Sunday, November 14, 2010

End of the Season

We've had some uncharictaristically warm weather the past few days/weeks. Frost at night and in the 50's and 60's during the day. We got to 64'F yesterday. I took the opportunity to move some things around. I planted some Crocosmia Lucifer (that I had in a pot all summer) in the front garden by the lavender. I'm hoping the lavender will survive the winter- I started it from seed (wintersown) and it did really well- smells awesome! I moved Hippolyte (rose) from a weird spot in a corner of the fence to behind the mailbox. I hope it makes it. I kind of accidentally butchered it with the spade while I was digging it up. I put a raspberry bush where Hippolyte used to be. I have another raspberry bush in a pot -it's starting to rain so it might have to stay in the pot.

I dug up the dahlia's and the oriental lillies last weekend and let them dry out over the week. I dug up the lillies because the moles or other rodents like to eat them all in the winter and I can't get them to come up year after year. I cut the stalks off and knocked off the dirt, wrapped them in damp paper towels and put them in a damp burlap bag in the veg drawer of the fridge. I hope it works. I had a gorgeous pale, pale pink lily this year that I'd like to have again next year (see pic). I knocked off the excess dirt on my dahlias and put them in paper bags with pearlite- watered them all down and put them in a cardboard box and put them in the basement. I didn't divide them because I couldn't find any eyes. I'll wait until spring and hope I see some- if they survive. I'm kind of flying blind.

I did end up getting late blight on my tomatoes but not until late, late in the season. Like October, so I'm not complaining. I have the last of the tomatoes in the kitchen. They should be finishing up this week. The ones with the blight are rotting as they ripen so I'm pitching a lot of them out. I pulled up all of the tomato plants and put them in black trashbags- going in the dumpster.

Last weekend I finally got around to planting chard, kale, spinach and lettuce in pots on the deck. I have no idea if it will work. My aunt says they grow lettuce year round (in Zone 5) but I think she does it on her covered porch. I think I can jury rig some kind of clear plastic cover over the pots on the deck if it starts to look promising.

Some notes for next year: Either start the summer squash late (ie: end of June) or start a 2nd planting at the end of June in an attempt to foil the SVB. They got me again this year. I heard there are SVB resistant types but I love cocozelle. I don't see the point in planting zucchini if you can't get the kind you want. Every other gardener has zucchini coming out their ears, I don't know why I don't! I might also try clipping the blossoms off until after July 4, I've read that the SVB moth(?) hones in on the yellow.
I'm not doing eggplant again. I tried them in containers this year. I got a few tiny ones but it's really not worth the effort. I'm also not doing winter squash. Takes up too much space. I do plan on doing more tomatillo plants. I did 2 this year. I'm thinking a minimum of 6 next year. Tomatillos seem to be determinate so they came all at once, I put them in the freezer and had good luck using them frozen. I just didn't have enough to last me past October!
The butterfly feeder is going up again. That was very successful even though I started it so late in the season. I'm also focusing on butterfly host and feeder plants in the front garden next season. I started some butterfly bushes from cuttings this year so I'll plunk those out there either this fall or in the spring (over winter them in the sunroom).
I need more blues/ purples and less pinks in the flower bed on the southside. It was so pink this year I found it hard to look at. It was pretty ugly! I planted a balloon flower over there, I saved some seeds so I'll try to get some more of that. It seems to be a pretty good foil for the pinks.
Less tomatoes next year! As far as the small tomatoes go. I'll stick with Black Cherry, Matt's Wild Cherry and either Coyote or Champagne Cherry. For a GWR I'm going with Aunt Ruby's German Green. Pruden's Purple and Black from Tula are coming back. I think I'll give Black Krim a rest. Absinthe is going to have to go, it was prolific but they didn't seem to ripen very well, they'd go bad almost immediately. I'll probably do Dr Wyche's Yellow, Goose Creek, Berkeley Tie Die and KBX again. I need to really pare it down this year. I did can some but the main problem was the lack of really good tomato growing space. A lot of varieties didn't get a fair shot. I'd like to give Indian Stripe and JD's Special C-Tex a better spot.
The SWC experiment went really well. I plan on making at least 2 more next year. The worm experiment is going well too. I moved the worms into the garage this week. I set container #2 on top of container #1 (full of poop) about a month ago and the worms are starting to migrate up looking for food. I'll have to monitor the temps in the garage and will have to move them into the basement if it gets too cold. My Ruth Stout experiment went really well. It was less work putting the garden in in the Spring and the plants seemed happy this year, I need to put something on the paths next year, that's where the weeds came up. Maybe mulch or something. I didn't shred the leaves I put on the garden this year. Let's see if that works. If it doesn't I'm screwed because there's a lot of leaves out there!The compost tea experiment went really well. For the most part the plants seemed very healthy and prolific this year.
I did have a problem with cucumber beetles for the first time this year. I'm on the fence about planting cucumbers again next year- I ended up with a powdery mildew problem. If I do plant cucumbers I'll go with the lemon cukes- cute and taste great! No more Armenian cucumbers- I've tried and failed 3 years in a row.
As usual I need to keep up better with my mulching and weeding. I definitely need to get mulch for the front beds near the house. They looked BAD this year. I got a lot of compliments on the mailbox garden and a few requests to enlarge it. I'm going to try to convince the better half to move my lilac bushes to a spot along the driveway then maybe I can extend the mailbox bed eastward toward the house to encorporate the lilacs and then add some more plants on the south side.
I took pictures of the beds this year and made notes of where to move things and what to dig up. I need some kind of plan and need to stick to it. Some of the beds look a little schitzo. So that will be #1 goal for next year: Garden design like a sane person.
Goal #2: More butterflies. I have butterfly garden seeds in the fridge from monarch watch, I need to study up on what's native and what I need to plant to attract them and keep them hanging around. It's tough when the neighbors use pesticides.
Goal #3: Visit more professional gardens next year: The Plantations at Cornell, Sonnenberg Gardens, ect. Less time puttering and more constructive use of time.
Goal #4 for next year: Try to mae a cloning machine (ala 7th street cottage). This isn't a major goal but it sounds like a cool thing to try if I can do it cheaply.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A good day and a bad day for butterflies

