Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yes, As a Matter of Fact, I CAN!

**Posting this earlier than I normally do. Scroll down if you missed the Death Day entry.**

Before I let you know what I can do, there's something else I'd like to share with you. As if I haven't mentioned Kate from Gardening Without Skills every day this week (I love her blog), I need to mention her again! She ran a drawing for the cutest little garden gnome and I am the lucky recipient! I'm just stupid giddy. He'll have a home with the two frogs we just bought on Monday and be well taken care of. Thanks Kate!
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I saw a very basic BWB at the store this weekend and it's been gnawing at me since. Last night I broke down and purchased it. I figured if it didn't work, I would only be out $20 so it was worth it. Ladies and gentlemen, I can can! Well, kind of. We have a glass top stove. I'm thinking I'll have to hook up the turkey fryer and do it on that burner, but we'll see.

Before we broke out the canner, we made some freezer jam. Between finding the blackberry patch and watching EG's film of his patch, the boy had his mind set on some blackberry jam. I couldn't get my brave up to go in our patch, so I took the easy way out and bought frozen mixed berries. The boy mixed it up well.
When I was washing some dishes, I heard smacking...something was afoot. The picture is blurry because I grabbed the camera and snapped the picture as I was turning around in order to catch him red handed.
The jar we kept out is half gone already. Oh my goodness is it good. I know it's only frozen berries, but it's a bit chunky and sooooo good.

Then, we busted out the BWB and made my first batch of canned pickles. I have made refrigerator ones before, but never canned them for shelf storage. It took 1.5 hours for that stove to boil the water (more reason to use the turkey fryer), but I did it. I took the jars from the canner and set them on a towel to cool while I finished last night's blog entry. It was quiet, everyone else had gone to be, when all of a sudden, I heard a POP! Then there was another. It took me a bit to realize, the cans were sealing! I had done it. I was crazy happy.

But I was thinking. All recipes I've found are for a crazy number of tomatoes, peppers, whatever they are. What if I only want to do a couple of pints of something at a time? Do you have any recipes for that?

June 2009: Garden Blogger's Death Day

Kate and Crew at Gardening Without Skills has deemed the last day of each month as a time to recognize the things that have not gone so well during the month. I posted to KandC earlier that I ripped out my cucumbers on the side yard earlier this week, but forgot to take pictures. No blog about Death Day for me.

I spoke too soon.

I left the house this morning at 9:00AM, arrived back at around 12:00 and found this:

The zucchini bush had completely fallen over. Need another look?

My first thought was SVB. I had been so diligent and careful, but those eggs are hard to find. Writing off the plant instantaneously, I was disappointed as it was showing progress after not producing anything for a week, but I was conflicted because now I had something to share for Garden Blogger's Death Day. WOOHOO!! No wait...SHOOT, I liked that plant.

I went down there and couldn't find any sign of SVB damage anywhere. The stems of the plant weren't limp either. Aha! This was the same plant that got tipped over about a month ago. I leaned the plant up, watched it fall over and realized the new growth was most likely causing it to be top heavy. Eh, it made the zucchinis on the underside easier to cut off. I propped it back up, hoping I was right in it not being SVB damage and that it will start to grow straight like it did last time it tipped over.

I still needed death, so I got these pictures of the hanging plants that I gave up on a long time ago.

The boy's lavender will get transplanted in there tomorrow. The beans needed picking one last time, but it seemed each time I went to pick a bean, the entire plant came with it. Since this was the last picking I'd get out of them anyway, out they came!
That leaves more bare spots in the garden. I'm seriously considering just leaving it unplanted for fall. I don't know what I could put there that would mature in a month during this heat anyway.

Not all was doom and gloom; here's the harvest for today:
Tomorrow we're going to have to stew down some tomatoes.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome and Unwelcomed Garden Guests

Hi, Hidinginmygarden!! Good to see you.

Seemingly the only good thing about July in Georgia is that the garden centers and craft stores start to freak out about their summer garden inventory and start marking everything down. We went to a craft store today to buy a dream catcher kit for the boy (he wanted one, but please remind me how spatially inept I am if I try to make another), and he spotted these frogs on 70% clearance. Who could resist!?

I couldn't, that's for sure. This dude takes up an entire SQFT, but he's worth it next to the sprawling cantaloupe.
This guy had a totally different feel, so I put him in the other corner yard with the sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Now that I look at him, I'll need to either put a drainage hole in the bottom or just dump him out when it rains.

