wild roses?
Purple dahlias
yellow ones
and orange