I have been reading up lately on Butterfly Feeders. There are tons of recipes out there on the web- concoctions of fruit, beer and yeast. I was on Garden Web (butterfly forum)yesterday and someone posted a picture of a plate with rotting fruit and a ton of butterflies. I figured I'd give it a shot. It works! 36 hours after putting out a frozen banana (the brown slug looking thing in the picture) and a few plums that are past their prime I was visted by a Red Admiral- Woo Hoo!
On a sad note- I went out to the back 40 today to see what the dogs were barking at (I never found out) on my way back I peeked in the back square of the veg garden and saw a Spicebush Swallowtail hanging out on the ground near my volunteer Nicotania. I ran back to the house and got my camera and got some good pictures of it before it realized I was there and it crawled under some leaves. We left for a few hours and came back and I checked just to see if it was still there. It was but it hadn't moved. So I went into the garden to see if it would move when I got close. Nope. I got a stick and wiggled some of the leaves above it. Nothing. I think it died :( I'm totally bummed.
I was also visited this week by a White Admiral (who had seen better days) and a Silver Spotted Skipper as well as the Monarch and Tiger Swallowtail and a couple of Hummingbirds. If I could figure out how to post more than one photo per post I'd add some pictures.
On another happy note: No sight of the dreaded late blight. I checked the late blight map a few weeks ago and it showd that a house in my neighborhood was reporting spores. I walked past the house- no garden, no pots of tomatoes. Just an overgrown bed with a badly pruned lilac. I wonder where they get their info.

Thursday, July 29, 2010



I love winter sowing but I don't love mislabled seeds! What I thought was catmint...definitely not catmint...maybe annual blue salvia. An annual, not a perennial, deep green foliage not fuzzy gray-green foliage. What was supposed to be forget me nots is possibly false forget me nots (Siberian Bugloss). They bloom in the summer, not the spring. 2 ft tall not 6 inches. The creeping thyme that I planted between the pavers of the slate patio was mostly weed seeds and a little bit of herbaceous upright thyme. It was the seeds that were mislabled not an error on my part. I didn't even know what Siberian Bugloss was until today. I certainly didn't buy seeds for it. I always thought that blue salvia was the perennial I have in the back garden. I'll have to make note of where I got these seeds so I don't get any more from the same source. Sad thing is I know they came from 3 different places. The Siberian bugloss came from one of the big box stores (impulse buy), the thyme came from a "cheap" seed source (duh!) I guess I got what I paid for. I don't remember where the blue annual salvia came from. I have it written down somewhere.
So the front garden is looking a little schitzo. I have a gaping hole where the zucchini was. I had to rip out the buttercup squash today too. It seems to be rooted in several places so I cut it off and inspected for SVB and left the part that looks semi-promising. It's getting all wilty right now in the scorching sun. I pulled out the bachelor buttons. They were all dried out and brown. I don't know if it was the heat or if they got peed on by dogs. I'm sad about the bachelor buttons. They were really pretty. I hit some garden sales this week. I stopped at Squire Gardens on the way back from Syracuse one day. $6 perennials. I got 3- a balloon flower for the too pink south bed (it's a nice bright blue), catmint (since the stuff from seed didn't work out), and a yellow coreopsis. They don't take plastic which is a bummer and it's a little crazy out back but if you know what you are looking for and how to recognize it there are some good deals to be had. I should have picked up a $10 buddleia to fill in the gaping zucchini hole. I figured there would be similar prices around here. Wrong.
At Lucas Greenhouse today for $10 (total)I got- a burgundy scabiosa (for $1!), An ornamental grass, Kangaroo Paw (tender perennial will try to carry through the winter indoors), and a Rex Begonia (for inside the house). I looked for a butterfly bush but they did't have any. They had some other nice things and their prices are great. I'm pretty sure they grow all their own stuff or it's locally grown -bonus!
Finally I went to Wayside. Very nice, big place but a little expensive and commercial, their plants look really healthy though. I did get a good deal on some coleus a few weeks back and I got a new plant stand for $20 (50% off). I was looking for a butterfly bush (still) and a Joe Pye Weed (none at Lucas and Squire was sold out or I couldn't find it). Well I found the butterfly bushes- $30 each! They were in (I think) 3 gal containers- so they were good sized plants but geeeze! That's a lot of cash! Needless to say I passed them up. I found some Joe Pye Weed they had a lot of that "Little Joe" it's like a mini or something. Some of the flowers looked pink, some white. I hope end up liking it. I wanted the bigger kind with the purply veined stalks and the pinky-mauve flowers but I haven't had a lot of luck finding it this year. The prices ranged from $9-$13 depending upon the pot size. I got the $10 one - not a great deal but I was tired of looking.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm here for the tomatoes

First BLT on Saturday- Stupice and home grown lettuce (on a home made plate). I had to skimp on the mayo because it was the end of the jar. It was still a really good sandwich. So far I've had production from Champagne Cherry, Coyote, Stupice, Peacevine and Matts Wild Cherry. I have picked 2 Black Cherry, and 2 Red Zebra one should be ready later today or tomorrow and the first beefsteak Berkeley Tie Die Pink. It's catfaced and only ripening on one side. Hopefully it will be ready later this week.
I had to pull out one of the Cocozelle zucchini because of SVB. I have 1 Cocozelle, 1 crook neck yellow and 1 golden bush left. The golden bush is the only one to have not produced yet.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Attack of the SVB!!!

