Monday, October 29, 2012


I have every intention of still writing this blog, but I am working on a few things: 1) What do I write in my gardening blog when I live in Ohio and it is practically November?  I do have some ideas, but there isn't the most exciting stuff happening right now... 2) How can I post any pictures of anything when it has been raining for the last 800 days and I can't manage to take any?

Stuff is growing, I still have some more to plant, and were it not 40 degrees and raining (truly, it's seemed like forever) I'd be out there doing it right now.  So, I promise I'll be back, just probably not tomorrow...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Garlic, round two

Fall = garlic time!  If you are thinking of planting any, do it now!  For those of you who also plant ornamental flowers, remember that garlic is a bulb too... so in the fall when you are planting your tulips, pick up some garlic from your local garden center (not the grocery store!). 

I saved some of this year's crop for planting.

I dug holes 4-5 inches deep ("the lazy girl's 6 inches"), and about 6 inches apart.  In the bottom of each hole you dig, place one garlic clove, root end down.  Then cover it with soil, wait 6-7 months, and you're set!

For the record, I planted significantly less than last year.  I did not keep count, but I'm guessing maybe 30-40.  Nowhere near 90.  Also, last year I planted the garlic around the whole border of the garden, but two areas in particular did not grow well at all, so I skipped those and just planted along two sides of the square this time around. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Changing seasons

This is a great example of why you shouldn't be too lazy to go in the house and grab the camera.  I took this on my phone and while it looked okay on that small little screen, when I enlarged it, it looked like... this.  And it was the only one I took, so here it is.  All the special effects in the world couldn't save this thing...

So, fall has arrived in Ohio!  And I totally love it.  While I will miss the fruits and vegetables of summer, I am so excited for cooler weather.  Summer is not my favorite time of year, but fall absolutely is.  This year is really the first time I've undertaken a fall planting.

Last week it was "out with the zucchini" and I've decided to use this newly available space to plant greens that thrive in the cooler weather we are having.  After removing the plants, I raked the soil and added some 10-10 fertilizer. 

You can't tell in this utterly crap photo, but L to R are rows of "Bright Lights" Swiss Chard, regular old green Swiss Chard (Fordhook, if you want to get specific), Kale #1, "Red Russian" (an earlier planting is already growing at the top there... the colors are very pretty though this photo does nothing justice), Spinach, and Kale #2, "Dwarf Blue."  Elsewhere, I squeezed in a row of Ruby Red Swiss Chard.  My fingers are firmly crossed that cool weather = less insect problems, but that remains to be seen....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brussels sprouts!

Oh my goodness, what a long journey it has been.

March 2012
April 2012
August 2012
And now, finally, it's starting to look like we may have some Brussels sprouts growing! 

October 2012
With any luck, we'll be able to enjoy these before 2013.

(yet another good learning experience about the high price of certain vegetables...)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Summer's Final Friday Failure

Remember the replacement zucchini?  Well, it did eventually flower, and there seemed to be progress...
...until there just wasn't any progress.  They stayed looking like this for about 2 weeks, at which point, with a great sigh of resignation, I pulled the plants out of the ground.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So I planted some mystery seeds...

My mother-in-law received some seeds from a woman she used to work with.  One of these was for something called "Bitter Melon."  I Googled it and found that it is often found in Asian cuisine and is good for people with diabetes (it somehow regulates blood sugar, which seems a rather unique claim).

What I didn't Google, stupidly, until after the plants had started to grow, was "how to grow bitter melon."  Weeks after planting I learned that these things need scaffolding.  Right now there's only one plant that's grown to any significant size, and it is climbing the deer netting around our garden.
Given that it is recommended to grow these on overhead wooden lattice, I highly doubt the net is going to support the eventual weight of the fruits.  While I have no interest in building a scaffold, or investing much money and time into a plant that I have no idea if I will even use, I do plan to let this one grow and see what we can do to support it along the way (physically, not emotionally).  I am also not sure if we've planted it at the right time of year or if the cool weather of fall might end things prematurely.  I'm hoping it will make it, since I'm kind of interested to see what we end up with.

