Jun 11, 2010
Tomato Season has officially arrived! These are both hybrids "Fourth of July". Yes, that's an herb vinegar, too... details tomorrow, but right now I have a date with a glass of Homebrewed Ale and sliced tomatoes with a little salt... ummmmm!
I couldn't wait... I ate one just now out in the garden to pay homage to the Tomato Gods.
Okay now that I had my fix I can rationally think about what to do with the other one... it's small, but it's a tomato nonetheless!
We had an assignment this week! Each child got to take my camera out into the yard by themselves and take pictures of whatever they wanted. I am a bit surprised by the standard garden photos that came in, I was hoping for an unusual bug or something, but nope!
Here's the photos they came back with, and narration in their own words:
Lochlann, Age 7
"Me & Finn's garden and mommy can't plant her stuff here"
"That's the tape mommy put up that I think is not going to work to scare birds"
"I think that's a secret garden"
(haha I guess I never told them about the new area I am getting ready)
"Well duh, it's a tomato and a trailer"
"Marley's going to be naughty and drink out of the fountain again"
Finnegan, Age 5
"I like those"
"They're my favorite"
"I like those and I eat them alot but they're not ready yet cuz they're not black yet"
"I like those peppers and sometimes I eat them"
"That's my corn patch and they're very big today and we're going to eat them next year and it's corn"
"Those are my Finn potatoes and I like them because they are named after me and I am going to dig them up and eat them now"
I am going to encourage this more often and make sure I let them know that they can take photos of unusual things or things that only they might be interested in. It's a neat concept to see things their way!
For updates on other kinderGARDENS participants, visit The Inadvertent Gardener and scroll to the bottom for the link party!
Jun 10, 2010
After spending the whole morning working in the garden and feeling the birds' eyes bore through the back of my head (namely, "Mr. Mockers"), I decided to head out to the local nursery in search of something to protect my berries. Mr. Mockers is my mockingbird with the most personality out there, if you consider evildom to be a personality trait. He is pretty effective in the early spring in chasing out all the blackbirds and crows from my yard but come berry-time it's a new ballgame. Every time I try netting the relentless winds here tear it down and take branches and plants with it, and the price of the "Scare Owl" was a little too scary for me - so I settled on a roll of Holographic Tape. And of course some parasitic tomatoes attached themselves to me on the way to the register! I figured I would go ahead and pick up some disease resistant hybrids since we still have over 90 growing days left this season and to ensure my canning season would still happen on schedule. I decided on La Romas. I have never done Roma tomatoes before but these should all ripen at once so that is ideal for canning sauce. Ah, garden insurance... never needed that before, but I guess that's what comes once you start relying so much on yourself to provide that good stuff come winter! Next year I will do my research and order hybrid seed and start my own, won't be without them again!
It's hard to catch it on camera, but the yard is now festooned with shiny tape from my berries to my bean seeds I just planted this morning. It looks like a disco out there in the wind. I have read that is in ineffective against mourning doves, which is just fine with me since I have oodles of them, love them, and have never had a problem with them eating crops. I really hope the tape doesn't scare away bees, though.
I noticed my first tomato is almost ready!
I decided to put the LaRomas into a bed I just opened up this morning, squeezed them together since they are determinate. (Determinate tomatoes are also new to me!)
Other than that, I kept very busy all morning. I planted my 2nd crop of Edamame, Dragon's Tongue and Golden Wax Beans and sowed more Oregano, Cilantro, Dill and some random flower seed into the beds' open spaces. I also hauled out some of the PVC pipe that was made to cover all 4 raised beds in the winter and used a couple of pieces to make big hoops and planted Yard Long Beans and some more Japanese Climbing Cukes there. I have cucumbers on the deck in pots, but since I added a bamboo roof for a little shade, they aren't producing enough for pickling, but those are the ones I can easily grab for salads. It's really hot out there now and I am glad I got most of my list done since tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. Weatherman had called for rain last night, then changed his mind, but as I was sitting by the back door reading last night - the sound of rain! Lots of it, and it lasted about 45 minutes. I was pretty happy about that since watering from a hose never seems to quite do the trick in the heat of summer.
Jun 9, 2010
Yeah, I can never get my act together for "Harvest Monday" LOL... even as a child, I was difficult! So instead, here is my random day harvest today, it was good, and made even better by the wonderful temps we had today, perfect for gardening without breaking a sweat. Those days are few and far between in the summer, so I had to make the most of it.
Onions - tops refused to die down so I am forcing them now, enough is enough, I need this bed back!