The bastards got me! I dug out 2 from Golden Bush yesterday. Then I found a wilty leaf today so I cut it off and found another. Upon investigation I found the beginings of sawdust on the base so I slit the base and there were a few in there. I pulled the whole plant out. 1 Golden Bush is left. Black Beauty main stem was all chewed up so I yanked it out too, I tried to dig the buggers out but the stem was mincemeat by the time I was done. No Black Beauty left. I found one in a stem of Cocozelle just about to bore into the main stem, I pulled the little bastard out. I didn't pull the Cocozelle. I didn't have the heart. The Yellow Crookneck is the only summer squash that I haven't noticed anything on. I found a couple in one of the Buttercup and pulled them out. I hope that's it. It's really hard to tell, I've been checking them everyday but today I noticed how tiny they can be. Smaller than an inchworm. I think next year I will clip off the blooms until July 1 in an effort of faking out the sob's and start a 2nd set of squash around the 3rd week of June to replace any that I need to pull.
On a lighter note I had 2 Tiger Swallowtails and a Red Admiral in the garden at the same time today. I was very excited.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First ripe tomato!!!

Woo Hoo! Champagne Cherry is the first to ripen of the year. It's a very small (currant?) yellow/white cherry. I got 4-DH and I ate the first 2 so fast I didn't have a chance to take a picture. I got a picture of the 2nd 2, I did weigh them all. They came in at 0.1 oz each (one was slightly less than 0.1 oz it bounced betweeon 0.1 and 0.0 on the digital scale). Tasted great! Very tomatoey, tart-ish. I think Peacevine might be the next one to come in. Green Grape is also a contender- it has bounced back nicely a week after some compost/alfalfa tea. The fungus humungous seems to be subsiding. Coyote tomatoes are still green and hard. Bad news on the front garden: the deer have discovered it. I noticed on Wednesday night that something had chomped back the Squash that ate Cleveland- cool. Then I noticed something had pruned my tomatoes. The giant Pruden's Purple, BTD Pink and Black Krim fruits were intact. I can't remember if I checked out Absinthe or not. Today I noticed that all of my Absinthe tomatoes are gone! I'm not sure if they've only been by once (and I missed the absence of Absinthe) or if they've been by a couple of times. I hung up knee-hi panty hose stuffed with dog hair and peed on (what won't I do to save the tomatoes?) on Thursday night. I'm hoping they haven't been back since then. I'm going to put out Dial soap and aluminum pie pans today. Maybe that will help too.
On a sort of related note (the tie-in would be garden pests). I found the first squash vine borer grub today. My crook necked sqash had a droopy leaf this morning so I cut it off where the stem met the base and notice the little bastard poking his head out of the cut side- it was literally minutes from boring into the main stem! I took the leaf into the house cut up the slit and washed the bugger down the garbage disposal. I think I'll go out tonight with a flashlight. I have heard that if you shine a flashlight on the stem you can see them in there and should poke them with a needle to kill them with minimal damage to the plant. Sounds like a plan to me.
I feel I have short changed the cucumbers. Yes, they are coming in too. I picked the first lemon cuke yesterday and gave it to my in-laws with a cocozelle and the first black beauty squash. I picked the second one today. I haven't tried it yet. Looks nice. I'd post a picture but I don't want to detract from the glory of my tomatoes!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Mmmmm...Harvested the first squash of the season this week. Cocozelle is by far the earliest of the 4 I planted. It looks like Black Beauty will have one ready in the next few days. I love the creamy-nutty flavor of Cocozelle. It's earned a permenant space in the garden. The first one was sauteed with peppers and onions, the second 2 were shredded to make squash fritters. Cocozelle is located in the front yard garden, the other types are in the back garden where there is less direct sun. The back garden is having issues with striped cucumber beetles. I've never had them before but I've got them in spades this year. I'm hand picking them and throwing them in a jar of soapy water. I've only found one in the front garden.

The front garden has a decent sized lemon cuke and something else, it may be a buttercup squash. The tower o'cucurbits is a big hulking mass threatening to take over the neighborhood. I have to go out daily to rescue the bachelors buttons and cosmos from being taken down. Rampicante is the only word in my vocabulary that comes close to describing what's going on out there! I need a bigger trellis and fewer plants next year.

We're going through a heat wave right now. It hasn't rained in over a week and the temps are up in the 90's with high humidity. I watered both gardens yesterday morning, the first time all season for the back garden (I watered the front garden when I first planted it). I'm trying to keep the containers watered, I'm thinking of moving them into a shadier location. The SWC are looking great. I will definitely make 2-3 more for next year for the tomatoes and put the peppers, eggplants and tomatillos in the regular containers. I harvested my first jalepeno yesterday. It was a nice hot. Not crazy hot but gave a little heat to my pineapple salsa.

Tomatilloes are going gangbusters, I'm really excited for some salsa verde. Pepper plants are doing well. Hungarian Hot Wax and Jalepeno have good sized peppers on them (I harvested 2 HHW about 2 weeks ago- it was too early they didn't taste good- no heat at all). The Arugaman's eggplant has blossoms on it and has set a fruit or two.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tomato Update

Tomatoes are coming along nicely. All of the cherries are throwing out branches of fruit- nothing ripe yet but I'm hopeful. Green Grape is looking kind of straggly and appears to have some kind of funk but it's not spreading to the other tomatoes so I won't pull it out yet. Prudens Purple has a nice sized fruit on it. Others that have substantial fruit (golf ball-ish size) are Black from Tula, Berkeley Tie Dye Pink, Stupice and Red Zebra. Not as far along but still with marble sized fruits is Absinthe, Goose Creek, Brandywine, Cowlicks, JD's Special C-Tex, Set fruit this week: Green Zebra, Sweet Carneros, Kelloggs Breakfast, Box Car Willie, Indian Stripe, Cherokee Purple, Purple Dog Creek, Aunt Ruby's German Green. Flowering but not fruiting yet is Hillbilly, Black Zebra, Dr Wyche, William's Striped, Black Mtn Pink, Super Sioux, Golden Queen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Self Watering Containers