Now I need to find one more to put in the side yard beds. They had additional ones, but the girl got tired of the "put your hands in your pockets" game and started touching things, so we left.

I found this little guy below on a zucchini leaf which I thought was rather odd. He was just sitting there, obviously not feeling well. Sure enough, a breeze came by, threw him off balance, and he fell down buzzing all the way, but not gaining flight. I haven't sprayed the garden with anything in the last month and a half or more, but I suppose even these guys have a life span. He did his fair share of pollinating. Thank you, Mr. Bee.

This next MammaJamma was cordially invited to leave at her earliest convenience. I've only seen one of these before in my life, but it was at the old house. She was in the corner of the gate door by the new corner yard. I found her when I was going to fetch the hose to water. I know EG posted tons of pictures of the black widow spiders he found last year, but it really makes me pause when I go digging around in those bush beans or zucchini bushes and the like.
She was a problem, yes, and I don't know what the tan thing is next to her, but that gargantuan, creme egg sac in the background was my real concern. Nope. No can do. The man came home and promptly introduced her and the egg sac to his hammer. It was beautiful carnage.

Now, I know spiders have their place in nature and I've never killed one in my garden for that reason, but there are spiders and there are spiders. My children play back there and I won't chance them picking up one of these lovely ladies while trying to coerce her into their bug box. Other spiders can stay. She will go.

Otherwise in the garden, we took the hanging beans and cucumbers which didn't do anything at all worth while out of the baskets and hung some wave petunias instead. Very pretty. The boy wants to plant lavender so badly because he thinks it smells like Mommy's lipstick, so we might go to find some later tonight, but I think we're out of season.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

For Dan: In Honor of Mister Early

Some of the most amazing garden photography I've seen have come from Dan at his Urban Veggie Garden Blog. Dan lives in Canada, and although his growing seasons are different from mine, he did have the promise of an early beautiful tomato and he chronicled the growth of Mister Early Tomato lovingly. Sadly, some time during the night, someone or might I say, something, skulked into his garden absconded with Mr. Early. He wasn't nibbled on, he wasn't damaged; Mister Early was totally and completely gone, clear down to his stem.

It's just not fair. Therefore, Dan, although you won't get your own early tomato to eat, please accept this gift of virtual tomatoes in tribute to Mister Early. Dan, whereas you might not get to savor your own early tomato, maybe your virtual early harvest can be bountiful.
The morning comes early, but it can wait until you check out Dan's photography. Sweet gardening dreams.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Quiz, the End, and Would That Be a Cucumber in Your Pocket?

Hodgepodge for today, my friends. This is POST #2 for this same day, so scroll down for POST #1.

My cousin, Emily, sent me a fantastic link from the New York Times about famous avid gardeners of the past. The article is very funny and if you look at the right side bar, there's additional blogs written for the newspaper about gardening. Here's the LINK. It's titled "Stalin's Flower Garden." Take the quiz before you cheat and peak at the answers and let me know how many you got correct because I'm feeling pretty stupid about now. :)

The garden here seems to be slowing, if not winding down. There are no new blossoms on the peppers, beans, cucumbers or eggplants for some time now, and we've already discussed the squash issue today. A week ago, the beans in the corner yard looked like this:

I guarantee they look much worse for wear now. As a matter of fact, I pulled out the purple beans in the side yard today. They had stopped producing some time ago, but I never had the chance to pull them out until today. That side box of beans was planted along side some "bush" cucumbers and a little yellow pear tomato. When I pulled out the beans, look what I found hiding in the foliage!!
HOLY GOODNESS they were huge! Together, they weighed in at over 1.5 lbs. Don't know if they'd taste good at all. Most likely they'll be seedy and bitter, but they're fun to look at. Kind of like a coffee table book, a conversation started if you will. OK, maybe not, but here's a picture of the rest of the buggers off the same vine that I found hidden in the beans:
Ridiculous, right? I just gave away several to one neighbor, then I left a surprise cucumbergram for another neighbor; yesterday I gave another lady four of them and now I've got four more to add to the three in the fridge, granted these may not be edible, though. I keep chanting to myself "this is a good problem to have, this is a good problem to have" kind of like the little engine that could. It's actually a FANTASTIC problem to have, and I can't be happier. I'd make more pickles, but honestly, we've never touched the ones we've made. We're not pickle eaters, but I do love a good cucumber sandwich. I have some beans and a squash to fetch from the garden today, but there's a few assassin bugs holding court around there and a very jealous bee hanging around the squash.