The melon itself is s funky-looking thing.  This is a very zoomed-in photo of one that is perhaps an inch and a half long right now.  It is one of several on the vine you see pictured above.  It seems like an ingredient straight off of Chopped.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

sunday centerfold

After all the negativity of this past week, I thought I'd post some pretty photos of other sunflowers that are thriving! (these are about 3 feet tall, babies compared to the giant growing by our deck)

Friday, September 21, 2012

The sunflower incident

Over the past 2 weeks, the hits just kept on coming.  Things were looking up when we finally got some rain.  But... it was hard rain, with a lot of wind, and it sadly brought down our no-longer-flowerless sunflower.  I am not using "brought down" as a euphemism, either.  I went outside the morning after the storm to find the flower totally uprooted and laying horizontal in the driveway. 

By this time the flower was, no joke, close to 8 feet tall.  Because it appeared as though the roots were intact, I tried putting it back into the ground, shoveling some soil over the top and then watering it a little.  I also tied it to the deck railing to stabilize it.

2 weeks later, this is what's going on:
It looks sad, which is pretty much how I feel about the fate of our one-triumphant sunflower.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The swiss chard incident(s).

Sigh... my precious Swiss Chard, which at first I didn't know what to do with and have now grown to love (especially since I planted the colorful kind) and want to add to all kinds of foods, seems to be under attack from... something.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B
As you can see in Exhibit A, above, there is a sizable chunk missing from the leaf on the left.  This leads me to believe it is not just a bug, but an animal of some type. So, I have been frequently spraying the Swiss Chard with my favorite pest repellent.

And as you may remember from the beetle incident (same link as the one right above, but here's an opportunity to click again if you didn't the first time), I also planted a ton of radishes because I read that they were a natural cucumber beetle repellent.

The good news?  No more beetle sightings! (and no more little holes from beetle chewing either)

The bad?  An overwhelming radish crop that threatens to take over the chard if not trimmed back regularly.

Swiss Chard is at the bottom of the photo.  All the other green stuff is radish tops!
Some would say, oh, at least you are getting radishes out of the deal!  But sadly, in my house we don't like them and so these little guys are on their way to becoming compost.

If you need a radish, I might have some.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The cauliflower incident

Despite the lack of postings, there is still action in the garden.  Unfortunately, some of it comes in the form of pest-related problems.  I have had 4 cauliflower plants growing since... uh, March.  So far they don't look anything like cauliflower, but one in particular looked downright nasty.

(beware, sensitive readers!  explicit content after the jump...)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The cabbage looks like cabbage!

Remember this?

For a long time, I was taking a picture of this cabbage every Monday, to track its progress.  Then, to be honest, it got really boring.  That seedling in the top picture is from March.  I planted them in peat pots and grew them on my porch, then transplanted them into the garden in early May.  I had just about lost hope on this one, but then, this week...
The color is prettier than this picture, taken on a really overcast day, indicates.

The cabbage started to look like cabbage!  It is still, at this point, a very small head of cabbage.  I have 4 of them growing and one seems to attract spider webs, which is kind of disgusting (I do clean it off regularly, but still...).  Given how much space these are taking up in my garden, and the nearly six months it has taken them to grow... well, I'm not sure I'll do this again.  But, like all other gardening projects, it has been educational.  I don't know if my cabbage is just slow, or if there is something wrong with it (both distinct possibilities)... but if all cabbage takes this long to grow, I am surprised it does not cost a lot more when you buy it in the store.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I've been doing some research lately on what I can plant now that will grow in the fall weather.  One crop that seems to do well in cooler weather, and that I have actually been consuming a lot of lately, is kale.