I've got a tomato problem. Too many plants, not enough space. I debated whether or not to build some self watering containers this year. Water is never in short supply around here; I rarely have to water anything (even smaller containers). I never considered purchasing an eartbox at $60 a pop (I don't have that kind of cash). I did need more containers to plant tomatoes in since I can only fit about 16 tomato plants in the veg garden and I planted as many tomato plants as possible in the extra spaces in the flower gardens and in the large containers on the patio. I still had 4 plants left over: Coyote, Champagne Cherry (a trial to see if it's different from Coyote), Matt's Wild Cherry and Jaune Flamee. I was intrigued by the results of Ray Newstead in California ( Are his plants so crazy huge because of the earthtainer or because he's in California where everything grows bigger and better? Would the plants grown in earthtainers be any larger than those grown in non-swc here in WNY? I figured why not give it a shot. Being the green geek that I am I didn't like the idea of tossing out the better part of a whole container to make the aeration bench so I basically followed these directions:
I've read conflicting information on the safety of pvc pipe so I left out the watering pipe and I filled the reservoir by putting the garden hose in the overflow hole to fill up the container. I also don't have the time or patience to find specific soil and ammendments for the swc so I used Pro-Mix and fertilized with leachate from my worm bin. The Coyote/Champagne Cherry bin was planted on or about 6/2 from plants started from seed around 3/14. I just measured the plants. From the ground they are about 5'5" (the picture was taken about 3 1/2 weeks after putting them in the SWC-they've grown a TON), Champagne Cherry is a little bit taller, more robust than Coyote. It also bloomed and set fruit sooner. I won't have a true comparison between the SWC and regular containers because I didn't plant more than one of each variety. That being said...the plants in the SWC are going crazy! It's hard to tell from the picture but they are totally escaping the cages (I really should have shelled out the cash for a Glamos cage). I have blossoms and fruit everywhere. Too much to count. The plants in the regular containers are growing fine and compared to other years where I haven't fertilized with worm poop and aerated compost tea they are looking awesome but they aren't as crazy huge as those in the SWC.
(note about the picture- this is Coyote/Champange Cherry. The line of siding up above the top of the tomatoes is 5'4" from the deck. I took this picture a few days ago. The tomatoes were above that line today).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Results are in!

Rose race 2010:
Distant Drums (pictured), Clotilde Soupert, Winchester Cathedral, Heritage, Cornelia, Fantin Latour, Russelliana. Sweet promise doesn't have any buds on it but it looks really good- the foliage is gorgeous. Ghislaine de Felagonde is out of the running due to her cushy winter indoors. Hippolyte and Charles de Mills actually have a few buds. I wasn't expecting much from them this year as they bloom on old wood. Heritage has 52 buds on it this year! I don't think I've ever seen more than 4-5. I've been making compost tea and alfalfa tea. I think that little experiment can be considered a sucess.

The veg garden is in. So far so good. Onions and Beans are up. I was worried about slugs (using the Ruth Stout method of mulching with leaves) but they haven't been a problem so far. It's been pretty hot and dry so that's probably helped a lot. Most of the tomatoes are in. I have to make 1 more SWC (I made one this weekend for the Champagne Cherry/Coyote experiment) for Matt's Wild Cherry and Jaune Flamee. I also have an extra Red Zebra and a jalepeno plant that need to find homes. The tomatillos are blooming, Champagne Cherry has blossoms on it, Hungarian Hot Wax has some buds. Things are coming along!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ghislaine is blooming!

This is the rose that I keep in a container in the sunroom all winter so it gets a head start in the spring. Bloom color this year is a buttery white (it was more peachy pink last year). It's beautiful but not exactly what I was expecting. I'm wondering if the cool temps had an effect on the color-it's been on the deck for several weeks, I pull it in when we get a frost advisory. The outside roses have little buds on them. Captain Sam still isn't looking good. I haven't pruned it back yet, I was hoping it would bounce back. I'll prune it today. I started the morning glories, nasturtium and pipevine inside last week. I should have started the pipevine earlier (like February). The morning glories are up (including the cypress vine), I think I saw signs of life from the nasturtiums yesterday.

We've had wide swings in the weather this spring -typical of the area. Highs in the high 80's then a few days later: snow. I resisted temptation and haven't planted out yet. There are a lot of bed sheets draped around in the flower beds around here I guess some people couldn't wait! A hard freeze is predicted for tonight for areas outside the ity and away from the lake.

Sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 50s. West winds 10 to 15 mph becoming northwest.
Clear. Widespread frost overnight. Lows around 30. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph becoming light and variable.

Mostly sunny in the morning...then increasing clouds with a chance of rain by late in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 50s. Southeast winds 10 mph or less becoming east 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Tuesday Night
Rain. Not as cold with lows in the mid 40s. East winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.

Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the lower 50s. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Wednesday Night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.

Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 60s.
Thursday Night
Showers likely. Lows around 50. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs around 60.
Friday Night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 60s.
Saturday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s.