I've realized in typing this I have multiple questions for you, only one of which I've asked outright.

1) if you choose to take the quiz, let me know how you do.

2) Should I plant something where those purple beans were or let it be until the fall plantings?

3) Have any good cucumber recipes that don't include pickling?

DANG, here I go again. Should have broken this post up into several. Tomorrow I'll try to get pictures of the garden again.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

The Zucchini's Being Squashed.

Nothing wants to be outside in 97 degrees with high humidity. Not even the plants. We've been above 90 all week with the heat index always being a few degrees over the actual. It's not pleasant.

About a week ago, I posted about my zucchini that seems to have stopped producing. It produced like gangbusters for weeks on end and then it didn't even put out male flowers for several days, which is unusual.

I thought for a time that the bush has reached the end of it's time. Then again, I haven't fertilized the garden all season, so that could have quite a bit to do with it as well, but things were looking so good for so long, I didn't see the need to. Then, I found this much farther down the main stem:

It seems like it just moved the new blossoms from the bottom to the top of the leading stem (term?). There aren't as many blooms, but it's still putting out one every third or fourth day. Not the 2-3 a day we had earlier, but still nice. The bushes are a little worse for wear and you can see the start of some powdery mildew on some of the leaves. I don't think much is going to go on here in July. For the most part, it may be the okra and sweet potato's time to shine. I can't believe I may actually need to start planning the fall garden already! More on that tomorrow....or maybe tonight since I missed a post last night. The niece and nephew were over to spend the night. It was a house of four kids under 6 yrs old. How do people do it!? At least it only took about an hour and a half for them to all fall asleep. I stayed with them this time until they all fell asleep being that the last time we woke up at 1:00AM to hear them still playing. It terrified me that we were sound asleep while they were still awake! They're playing well right now, and I've stalled them as long as I can. I'm going to run and make some breakfast.

The morning sure was early today.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Melons, Nymphs, and a Drowning Averted

The children had a birthday party to attend at Chuck E Cheese's this afternoon. I take every step I can to avoid this place like the plague, but the kids were incredibly calm, well behaved and had the time of their lives. However,on multiple occasions, I must admit I glanced wistfully towards the rear of the establishment and resolved to drown myself in the soda fountain, but we all survived and the kids brought home balloons which means Gibson won't come downstairs for a week.

I took this picture last weekend of the one cantaloupe that I've got growing. It's a tad bigger now. Since I don't have much trellis room, I grew these on the ground and they've gone at least five feet over the box. The bees seem to love the cantaloupe since this is where they seem to congregate and spend most of their time. I'm worried about them because they're right next to the peppers and I've heard rumors about not putting cantaloupe by peppers, but there's not much I can do about that now. The vines are looking a bit sad because of the ridiculous weather we've been having. It's consistently in the 90's and Sunday's going to be 97. It's not so much the actual temperature, but the humidity, and I know it's a cliche, but it's hard to breathe. I can only imagine it's affecting the plants as well. I'm now more grateful than ever that the garden goes into shade after noon.

Yesterday I posted that I got to watch a ladybug nymph turn into a ladybug. I couldn't get a picture of the nymph anymore, although I found several after I put the camera away, but I did get a shot of the transforming gal.
I also found these guys. They're so funny to watch because they move in a group. I touched one and he fell to a lower leaf. The rest of them directly followed. I'm hoping against hope that they're baby assassin bugs. They have the same body style and stance. I tried to do some research, but they look a lot like other nymphs as well. Can anyone offer any help? If they're evil, I need to get rid of them while they're in their gaggle.
Lastly, here's my harvest for the day. I picked several more cucumbers, but some of them looked pretty funky. The tomatoes are going to taste great with those cucumbers tonight with some celery salt, oil, red wine vinegar, chives and feta cheese. Those peppers were directly stuffed into this decanter with vinegar to make some more pepper sauce. Now that the chilies are turning red, it makes a real pretty picture. We've already made five of these to give as gifts. We gave one to our elderly neighbors down the road that have the "real garden" as says the boy, and they were thrilled to have it. They are growing collard greens now. I always thought collards were a spring and fall crop here in GA, but they said they've been growing them during the summers for 60+ years now, so who am I to argue. That pepper sauce is going to be good on them regardless.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chickens, Bees and a Bad Case of the Uglies

While the boy was helping me cook dinner tonight, he was scrolling through Kate and Crew's blog Gardening Without Skills, looking at the pictures and videos of her chickens. He says to me very nonchalantly while he's scrolling through, "Mom, did you know chicken comes from chickens?" He wasn't looking at me to see my expression, but instead he remained engrossed in Kate's video of the chicken jumping for the string she posted a few weeks ago. I feigned ignorance like any good mother would. He continued, "Yea. It's kind of like milk and how that comes from a cow. I've seen how you get milk from a cow, but I wonder how the chickens make chicken...."