I'm not weighing any of my onions, garlic, etc and recording them until they cure and get trimmed.
Early Italian Garlic
My latest in recycling! I don't know how many times I had to rescue this towel bar from the trash pile - we used to use it when we had the hot tub, but has been idle for awhile. It's absolutely perfect for curing all my "stuff"! Bonus: if rain threatens, I just open the sliding glass door behind it and pull the whole thing in.
Double Bonus: there will be no VAMPIRES at my house! Well, it would be okay if Edward got through...
More Dragon's Tongue (1.0 lb), Golden Wax Beans 1.0 lb), Peas (1.05 lb)
The peas were officially ripped out as of this evening - the heat this past week did them in.
Staying true to my vow to not buy stupid crap as gifts this year... bags of garden goodies for Finn's teacher! I even said "no" to the one soccer mom's request to kick in $$ for a gift of candles.... candles? Nah, I'm staying strong on this resolution - saves me money and I feel more thought and caring went into this anyways.
Yes, that's 3 Blackberries! I better figure out a way to keep the birds out, and quick... since the rest will be turning color any day now...
Kristi, this one's for you!
Someone in my Meetup Group was inquiring about the different compost systems our members use. I was going to just snap a photo of mine and email it to her, but I figured it would make for good blog fodder, too!
I'll show you mine if you show me yours....!
Everything I have heard is that expensive tumblers are stinky, rotten, and don't hold enough! These are super cheap, work like a dream! I have had them for 4 years now, they are expandable to up to 4 ft in diameter. They were about 20.00 apiece. I am even smarter now and know that a roll of fencing is 14.00 and will make several of these, and have enough leftover for some planters! I am a lazy composter - I rarely turn it but there is enough air that they never stink, yet enough is kept out that they heat up nicely. Super easy to take care of, rather than turning it, I just yank it off, place it on the ground a few feet away, and fork it all back in, voila - compost is turned!
We used recycled fence boards from the last hurricane blowdown to build this little baby. Hubby got to drill holes and pound rebar into the ground and stacked the boards, with enough leftover to serve as a cover. While a pain to turn compost in, we use it instead as a place to store our compost that is "ready" in. We can keep out the rain so it doesn't wash any beneficial stuff out, yet it can breathe due to the board spacing vertically. Whenever I need some, I just shovel it out of this.
More food for thought: I have used vinyl fencing and a piece of drainage pipe I scored as potato cages, but these could just as easily be compost bins!
We have already seen your forks, so now let's see your compost bins, everyone!
Knee deep in a good harvest this evening, will update later!
Jun 8, 2010
The past 2 days we have seen gorgeous weather, temps in the upper 70's, no humidity! I had planned to basically "do everything" during this time since I cannot stand working outside in the oppressive heat we had last week. I did work all day yesterday and got a lot done, but I dunno what happened today!? I just couldn't seem to get it together, choosing instead to sit in a lawn chair and flip through magazines, look up random stuff in regards to the garden on the internet, and walk through the garden snapping pictures and talking to myself. I guess it was just one of those days, and I will be working in the heat wave that is sure to return tomorrow! Here are the photos of what is growing here right now:
"Bush Baby" Watermelon
It's easy to know when the shallots are done, they're like a toaster!
Unknown Polish Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, the remaining garlic
The Pepper Bed: Jalapenos, Bell, Fish Hot Pepper along with Mexican Mint Marigold
The Pea & Bean Beds (Peas were ripped out today!)
"Beer Friend" Edamame - can you see the little pods?
Heirloom Golden Wax Bean
Heirloom Dragon Langerie (Dragon's Tongue) Bush Bean
We don't call it bolting 'round here... it's part of the rabbit Christmas Tree Farm! Time for these lettuces to go!
One of the Colonnade Apple Trees
If you think you don't have room for an apple tree, consider the Colonnade! This is just the second year, and the 5 ft trunk is covered with apples top to bottom. Great for a container!
Close up of the apples... I really hope these all make it to harvest without any serious issues
These just started to turn a faint pink I noticed when outside this evening!
Japanese Climbing Cucumber - all cukes are in pots on my deck this year, thought maybe I could keep up with them if I had to constantly walk past them LOL
How many Grapes will make it past the wasps this year? Japanese Beetles expected arrival any day now...
I'm not sure why I continue to grow these... ummm, cuz the leaves are pretty?! Actually, their main purpose now is a supply of grape leaves to line the bottoms of my pickled veggies, it keeps them super crisp!
Tomorrow I will have to get back to work out there, I have some half-beds to plant where my peas were ripped out today. I am trying this year to be much more consistent with my succession planting!