Monday, August 31, 2009
The peppers are still producing new flowers. I have had pink paprika peppers and some have turned to red while waiting on the kitchen counter to be eaten. I haven't eaten one yet though, so you will have to stay tuned for a report on taste.
The scallions that are sharing pots with some of the tomatoes and peppers are starting to be a usable size. I plan to use one later this week as garnish for fried rice, and also in some homemade salsa. Our neighbors gave us some nice little chili peppers to use for heat. Grilled pepper fajitas here I come!
So far I haven't seen the little bugger in person, but I believe that there is a squirrel stealing tomatoes. I have gone up a few times thinking that there should be several ripe ones, only to discover only 1 or 2 ready to eat. And I have found a few that see to have been nibbled on, just far enough away that they couldn't have fallen off the plant and been nibbled on by a passing bug or bird. Next year I may need to get crafty with squirrel deterrent systems!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I figured I could look around and see what else I could fill the vase out with. I clipped a few purple butterfly bush branches, some nasturtiums, marigolds, a geranium branch, peach bean blossoms, chive flowers(!) and mint. I never realized that I had such a variety of flowers in the yard! By the time I got all of them into the vase, I was really struggling to find room.
So, in honor of having watched a few too many public television cooking shows this weekend and the fact that I don't think many people truly appreciate the idea of being frugal (according to Merriam-Webster dictionary: characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources), I present to you, the Frugal Bouquet...
(should I admit that the vase is really a neat looking hexagonal mustard jar?...)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The tomato plants have a little disease problem and are a little whimpy looking. They are still producing though, and I have sprayed them with copper spray (much more diluted this time so I don't burn the leaves). I have also been monitoring their soil moisture more closely and have had fewer blossom end rot victims. I picked more than 20 tomatoes this week! Most of them are small romas, but they are still tastier than anything from the store. I am going to order tomato plant food next year from Garden's Alive and get them on a feeding schedule to hopefully better combat the lack of nutrients inherent in container gardening.
I think we'll have tomato, basil, mozzarella and green onion salad tomorrow for dinner....
Monday, August 24, 2009
The beans, despite me not planting a second round, are still producing, slowly, but we have enough for dinner about once a week. I'd say they have returned on their investment. A pack of bean seeds was about $2.50 and we have had about 3 pounds of beans, that's cheaper than the market, and I still have more seeds that I can plant next year. They are also prettier than the ivy and junk that used to climb up the fence.
The transplanted lettuce is looking good. I always forget just how long it takes lettuce to really start growing, but at least it wasn't completely beaten down by the 5 hour thunder storm we had the other night (wow was that crazy!)
If you look at the bottom left corner of the picture, you will notice a new addition to the garden. One morning we were out in the garden enjoying a cup of coffee before heading off to work. Something above Paul's head caught my attention. There was a humming bird hovering about 2' above his head! Such fascinating creatures! So we got a humming bird feeder. We got a pack of the pre-made nectar, but I think I want to see if I can find a homemade recipe. I can't imagine that red food dye is good for such a tiny creature. Since hanging the feeder I have seen either the same humming bird twice in one day, or two different birds about 2 hours apart. Either way, the bird seemed more interested in the pretty peach bean blossoms and the butterfly bush, than the feeder, but it did stop by for a little sip. I am going to have to leave my camera by the back window so I have it next time I see one come by.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The tomatoes and herbs are still doing well. I've made one jar of freezer tomato sauce, dried some tyme and camomile and I think I'll be freezing some basil soon.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
This by the way is what squash borers do. They eat their ways through the squash vine, starting just above the soil and working their way out toward the leaves. Eventually where they went in, near the ground, becomes so week and rotten that the whole plant dies. I am going to have to do some research and find out what I can do to prevent this (besides getting the majority of the plant off the ground with my crazy, tiered squash growing contraption).
I have continued to get a good supply of beans, chard and flowers. I have even been lucky enough that the cats have yet to find the vase of nasturtiums on the kitchen counter or in the bathroom... let's see how long this lasts! Especially since the flower plants are having their second wind and I can pick them as fast as they go bad in the vases.
I put in some lettuce seeds. They are slowly putting on leaves. If I keep them watered, I think they will need thinned soon. Next year I will keep them going all summer, I have missed having fresh lettuce just steps away from the kitchen!
Fresh green beans for dinner tomorrow = ).
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Well, I not actually sure how many are in a peck, but I have more than I can eat in a day or two before the next batch is ready. And they aren't pickled just yet, but they will be! I love pickled peppers on sandwiches, pizza and on their own out of the jar. YUM! I have researched a few recipes, so when I decide on one, I'll let you know how they turn out. If you live close enough, I may even let you try some!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Still plenty of flowers hanging around. I have a vase of nasturtiums and a vase of rudbeckias on the counter. We'll see how long it is before the cats find them!
I think I'll go pick some mint and have a mojito!
So what is doing well?
Basil: bring a machete
Tomatoes: also bring a machete and a compass
Cucumbers: I made fridge pickles!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I had to zoom a little, but there it is...
Apparently I didn't get all of the blossom end rot under control though = (
I am going to let the few that I picked that weren't affected ripen for one more day, on the counter so they get no chance of developing rot!
Tomorrow, I eat tomatoes = )
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Still a little tricky to see, but there he (she?) is, a praying mantis hanging out on top of one of the paprika peppers. I think it might be a baby since the wings didn't seem fully developed. I say that this is a friendly visitor because some people actually PAY to have praying mantis eggs sent to them so they can release the critters into their garden, especially organic gardeners. No, this is not because organic gardeners are hippie nutcases who want bugs for pets (though in Asia and Africa apparently people do keep them as pets) it is because they are what are known as beneficial insects. Beneficial insects are things like lady bugs, praying mantises and dragon flies that enjoy eating garden pests such as aphids, white flies, mosquitoes and spider mites. Some beneficial insects are not terribly discerning and may eat non-pests and pests alike, but a lack of bugs is a risk I am willing to take. I would rather have to hand pollinate some of the plants than have them all die because a bug ate all the leaves!