I planted these seeds a few weeks ago and they are just starting to resemble kale.  I use it primarily in juice but it's apparently really good baked into chips as well.  Kale is not expensive to buy in the store... but at $.99/pound, when I can get a whole packet of seeds for $1.29... it will save money over time.  And, it is always nice to have things you use frequently literally right outside your back door.  So far, so good with this one.  I read that it actually tastes best after a frost... which means I could perhaps safely put in some more seeds now. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Fennel (or anise, as it is also known) is a little-known and under-appreciated vegetable, in my opinion.  It is also kind of expensive to buy in the store.  So last year I decided to buy some fennel seeds and see what happened.  It was a success, so I planted fennel again this year. 

Fennel starts out looking a little like a fern.  Even when it is just a few inches tall, the fronds (as the green parts on top are called) and very fragrant, with a kind of licorice-y taste. 

There are two parts to the fennel, the frond (top) and the bulb (bottom).  As the bulb starts to grow, you are supposed to keep it covered with dirt.  I also keep the fronds trimmed so that the plant spends more of its energy developing a large base.

You can see the white bulb developing on the bottom of this plant.  After taking this picture, I mounded up some dirt around the base of the plant to cover it up.

I frequently see recipes where fennel fronds are paired with fish.  I personally don't eat fish, but I do throw the fronds into soups or especially when I am making homemade vegetable stock.  I use the bulb in vegetable stock as well.  It is also good added to the "mire poix" in any soup or sauce - that is the mixture of carrots, celery and onion that you frequently saute at the beginning of a recipe.  I have mixed chopped fennel bulb into mushroom stroganoff and also use it in my favorite lentil soup. 
The picture above is of a big, fat store bought (the horror!) fennel bulb that I used last weekend when making homemade ketchup.  Mine probably won't get to quite that size, but they do appear to be healthy and growing. 

Also, if you let the tops grow and go to seed (and they grow like crazy... several feet tall if you don't cut them back), you can harvest fennel seed from them and use it to grow more fennel, or in cooking.  I've never tried this, mainly because I forget to let one go that long, but this year I'll see if I can!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A lot can happen in a week!

It had seemed like a slow week, one in which work sadly took priority over photographing my vegetables.  But before I knew it, the weekend was here... and it turns out that in gardening, as in life, much can transpire in 7 days.  Take the progress of the no-longer-flowerless sunflower as an example!

Sorry, I can't do anything about my neighbor's chimney and antenna in the background... but hopefully it's the HUGE YELLOW FLOWERS that grab your attention!
We've done literally nothing to help this plant, with the exception of occasionally watering it with the hose.  I think it just finally outgrew its predators and it looks like we are going to have at least 10 yellow flowers!  It is gigantic.  I worry that once there are actual sunflower seeds in there, these stems are actually sturdy enough for an industrious squirrel to climb... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  Until then I am enjoying the view.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The amazing flowerless sunflower

This sunflower is tall and strong.  At the time of these photos, taken last week, it was nearly my height (I am 5'7").  Today, it is easily 6 inches taller than me. 

However, one of this sunflower's most distinct features is that is completely lacks flowers!  What happened is that as it was growing, something was regularly chewing off the top (I suspect deer, based on the height of the chewing... and it is a little disturbing to imagine deer that close to my house, as this flower is growing alongside our back deck).  You can see in the picture above that the lower leaves and "branches" are still getting chewed on.  Below is a closer version:
I do, however, have some hope that the sunflower is perhaps outgrowing its predators.  Because it does look like there may be some flowers trying to blossom at the very top.
Is that a flower, or just wishful thinking?
I have not tried to grow a lot of ornamental, non-edible plants... but the feeling that I can't save them from deer is just as frustrating as when it was my vegetables!  (and I guess technically sunflowers do provide an edible product, even if that is not why we planted them)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Herbs, part IV

 For those of you who have cats, or know a cat, one essential and super-easy-to-grow herb is catnip.

