29 September 2010

cleanup vegs

I took the last few Green Bean plants out of the garden. The nicest beans bulging with fat seed I hung in the shed to dry, although I don't know if this will work well, I think they cure better on the plant itself. But with all the rain we're getting, I don't want them to rot, either.
The previous lot I had tried to dry for seed was a fail. When I opened them, the beans weren't white like I'm used to but dark brown. I wonder if it was from the disease bugs spread through my plants. Not sure, but I don't think I'm going to take the risk in planting them.
I was going to cut down my last two Tomato plants, but then I found a half dozen green Tomatoes and this little beauty. So maybe they are going to give us a bit more fruit!
My Chard is happy with the change of weather, which besides watering it all day, has driven the nasty bugs off. It looks so lovely now!

cleanup flores

I did a little work in the garden today. Deadheaded all the spent flowers. The Tithonia are still blooming nicely, even if some of the foliage is starting to look awful.
The Cosmos look fantastic, and I can hardly keep up with them.
Most of the spent flowers I cut look like this after the petals fall off.
I didn't deadhead soon enough this time and a few had gone to seed. Now they look like this!
Some of my Marigold plants look very spent
but others are still full of vivid greenery and bold flowers. I'm not terribly fond of Marigolds, but they do make that corner of the yard cheery with their bright color.
The Sunflowers are drooping dull heads now. I'm leaving them up hoping they might feed someone overwinter.

28 September 2010


I finally cut some Celery! It looks beautiful, doesn't it?

But sadly, only two stalks of this entire plant were edible. Most the inside of the stems were pithy and white, only a few nice and green.
The flavor is very strong, too, almost too much. I should have blanched them. Too late now.

27 September 2010

peasie weasies

I finally got the last of my fall garden started, and planted some peas yesterday. Here they are after a night's soaking.
I was anxious to get them into the ground because we suddenly went from hot high-nineties into a week of nice cool rain which is fantastic for starting seeds, I don't have to worry about watering them every day! Basically I planted peas in all the empty garden spots: where the zucchinis used to be, where the watermelons were, and the prior cucumber patch. Some of them I planted around a tomato cage in case they're inclined to climb; the others just went in rows into the ground. The package says they're bush plants not vines but I've never seen a pea plant that didn't flop over without something to cling to.

Now all I have left to do (besides lots of cleanup) is put my started lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower out of the coldframe and into the ground.

fall food

Even though my garden looks pathetic right now, it's still giving us occasional eats. There's a few Tomatoes out there I hope I can ripen in the window. I pick itty bitty oh-so-tasty Bell Peppers about twice a week, and those plants are still flowering in spite of the cooler weather. And yesterday I cut some Broccoli. All very small heads, but collected together they fed us well.

22 September 2010

little growth

My little Beets are getting bigger!
and the tiny Carrots have ferny leaves now.
But sadly, the other two plots of each are pretty much a failure. The other carrots never sprouted, I don't think they ever will. And the second set of beets, every time a little one comes up it disappears soon after. I think pill bugs are chomping them.

20 September 2010

a tour of my backyard

because Chris asked for it!

Well, my backyard is pretty big compared to everywhere else I've lived before. Most of it is lawn, with a strip at the back where nothing much grows except weeds because of tree shade, and a row of hyacinths and other random stuff up against the fence. I want to plant some small shrubs and something like ferns back there, someday. That part's not pretty but I'll show you the rest! All around the edges of my lawn are borders of planting areas.

