Tuesday, June 30, 2009

bad mommy gardner award

The weather forecast said that it is supposed to rain from Tues-Fri. Desperate to get some planting done on Monday, I abandoned my feverish child in front of the tv and went out to pot, repot, and plant. Here are 4th generation tomatoes, in sand.
Third generation tomatoes in bigger pots. Also campanula and many others not in this photo. I want to get everything into big pots or in the ground before we leave for the US on July 15, otherwise they will not survive the summer heat.
"spare" pumpkins, I think they are all Howden but the popsicle stick markers rotted, planted in the space that used to belong to the brocoli at the base of the embankment. The challenge will be to build bridges for the vines across the moat that surrounds them whenever it rains.
I thought she was being awfully quiet...

Monday, June 29, 2009

liquor and tomatoes

Okay, the title is misleading. Not in combination.Somebody, I think my mother, was asking what we did with the loquats. Well, we (mostly my husband) ate lots, and gave some away. He kept all the seeds and I was getting worried about where we were going to put 100s of baby loquat trees. But it turns out his friend made loquat seed liquor, which has medicinal properties in Chinese medicine. Unfortunately for my mother, it tastes of anin (like in anindofu) which I know she didn't like. I like it though. I guess we will find out in 6 months how it tastes.
Some of yesterday's harvest. We are really pushing cucumbers and green beans these days.
Some of last night's dinner, all veg from the garden. hooray! Supplemented with kimchi cucumbers. And rice, of course.
I finally got around to repotting and putting cages around my second generation of cherry tomatoes. This is golden currant.
I harvested our first two real tomatoes yesterday, a Black Krim and a Cherokee Purple. The Black Krim was severely deformed and not the best taste case. This Cherokee purple looks okay from the top, but the bottom...
It was quite yummy however!
These are all the green tomatoes from plants that were diseased and I had to pull. I read you can ripen them in a box with green bananas. Unfortunately, I mixed some Evergreens in there and now I'm not sure which are which.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

flowers and butterflies

I planted these bulbs in the strawberry patch before it became the strawberry patch. I planted yellow, white, and pink, but only the pink and white have bloomed.
Butterfly on the oregano.
Petunias in a planter by the side of the parking area.
Pink groundcover thing that does really well in the heat.
One with smaller blossoms.
Gladioli starting to bloom. Balloon flowers are doing well this year. And campanula are still going strong.
Campanula and blue flax.
Morning glory seedlings by the classroom windows, hoping to keep off some of the morning sun. This windows face east, so the perfect spot. We had a very old pack of seeds and wanted to use them up.
Butterfly on a purple flowering Indian tree, kind of wisteria like, but it is not a vine.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


It has been blazing hot this week and I am a bit frustrated because I really want to spend more time in the garden, but between about 10:30-3:30, when I have time, it is just too stinking hot. From the time I get up until about 10:30 I am busy getting everyone fed, dressed, off to school, walked, laundry, etc. And from 3:30...picked up from school, walked, changed, snacked and then M insists upon going to the park every day to work on her monkey bars (and see her friends). Oh how I resent those 2 hours of prime gardening time spent pushing L on the swings and rescuing M when she monkey bars too high. Then back home to cook, feed, bath, etc, and it's dark. They love it, but I wish we could get a jungle gym in our yard. Too bad they don't seem to sell them here like in the US. Anyway, here are some photos from yesterday.
My crazy husband has planted the next generation of cucumbers. I managed to force my students' mothers to take home 30+ today. He does realize that the overlap between first and second generations will happen while the girls and I are in the US and he will be responsible for 25 cucumbers/day all by himself, but yet...he plants them. The rose of sharon (mallow?) trees along the fence are starting to bloom. They have grown so fast. They were foot long dead sticks only 2 years ago. I hear they are particularly good for fighting air pollution, so we planted them along the west fence facing the big road. We aren't nearly as rural as our photos may make it seem, and air pollution is a problem. There are some cosmos blooming in this photo as well. And the lemon grass (sticking out from the left) LOVES being next to the compost bin.
Eggplants are coming along really well. So well, that I am glad we only have 3 plants. You can see some of the sugar lump mini tomatoes in the background.
I tried to take a photo of my single reddening Reisentraube tomato for Mr. Wignall, but it is in a rather inaccessible place. Hopefully some of the others will ripen before we leave and I can tell you how they taste.
Shiso Shiso and more Shiso. I have to start actually using it. I think I will make shiso gyoza this week.
Watermelon (left), okra (center), no-longer-producing zucchini (right) and some marigolds. Strawberry patch and gladiolus in the back. These were not really meant to be an attempt at companion gardening, we just didn't have anywhere to put the watermelons. So far so good, as long as the watermelons don't attempt to climb...
Cinderella pumpkin is getting big and turning orange. Now if I could only find a cool dry place to store it until October...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Pink glads are blooming.
Bets now open: watermelon, okra or marigolds? Or can they all just get along together nicely?
White balloon flower at the back, can hardly be seen. Must remember to move it in the winter.
Purple balloon flower.
Forget-me-nots from freebie seeds my mother gave me (thanks, Mom!)
Red spapdragons, I think. Oh, Vicky told me what these are and now I've forgotten.
Pink lily also hidden behind many taller plants. Must remember to move in the winter. Must remember. Must remember long enough to tell my daughter when she comes home from school today so that she can remind me...Need to plant more forget-me-nots. Can I make forget-me-not tea?

