Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last day of May

My marigolds, which I started from seed at the beginning of April, are finally starting to bloom!

Blue Flax (linim perenne) is a perennial. Thank you, Mrs. C. for the identification! I'm sure everyone will be pleased not to have to have photos posted every other day of the same flower. I'm still counting on all of you to help me watch my tomatoes grow, though!
My husband is finally going to pull the lettuce which bolted 4 weeks ago and some of it was almost as tall as me! He needs the space for edamame. I will be happy to have the aphid nests away from my tomatoes!
Baby green beans are starting to come in.
They are still pretty small, though. Nice close up of my grimy fingers, too.
The zucchinis sure do grow fast. I think I will harvest this one (our first real zucchini) tonight. This plant seems to have developed some sort of stem rot. I have beenr emoving the infected leaves, and still seems to be intent on producing new leaves and zucchinis, so I hope it will be ok. If not, I have 3 more adult plants and 2 more seedlings, so we should be okay in the zucchini department.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

mums and "dust" bugs

My flower beds needed some winter color so I bought 4 or 5 chrysanthemums last fall. They are not my favorite, but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to January blooming flowers. And I do kind of like the daisy type ones. Anyway, apparently my garden is quite conducive to mums and they have been multiplying like crazy. I keep cutting them back, but they keep charging on. And some look like they are making buds. Do they bloom twice a year in warm climates? Being a cold climate native, I had always thought of them as annuals.

We have heard that the people who lived in this house before us were really serious chrysanthemum growers. Contest winning. Though their garden was razed and converted to a bare sand lot, maybe some of their magic remains.
In case anyone has been lying up at nights worrying about the lettuce and the red aphids. I am happy to report that though we lost the baby green lettuce, the red lettuce survived! I sprayed with diluted natural organic dish soap for a week and the aphids disappeared. They seem to have found greener pastures anyway, or maybe it is the end of red aphid season? I don't expect the lettuce to last long with this heat, but it would be nice if it hangs on until we have a few of our own cucumbers and tomatoes to round out the salad.
These are the sunflowers that reseeded themselves from last year. They are once again infested with a small bug that looks a bit like dust and makes dusty looking spots on the plants. What are they? Can they be driven away with diluted dishsoap? I've been spraying them for about a week. I haven't noticed any reduction, but they haven't multiplied either.
Here is a close up shot. Well, closer, anyway. They are awfully small.
They love the asters, and have almost done them in.

Friday, May 29, 2009

tomatoes (in alphabetical order!)

I know everyone is waiting with baited breath as it has been at least a few days since I last posted tomato photos! These are all my tomatoes that have actually started tomatoing. I am still waiting on Black Krim, Evergreen, Big Rainbow, and Brandywine.
Black Plum (may be our first to harvest...)
Chadwick's Cherry
Cherokee Purple (showing signs of being a tomato only a gardener can love. Very oddly shaped)
Gold Currant (cherry). I have had a lot of trouble with these. They are tall and gangly, not many leaves, and those they do have have some sort of blight so I keep having to cut them off. I'm not sure if we will get any tomatoes from them. I do have some suckers starting in sand, hopefully they will be disease free. I will keep them in containers away from the rest.
Money Maker
Marmande Super. These will probably be first to the finish line of my regular tomatoes. They look like the shape I imagine the Cinderella pumpkins will be if our sole remaining vine produces. It must be a French thing. Very stylish.
Another Marmande Super plant
Reisentraube (cherry). This one is a loner, unlike the others which are in clusters of dozens (hundreds?) Maybe that is why it is so far ahead of the pack. The rest are still blossoms.
Sugar Lump (cherry). These are from seeds left over from last year. Just standard garden variety (oops!) cherry tomatoes. The rest are all heritage, organic, etc.
The sugar lump has this weird tendency to split and refuse at the stem. I hope this won't be an entry point for diseases. So far, no problem.
Sweet Orange II (cherry)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

