Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The backyard garden is coming along slowly this year. I decided to try cabbage. It should have been ripe a few weeks ago, but is finally coming to heads now. I am hoping it is still tasty!

When I remove the cabbage from the front row of the main bed, I will fill in with a few compact squash plants, which will be kept company by the zinnias that are doing exactly what they were supposed to do, and filling in a I am ready to pull the early crops out. My successive gardening is a long way from perfection, but I am seeing the added benefits of choosing plants that can timeshare on my limited garden space. The squash plants are getting a head start in a large pot by the back door. Hopefully by the time they go in the ground they will be big enough to resist all the pests that so love to munch on baby squash plants!
The butterfly bush had a rough start to the season, as I had a major infection of spider mites. I have blasted my plants with the hose and treated them with insecticidal soap, and everything seems to be recovering. I may give everything another once over with the soap just to make sure they don't come back!
I am not sure if it will turn out successfully, but so far so good with the corn. Still a few days till the 4th of July, and half of the stalks are already higher than my knees. Here's hoping that works in PA like it does in OH and the rest of the Midwest!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I realized that last summer, part of my tomato production problem might have been due to poor pollination. To counter this possibility this summer, I made sure to include a few flowers in the roof garden. The red ones are rudebeckia, a relative of black eyed susans, that I had planted last summer. The plant put out 2 ugly flowers way at the end of the summer. I had forgotten to pull it out while cleaning up the end of season debris, and when I went up this spring, the plant was a foot tall and had flower buds on it. It has since matured and given me many lovely flowers for my vases and birthday bouquets!
The lavender was at Paul's request. I was happy to acquiesce because I was hoping that the strong perfume of the leaves would help draw pollinators to the roof. I am not sure if my flower strategy worked or if the bees have just figured out that there is a garden up there, but I have been seeing quite a number of my favorite winged friends....

Sunday, June 27, 2010


It is official. Summer has arrived on Calumet Street. I ate my first homegrown tomato of the season!

The pepper is getting sliced up and added to salad for dinner.

Good thing the basil plants are getting up to size. I think I will be having tomato, basil, mozarella salad in a few days!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

roof update

It's been awhile since I have posted, and let me tell you, the garden has EXPLODED in the past few weeks. We have been having 90 degree plus weather, so I have had to be diligent about watering, and I gave everything a handful of fertilizer. We should be reaping our reward soon.
Every tomato plant has baby fruits and lots more blooms. There are pepper blooms on all of the plants and baby peppers on several. I am really bad about keeping track of what kind each seedling is, so I am now seeing what I planted. It seems I have a large number of gold nugget cherry tomatoes, at least 2 window box romas, and several Beaver lodge slicers. I am not sure if any of the Russian ones that I had leftover from last year made it because they produce fruits about the same size as the Beaver Lodge. I will have to get my catalog out when they ripen and compare.

I have had a little problem with blossom end rot. I must not quite have my soil fortified quite enough with calcium, or I missed watering somewhere along the way. I have hopefully prevented any further damage by duct taping over the drainage holes and giving all the tomatoes a handful of crushed oyster shell to provide calcium. Here's hoping it works! I should be eating my first tomatoes within the week. then summer will have officially started!