Friday, June 25, 2010

one potato, two potato...

...three potato, four. Five potato, six potato, please please no more!!!

I just dug up less than a tenth of the potatoes. About 12 times this still in the field. I love potatoes, but really?!?!
M hates potatoes and L is allergic, so I guess my husband and I will be eating a lot of potatoes. And he is already talking about planting more for the fall! I think I am going to start talking about who is going to be cooking all these potatoes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life is a bowl of raspberries when you have magic beans!

Our raspberries are so happy now on the south side of the embankment, they are producing whole bowls full of raspberries each day. Rather small bowls, but still a bit improvement from last year when we were each getting a quarter of a raspberry. We are also harvesting our first beans. The girls were not too eager to try the purple beans, but were excited to learn that they turn green when boiled. Magic beans!
My flower beds have become infested with these black and red caterpillars. I am not sure if they are poisonous, or what they eat, but suspect they are up to no good, so I have been gathering them up with disposable chopsticks each morning and dropping them in the river.
Feeling blue.... I planted cornflowers and campanula seeds in all different colors, but only the blue and purple actually grew, so my south flowerbed is a little monotone.
Some of the more colorful flowers are starting to revive in the north flower bed now that that the daffodil leaves have been removed.
First lily...

Sunday, June 6, 2010


My husband planted 100 onions and harvested about 80, which is quite good! Our vegetable stand in the entrance way is now full of onions. I hope they dry properly and don't rot during rainy season.
I wonder how many onions we eat in a year...
He put the onion stalks under the pumpkin vines. Unfortunately, the evil orange bugs don't seem to mind the smell of onions. It was worth a try...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


My husband took these photos.

Though we have always had mostly cute little green frogs in the past, this year seems to be a bumper year for these big brownish frogs. Or are they toads? We see them all over the garden, everywhere. Except, of course, on the mornings when my daughters are supposed to bring a small creature to school, then they and all other small creatures are nowhere to be found. I can't say I blame them!
We were watching this chrysalis hoping to see the butterfly emerge, but we missed it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4 harvest

First raspberries and lebanese zucchini. End of the snap peas. Peak of the strawberries. And zucchini are ramping it up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3

We have this really ugly metal fence on concrete blocks around our property that was there when we bought the house. Though it is good for keeping children in the yard, it is not very attractive. I am trying to find ways to either cover it up, or use it to my advantage, or both. My latest experiment (after the failed sweet peas in containers) is to plant flowers in the holes in the concrete blocks next to the carpark. One of the flowers I am testing out (matsuba botan or moss rose, thank you Vicky) bloomed today...

I also tried shibazakura (on the left) but was too late for it to flower this year, we will see if it survives until next spring. If either work out, I will expand along the fence next year.
The lawn is really ready for rainy season to arrive...brown brown brown.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Cucumber!

We harvested our first cucumber on June 1! Older daughter, M, made the cut.
A little bit bent due to the lack of rain, but rainy season is coming.
The ants are all over my zucchini flowers, but they still seem to be producing lots of zucchini.
My husband put up the netting for the mini pumpkins (Jack Be Little) in front of the classroom.
And kabocha female flowers are starting to bloom. They are also being eaten to bits by evil orange bugs.
And, we all know how I like cosmos...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30

I know I am supposed to let the daffodil leaves go completely brown before cutting them, but I just couldn't stand the mess any more, and cleaned out the south flower bed. Hopefully this will give the nasturtiums and petunias more sun so that they will actually grow. The lilies in the back will start blooming in another week or two.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tomatoes and Zucchini

We have baby tomatoes! Here is a "father-in-law" grape tomato...
A Sweet Orange II (mini)...
And some random tomatoes plants from the west plot. Tomatoes in the front, beans mid-right, potatoes rear right, and carrots rear left...
Here's my one Brandywine tomato plant this year. Didn't get any last year, hoping for better luck this time. I find it so interesting how it has potato leaves.
And this is a Money Maker that got guillotined. I left the single remaining leaf from the bottom, and sure enough, it is making a new little shoot. I am hoping this will grow up and become a tomato plant...
And our zucchini is doing really well. Of course it always does at first, and then gets done in by a weird lumpy white stem mold. This time I have three staggered plantings, so hopefully we will have zucchini until July at least. You can see the big ones on the right and babies on the left.
This one is the most productive so far...
A view from below...
And our first proper zucchini harvest!

More Wildlife

Since my last wildlife post was wildly popular, I thought I would do another.

Bad news first. Evil-orange-squash-eating bugs. Does anyone know what they are called? More importantly, does anyone have a good (preferably non-poisonous) method of killing them? Here is a side view of one munching on a Jack Be Little pumpkin leaf...
The past few years were terrible for orange bugs. This year, the guy with the plot next to us planted kabocha, and they were all eaten practically to the roots, despite the fact that he sprayed them. Strangely, we had far fewer this year. I wonder if they PREFER pesticide-laced leaves? But, after they have destroyed his third planting, he has given up on squash, and they have come to us again.

My method of orange bug control is not very effective, but very entertaining for my neighbors. I chase them around with one of those bug zapper rackets, shock them, and then grind them with the toe of my shoe. If anyone has a better way, I would love to hear it.

Here is another orange bug, resting on an undokobyo (powdery mildew?) infected pink.
On to better bugs...
I was jealous of my husband's bee photo, so I took one of my own. This is some sort of tiny Australian flower I bought at the garden store, it comes in yellow and purple.
And, since the turtle was a big hit. I thought I would show you another. This one must have somehow come up from the river, crossed the neighbor's garden, crossed the street, realized there was no where to go from there, and turned back. I found it along the side of the house, just as I was going to take the dog for a walk. Here it is headed for our yard...
I took the dog out the other way (from the embankment) and by the time we got back, the turtle was gone. I searched the yard for it, and found it huddled behind the doghouse. I guess it looked like a safe place. Ooops. The dog got another walk (lucky) and came back to find the turtle wedged between the compost bin and the fence, trying to get out to the embankment, so I picked her up and carried her over by the river. Here is a shot of her by the side of the house from the other direction.
As for other wildlife encounters.... I went to hang the towels over the rail, and was surprised to see...
And from the other side...