20 August 2019

plants new for me this year-

Globe Amaranth- little bright puff balls of flowers
It didn't get any attention, but made a color spot in the garden corner
They're orange, pink and reddish:
It's hard to believe Opopeo Amaranth is a closely related plant? This was also neglected- and either it collapsed or something ate all the leaves or it half died, I don't know what. But it's just this flopped over tentacle like thing of red bloom- makes me think of a starfish.
It's supposed to be upright but failed-
Sculpit did make little curious bulb-shaped flowers, half of which are papery dry now. The plant itself got very leggy and thin, and I never did use the leaves in any cooking. Not sure if I will grow it again.
I only have one mizuna plant left, and it is eaten down to the ribs. By caterpillars or slugs, a loss.
Tatsoi fared a little better (although still has plenty of bug holes) and I'm planning on using it in a dish like I would spinach, soon. Tossed with pasta and feta, or in a frittata.
 I thought this tiny pale lavender flowers were, reasonably, from the lavender plant.
 But they're from the nepitella, which is growing right next to the lavender. The info I read about it said "short-lived herb" so I expected it to die off in the summer heat, like my dill and chervil. Instead it's thriving! I ought to cut some of this to dry, as well- see if I like it better than oregano.
My collards are rather leggy and bug-eaten, but the leaves sure are grand regardless. I'm still cutting them to eat, washed off and cut up no one sees the holes anymore. One plant provides enough for a full meal, now.
I'm please with the leaf beet chard. It's actually doing quite well. Next in line for getting eaten.
Sorrel on the edge of the herb patch, more visible now since I've been cutting back the sage and lemon balm to use.
I need to find more uses for this leafy plant. I like its tangy sour bite in a salad (whereas I don't care for the bite of arugula or radish), but haven't figured out any other dishes to put it in.

18 August 2019

butterflies

A few photos of butterflies in my tithonia patch-
I only saw tiger swallowtails when I was out with the camera yesterday, but there's been a few black ones around too.
this one had a rough time, I wonder if it got damaged in the rainstorm we had last night
some Monarchs-
Saw a dark grey skipper  (most of the ones I see are orange/brown), it held the wings vertical together when resting

purple beans!

My purple-pod green beans made delicate little flowers
 and then I finally got some beans
but the foliage is worst-looking of all in the garden. I'm kind of not surprised that the green beans, mizuna, tatsoi and swiss chard fared worst of all when I was gone, they're in the newest plot which has the least amount of compost built up.
Still, it's lovely to see the pole bean foliage all up the deck railings. I really like the effect, and will repeat it. Just have to figure out how to keep the plants healthier- I though it was mostly mites harming my green beans- but found stink bugs when I started cutting off the worst-looking leaves. Since I've been dousing it with dishwater, newer leaves look better condition, so I'm cutting more of the old ones off.
Now I have a small harvest -
They go in the pan purple colored
and come out green

inside plants

Pink african violet has been blooming steadily for months now.
purple one in the bedroom, too
My little thanksgiving cactus is growing!
Blue-green succulent is starting to overflow its little pot.
And wow, this one that revived from years of doing nothing, has grown stupendously. The leaves on the left, against the pot edge, are the newer ones. I'm going to move it up soon!
Sansevieria is also doing a lot better- its younger leaves on the left here, are grown to the same height as the older foliage now. I've been watering it more regularly, it seems to do better with that.
Tarragon on the other hand, bleh. It's got mites again. I cut it down to soil level (ate in a chicken soup) and doused heavily with soap. If it doesn't revive, I'll toss it and buy a new one in spring. Local nursery had some really healthy-looking tarragon this year. Maybe I just need to start over with it.

lime green

Sweet potato vine on the back of my window tank had tiny leafhoppers and/or aphids. I squish the bugs between fingers when I find them, pulled out the plants that seemed infested, replaced with new cuttings. Now it all seems clean and the cuttings are really flourishing!
Those outside look a bit peaky, in comparison. I recently moved the pots and they got a bit of sunburn. Newer leaves coming in look better.

snails and subwasser

I have a reserve of ramshorn snails, now. So I can replenish the population in my window tank (Laddie eats them).
It's a little container of subwassertang on kitchen windowsill. Started out as just a place to put plant bits that could have got contaminated with ich from my angelfish tank- wanted to be sure the disease is clear before I put the plants in any other tank. I ended up just letting it grow in the jar, it's nice to look at.

17 August 2019

in my garden

Peppers! have outperformed my expectations. The sweet 'healthy' peppers produced tons on each plant- they're great in stir-fries, on pizza, sliced thin in salad, eaten fresh. Nice and crisp and mild.
and way more than I can keep up with. One plant would have been fine.
I have two ancho pepper plants, but I've only been getting one or two peppers each on them. This one stayed on the plant long enough to turn red. Great for cooking beans and lentils, but I wish I had more!
I pulled out all the peas, and now I have a volunteer cantaloupe in their place. Funny, it's one of the few plants in the garden not bothered by whitefly, aphids, stink bugs, cabbage loopers, mealy bugs, spider mites or leaf hoppers so far.
Nothing, apparently, bothers the leeks. They did so well and I have more than I can use now. The key was starting them so early indoors. Will repeat.
I saved one seedhead off a two-year-old leek.
Green onions happy in their new space. Didn't have much setback from being transplanted. Made some scrumptious enchiladas with them last night.
Lavender much better here too.
Sage also happy now it's not next to the rue. Some leaf hoppers on it, but not bad. I've already cut and dried enough for all through winter, and still there's plenty fresh in the garden.
Rue keeps up its guardian role. No more cats, squirrels digging around, and rabbits have never come.
Lemon balm is recovering. Leaves are still small but most look cleaner.
One end of that herb bed- lavender mixed with nepitella, sage rear right and sorrel in the rear fore.
I only pulled a fraction of the turnips earlier, and the ones still in the garden are getting so big I don't think they'll be good to eat anymore. A few are sending up thinner stems looks like they might try to flower.
I have carrots, though I'm starting to wonder why I use up garden space on them. Store-bought organic carrots taste better than mine- which tend to have a soapy hint for some reason. Trying to figure this out. Maybe it's just me.
Fordhook giant chard isn't doing so great. Something is on it- stink bugs or leaf hoppers or mites or all. I'm trying to knock them off with soapy water spray.