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right now

Aug 20, 2010

kinderGARDENS Week 19 : Update from Planet Kid

Kim at the Inadvertent Farmer asked us this week what we've learned! A few things to be sure...

1. A "green roof" cannot be based in a container here. It's TOO DARN HOT! This would have worked great with a short structure where the plants could have been based in the ground, but their playset is a high structure, so we attached a container running the length of it - nope! Although there are plants that are alive and a couple of mini-pumpkins growing on it, it is far from "a green roof"!

2. Peanuts in a container - not a great idea since they need room for their "branches" to drop and root in the soil. We spaced them way too close. They look fantastic though, and are completely unbothered by insects or any disease. Very healthy plants, I just don't think we will get as many peanuts as we would have had they been in a raised bed and spaced properly.

3. Kids in the garden are awesome! They have definitely been more involved this year, and are wanting to make their own decisions about their garden space, and are learning so much by doing. Loch even yelled at me one day while I was spraying something and it got breezy "hey, cut it out, you'll kill my bees!"

As for this week, not much outside stuff going on, it has rained for the last 5 days, so we have been busy doing inside things.

Today, more Blackberry Lemonade!

Working hard for their sugar fix...

Waiting for the simple syrup to cool so we can add ice... so patiently!

Happy at last!

Froze some for another day!

Me? I am completely overwhelmed this evening. The sun is shining, but the grass is long and still wet, which means the mosquitoes are horrendous out there. The grass needs to be cut, garden needs to be ripped out, insects to deal with on the plants, fall planning to be done, the stewed tomatoes for the freezer actually need to be stewed - staring at them hasn't worked! Knitting project needs to be finished, what is it about weaving in the ends that will make me just put it aside right when I'm at the finishing stage?

Beans need to be picked, and...

the kids were assigned extra homework for music lessons... to watch The Sound of Music! The VonTrapp Family! You don't have to ask me twice... I think I will rent the movie tonight and try this whole work/chore thing again tomorrow!

As always, check out The Inadvertent Farmer to see updates from other contest participants!

Aug 18, 2010

It's Closing Time...

... you don't have to go home, but you CAN'T. STAY. HERE!

Round 1 Eliminations were held last night, first to leave are the cucumbers covered with bugs!

They are horribly covered in squash bugs of all life stages...

This is the first bit of space created for the fall garden... what you can't see is the hundreds of squash bugs running for the hills!

I splurged and paid $8.99 for a large bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap to make my own insecticidal soap. I had been balking at the price but you only need 2 tbsp to make a quart! The level in the bottle has barely moved after making 2 quarts! Plus this stuff can be used for all sorts of things around the home.

And it WORKS!

Stopped the squash bug in his tracks! Why did I wait soooo long to do this?

Unexpected Bonuses:
1. The peppermint smell will act as a bit of a deterrent if used in the early stages of the garden before they have established their stronghold (too late for me)!

B. If you are bored, the label on the soap bottle makes for fun reading!

Excuse the obscene abbreviation, but WTF? These are my yard-long beans! Luckily I only found one like this.

Check out the critter party aftermath on the J. Gyllenhaal!

I admit defeat at this point.

Here is today's harvest. Romas are rolling in now, but were crawling with squash bug nymphs and have BER. I've been sowing beans all through the heat of summer and basically been wasting my seeds until now. They are finally starting to come in again. Yellow Wax are looking to be winners again and new for me is Contender green bush bean which has just started to trickle in but are nice looking. I gave the Dragon's Tongue another go but sadly this variety will not be reappearing in my garden. I was hoping for a different outcome in the summer vs. spring, but they look even worse. They are colored beautifully when about an inch long, but lose their luster within a day and leaving them longer doesn't help. Not suited as well for my area I guess, although I will say the ones harvested in May were better, but not as good as the other varieties.

A few good things...

love, love, love yard-long beans! I love walking through them growing on the arch in the garden, love the blooms, love the way they taste, love the way they look in my wok, the love is rivaling my Subaru Love, and that's a good thing...

Then came school shopping for the kids...

don't take a sip of that coffee because you will probably snort it out...


While wandering around T.J. Maxx I put these on and my kids were horrified!

Finnegan: "mommy, take them off before you fall down!"

Lochlann: "you don't look like you would be a very good mom in those"...

Note in the above photo how there is about 2 inches between the top of the shoe and my knee, these would be good for gals who are like 6'2 !

OK, I don't want to offend any of you who "this is your thang"- but I will go ahead anyways - I'm a Birkenstock/Teva/Flippy-Floppy Gal, and these are utterly ridiculous! So hey, if you are in the "middle-age tween crowd" (heard that term today!) puh-leeze don't wear these, you look unstable, both mentally and physically LOL!
... but I'm thinking they might be good squash bug squishing shoes! Maybe hang them like a windchime to serve as a warning to insect evildoers?

Wait til my kids are about 14, they probably won't go anywhere with me!

Thunderstorms all day for next 2-3 days, so I think the garden will be done for by this weekend and it will be time for Round 2 Eliminations... I'm thinking it will definitely involve tomatoes.

Aug 16, 2010

Playing Catch-Up!

I haven't blogged since Thursday, and I am having withdrawl! Things have been swallowing me up whole lately and I have had that whole "garden is a mess this time of year" doldrums! I spent 2 days cleaning and preparing for a Harvest Swap Party I had on Saturday evening. In my head I know my house is just fine for entertaining, but my personality dictates everything must be spotless, even though no one really cares, and the place will be a mess an hour after the party starts, LOL!

I did, however, make it out to the garden Saturday afternoon to harvest jalapenos finally, in hopes of getting rid of them that evening without having to deal with them! Below is what I harvested for the swap: all peppers!

Some great food showed up for the pot-luck that evening, everyone did a great job of cooking up summer harvest dishes. I made the standard Caprese Salad & Potato Salad. These are so awesome because you can make them ahead of time and no cooking required at the party!

Caprese Salad, opted for easy chopped version that evening

Potato Salad w/ Feta, Onion & Vinegarette

Kids got some bitchin' tattoos that evening!

I ended up with some tomatoes and habaneros from the swap. I am drying these cute little tomatoes, not sure what they are but they are smaller than my thumbnail and delicious! Also drying the habaneros and will mix them with some other types of peppers to make a small jar of chile spice.

Yesterday we didn't get any real work done around here, I made a batch of tomato sauce in the crock pot and froze it, managed to get the party debris in the yard cleaned up, and avoided work in general by reading a great novel!

This morning's harvest was yet more jalapenos!

I was able to get a little motivation back today and after the harvest, made 3 jars of spicy pickles and added the few cayennes I got at the swap. These will be the last of the pickles probably since I just used up all the dill that was left in the garden. Hubby, this batch should keep until you get home so you will get a taste!

Also managed to chop and freeze bell pepper strips, blanch and freeze the yard-long beans, and get to the music shop for a violin repair! And now that I have managed to blog, I feel somewhat better.

Any of you having these late-summer doldrums? My garden is a mess, bugs and wilt and something is eating my tomatoes, and it is still to hot to enjoy any chores, and too hot to plant anything for fall... and on and on... what's the cure?!