It was at this point that I was even more grateful he was not looking in my direction, but when he did hazard a look up I had to quickly fake a coughing fit into the pot holder. At the onset of his last statement, I had just removed a pan of chicken from the oven; there was no way I was going to detail to him how chickens "make" chicken. When I regained my composure, I just stammered that he should let me know when he finds out.

He's a funny kid. This was right up there with the statement that "all girls are weird." He qualified this. It wasn't like his sister or his mom weird, but just other girls. They were weird like a "spider with a big pink bow" or a "turtle with socks" type of weird. His father just nodded and I couldn't come up with anything in support of my gender. He wasn't far off the mark.
Anyway, back to the gardening. Figured I'd give this day to some happy bees and some ugly mugs.

These guys work so hard all day long. I try to go out there when they've "finished" to lift up the vines to look for cucumbers and the like, but there's no down time for these guys!
This next guy is just ugly. These guys are constantly changing in appearance. I think I took a picture of one of these guys, or wait, he may have been in the film last week, but they start off all nice and black with red bodies and then turn quickly into this ugly thing.
As if it couldn't get any uglier. Look inside this tomato. You can click on it to enlarge it.
Can you see him in there? He's a rather fat one so I'm sure he's been chomping away for some time. Jerk. I wasn't about to pry open the tomato to see what kind of a worm he was, but can anyone ID him from the picture?

I did see some amazing bug action today. I got to watch a ladybug larvae transform into a lady bug. the larvae perched itself on one leaf and slowly curled up on itself. It turned pink, then it got two spots towards the front of his back. I just went out there and now he has four spots on his back. I bet by tomorrow, he'll be a full fledged lady bug. It's been great to watch. However, I now realize I've thrown a couple of those pink things in soapy water, not recognizing them for what they were. I feel very guilty about that now.

On the upside of the world, here is my harvest for the day. I picked another one of those massive zucchinis that had yet to flower and a total of seven cucumbers. I gave six to a neighbor being that we already have four in freezer and I'm not making any more pickles any time soon. I blanched and froze two more packages of zucchini/squash and two of green beans. Those will be very nice in the future. Anyway, I'm trying to post this during an off chance moment of respite which has now come to an end. The boy and girl are playing slay the dragon, and the girl, who is in the knight's costume (the role the boy assigned her, himself), just took his instructions literally and put him out of commission with the wooden sword. I suppose I'd better intervene.

*sigh* The morning comes early, but sometimes bedtime can't come soon enough. :) Sweet gardening dreams.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Corn is Falling! The Corn is Falling!

A little afternoon rain shower blew through here a few days ago. This wasn't the storm that flattened my zucchini bush, which stood itself back up by the way. This rain shower wasn't even a storm as much as a light rain with soft breezes. I didn't think much of it. When I went outside the next morning, all of the corn in the container was leaned over. Now, I'm assuming that it was the rain shower, but it could very easily have been the rogue neighborhood cat whom I've found batting the hanging leaves of the corn as if they were feathers on a string. I wonder if that cat got too overly excited and either lost its balance leaping for a leaf or if it just went into sheer manic mode and flung itself headlong into the corn.

I had to find a way to stand it upright again, so until I come up with a better idea, I just used two sticks I had in the garage and some twine. The only problem is, is that now the stalks are so close together, I wonder if they'll have the space to produce ears. I really need another stick to make a triangle so they're not touching. Maybe, since it's been about a week, maybe it has mended itself and will stand upright by itself again like the squash did. They didn't crack the stem when they leaned over, so in my ignorance of corn, this sounds like a feasible idea whether it really is or not.

Below is today's harvest. There's an additional cucumber I took to a friend's house today on a veggie platter this morning. I'm going to have to blanch and freeze these beans as well. I know we're not going to make it through all of those tomatoes, either. The boy just loved the yellow tomato. When he saw it, he took a sincerely shocked intake of breath His eyes popped wide, he put his hands by his mouth and said in breathless awe, "It's so beautiful," and then with dire certainty, "but I'm still not going to eat it."