What's blooming: Azaleas,Columbine, Creeping Phlox, Lilacs, Tulips, Wisteria, Oriental Poppy

Monday, April 26, 2010

April wrap up

Started digging up the new flower bed near the mailbox. It's a lot bigger than I thought it was. I had it covered with cardboard for a few weeks (I should have done that last fall) I uncovered about 2/3 of it and dug up squares of sod and turned it over- it took about 6 hours. I didn't get to the last 1/3, it rained yesterday and was pretty cold (we had a fire in the stove). I'm still undecided about what to plant in that bed. I was going to go with purple and red but I'm thinking that's going to be really garish. Now I'm thinking pastels (that will go better with the beds closer to the house). If I go in that direction I will dig up Hippolyte (rose) and move it down there and plant the red flowers up by my Winchester Cathedral rose. I also may move Distant Drums down there where it will get more sun. I'm also going to plant some veggies in that area since the space is so big. I'll probably put in some GWR tomatoes and maybe the lemon cucumbers and a squash or zucchini. Captain Sam isn't looking so good, the roses in that bed are being attacked by a little brown worm that's boring into the emerging leaf buds. I'm hand picking them and squashing them but the leaf buds are being destroyed in the process. Russelliana and Clotilde Soupert are holding up better than Sam. I'll try cutting him back and see what happens. I might move him out of there and put Gruss an Aachen there. I need to move Gruss because DH wants it's space to put the woodpile. I have a lot of work to do.
Volunteer Borage is coming up in the veg garden. Peas and fava's are getting bigger. Last years chard is still going. Spinach and onions are looking puny.
What's blooming: grape hyacinths, forsythia, cherry trees, azaleas, narcissus, primrose, tulips, bleeding hearts, creeping phlox, lilacs are just starting (about 2-3 weeks early)

Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers through early afternoon...then becoming partly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s. Northeast winds 10 mph or less...becoming north. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Partly cloudy. Cooler with lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 10 mph or less...becoming north and increasing to 10 to 20 mph.

Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 40s. North winds 10 to 20 mph...becoming northwest. Gusts up to 30 mph.

Tuesday Night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph...becoming west.

Mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 50s. West winds 10 to 20 mph.
Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.

Sunny. Highs around 60.

Thursday Night
Mainly clear. Lows in the lower 40s.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 60s.

Friday Night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows around 50. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs in the lower 70s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows around 50.

Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 70s.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Snow Mold solution?

We've got a snow mold problem in the front yard. Our lawn should look great -it gets plenty of sun, good drainage- it doesn't. I raked up all the brown patches and spread new grass seed and corn meal (its anti-fungal properties are supposed to fight the mold). Then I sprayed compost tea on all but the first 3 feet of the yard (sprayer got clogged). I need to figure out how to use the sprayer and keep it from clogging. Yesterday was a perfect day for yard work-I really need to get some work done on the new front bed- but we had issues with a leaky faucet and I spent the better part of the day trying to fix that. No luck, we need to call a plumber, faucet won't come off.
What's blooming-Cherry trees, forsythia, daffodils, grape hyacinth, forsythia, tulips, primrose, bleeding hearts, magnolias

Sunny. Highs ranging from near 60 inland to the lower 50s right along the Lake Shore. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Mainly clear. Areas of frost overnight. Lows in the mid to upper 30s. West winds 10 to 15 mph...diminishing to 10 mph or less.
Sunny. Highs in the lower 60s. West winds 10 mph or less...becoming northwest.
Tuesday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s. West winds 10 mph or less.
Partly sunny. A chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 60s. West winds 10 mph or less. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Wednesday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows around 40.
Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s.
Thursday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.
Sunny. Highs in the mid 50s.
Friday Night
Mainly clear. Lows in the lower 40s.
Partly sunny with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 60s.
Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Lows in the upper 40s.
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs in the mid 60s.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea Time!

I've been wanting to fertilize my yard & garden for years but wasn't really sure how to go about it. The "traditional" way, of course, is to mix up a funky blue chemical with some water and soak the plants with it. When I moved into my first house the previous owners left a big box of miracle grow in the garage. The color of the stuff freaked me out. It freaked me out so much that I still have the box, brought it all the way from NC. I don't want to throw it out, I don't want to use it. So it sits on a shelf in the garage. I use composted manure and leaf mould in the veg garden every year but I'm looking for something to use in the flower gardens as well as the veg garden.
Along comes the Helpful Gardener Forum and their sticky in the organic section about aerated compost tea. I started reading and googling and a few days later I have made my own compost tea brewer for super cheap. It's happily perculating away and should be done later this afternoon. I plan on having a few "control" plants. Since I have several Arugaman's Eggplants, basil, rosemary and Cheverna chuska peppers, I'll do 2 mixed pots of each and one will get the tea, the other just water and we'll see what happens.

I still have a TON to learn. Biology isn't my thing but I'm reading and making notes. I figure as long as I don't kill my plants with it (they say that's virtually impossible to do) I should be ok.
I also potted up most of the remaining pepper, eggplant and tomato plants. I still have a few to go but the main work is done. I've been hardening off the plants outside during the day. It's still getting down in the low 30's at night so I bring them in in the evening. Things are looking good!
What's blooming now: Forsythia, primrose, daffodils, cherry trees, scilla siberica

Monday, April 5, 2010


It's been a scorcher! I took Friday off to work in the yard. We broke a heat record 86! No shade. Brutal. I planted the favas, peas and spinach. Friday was veg garden day: I put up the pea trellis, laid out cardboard on the paths. I also cleaned the grill- a 3 hour job that I wasn't planning on. Saturday (also brutally hot) I started a new bed by the mailbox. I mapped it out with the chewed up soaker hose, dug a trench around the perimeter and laid out cardboard. I also weeded the front, side and back flower beds and raked up some leaves. Big winds came in on Saturday night, blew over the pea trellis and blew more leaves into the side bed- I can't win! Yesterday (cooler, sunny highs in the high 60's) I put the plants that have been wintering in the sunroom out on the deck. Ghislaine de Felagonde has little buds on it! I really need to pot up some of the seedlings. I found the pots that I thought DH had thrown out (In a tub behind the kayak). The attached pic is one I took this morning of the lady's mantle. I found several volunteer lady's mantle when I was weeding this weekend- cool!
What's blooming now: Violets, Daffodils, Primrose, Forsythia

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Potting up

I potted up some of the tomatoes and tomatillos yesterday. I can't find the giant stack of pots that I put in the garage last year. I'm worried DH tossed them out (!) I'll have to hunt around to find more for the rest of the tomatoes and the peppers, eggplants and basil. I started WAY too much stuff. Must make a note to start less peppers and eggplants next year and to curb the tomato list a bit. Picture is Thor (rose) that I started from a cutting in 2008- had a rough year last year but should be ready to plant out this year. Will probably put it in the new bed by the mailbox.