You can use the same drying method that I detailed yesterday, but our cats also enjoy this stuff fresh.  It can apparently be used for cooking, but I find the smell of it to be pretty awful so I don't think I'll be trying that.  I will leave it for the pets.

I grew this particular plant from seed - planted in March, it grew on a windowsill with some help from a lamp until the weather got warm. 

I moved it into a bigger pot that is currently on our deck.  The only downside of keeping it outdoors is that it does seem to serve double-duty as a snack for our cats and for whoever wanders by at night. 

Like many other herbs, catnip will flower and you want to make sure to pick the flowers off or trim it back. 

Considering how much this sells for in pet stores, and considering that it is much stronger when fresh, it has been very worthwhile for us to keep a catnip plant on hand.  We have had no complaints.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Herbs, part III

Fresh herbs are wonderful to use when they are fresh, but many of them are equally good (or better) when dried.  Two of my favorite herbs to dry are thyme and oregano.  The flavor really intensifies in these when you dry them, and I find myself using them a lot in recipes during the colder months.  Thyme pairs so well with mushrooms, which we eat a lot of, and oregano is a wonderful addition to any Italian or Mexican meal.
I recommend buying "Greek oregano," whether seed or transplant.  It supposedly has the strongest flavor.

Here is my technique for drying herbs:

1.  Pick the herbs, on stems if possible.
2.  Wash.
3.  Tie into a bundle and hang to dry.
4.  Label a brown paper lunch bag with the name of the herb.
5.  When the herbs have dried off (not dried out, but just dried off from the washing), place the bundle inside the paper bag.
6. Secure (you can use staples, paper clips, tape, more string.... whatever) so that the bundle can now still hang upside down, but contained in the bag.
7.  Hang in a cool, dry place.  My basement works great.
8.  The secret of the bag is twofold: a) you can let it hang forever and it won't attract dust or spider webs or anything else gross.  This is important because you can't really wash the herbs when they are dry (it kind of defeats the purpose of drying them out!), and b) the bag will catch any little pieces (especially handy with thyme).
9.  When you are ready to use these herbs or place them into another container, you can just kind of crunch them in the bag until they fall off the stems, then pour it into your container of choice.
10.  I am sure there is a time limit out there somewhere for dried herbs, but I've used them for a year with no loss of flavor or anything.  Note that I am not a food scientist so this is perhaps not the best guideline to follow!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Herbs, part II

Several years ago, while at the garden center, I made the random decision to purchase a tarragon plant.  I had never used tarragon in a recipe but thought it might be nice to have on hand.  These are the sorts of decision you make when plants are priced very low.  Tarragon has a sort of licorice-y aroma and is popular in French cooking.  Tarragon vinegar is a very common ingredient in salad dressing.  Ina Garten uses tarragon quite a bit.

Much like the thyme plant we have, the tarragon grew rapidly and soon overtook the bed it was planted in.  It was the first plant I uprooted and moved to another location, figuring since I kind of hadn't used it yet, there was no real risk.  If it didn't make it, so what?

Several years later, the tarragon is flourishing.

It gets along well with its neighbors in the row of herbs I've planted and transplanted along my deck:
I trim it back from time to time, as it grows like crazy.  And I use it... hardly ever!  If you have any good ideas (other than those I've linked above), please share! 

It also appears to have multiplied.  When I was cutting it back the other day I noticed that we seem to have five plants instead of just one:

Which I am sure is an important biology lesson, but I'm not a botanist and have no idea how to explain it.  What I know is that tarragon is bright green and healthy, smells nice, and apparently goes well with tomatoes.  I welcome any other information! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Herbs, part I

This week begins a series of posts about herbs.  I have the following growing in various locations in my garden and yard: thyme, basil, oregano, tarragon, sage, and parsley.  Do you notice what is missing from that list?  Cilantro.  I would love, love to grow cilantro, but have never gotten more than a few leaves... which, granted, is enough to sprinkle on a salad or on top of a dinner... but when you've got 75% of the other ingredients for salsa growing outside, it sure would be nice to have enough for an actual recipe!
 That has totally not happened.