That's quite alright. It's more for me that way. I'm thinking tonight we'll fry up that eggplant and some of the okra we picked yesterday.

Life is not too shabby in the gardening department.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gorgonzola, Beans and Peppers

I took a bunch of pictures today, but instead of overloading you in one huge post, I figured to break them up in to short segments for each day, barring any unforeseen garden drama.

I've updated the total harvest on the sidebar to show the last two day's picking. I can't believe that cucumber and zucchini total.

Tonight we had the green beans that we've picked over the last few days. We just love the Fortex beans, but wish we had more of them. Those vines just weren't as vigorous as we would have liked them to be.

We also had Golden Gorgonzola Potatoes. I had no idea what Gorgonzola tasted like to begin with, but MAN were they good. The recipe came from the potato's bag, so I was a bit skeptical. The man and I both liked it. The girl wouldn't touch it. Then again, she doesn't eat much of anything. The boy is still working on his dinner. He's been working on it for almost an hour now. That's getting old.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it. I highly recommend it.

Ingredients

2 pounds gold potatoes peeled and cut into thin slices

Water -enough to cover

1 cup Alfredo sauce (I used more)

1/2 cup French-fried onions (divided)

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (I used a bit more)

2 tablespoons garlic butter (I used garlic Alfredo sauce and regular butter)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps

In a large saucepan, place potatoes and water. Bring to boiling; then boil three minutes.

In large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce, 1/4 cup fried onions, cheese, garlic butter and salt.

Drain potatoes and gently stir into cheese mixture. Spoon mixture into baking dish and top with remaining fried onions.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Again, very, very good.

Anyway, for today I put pictures of the Cayenne peppers which are turning red. It seems to have taken these incredibly long to do so, but they sure are pretty. These will be a nice color addition to the pepper sauce I've been making. I'm not thrilled with hot, spicy things and I don't know if I'll grow this again since I won't use them in anything but the pepper sauce, but again, they sure are pretty.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pictures

I should have taken pictures of the basket of goodies I harvested when we got home today.

I didn't.

I thought about it. I told myself to go upstairs and get that camera. I should have done it.

I didn't.

I got side tracked slicing the cucumbers and stuffing them in my face.

Our last wedding for the year, barring any surprises, is checked off the list. The children enjoyed a fantastic weekend swimming and playing in the sand with my parents and we got to see family on the man's side that we haven't seen in years with the added bonus of visiting and staying with friends in North Carolina, the wedding in Virginia being only 45 minutes away. The five hour drive that we once would have shrugged off is now one that our backs and knees found difficulty with. And it couldn't have been any better. Through the muscle spasms and futile attempts at stretching out we sang, both on and off key, laughed, counted the idiots on their cell phones, counted the idiots on their cell phones who actually maintained their own lane, and talked.

After we got home and I unpacked and began the laundry, I approached the back door, closed my eyes, and put my hand on the door knob. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door, steeling myself for the carnage that awaited me.

It was all still there. It all stood. Well almost. A tomato bush fell to the side, but that was easily righted. I knocked a few JB off and squished a few woolly aphid colonies that sprouted up and called it a day on the bug catching front and went to harvest what had ripened while I was gone.

And I didn't take pictures.

But I did get almost 3 pounds of cucumbers, 1.5 pounds of zucchini/squash and some tomatoes, beans, okra and peppers. I picked the BPeppers clean before we left and now have almost as many fully grown ones now. The cayenne peppers are finally turning red (not that I know any more of what to do with them now that they are red, but they are pretty). I found my cantaloupe is beginning to grow fruit. I'll make sure to take some pictures of that for tomorrow. Things look good, very good in fact thanks largely to my neighbor who watered the plants in pots on the front stoop. They wouldn't have survived the hot sun without the extra attention.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow, but I'm afraid it's getting to be too monotonous to show the same pictures of the same stuff week after week. :(

The morning comes early, and I know my back will enjoy getting stretched out. Sweet gardening dreams!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flat Corn and Zucchini's "Uncle!"

Once again I find myself afflicted with garden separation anxiety. However, now, with veggies on the vine, the stakes are critical. We're headed to a wedding in Virginia (our third wedding in six months) and we'll be gone the weekend. It's not that bad. I'll be able to tend to the plants before I leave on Friday and then again when I come home on Sunday evening. Technically, that's only one full day without tending. One....FULL...day.