odds and ends

I thought it would be fun for the girls to grow these multi-colored carrots. It is fun to pull them up and see the different colors. Unfortunately, they taste dreadful! Especially the purple ones. The white ones are kind of bitter. The purple ones are extremely bitter and fibrous. But, the power of gardening! The girls ate them! I couldn't believe it...I wouldn't eat them myself!
This pink ground cover flower has started to bloom. The blossoms are much bigger than I expected. I think I will try to find some more, as my other flowers in this area are not doing so well.
I planted campanula mixed seeds a year and half ago. I was worried that I only would have purple ones (though they are my favorite, it is nice to have some variety). But a white one started blooming this mornng! It also gives me an excuse to post another photo of my mystery blue flower...Anyone know what it is???
I finally broke down and allowed my husband to plant 3 eggplants this year. But only three. And only because I have a weakness for purple flowers. My father-in-law grows bushels of eggplant, and really, there are limits to how much eggplant one can be expected to cook (and eat!) Luckily, Japanese eggplant are smaller and tastier than American eggplant. I recommend trying them if those of you in the US have not yet.
Green beans are starting to flower.
Yesterday we had male and female zucchini blossoms on the same day again! This means there is hope for two zucchinis bigger than my thumb. Today only male flowers. I shouldn't have planted so close to the okra. I thought it would be taller by the time the zucchini got this big, but it (the okra) was fighting off aphids and got a slow start.
One of the pumpkin vines, our only surviving Cinderella pumpkin, has started to show vine-like tendancies. It gets spared the worst of the evil orange beetles because they go after the cucumber...
After an interrupted orange beetle attack on a cucumber leaf.
The zap and stomp pest control method. Not terribly efficient or pleasant, but the only way I have found short of poison. And I always thought I was a pacifist...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I thought cosmos were supposed to bloom in late summer/fall, but apparently this one is confused. I love cosmos, so would be happy if they bloom from now till fall.
Finally some of the flowers in the flower bed closest to the house (NE bed) have started to bloom. This is where the bulbs are, and time between irises and lilies is a bit barren.
More nasturtium.
The SE flower bed is doing pretty well, but I have a bit of a gaping hole in the center that I have to think about. I'm hoping it will look better when the balloon flowers and gladioli start blooming. One Turkish balloon flower (? Turuko kikyo) seems to have survived the winter, hurrah! I love them.
I am still hoping for id on this blue flower which I love.
Reisentraube cherry tomato has zillions of blossoms in each cluster. If these all turn into mini tomatoes we will be in tomato heaven.
Strawberries are plugging along. Down to only 10 or so a day from a peak of 20. Not bad considering they are just in an out of the way corner, half under mud when it rains. They are to the right of the neighbor's garden tool shed in the photo below. Next year we should look into putting down some rice stalks or something for them to lie on.
An view from the girls' bedroom. The lawn has greened up, but the most trodden patches don't really get a chance to grow in .

Monday, May 25, 2009

this and that

This frog spent it's whole day on the zucchini leaf contemplating lunch.Speaking of zucchini and lunch. We had our first cukes (front) and zukes (back) for lunch yesterday (the tomatoes are store bought). I had no male zucchini flowers and so had to harvest them as babies, but they were yummy. Today for the first time I had male and female zucchini flowers! Looking forward to more substantial zucchini in the near future. Pretty soon harvesting them at this size will seem like a good idea.
red lettuce
The green salad bowl lettuce has a terrible infestation of red aphids
green pepper


Ok, I know I am a bit obsessed with the tomatoes. Just in case anyone out there is interested in their progress. Marmande Super
Money Maker
Cherokee purple
Another Marmande Super
My major failure in tomatoing so far. Golden Currant cherry tomato in the front. Tall and gangly, it has some horrible leaf disease, so I keep having to cut all it's leaves off and it only has a little tuft on top. I am trying to get it to hold on long enough for some of its suckers to become viable, then I will remove it.