Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Surpise! Yep I still post too!

So I've been away, from home and the blog, sorry about that. Thanks to Mich my garden flourished while I was gone and I came home to healthy plants. I thought I'd share my garlic picture. This is the first time I've grown garlic and I am really enamored with it.
The hard neck garlic makes a handsome tall plant when everything else is little. When it starts to get hot it makes this crazy corkscrew shoot that makes great stir fry and then you pull it and hang it and in a couple of weeks you have awesome garlic. Of course then you have the problem of wanting to use it all and not save cloves to grow it next year. Its always a struggle!
Next I have my pepperoncini. I planted two plants, this is only the first harvest. I have another 2 pints of them in my fridge waiting to be pickled. These are very mild so I'm putting one of my scary hot "wild cross" peppers in each jar so they have some heat.

The ground hog is still a problem. My garden is now completely enclosed in fence. Its tough to work around but at least I get some of my veggies.

Friday, July 16, 2010

knee high

So I know corn is supposed to be knee high by the 4th of July, and that is about where my knowledge of corn growing ends. So of course I planted some this year! Originally I was planning to grow sunflowers and corn and try the "three sisters" approach that the Native Americans used. You grow corn then let your beans use it as a trellis and squash grows at the foot of it all to control weeds and shade the soil to help it retain moisture. I figured I would skip the squash and just do the beans and corn. Apparently I got the wrong kind of corn, because it is a week past the 4th of July, and while being more than knee high, it certainly isn't tall enough to be growing beans up it! Oh well, it is the gardener's way to experiment, and make the best of it if something doesn't go as planned. I am going to try the beans in buckets on the roof, with a trellis woven between the guard rail boards, and am just hoping the corn does something!
I'm going to have to call dad and ask if that is what corn is supposed to do...
On another up side, I have pulled out most of the cabbage. It never got to be big heads, but the fist size heads I did get were tasty. We had stirfried cabbage and coleslaw. I think I will try a fall batch too. The zinnias are also taking hold. They will have a little competition though, I have interspersed them with some compact squash plants. I don't quite believe the "compact" claim, but so long as they don't try to take over like last year, we should do okay! I may have to stake or cage the zinnias a little to keep them from crowding the front of the bed where the squash are. Apparently everybody is reaching for the sunniest part of the yard.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


As I was saying, I like to put any empty space to use as garden space. So to make the patio a little more interesting, grow a little more food, and satisfy my ever growing need to play in the dirt, I annexed a portion of my father in law's patio. In it's rain soaked state it doesn't look like much, but he has already enjoyed a few cherry tomatoes, and there are lots of baby tomatoes and peppers just waiting for the sun to come out and ripen them!
He has a patio set that we all often enjoy sitting around and sharing a meal or cocktail hour after one or all of us have had a rough day at work. The patio was kind of bare when he moved in, and it is amazing what 8 buckets of dirt and about 15 plants did for the space! It isn't quite a lush oasis, but at least it doesn't feel like we are sitting in a desert. My cheapness ruled again. The buckets are from cat litter and empty butter cream frosting buckets from the grocery store bakery with a few kid's buckets from the dollar store thrown in for color. The back row of plants is set up on a board set across a few bricks to give the arrangement some height and help the plants get a little better air flow. All in all it cost about $40. A garden doesn't have to be fancy or expensive to improve your space!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Front garden

The peppers and zinias out front have really taken off with all of the heat we have been having. So much so that they have crowded the calendulas out. So I rearanged a few things. The big purple pholx died. Not sure if it was due to disease or lack of water, but I pulled that out and replaced it with the calendulas that were suffering because they were completely covered by the canopy of the peppers. Hopefully now everything will flourish!

I have tasted the first of the purple hot peppers. I think if anybody is silly enough to try taking a bite out of one, they will get a surprise they won't soon forget! Those suckers are SPICY!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Yum! tomato salad!Suffering through the heat in the city has been worth it for gardeners, assuming they are all getting as good of a crop of tomatoes as I am! Granted I am being more careful about feeding and watering this year than I have been in the past, but knock on wood, all of the baby tomatoes on the roof are looking wonderful! Besides diligent watering, I applied extra calcium and so far have found very few affected with blossom end rot. I also covered the drain holes in the buckets with duct tape in hopes that the soil will hold water better. So far, so good, but I may have to drill new drain holes a little further up because it is working so well in the smaller buckets that when it does rain they are filling with water and drowning the plants. Too much of a good thing, is a bad thing!

In one day's harvest I got 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes. I got a third of that per harvest for the first week's harvests, half of that for the second week's harvests, and now I figure at the early July rate for local tomatoes at the farmer's market- $1.50 a pound- I have already paid for my packet of Golden Nugget cherry tomato seeds! If I figure in the fertilizer, I am working in the black in another 2 weeks or so! (or in maybe 'in the red' is a better thing for a tomato harvest... black usually means blossom end rot!). If even 2/3 of the tomatoes and peppers on the roof, out front and on my father in law's patio ripen perfectly, we are going to have so many tomatoes that I am going to have to give away or freeze half of them so they don't go to waste!

I'm thinking about rigging up some shade clothes so I can plant more lettuce and some scallions... this buying it at the market in order to have a salad is really getting me down!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Well, I guess you have to be careful what you wish for. After a week of 90 degree plus heat every day, everyone was complaining that they wished it would cool off and rain. Boy did we get our wish!

Friday, July 2, 2010

new territory

I am constantly looking for new territory to turn into garden space. This summer's addition is the front sidewalk.

We don't have a front lawn here in the city, but many people have street trees with flowers planted around the base or large planters along the house. We are thinking of talking to the City about getting a street tree, but in the meantime, planters will have to suffice.

When dad was in town a few weeks back, we built a cover for the trash can and recycling bin. We had some of the siding plywood left, and created 2 planters to match. I cheated a little with the planters. They don't have a bottom to them, they are actually just boxes, open top and bottom, with a Rubbermaid tub inside! I had to prop the bins up on bricks at one end in order to get them to sit straight. I'm happy with them so far, and the neighbors seem to enjoy seeing calendulas, zinnias, phlox, marigolds and peppers more than they liked seeing the trash can. Wonder why....
I am hoping that nobody decides to help themselves to the flowers or the peppers growing out front. So far so good. As a mild deterrent, especially from the college kids in the area who might be prone to tasting a pepper on their walk home from the bar, the peppers are hot ornamentals! I'm not sure HOW hot they, but I am guessing that biting into one and not expecting heat will be enough to keep the same person from "sampling" twice. I am intending on enjoying salsa this summer though.