I'm okay with things staying on the vine possibly a day longer than they should. There's no real, true damage to that I suppose. What it is, is one full day where the Japanese beetles can engage in as many extra curricular activities as they please and chomp up my garden in their ecstasy once they realize there's no one hovering under them with a cup of soapy water. Truly, this is the only thing that has me on edge. I've prepared the garden itself as best as I can: I picked another large tomato today (my third) and I can bring them with me along with three left over cucumbers in the fridge (I actually picked and gave the ladies at swimming lessons four cucumbers this morning). I've pulled all of the viable beans and blanched and froze them. I grated, steam blanched and froze zucchini for baking zucchini bread later and I've got another to come off tomorrow which should last the weekend in the fridge for us. Things WILL be fine. As long as those Japanese beetles don't text their friends that Mom and Dad are away for the weekend and have another love fest, that is.

On a few side notes, we had a storm blow through here last night. No rain, only wind and thunder, but it did a thorough job of flattening the boy's corn in the container. I tried to shore them up with two poles and twine. Another little rain storm is coming through now, so we'll see how they hold up.

***I do, however, have a question for any of you out there. Do zucchini bushes have a "life span?" I'm not talking about your generic I'm-a-summer-veggie-and-I-don't-like-winter life span but more of a I-produce-what-I-produce-and-then-I'm-done life span kind of like bush beans.

I ask, because on of my zucchini bushes seems to be crying "Uncle." It's not sickly by any means. Green and straight as it has ever been, it is. However, after I cut off those last zucchini yesterday, I notice it doesn't even have any more flowers waiting to bloom - male or female. Odd, isn't it? Now, it produced a TON of vegetables. More than I could have ever imagined and I'm not disappointed by any means, but is it done or do I need to just be patient?

The morning comes early, and the afternoon will find us driving to Virginia.
Sweet weekend gardening dreams.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Freezing Black Eyed Shady Dudes

There's got to be a better title in this somewhere, but I couldn't think of it.

I went ahead and cut the mammoth squash off the vine even though it hadn't blossomed. It got a good 4-5 inches longer in the night and, well, quite honestly it scared me. The sucker was huge. It wound up reaching from the tip of my middle finger to my elbow. Remember, this is before pollination! Very odd. I cut it and a few of its buddies and blanched them along with some squash and put them in freezer bags. I suppose they'll be good for casseroles and such, right?

I kept some out to make a dip for tonight because the man's aunt is in town. I usually make the dip with artichokes, but who says it can't be done with a squash medley. Ok, so the real reason is that I don't have artichokes on hand, but I sure do have zucchini! I'll probably also put out a raw veggie tray and have a cucumber-tomato-and feta cheese salad to go with the meal.

Here's a picture of the mammoth zucchini and its friends:

You can see how the flower end never pointed since it never got pollinated. For a size reference, here's the boy mulling the mammoth over.Lastly, here's both boy and girl. They're doing a pretty good job of pretending they like each other.Confession time. Yes, the girl has a black eye. We entered the door for swimming lessons and I stopped to hold the door for a woman with a stroller while the kids raced on ahead of me. The boy sped through the turnstile, catching the girl under the eye with the upswing of the next arm (does that make sense?). Feeling kind of Mother of the Year about it and all, but she's no worse for wear and had the excuse to scream like someone done shot her dog.

Since we're being candid, someone with a nasty little mind happened upon this blog with a google search. They apparently googled three words that have appeared randomly throughout my blog in the last several months. Isolated, the words are very benign. When used together, they're yucky. If, mister shady dude, you've happened to come back, which I don't know why you would, don't google stuff like that.

It's icky.

Most certainly don't google that and then tell the person in great detail whose blog you happened upon that you did.

That would be sketchy.

The morning comes early. I'm afraid to mention dreams at this point. :) HA!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Film of the Garden

This, my friends, was almost an episode in futility. I almost thought this was pointless after all those pictures I posted yesterday. Not much has changed and it felt a bit redundant. The first time I tried to film, I caught two Japanese beetles "enjoying each other's company" a bit too much, so I had to stop filming to squish them. Then, we did the entire thing again and found two more otherwise engaged beetles. I would have left well enough alone except when I tried to knock them in a cup, one jumped directly into my eye and I screamed like a girl. Can't be having that now, can we?