At this point in the summer, I've given up on the cilantro completely.  It does not seem to do well in heat, and it "bolts" quickly - meaning, it goes from having flavorful leaves to producing seeds.  The seeds are known as coriander.

They are not what I put in salsa.

Occasionally, the plants just do what this one did above, which is die.  Pretty much, this endeavor is not worth the time and energy.  So I'll keep paying 99 cents for a bunch of the stuff at the store or farmer's market! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


The completely insane summer weather we have been having here in Ohio sure has been good for one thing: lemons. 

There are 7 Meyer Lemons growing on my plant, and they are all about the same size right now, which is comparable to an average lime.  I really do not know how big Meyer lemons are supposed to get, but I know that they typically ripen during the winter months.  Not sure if these guys are just a little precocious, or if they are on schedule.  We'll find out!  I'm so excited about this, and I guess it's one benefit to this summer's tropical climate (in my opinion, one of the only benefits... but that's another story).  All I have been doing to this plant is watering occasionally, keeping up with biweekly feedings of Miracid, and trimming a few branches back.  When/if it ever gets colder here, I'll put it  back inside.  Eventually these can grow into tree size, so for next year I am imagining a bigger pot.  Right now the plant is still probably only in the range of 2 feet tall.  This is an experiment I am glad I tried! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another Friday failure?

After the Zucchini Fertility Debacle, I planted some more seeds with the hopes of being able to fertilize them by hand if needed, just so I could get some zucchini this summer.
Not sure that it's going to happen.  Although they are growing, there is nary a flower in sight.  Sad day in the backyard farm.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another tomato recipe

All right, I admit it... none of the tomatoes in this picture were actually used in this recipe, since they were picked after it was made.  But they could have been, and certainly their family members were.
Maybe I called something else "my favorite thing to do with tomatoes," but that was in error.  If I did make that statement it is only because for a minute I forgot about my actual favorite thing to do with tomatoes.

Tomato jam.

There are so, so many good things to make with tomatoes.  Many of those things are amazing and delicious.  But if I had to pick one as my absolute favorite, it would unquestionably be Tomato Jam.

Follow the link above to the recipe... this isn't quite as ancient as the last one I posted, but it's still been out there in the world for a few years.  I cannot believe it took me until 2011 to discover it!  If you have extra tomatoes and an appreciation for fine condiments, you must try this recipe.  Halve it if you're unsure about what seems to be a weird combination of ingredients.  If you make it and are not crazy about it, I am positive you know someone who will be and you can pass the jar along to them.

I doubled the recipe (approximately) and ended up with about 2.5 pints.  Not enough.
Tomato jam is excellent on a cracker.  It is a perfect complement to sharp cheddar cheese.  Spread on the inside of bread when you make a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato jam turns your ordinary dinner into something extremely gourmet.  And if you dare to smear it on toast when making yourself a homemade egg-and-cheese sandwich... well, the result will probably have you running to the store for more tomatoes, ginger and lime so you can make another batch.  It's that good.  Don't expect me to share mine with you, but I do encourage you to try it yourself.

(also, I should mention that you do not actually have to go through the trouble of canning and sealing this stuff... if you make a small batch you can just keep in the refrigerator.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tomato time!

No update on the beetles... I planted a thousand radishes, removed the afflicted plants, and so far, so good (in fact, the radishes have already started to grow).  That one tomato plant doesn't seem to be recovering, though.  Thank goodness I have seven others... because I love days like this:

Yes, I officially have a windowsill full of tomatoes!  Some of them need the sunlight because they aren't quite ripe.  The others... I just put them there for the picture before chopping them up to use for dinner.  Turns out, a windowsill of tomatoes actually doesn't last that long (unless you have a much longer windowsill). 

