Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial Day Harvest Monday

I'm so grateful that I can now actively participate in Harvest Monday, however, not as grateful as I am that we have a day like Memorial Day. Memorial Day, to me is not like Valentine's day in that the emotions of Valentine's Day(minus the candy hearts and teddy bears) should be ours every day. Memorial day is different, in that whereas we do appreciate, we don't always understand the magnitude of our gratitude. That being said, several of my graduating students leave this week for their military careers and I thank them and wish them well.
Things on the garden front are looking really good. The disease that was on my Brandywines seems to be moving to the larger tomato bed and it has me worried. I'll watch it carefully.
This weekend I harvested some zucchini, two hot banana peppers, two pots of potatoes, three colors of carrots, ALL of the garlic and some rosemary. So, for the first time in my life, I made roasted veggies with everything from the garden. I was so excited.

First I buttered a dish. Check out this dish I got from my Mom's friend, Sherilyn, in St. Louis. It's by far my new favorite dish. If you can see through the poor picture, it's like a Chinese take-out tin.
I put the frozen onions from a while ago, tons of the newly pulled garlic, the carrots potatoes and rosemary in for a while.
Then when it was almost done cooking I put in the hot peppers and zucchini. Here's the finished product:
I was crazy happy and proud. Yes, I've sauteed veggies, made salsa and always eaten what's come from the garden, but whatever the dish was, it always had something extra in there. This was totally from the garden (I don't count the butter and salt). I was crazy proud and it was crazy good.
The only problem is that some of that butter got good and burned into the plate and now it's a bit discolored. I need to find out how to fix that without taking off the finish. :(

I hope you all have a peaceful memorial day. We'll be having some family over and I'm hoping that some of those zucchini will fatten up so we can grill them. I have some ichiban eggplants I'm hoping will fatten up tomorrow as as well.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bye-Bye Brandywines

I've had Brandywine woes. They produced so many flowers and each one of those flowers fell off. I read on the Ga gardener forum on Gardenweb that brandywines were difficult to grow around here, but I thought to give it a try. Something was obviously wrong with the plants given the foliage.

I was so scared that since whatever it was had passed from one plant to the other that it was going to pass to the other tomatoes that were very close by, so, I pulled them both. I was sad to do it, but I'll try them again next year. I may have gotten some bad seed or something.
I planted cucumbers in their spot since the ones I have in the ground may be too shaded to do much. If not, I'll be swimming in cucumbers. There could be worse things in life. I also planted some marigolds and geraniums today. I found some more squash bug eggs and another spotted cucumber beetle, so hopefully this will help some.

The ants, however, are attacking all of my zucchini flowers. I remember last year they attacked the flowers of my zipper peas and they made the whole flower head fall off and not produce the pod. I'm worried the same will happen here. Any ideas? I don't want to dust the flowers with anything because of the bees, but I also do not want to lose any zucchini.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ode to the Jalapeno.

Actually, it's not an ode. I'm just not inspired. I don't eat jalapenos at all, so why is it I grow them year after year. They're pretty I suppose, and they're one of the most productive things I've got.
So, now that I've got 'em....how large do you let yours grow?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

This week things have really picked up in the flower department. The zucchini is sporting new flowers daily and I actually picked my first zucchini of the year today. I'm going to make some bread with it this weekend.
I haven't seen any bees out as of yet, so I don't know if the ones that open during the week are pollinated or not. I'm hopeful that the bees will show up soon, but if not, I'll be a kept woman again starting tomorrow, so I'll be okay. BTW, side note: Tomorrow's graduation. Graduation and all senior activities like breakfast, dinner, tickets, diplomas, walking cards, and the ceremony itself make up my responsibility. It's a ton of work. This year for our senior memory project, I collected and filed (students helped) over 5,210 pieces of mail to our seniors. I stopped counting at 5,210. It was fantastic. Parents have been so much more positive this year than last year. We've got almost all positive feedback except the father who told me he was so glad he was going to be "done with you people (meaning the administration and me) when the week was out." I replied, "so will I, sir" meaning him and the parents, however judging by his smile and goodbye wave he was too dense to realize that.



Back on topic, you can see the dragon tongue beans are flowering. I'm curious to see the full beans on these suckers.
The peppers keep loosing blossoms after they've flowered which makes me sad, but I've got one Cherokee purple tomato plant from Dan that's got over 30 flowers on it. I'm thinking I'll have to limit that number on my own, but it's impressive to see. The brandywine tomatoes are flowering like mad, but all of the flowers keep falling off. I've heard it's amazingly difficult to grow brandywine tomatoes in Georgia, so I'm not keeping my hopes up. I've got one tomato that's got a toe hold, but I'm not going to waste my time on them. I'll give them another week or two. If they keep dropping flowers, I'm pulling the one without the tomato and planting some cucumbers. I can always use more cucumbers.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vining Is Highly Over Rated For My Cucumbers

For some reason the cucumbers are having a hard time vining. The reach really well, but never latch on. I'm forever trying to train them up by looping the tendrils even at this late stage, which hasn't happened before.
This is in one of my two new boxes that has less sun in the summer than I originally thought (around 4 hours now, who knows about June and July). I'm thinking it has to be a lack of sun and they're just straining.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Momma Ain't Always Right

I don't care what my momma taught me.