So, we try again for the third time.

A word on the cucumbers. I picked some off the vine this morning. When I made the second film I took off some in the side box and when I went back for the third film there were even more that I hadn't seen before. When I went back just now after supper, there was ANOTHER one in the main box. All in all, I picked 11 cucumbers today. That means...more pickles! I tried to do some dill ones, so we'll see how they turned out. I've still got four left, but my neighbor should be coming by to get those as I've got some that need to come off the vine in a day or two.

Then there's that monster zucchini from the film. I can't believe it hasn't bloomed yet. It should bloom tomorrow. I sure hope it gets fatter and not longer!

Anyway, enjoy the film.

video

The morning comes early. Sweet cucumber dreams.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How's it Growin'?

I took these pictures of the garden this past weekend. I'm going to try to get a film in tomorrow. I know I'm going on and on about it, but I'm just shocked at how much a square foot garden can produce. I was worried to a fault earlier this season about only getting 4.5-5 hours of sun a day, but I think with the GA heat, this has worked to my benefit. Today I picked five cucumbers, a yellow squash, six jalapenos, two eggplants, and a bell pepper. Yesterday I picked three cucumbers, an eggplant, four jalapenos, two yellow squash, three huge zucchini and a mess of beans. John from John's Journal has said in the past that his traditional row garden surpassed his SFG in terms of production, but I also know he and I are fairly happy with this method.

My cucumbers on the left part of the trellis are doing great, but the beans look rather scrawny. I planted Fortex for the poles and whereas they are not producing well, when I picked the mess of different beans and steamed them all together, you could truly tell which ones were the Fortex. They may not be fully suited to my climate, but they were certainly worth it, even if I don't get much out of them.

First to the cucumbers. They're surpassing the trellis in height. I keep winding them through the trellis to the side, but they have a mind of their own and don't care for it. They want to go up, up up!
Can you count the number of cucumbers on these two vines? I picked two of them and three off the bush plants and took them with me to my mother's today. BTW, we made short work of those pickles today as well. They didn't even complain about eating things that don't come from a grocery...well almost. Mom said she wouldn't eat anything with bugs. I hope she didn't read that last post! Regardless, the boy told his grandfather that they were supposed to be a father's day gift for him, but since we ate them all we'll have to figure out something else.


Speaking about cucumbers, I'm convinced the term 'bush' is a misnomer.
The cantaloupe is far exceeding its box. I understand now why they say to grow any vining product up, up, up! Any trellis I'd put on the side of boxes to catch some sun without shading others would only be three foot wide...is it worth it, do you think?
Here's a view from the front. On the far left you can see one zucchini, to the side of it some sweet potatoes that are getting crowded out and behind those another zucchini bush. I had the kids out there yesterday and I lost the girl in between the two beds, the zucchini was too tall.

Here is a picture of the new sweet potatoes in the other corner yard. The UGA extension says to plat sweet potatoes in June, so I'm hoping these will be okay. It's my goal to serve my own sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving.

Here's a close up of the front zucchini. There is a squash in front of it, planted at the same time, that has just never made it. There's another squash in the garden that has also not matched the production of the zucchini bushes.
Here's one of those zucchinis on Sunday that I picked today. It was fat and beautiful.

All of my tomatoes seem to be maturing at the same time. They're all getting that sick yellow/orange color. Usually I take pictures of the ones in pots in the front yard, but these are in the SFG.

By far, the most productive thing has been the banana peppers. These are in pots in the front walk. I'm not sure if it's the full sun or what, but if you count product and not ounces, of course, they've far out produced anything out there.


The jalapeno peppers are doing just as well, but these are in the SFG and have just started producing.

We picked a bell pepper today and more seem to be on the way.

Okra. MMMMM.

In the other corner yard, you can see the bush beans growing.

Here are those same beans in the SFG already established.

The corn in the containers seems to be growing. I moved these up to the porch for a storm with 45 mph winds that never fruitioned.


The eggplants are not liking the Georgia, June humidity. They're not growing as long and are loosing their glossy appearance and getting squishy. These are in containers and full sun, so I can only imagine they're baking in the heat. Not only that, but wasps keep building nests under the leaves. Next year, I think these will go in the back of the new corner yard along with the peppers and corn. This way, they'll get good sun and then go into shade during the hottest parts of the day. If it's the humidity, there's not much I can do about that, but I can give them a bit of a reprieve from the sun.

So that, my friends is that.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.