Sun & Clouds, Late Day Shower Risk East

Mostly Cloudy, Shower Risk East

Mostly Sunny, Pleasant

Partly Cloudy


Mild, Mainly Clear

Warm! Nice!

Calm & Mild

Warm & Beautiful Weather Continues

Mostly Cloudy

Slight Risk of a Shower

Mostly Cloudy, Risk of a Few Showers

Breezy, Risk of a Shower

Mostly Cloudy & Cooler

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Peas & Beans & more...

I started the peas and fava beans last week in newspaper pots under a deli container out in the garden (you can see it under the teepee in the previous picture). Despite the cold (it got down to 20 at night this week and daytime temps were in the 30's) the Alaska peas have started to sprout. Cascadia's aren't coming up but they are old so I don't have high hopes. Fava's haven't come up yet. I set out the spinach and onions (started from seed) in the garden today. They are still in their paper pots. I'll probably plant them later this week.
I saw some daffodils yesterday along the highway-I think it's a warmer microclimate being between concrete sound barriers on either side of the highway. They looked so pretty. My neighbors primrose is flowering- dark blue. Mine aren't doing anything yet but they do look green so that's encouraging.
Wintersowing is going well I have things starting to peek out. I did bring some jugs in the other night when it got down to 20. I also covered some up with a drop cloth. It looks like everything made it. I moved the chard in the garden (the ones that seem to have survived the winter) and I planted more in one of the flower beds.
I need to pot up tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, basil and eggplants this week. I also need to get the sawz-all from my brother to start making Earthtainers ( I came to the realization that I have WAY more plants than space (especially tomatoes) this year and will need to utilize the deck, patio, driveway and flower beds. I plan on canning and drying this year (total beginner). Come September we're going to have tomatoes coming out of our ears, DH is probably going to kill me! But we use diced, peeled and tomato sauce all year round so as long as they don't go to waste...

Saturday, March 20, 2010


More tomato news: Yesterday Hillbilly, Dr Carolyn's Pink and William's Striped poked through. This morning I see Aunt Ruby's German Green, Goose Creek (!), Pruden's Purple, Green Grape and Dr. Wyche's Yellow. Very exciting! I still have 5 that haven't poked through- Principe Borghese, Indian Stripe :( KBX, Black from Tula and Stupice. 2 of the 3 tomatillos are up.

Yesterday I planted (in newspaper pots) peas (Alaska-8 pots of 2 & Cascadia-8 pots of 3) and fava beas (Aquadulce- 12 pots of 1). I put them in a plastic deli tray with a clear dome on top and I'll set it out in the garden today (safe from the dog). I'm also going to set the onions out for a while today to harden off. I'm not sure if they need to be hardened off before planting but I figure it's better to be safe than sorry.

I went to a farm store yesterday that DH told me about: bad move on his part! I got some stuff for the dogs then went a little nuts in their summer bulb section- dahlias, gladiolus', crocosmia, caladiums, and oriental lilies. Sweet!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Crocuses are up!

We've had a nice string of dry, warm days. The backyard is no longer a swamp. The crocuses are up and blooming. I saw some snowdrops on my way to work the other day. Brandywine and Green Zebra are finally up. I still have quite a few that haven't emerged. If they aren't up by the weekend I may try to sprout in baggies. I went out after work yesterday and moved some of the choppedup leaves off of the flower gardens on the south side of the house. Things are coming along...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Springing Forward...

This past weekend we moved the clocks forward and I saw my first robin of the season- 2 sure signs of spring. 2 more tomatoes sprouted: Black Cherry (yay!) and Kelloggs Breakfast. I plunked an addtional seed in the pots that haven't sprouted yet and took off the humidity dome so the ones that did sprout don't get too funky. I'm keeping the heat mat on for now. I turned the fan on this morning. I'll keep it on for a few hours and then put the aluminum foil reflectors back on around the seedlings. I adjusted the timer on the lights to 14 hours. Tomatoes were looking a little skinny. Peppers and eggplants are starting to show their true leaves. Onions are looking pretty good. I trimmed them back too. I have plenty of peppers going (including the ones that got mixed up) I just got Hungarian Yellow Hot Wax seeds from Swallowtail Gardens (along with Bee Balm, Blue Asters and Black Knight Delphinium seeds) I'm going to start some of them too. What the heck! It's pretty wet here. All the snow has melted and it's been rainy. Our yard is a swamp, everywhere we walk it's like stepping on a sponge. Standing water in the back yard. The Southeast part of the veggie garden is usually flooded but I think by building up the soil and adding a lot of shredded leaves has alleiviated that some. The forecast looks pretty good so I'm hoping we'll be able to plant the peas and fava beans this coming weekend. A note about the picture-someone asked if I had posted pictures of my pottery. I've never taken pictures of my work until this weekend. Here's a mug. I like the glaze and the handle is really comfy. I wish it were bigger. This is the 1 lb mug. I also made 1.5 and 2lb mugs. the 1.5 size seems to be a good fit for me. I need to get some bisquing and glazing done.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Things are growing!