I'm
Not

SHARING!
Looks like this will have to do until I can find some bird netting. I found them sitting on the darkest blueberry bush just smirking at me when I came home. Fiends they are. Ruthless, consciousness fiends.
***I bought the bird block, but I can't see how holes that large are a deterrant to anything. Also squished some squash bug eggs today. Wish I could find the momma bug, however. I'll look again later on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Chickens, Roosters and Sunday Mornings

I took this film Sunday morning as I was visualizing chickens in our back yard. I'd love to have some egg laying hens, but our HOA has covanents that say no.....however, I'm confident I could finegal my way to keeping them without incident. First, the lady down the road kept one of the escaped chickens from the farm behind us for months before the neighbor's dog hunted it down and killed it. Second...there's this film I took Sunday. I could SO have chickens.

video

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Stupily-Awesome Harvest Monday

This is the most stupidly-awesome Harvest Monday I've ever participated in. Without a doubt it is because one of my gardening goals that you all have inspired me to do has happened and I'm...well...stupidly-happy. I'll build up to it.

First, earlier this week I harvested a boat load of lettuce, but I forgot to take a picture of it until the man was half way done with his salad:
That was awesome. Yesterday I harvested a motherload of rosemary that was shading out my zucchini plants and a few zucchini babies that I'm fairly positive didn't get pollinated since I've yet to see a bee and there were not male flowers opened at the time. I used some of both in our eggs this morning. Yummy.Now for the awesomest part. Last year I drooled over everyone's potato harvest pictures. I wanted to try to grow potatoes so badly, but I didn't have any garden space to do so, but I did have a bunch of empty pots so I decided to try to do it in pots. I was skeptical since I know nothing about potatoes or when to harvest them. I read in a book this morning that when your potato plant flowers, you most likely have new potato sized tubers under there. Well, one of my plants had flowered....a long time ago, and I had potato-tomatoes!!!!
Did that mean I had potatoes underneath? I decided to give it a shot and dug down... and down...and down and found nothing.
Frustrated with the whole thing, I ripped up the entire plant and LOOK!!!! Them' potatoes!

I cooked them up for lunch with carrots, garlic and rosemary from the garden. I'm ashamed to say I didn't share it and ate the whole plate myself, but boy was it just decadent.
There was nothing like it in the world. Hop on by Daphne's to see what everyone else is harvesting!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Should They Stay or Should They Go and a Redistricting

I found these little guys hanging out on the cucumber trellis. Oddly enough, I found them on last year's cucumber trellis as well and this one is in a different spot. So, the question is...should they stay or should they go?
I took the opportunity yesterday to fix the other corner yard bed. The season is just started for tomatoes if you go by the books so I figured I could take the chance and uprooted all of the tomatoes that shaded everything and put transplants where the okra was and okra where the tomatoes were.
I left the peppers in place. This morning when the sun rose over the fence, the peppers were getting the sun which is something that wouldn't have happened for hours with the earlier set up.

So I'm disappointed, but I think this will be for the better. We live and learn, right? My fear now is that I think I uprooted all of the black cherry ones I had. I'll have to go back and look at my diagram. Hopefully I put some black cherry in the side yard. If not, I know better for next year.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hindsight

I made a big mistake.

A BIG mistake.

I was so eager to get the other corner yard planted because I knew it would get more sun in the summer than the main corner yard that I didn't take into account the exact direction of the sun. In the fall, the sun's moved over towards the right and is blocked by the house, but in the summer, it makes an appearance over the fence for an hour or two.
So, what do I do? I plant the tall tomatoes right there so they'll do an excellent job of shading out the peppers and okra.
I feel like kicking myself. I figured it may not be a problem, but the flowers on the okra aren't opening all of the way and then they rot off.
If I want to get any peppers, it looks like those tomatoes may have to go. I'm entertaining several options. I'm thinking of leaving the yellow pear ones in the very back and then replanting the other tomatoes with determinate ones or replanting them totally with more okra and peppers. We're not big pepper eaters, so I think the determinate tomatoes may be the way to go. I already have 11 other tomato plants on the side of the house so this won't be such a loss since they're the same varieties, it's just stinky that I didn't think of that beforehand.
Seems like I'll have to take the boy's outlook on all this: Oh well. I tried.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dude Looks Like an...Onion?