On one side there's a raised bed walled in with concrete, that was already here when I moved in. It extends off my main patio. The soil's not very good on this side, still kind of heavy clay but I turn compost into it every year and hope that improves it. Here's two views of that. The closer end of it has strawberries planted in it; the further end the remains of my basil and tomato plants this year. In the middle is where I took out the sick zucchinis. Oh, and you can just see my open coldframe in that first picture.
On the opposite side there's a long bed that at first was just shaped by a boundary of wood (something like old railroad ties). I made these little paths in it with brick edging and gravel, so that I can reach each part of the garden without stepping on the soil. It also divides everything up nicely so I can keep track of what's planted where each season. Here's two shots of that side, one looking right over the compost bin. It's mostly empty now, although I've started carrots and beets in two of the plots for fall. At the far end you can barely see my row of swiss chard, behind some more the remaining basil plants (I put tomatoes on each side of the garden to keep cherry and big ones separate in case I wanted to save seed, and they were both accompanied by basil).
Against the house is a narrow bed edged with round stones (with celery, peppers and baby beets in in now, from left to right), and behind the small patio on the right is another large square space (with just broccoli in the middle now that I've pulled all the green beans out). When we got the house, this square spot was full of broken concrete, I think it used to be part of that small patio. I've dug most of the concrete out, but there are still some pieces under there so sometimes the plants can't get their roots in deep and tend to fall over :(
In the back I've started to convert part of the ugly grass/weed area into growing spots, too. Here off the end of the raised bed I made a new patch this year. I killed the grass by piling up trash bags of leaves for a few weeks (not pretty) and then put down some boards for a temporary edge. This is where my pumpkins and sunflowers have been growing! Kind of looks messy now because the pumpkins are dying. Behind them is another spot boarded by big flat stones turned up on end (that was already built when I moved in, too). It's where my rhubarb lives.
And the middle of it all is just plain old grass. Not very exciting, but lots of space for the kid to run around.

Here's looking again at the raised bed on one side:
and the divided bed on the other:
That edge of rocks in the foreground is eventually where I want my lawn to end, once I figure out what to plant in the back under the trees. I just don't like mowing so much!

19 September 2010


My baby Lettuces are getting crowded in the trays, and have their first true leaves, so I figured it was time to move them into individual cardpots.

Here are the Romaine
and Simpson before potting.
 And after, the coldframe full again.
I potted up about twenty-five Romaine and thirty Simpson seedlings, and just half a dozen of the Bibb lettuce (my husband's least-favorite).

16 September 2010


In the back of my yard against the fence I've started cleaning things up. There's lots of undergrowth and tangled shrubbery. I trimmed all the Hibiscus a few weeks ago, to just above my head, hoping it will make them fill out more. Now they're flowering again! I didn't notice before they have different colors.

Some are white.
Others more purple or pink.
When the flowers fade they turn blue.

15 September 2010

another new bug

I think I've identified this one. It's a blue-winged wasp. I noticed it crawling in the celery leaves because the bright blue irridescent wings caught my eye. My photos don't really show the blue color well.
It has two yellow spots on each side of the abdomen.


The pots on my front porch have been empty ever since my petunias died from the heat. It's rather dismal just seeing bare dirt there flanking the front door. Then I discovered some stubborn ivy growing through my back fence. I've been wanting something to plant in those pots for the winter, that would last the cold weather. So I dug up those bits of ivy plants
and put them in the pots with fresh soil.
I don't like ivy in my lawn, or climbing trees, but I do think the leaves are pretty and maybe it will survive here on the porch. Doesn't look like much yet, though.

14 September 2010

new bugs

Cleaning out my Broccoli patch was a much-neglected chore. I found to my dismay, that all kinds of creepy crawlies have made their home in the plants while I was ignoring them. Some I already knew, like my nemesis the cucumber beetle (found two, squashed one) and a daddy longlegs. But all these other bugs were new faces to me!

I think this one is a lacewing (a friend to the gardener)
but in all the photos I've seen of them the insect holds the wings vertically, and this one had his wings held horizontally over the body.
I found all sorts of cocoons, which I assume are from the white cabbage moth. Most were dull greyish tan,
one was bright green.
I disposed of all those, as well as a few clusters of eggs I found (but I don't know whose they are).
The biggest surprise were these tiny brightly colored bugs.
Once I spotted one, I started to find them all over the place!
I'm assuming where there's lots of plant damage and lots of bugs, they are the culprits. They squished easily, like caterpillar bodies.

But then I found this much larger one, which had harder wing cases and flew a short distance before I caught and squished him too.
My attempts to scout out their identity online has been futile. Anybody familiar with this bug? What is it?

Well, the Broccoli patch is (mostly) all clean now! Of debris, litter and pests. I'm sure I missed some bugs so I'll check again tomorrow.