Tomato Update: Black Zebra, Cowlick's Brandywine, Purple Dog Creek, Reifs Red Heart, Box Car Willie, Super Sioux and the 2nd Tomatillo Verde decided to join the party. I checked my wintersown containers and the Bachelor's Buttons are coming up. I dodged the raindrops today and moved some shredded leaf mulch around the flower beds and found all sorts of exciting things going on- Columbines are pushing through, daylillies, nigella, hollyhocks too. I have to look around and see if I mapped the flower beds because some things are coming up and I'm not sure what they are- ergynium maybe? I checked out some of the roses and they appear to have tiny leaf buds! The first bloom of the season is in sight: a purple crocus is up and should be blooming within the next day or two!

Friday, March 12, 2010

....and They're Off!

The tomatoes sprouted yesterday! First up is Green Grape followed by Peacevine. Running closely behind is Earl's Faux, one of the Tomatillos and just starting to poke through is Black Mountain Pink. I checked this morning and coming on strong are: Black Krim, Tigerella, Cherokee Purple, JD's Special C Tex, Golden Queen, Absinthe and Jaune Flamme. that's 11 out of 33- 1/3rd are up! Same ratio with the Tomatillo- 1 out of 3 are up. Of course I'm staring intently at Goose Creek hoping to see it poke through- nothing yet. I'm also eagerly awaiting Black Cherry- I saved the seeds from last years plant. This is the 2nd year that I have saved seeds. Last year was a huge sucess- I had 100% germination. I only planted 1 seed of each tomato except Black Cherry I planted 2 in the same paper pot. I'm not crazy about cherry tomatoes but love Black Cherry. I'll probably check them 30 times today...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Warmer than the forecast

The forecast this week was supposed to be in the 40's, the temps have gotten up into the 50's and may hit 60 today. We still have quite a bit of snow. Our back yard is turning into a swamp. I'm hoping we don't get too much rain this weekend. I've wintersown quite a few more containers: 1 delphinium, 2 bachelor buttons, 1 nigella, 2 cleome, 1 delphinum chinensis, 1 echinacea purpurea, 1 foxglove, 1 cilantro, 1 1/2 lettuce and 1/2 broccoli. I tried putting a container on the deck but the new dog started plaing with it so I had to move it. Maybe she'll settle down by next year. Total container count is up to 45. I went out to the garden this morning and it's possible that the chard survived the winter, it's too early to tell but it looks promising. The picture is of my moms front garden that I "redid" for her. It was tulips, hostas and weeds before. I took out the weeds and added sedum angelina, russian sage, coral bells, coreopsis and a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Errr...uh oh!

Finally! My pepper seeds sprouted...and...I accidentally tilted the baggie they were in and all the seeds got mixed up. So I have no idea what is what. I tried to sort them out by size (it was pretty tough) and I knew how many of each kind I had so I tried to find others of the same size and pair everything up. Maybe next year I'll try to get some of those little baggies that my tomato seeds come in and cut up paper towel to fit inside and only put seeds of one kind in each baggie. My bad... On a lighter note: I think I'm going to start the tomato seeds today, they are each going

into their own paper pot so I won't have to worry about getting them mixed up. I guess I'll start the Tomatilloes too. I know nothing about them so I'll pretend they are just like tomatoes and hope for the best. We've got 10-ish weeks until the last frost but I'm jumping the gun 3 weeks later than last year...

Ample Sunshine
Few Clouds

Partly Sunny
Partly Cloudy, Chilly

Mostly Sunny
Mainly Clear

Sun & Few Clouds
Partly Cloudy

Mostly Cloudy, Showers South
Rain/Snow Showers

Few Showers Posbl.
Few Rain/Snow Showers Posbl

Few Showers Posbl
Mix Posbl.

Monday, March 1, 2010

19 more...

...Containers for Wintersowing-I'm just using gallon milk jugs this year. I have a system set up: First I label them all with my Deco Art pen, then I draw the cut line, poke the drainage holes in the bottom and then make a cut almost all the way around (leaving a "hinge"). Then I fill them all up with soil and water them down. Match the seed packets to the pre-labled containers and then sow the seeds. Finally, I tape them up and put them outside (in the front where the dogs can't get them). The "assembly line" method is a lot faster than the way I did it last year (one container at a time. Yesterday I sowed: Blackberry Lily, Pink Bleeding Heart, Salvia, Cardinal Flower, Catmint, Coral Bells, English Lavender, Globe Thistle, Hollyhock, Hyssop, Maltese Cross (two containers), Oriental Poppy, Penstemon, Royal Catchfly, and Russian Sage. I need to find a place to put all of this stuff. I'm trying to plot out areas before I plant and just thought of a spot to make a new garden bed- The area where I have Hippolyte and Winchester Cathedral roses really needs a make over...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I've got leggy broccoli...

I'm starting broccoli from seed this year, the romanesco kind that looks more like pointy cauliflower. I started them last weekend-didn't check them on Wednesday and by Thursday they were 2" tall and looking really leggy. So here's my plan of action: 1 remove them from the heat mat (I forgot they are cold crops) 2 put aluminum foil tent over the light to reflect more light back on the plants 3 pot them up and prop up some of the stem with dirt-I totally realize this could backfire, I have more seed just in case. I started Basil and onions last week too. The peppers and eggplants are finally showing signs of life, I potted some of those up from the damp papertowel into newspaper pots. All in all things are coming along nicely.