Go on....sing the Aerosmith song. I already did. I'll wait....feel better? I did.

Anyhow, my girlfriend called last night and said she needed to borrow some garlic. I was fresh out, but realized I had some garlic in the garden. Granted it wasn't quite ready to come out, but garlic is garlic.

She called me and said that it wasn't bulbs like she expected it to be, but instead was one full yummy onion-like bulb of garlic goodness.

So, I pulled one tonight, myself, and this is what I found:
Sure enough, it looked and cut apart like an onion.
It had some pretty thick layers of outer covering and then you'd find these little cloves between a hunk of layers and then another set a bit deeper.
So, pleading total ignorance, this being the first garlic I've ever grown...is this normal and do they just need to stay in the ground longer, or are they mutants...doesn't matter if they really are for I did say it was "garlic goodness." I chomped right into one of the cloves of the one I pulled and it was fantabulous.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sucka !!!

Sorry, I've been with seniors too long. Actually, they don't call people "sucka" anymore when they're calling them stupid. It's now "salt." Yes, the word 'salt' is now a noun, verb and interjection. Whereas you used to ask for salt when at the dinner table, now you can officially "salt" someone. For example, when someone is called on their idiotic statement another student could utter the equally idiotic term "salt" usually accompanied by an introductory "oooooh" or "HA!" It's equally conjugated as in "quit salting me," or "you just salted her good" which is grammatically incorrect as well, but by this point, who's caring? The term has its origin in the phrase 'to pour salt on a wound', although they don't even get that reference, therefore even their own usage of the term is lost on them, which is a saliting all on its own.

I digress. My purpose here is a discussion of the tomato "sucka" or sucker as the case may be. I hear discussions all of the time on whether or not to prune the suckers. If you do, you avoid the rumble in the jungle that you'd inevitably engage in, but also you're limiting the number of fruit your plant will produce. Then again, if the plant is producing more flowers than it's capable of holding fruit for, it will abort the flowers on its own.

Last year I did not prune my one yellow pear tomato and it was like guerrilla warfare trying to keep up with the never ending directions and masses of branches. My rigging was rather MacGyver like and in the end the whole thing came tumbling down which never happened to MacGyver and he made rigging out of ball point pens and snot.

This is where you interject...."Ooooooh...Salt." I deserve it.

So, to the point. Do you prune your suckers and why or why not. Not that you would, but try not to "salt" each other. I think I just hurt my own feelings. ;)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Zucchini...Squash...Zucchini...Squash?

I seem to have a devil of a time growing squash! Zucchini produces 40+ pounds, but squash is beyond my reach. Why? I've planted three different types of squash and each and every one of them is far behind the zucchini which was planted at the same time. Look:

Zucchini
Squash....You have to "squash" your eyes to see it.
Zucchini - replete with flowering female

Emasculated squash
It just dumbfounds me. It really does. Everything is in the same soil with the same sun conditions and the differences are astounding.
Don't get me wrong, I love my zucchini, but I'd like some squash to accompany it.
Any ideas?
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's Carrot-tastic!

So after yesterday's sightings, I went out this morning and three more times this afternoon with the garden equivalent of a pair of pliers and a blow torch - otherwise known as gloves and a cup of soapy water, but those garden pests wouldn't show their ugly mugs when they knew there was destruction at the end of their smug smiles.

Oh well. I'll have more bugs than I'll know what to do with soon enough.

However, I did just happen to get a wild hair and pull some carrots. I pulled the white one and then got a bit over zealous and pulled the other, but aren't they cool!!!
Here's a very bad picture of the insides of them:
They boy jumped at the chance of eating the red carrot, but you see how he's done it:
He scooped out the orange inside since it was what he recognized as being a "carrot." I'll have to hand it to him. I was rather sceptical of eating the white one, myself, but it turns out that the white one was actually sweeter than the red one. There are a few more out there that are almost ready to pull, so I'm thrilled. They were small, only abut 3 oz total weight trimmed and cut all together, but they were good snacking before dinner, that they were.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

No Grace

Looks like the season has begun in earnest and there's going to be no grace period at all.

I found my first spotted cucumber beetle and squash bug today, and I didn't manage to catch either because I was dumbfounded, put out and out of practice. I did manage to stifle the curses since the boy and girl were in the yard with me, but I found if you use words like "buttered toast" and "green balls" with enough rancor in your voice, you get the same results.

I suppose it's to be expected now that we're not in a drought and we've had an abnormally warm spring. That's okay. Squishing bugs is like riding a bike, right? EG, you're probably rubbing your hands together and muah-ha-ha-ing like a mad man in anticipation of the carnage.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What!? Harvest Monday on a Friday?

