Saturday, August 23, 2008

Woe is me!

Veggie garden is being assaulted on 2 fronts: squash vine borers and powdery mildew! That coupled with the green tomatoes has left me very discouraged. So far we have had 3 ripe (peacevine) cherry tomatoes 4 more are ready to come in. I harvested 1 black beauty zucchini and another cucumer and a green serrano- the serrano wasn't hot at all. We had a couple of cool nights (down in the low 50's) and the garden is starting to look a little sad. The powdery mildew seems to have taken off over night. Yesterday was a very warm 90'F and it's back in the high 80's today. I woke up this morning and the powdery mildew was everywhere! I cut a lot of leaves off the squash and zucchini and sprayed the rest with a milk solution to try to contain the powdery mildew. I've also cut out 5 squash vine borers from 2 plants (the only 2 plants that have produced thus far!) I'm thinking they are so stressed out now they will probably kick it. I hate squash vine borers! One plant that had them was planted early and not covered, the other was planted later and covered with a floating row cover until the week of July 4-obviously that didn't work well!

I broke down and went to the farmers market today and bought tomatoes. The ones in the garden don't seem to be producing much fruit and the fruit that is there isn't growing very fast and it's not ripening at all. I got some heirlooms, some hybrids and a ton of cherries for drying in the oven. I haven't tried them yet.

Good news: Winchester Cathedral, Gruss an Aachen and Sweet promise all have buds. Zinnias and cosmos are blooming-tiny flowers -it's weird! Veronica has sent up a second flush and the cone flowers are going bonkers.

I'm not feeling the garden today so I decided to share a picture of Watkins Glen taken on Aug 1 when DH and I went down there for a hike. A beautiful state park at the south end of Seneca Lake,

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I think I may hav 2 potential zucchini's-it looks like 2 zucchini plants each have a female flower, fingers are crossed! It also looks like I may finally get some tomatoes to ripen-one of the cherry tomato clusters seems to be changing from green to an orangey color. I believe it is the peacevine tomato. Most of the seeds I have planted are sprouting.

On the flower front-Sweet Promise and Winchester Cathedral have buds again. Eden has little worms munching on it-I have been squashing them. My "Cut and Come Again"Zinnias are finally blooming-the flowers are tiny and rather pathetic looking. I really don't have much luck with annual seeds!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Small Harvest

1 more crookneck yellow squash (total:3) 2 Amira hybrid cucumbers (total:3), 2 really small, red Serrano chiles (total: 12) and enough lettuce for 2 1/2 side salads (total: about 4 side salads). Everything tastes so good! The squash have been really tender, the cukes were AMAZING-refreshing and crisp. I haven't had the chiles yet. I'm thinking of putting them in an omlette tonight. The salad was very good: Black Seeded Simpson (bolted-I'm waiting to see what the flowers look like-probably not the best way to go but F-it), Red Fire- both bought from the nursery. The Red Fire is excellent and hasn't bolted-yay! Also Jericho, planted from seed, a romaine lettuce that I planted from seed, also tasty- hasn't bolted=BONUS!
Everything seems to be growing really slowly this year. I'm not sure why, we've had heat, sun and tomatoes are still green-Uggggghhhh! I have been torturing myself by reading about tomato taste testings on other blogs and forums. That's probably not helpful. I think the bunny delay really set me back. In the unplanted portion of my garden I found some tomato volunteers and potted them up out of curiosity. They obviously won't fruit before the first frost (mid October-ish) so the plan is to try to grow them in the sunroom and see if I can hand pollinate and have winter tomatoes. It probably won't work and if it does, they won't taste like real summer tomatoes -but what the heck?
Through the self imposed tomato taste test torture I have been exploring the different Heirloom tomato options-phew- There's a ton out there! I have been plotting next years garden. I'm obsessed with Goose Creek tomatoes but of course can't find seed in the US. I have 2 options: try to get seed from the UK and hope it doesn't get confistacted by "homeland security" or get a seedling sent from California. I really love starting things from seed. Who knew tomato seeds were a threat to national security???
The tomatoes I planted this year are as follows: Brandywine, Super Sioux, Green Zebra, Garden Peach, maybe a Consolato Genovese (extra seed-not impressed with the tomato last year), maybe a Sanibel Hybrid (free seed sample from Totally tomatoes), and maybe a San Marzano. I planted 2 cherry tomatoes- Jelly Bean and Peacevine. The maybe's are in there because once all the seedlings got confused I chucked all the seed packets into a box and I can't remember what I planted and what was hanging around from previous years. Duh! I need to be better behaved when I start my seeds! So next year I will LABEL my Plants, take NOTES about what I planted, start them EARLIER (so I can be eating tomatoes now instead of writing and reading about them!), and try some new colors and kinds. Garden Peach and Super Sioux are the only 2 new regular tomatoes this year. I've never grown cherry tomatoes for myself before so both kinds are new for me. I've never tried a dark tomato before-I'm definitely going for a black or purple tomato next year!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Sound of Summer

I found this ugly little guy hanging out amongst the rose cuttings in the shade of the maple tree. It's a cicada, it's pretty big -a little bigger than my thumb. Everytime my husband hears one he says "sounds like summer!". They emit a kind of raspy sound when it's hot and humid. You can listen to cicada songs on wikipedia from all over the world but they don't really sound like the ones around here.

I was off from work last week (family in town). On Tuesday I worked for a long time in the garden and yard. I planted seeds of Swiss Chard, beets, turnips, rutabagas and NY head lettuce. I haven't grown any of these before so this is an experiment! I also weeded the heck out of the existing beds and put down newspaper and a layer of grass clippings on the paths. On Sunday I planted peas, beans, spinach, and 3 different kinds of lettuce: jericho, red deer tongue, bibb. Following Sally Cunningham's advice, I'm trying to extend the growing season here. I'm really curious to see how it works.

Harvested from the garden: 2 yellow crookneck squash, 9 serrano chile's (gave them to my BIL), 1 cucumber. Squash tasted great, cuke is in the fridge, we'll put it in a salad tomorrow night. I think things are going kind of slow, combination of the bunny delay and the weather. I've got a lot of green tomatoes but nothing ripe so far.