Although I have thankfully not had issues with animals eating my vegetables this year, leaving tomatoes to ripen entirely on the vine can be a risky endeavor.  They are just sitting there waiting to be eaten, and I do not like to take that risk.  So, as soon as they are mainly red and release easily from the plant (my biggest cue that they are, in fact, ripe), I pick them and give them a little windowsill time as needed.

Tonight for dinner I used some of these tomatoes, as well as my very last jar of last summer's preserved tomatoes, in one of my very favorite summer recipes.  Sadly, I still don't have any of my own zucchini, so I did have to buy it... but this recipe is perfect for those of you who were able to grow both (or, for non-gardeners who got a great deal on those veggies at a Farmer's market). 

The recipe, linked above, is for an Italian vegetable casserole called Tiella.  I saw this on a cooking show years ago and have made it at least once or twice a year ever since.  In fact, today I checked the date at the bottom of the recipe printout I've been using all this time - 2004!  It is really so tasty that it is worth keeping in a binder for 8 years.  Check it out!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


One the absolutely most helpful tools when it comes to gardening is... Google!  I love how easy it is to find things.  Case in point: after this recent tomato upset, I examined some other plants and found the same yellow-ish insects with black spots also taking up residence in my Swiss chard.  I had to cut and dispose of all of it, since most leaves have some holes and many had these bugs on their undersides (no fear, I have plenty more growing and just bought some more seeds!).  So, then, I took to Google to investigate...

See the first picture there, on the left?  That's the culprit!  And it turns out to be the "Cucumber Beetle" that you see listed several times below.

Here's the bad news - not much to do about cucumber beetles.  Two non-chemical solutions I read about are to plant radishes nearby (seeds already purchased yesterday - regular old red ones, and also white daikon radish, because two websites specifically mentioned white radishes) and also to lay aluminum foil (or some other reflective material) around the base of the affected plants.  I plan on trying both of these.  We may begin eating radishes as a result!  And, since it never hurts, I am going to use some of our cayenne pepper crop to make a spicy spray that may deter these pests. 

- hot peppers, chopped up, with seeds
- Murphy's oil soap
- water to thin slightly

As you can see, this is a rather imprecise recipe with no quantities.  The heat of the peppers supposedly deters bugs, and the Murphy's oil soap helps it to coat the leaves.  You spray it on the undersides of leafy plants (like Swiss chard).  What we have done in the past is mix this stuff up and let it sit for a day or so.  Depending on your spray bottle, the seeds might be a problem, so you may need to strain it.  I have no idea about the effectiveness of this, but it is cheap to make and worth a try! 

I will let you know if I am able to keep this problem at bay.  I don't take kindly to invaders.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Another milestone... 300 site visits!  Thanks to those of you actually reading, and thanks also to those of you from Germany, Indonesia and Croatia (to name a few) who clearly must've stumbled upon this blog by accident.  I'll keep writing (and posting poorly-composed photos) if you keep reading!

Uh oh.

I found this awaiting me the other day.  I was unable to zoom in any closer, but even in this version I am sure you can tell there is something seriously wrong with that tomato... but notice the other one that looks fine.  I do not know the cause of this (yet.... or possibly ever), but I went ahead and removed not just the tomato but the entire "branch" to which it was attached.   Maybe I lost some other potentially healthy tomatoes in the process (see those little flowers to the left?), or maybe it was a necessary sacrifice to keep the rest of the plant safe.  I will be monitoring this one closely....

Monday, July 30, 2012

Eggplants ahead!

Eggplants are one of my very favorite vegetables to grow (second only to tomatoes).  Last year we had great success with the "Little Fingers" variety, which grow into long eggplants that are smaller in diameter (similar to Japanese eggplant) than the big ones you usually think of.  I like them because the peel is not as thick as in the bigger ones.  And just last week we received signs that yes, these plants are gonna make it...

The purple flower you see in the upper left is the predecessor to the eggplant.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hot stuff.