I was just so crazy-excited that I couldn't wait until Monday. Here's the harvest take from the last time I posted about taking out the cabbage. The black radishes didn't do nearly as well as they did last year. It just got too hot, too fast. I'll try them again this fall.
Now, this is what had me so geeked up:
How awesome is that? Now all the cabbage and broccoli are out of the garden and the lima beans and green beans will go in this weekend.
Flea beetles have all but destroyed my eggplant, but at least thus far, they're sticking only to the eggplant. I'll have to run out this weekend and see if I can find something to hurt them severely..just a little bit.
One of my squash is looking a bit on the yellow side. Okay, a lot on the yellow side. I'm a bit worried about it. Hopefully it will either perk up or die and get on with it. Playing the waiting game just has me frustrated.
Hope you all have an excellent weekend!

Monday, May 10, 2010

FruitasticHarvest Mondays To Come!!!

Don't they look just scrumptious already?

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Off With Their Heads!

It only took four tries, but thar be cabbages in the garden! Last fall I had the four pound monster, but the worms ate more of it than I could, so in the garbage it went. Now, these small Gonzalez cabbages look fantastic and these two, at least, don't seem to have suffered much damage.
These cabbages are supposed to be small and perfect for intensive gardening which is why I tried them. We harvested the one on the left for last night's dinner and it was just the perfect size for us. I sauteed it up with some garlic, butter, onion flakes and salt and it was stellar. I was surprised that, like garden broccoli, it had a hint of sweetness to it that you don't get out of store broccoli or cabbage. I wonder if that's because of the size and variety or because it's not commercially grown.

Either way I did it, and I'm as happy as a clam.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Moth Man Commeth

I have no idea what this little doo-jobie is, but he and a buddy were hanging around under my garlic leaves. They were very complacent and sat right there as I picked them up. They were all white except for a brown spot on the undersides of their heads.
I picked both of them off and sent them on their way....to the neighbor's yard. I'm sure they'll have the chance to come back, but I didn't want to kill them if I didn't know what they were.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mega Blooms, Regular Blooms and Tomatoes!

I think one of the things I like best about gardening is that it's never the same year after year. There's always new vegetables to grow, new pests or diseases to fight and just plain garden oddities that throw you for a loop.

I was astonished a few days ago to see several tomato plants laden with monster flowers that you've helped me to understand are called "mega blooms." I couldn't believe it when you said that both types of flowers could happen on one plant and lo and behold look what I found today:
The monster bloom is closing, but look at the other regular blooms surrounding it. Very cool. Then, on the Cherokee Purple plant next to it, I've got the makings of three very small tomatoes. I can't wait. These are my first tomato plants from seeds and I'm very proud of them.
Then, as she does so well, Mother Nature throws a bomb. Here's one of my Big Momma tomato plants. The camera wouldn't focus on the black part, but that's where a stem used to be. The stem was limp and there was this black spot in the juncture of it and the main stem.
There wasn't any worm or insect that I could find that could have caused it.
Any ideas?
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

I pulled one of those bean plants from yesterday's post and the roots seemed fine, so I'm back to square one. My game plan now is to just prune off the affected leaves and go with the flow. The pole beans are about to start vining. I can't wait!

The potatoes are flowering also. What cute things they are. I suppose I now need to read up on potato harvesting. I have no idea when to do it.

Speaking of flowering, I posted a few days ago about Dan's beautiful Cherokee Purple tomato seeds he sent. I started them and a few others and it looks like I made a mistake because if both of these plants are supposed to be Cherokee Purple...and they are by the way I labeled them....one of these things is not like the other.....

Looks like I've got a mystery on my hands. I'm thinking the second is the Cherokee Purple, so the first could be either a Black Cherry or a Beefsteak. Looks like I've got a mystery on my hands!
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Bean Leaves - The Picture Edition

Thank you for all of your advice about my bean leaf problems. I can't help but think it's some crazy insect sucking the life out of the leaves, but I can't find a single insect or insect egg around them. They're in a fresh, new bed and honestly, the same thing happened to my beans last year and I couldn't pinpoint a solution.

Here's what the leaves look like at first. You can see the one in the foreground and then the one on the left that's in the beginning stage of whatever-it-is.
Then, as it progresses, the entire leaf just goes limp like this:
It's just down right odd if I can say. Do the pictures help anyone any?
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Bean Leaves

I left the camera at my mother's last night, so I can't get a picture, but my bean leaves are darkening and curling in (more like wasting away) from the edges towards the center until the entire leaf is utterly lifeless and limp. Last year I tried to thwart its spread by cutting off the affected leaves, but it didn't slow the progress. I do have aphids that have attacked the eggplants in the bed next to them, but I haven't seen any of them on the beans.

Any idea what it is/how to stop it? I want beans.

Any good aphid advice, either? Hand squishing them is getting tedious, but the insecticidal soap I sprayed on them yesterday only seemed to act as a multiplying catalyst.