Good tomato news, and bad tomato news

Good news first. More signs of ripening. Sweet Orange II
Cherokee Purple
Black Krim
Really bad news. The big tomatoes are all dying. I will have to pull the last 3 plants in the southern row today. I am beginning to wonder if it is possible to raise tomatoes without chemicals around here...
Not to end on a sad note, our tomato harvest from yesterday. All sugar lump. Though they tasted a bit like waterlumps after the deluge of the past few days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

rain and shine

Our first sunflower in the rain yesterday...
And the sun today!
First gladiolus

Today's harvest. Plus 5 okra. Cucumbers are not as scary as I feared after the rains. And I managed to force all of these on a visitor today. Thanks G!I forgot to post the photo of our first tomato! Golden Currant. My husband was away so we shared it three ways. It was slightly tart, but really hard to tell the taste from such a little sliver.
I bought some lemons for the seeds (also because they are yummy squeezed on salad udon, our summer Monday dinner) and one is coming up. Lemon tree very pretty....

Missed the boat

Well, the first 2 weeks of "rainy season" was totally dry and I was worried about drought. Be careful what you wish for they say...Our veggie patches at the bottom of the embankment were surrounded by a moat. The beans and cucumbers managed to stay above the waterline but...
The pumpkin vines and two pumpkins were submerged. The waters had receded by the time I took this photo. I couldn't take the camera out in the torrential rains.
The lawn contracted some sort of fungal infection that is spread by too much water. Wasn't much we could do to stop it.
The rain killed off another tomato plant too (marmande super). I am trying to ripen the green tomatoes in a cardboard box. I have to find a green banana to put in with them. They say to keep them in warm dark place with low humidity. If there were any place with low humidity to be found around here, I'm sure it would be filled with humans, no space left for green tomatoes!

This is the garden next door. I feel a little badly posting it, as I think they must have some difficult family circumstances that have left them little time for gardening this season. But still, their tomatoes, eggplants, and goya are all coming along. Seeing their garden makes me appreciate our black plastic, despite my aesthetic reservations. That said, we are scheduled for more rain from tomorrow, and our garden may be looking like this soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

tomatoes at night

Well the first two weeks of so -called rainy season were a total bust, but now nature is making up for lost time and it has been raining steadily the past few days. The only chance I had to go out and take photos of big tomatoes was Saturday evening. I put my hand in most of the photos for a sense of size.Big Rainbow. I had to pull two sick plants. This plant has yet to produce a single tomato, but I am holding out hope because it is flowering, at least.
Black Krim. I think I have two plants. And a baby plant.
Brandywine plant 1.
Brandywine plant 2.
Cherokee Purple. I think I only have one...though it is strange. I don't remember losing the others, but they must have been sick.
Evergreen. 3 plants. They were slow starters, but seem to be the healthiest as I haven't lost one.
Money Maker. Only one. I planted 3 seeds and only one came up. Luckily it has held in there.
Marmande super. Two plants.