While I have for some reason never had success growing bell peppers in my backyard garden, we always have a large crop of hot peppers.  Last year we did banana peppers, and the year before we grew green jalapenos.  This year we are growing red cayenne peppers.

These are great to add to dishes for a little heat, and also to dry and grind up - in that form, we add them to chili frequently.  In the past, when we've had a big surplus, we've chopped them up and either scattered them over our plants or made them into a liquid that we can spray to protect from pests (this has had mixed results, but isn't too labor intensive and doesn't cost anything, so we continue to try).  We only have one red one so far, but there are more on the way...

I personally find it fascinating how they go from green to such a vibrant red.  Very easy to tell when these are ready for picking!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


While the lack of rain has adversely affected many crops throughout the US, in my backyard it does not yet seem to have phased the weeds. 

I do not know much about weeds, other than being able to identify them and knowing you need to get them out by the roots (otherwise, they will just keep growing).  One great reason for planting your vegetables in neat rows is that it makes the weeds more readily identifiable.  I try to go at the weeds at least once a week, more if they seem to be really plentiful.  Here are a few of the most common (I hate all of them equally).

Monday, July 23, 2012

There will be tomatoes!

Well, the few hours of rain that finally came last Thursday made basically no difference at all.  By Friday it was as though it never happened.  Thirsty ground absorbs rain quickly!

However, I was heartened when out on the garden this past weekend to find plenty of tomatoes!

The first ripe beefsteak tomato.  A day on the windowsill and this will be ready for slicing!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

I am hoping, praying, and about to stand up and do a dance to insure that we actually get some rain today!  The weather forecast has been such a tease.  Two days have passed since that first little rain cloud appeared in the 5-day with not so much as a drop.  This morning the humidity was 90% but still it did not rain

In this terrible summer drought where all the lawns in my neighborhood are brown, I have been dragging a 100-foot hose into the backyard to give the garden a little sprinkle each day before work (sadly, the outdoor faucet is nowhere near the garden; thankfully, hoses come in this length).  I then fill a watering can and water the potted plants on our deck and the flowers hanging in front of our house.  Lately, none of this has seemed sufficient.  To say the container plants are struggling is putting things quite mildly.  To say that the garden looks like something out of an old Twilight Zone episode that takes place on the moon would be quite accurate.

I have read arguments in defense of both night watering and early-morning watering, but have had far more success with the latter, though it is sometimes a real pain.  Watering at night creates moisture that can attract slugs and other critters that like to chew on leafy plants.  Since I am attempting to grow a number of leafy plants, and did notice some holes in them early this season, I switched to morning watering, and it has been a success.  Well, as successful as it can be, given these arid circumstances.

Either way... I dread opening the next water bill!  And I will continue to hope, pray, and probably dance for rain.  But just when I thought I had it bad, I heard this story on the radio... and realized that while my desire for large quantities of healthy backyard produce is rabid (and I also love a good thunderstorm), I am not depending on it for my livelihood.  C'mon, Mother Nature!  Do it for the farmers!

The redder the area, the worst the drought.

I live in the burgundy!  Where we are suffering the worst drought since the Great Depression.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I promise a new post soon!

Lots to update, but I have fallen behind the past few days due to a new little distraction in my home.

Friday, July 13, 2012

two ripe strawberries / does this count as a Friday failure?

The tomatoes, they've only just begun, and keep on coming... but the strawberries?  This may be it, my friends.  To give you an idea of scale, the small one is the size of a chickpea.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More about garlic

I realize I had kind of done things in the wrong order when I dug up about half of our garlic 2 weeks ago.  So, I decided to take a different approach when harvesting the remainder of the crop this past weekend.

Instead of braiding them right away (which I think is the wrong thing to do), I laid them out to dry.  The next step will be to brush off the dirt, THEN braid and hang them to cure in the garage.  This seems a much easier way to get them clean.

All in all - a good season for the garlic.  I will definitely be planting again this fall!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


A word to the wise... when it comes to gardening, curiosity often results in small carrots.