I finshished getting all the tomato seeds in. I sent a SASE to and got a really nice variety back (as well as some Black Seeded Simpson lettuce seed). I'm totally psyched. I love free stuff! This is what I got:

JD's Special C-Tex:Exact history is not known for certain, but it is thought to be selected from a Brandywine x unknown black cross and stabilized by the late JD Whitaker in Conroe, TX.. We can speculate that somebody with a nursery grew some seeds out, and wrote down on the plant tag "JD's Special", probably omitting the "." after J and D. When that person saved seeds, he or she wrote down on the seed container "JD's Special C Tex", where C Tex refers to 'Conroe, TX'. Note: Special is an old American commercial naming technique. "Specials" usually refer to originally unique, custom versions of some standard product, or to "limited editions".

Pruden's Purple: Heirloom tomato, which dates to 19th century. SSE also lists a variety called Pruden's Purple, True Variety, which may be related to Pruden's Purple. Here is the description of the Pruden's Purple, True Variety in the SSE Yearbook: 6'6" indet., potato leaf type, exserted stigma, irregular shape, flat round pink fruit, green shoulders, 4.5" dia. X 2.5" high. Large blossom scar, radial cracking

Aunt Ruby's German Green:First introduced in the SSE 1993 Yearbook by Bill Minkey of Darien, Wisconsin (WI MI B). Bill Minkey received the seed from Nita Hofstrom of Clinton, Wisconsin, whose aunt, Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, TN, grew it for years. The seed originally came from Ruby Arnold's German immigrant grandfather, and Ruby simply called it 'German Green' tomato. Bill Minkey asked Ruby for permission to rename this variety and he called it 'Aunt Ruby's German Green' after Ruby Arnold

Dr. Carolyn Pink: A pink-fruited selection from Dr. Carolyn tomato. Carolyn Male received original seeds in 1999 from Robert Martin who found this pink version as a growout from seed of Dr. Carolyn purchased from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in 1997

Green Grape: Bred by Tom Wagner, a private tomato and potato breeder and founder of Tater Mater Seed, who released it in 1978; this is the original selection by Tom Wagner. Cross of several heirlooms including Evergreen (not Yellow Pear)

Principe Borghese: Italian heirloom bred for sun-drying. Dates back to the 1910s.

Tigerella: A cross of Ailsa Craig with an unknown var., bred by the Glasshouse Research Inst. in England back in the 1930's. Tangella and Craigella are another two selections from the same cross

Absinthe: Alan Bishop cross of Emeraude X ARGG which was then crossed to Brandywine

I also got Tomatillo Verde seeds. I'm going to try to grow them in containers on the deck. Not sure if that's going to work or not.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Progress report and Tomato tally

The peppers aren't doing so great. Ahaheim's are doing fine, 4 or 5 have geriminated. The Jimmy Nardello's are getting moldy (new seed this year! Not happy.) Mulato Isleno might have 1 germinating-jury is still out. I think Chervena Chushka has one germinating too. I might get new seed, I really don't have any hot hot peppers. I'll give it a little more time then maybe get some more. I got some seed through trading this week: Arumagans Eggplant-Originally from Bakers Creek this is what they have to say about it: This variety produces an assortment of green, white and lavender fruit, many are striped. It is used in Tamil Nadu state in vegetable stews and curries, as well as stuffed. It was given to a traveler by the Arumugam family of Ambal, India, who have a small rice farm near the island of Karaikal. We are proud to offer this great little Indian eggplant.. I also got Burgess Buttercup squash. I've never grown winter squash before. It should be interesting.

I'm totally psyched to get some seeds for a SASE a guy named James Campbell at the other end of the state sent me:

Green Grape:(Tatiana's Tomatobase-79 days, compact indet., 5' tall plant, regular leaf, large slightly oblong green-when-ripe cherries borne in clusters of 8-9, turn yellowish green when ripe, very nice flavor when fully ripe, juicy and sweet, good yield, has tiny seeds like the original strain bred by Tom Wagner.

Black Zebra:from Dr Carolyn Male (a very wise and knowledgeable tomatofile)It's the result of a natural cross pollination between Green Zebra and an unknown black variety and selections were made from the initial F1 hybrid that resulted from that cross and Jeff Dawson of Ca stabilized and named what we know as Black Zebra back in 2000.

Goose Creek:this was my "Holy Grail" for his year because you can't buy the seed it needs to be aquired through trade or buy plants from This is what they have to say about it-This delectable historical family heirloom is one of the rarest plants we offer and our #1 top seller. The flavor and color run deep in Goose Creek , a stunning, deeply red fruit, round or slightly flattened, sometimes lobed, with occasional gold streaks or speckling, faintly visible in the photo. Juicy, very sweet and intensely tomatoey as if injected with concentrated tomato flavor, it is ambrosial. I've rarely tasted a tomato to compare. Averaging 6-7 ounces, with very few seeds; it has now made my top 3 list.

This family treasure comes to us from edible landscape expert, Jimmy Williams, owner of Hayground Organic Gardening in California whose home garden we found to be an enchanting escape. Jimmy, born in 1942, and his Native Island Gullah-Geechee family are descendants of slaves brought in bondage from The Caribbean to the coastal islands of the Southern United States to grow rice for plantation owners.

The Gullah are still keepers of a fascinating culture of food, language and beloved traditions--a most extraordinary and delightful people.

The seeds of this sublime fruit have been passed down through generations since the 1800's when Jimmy's great-great grandmother, a young Caribbean slave, smuggled them with her aboard ship. When the ship docked at Charleston near Goose Creek, South Carolina, she had the treasured seeds with her, hidden deep in her skirt pocket and planted them that first spring. Jimmy's grandmother, Elouise Watson, shared this precious heirloom with him more than 45 years ago, assuring Goose Creek 's place in his family's garden for generations to come. Among its extraordinary qualities: A very high fruit yield and very few seeds.

Along with being very heat tolerant, it shows remarkable cold-tolerance along the cooler coastal areas where the fruits continue to set and ripen through November and December. It is a wonderful choice for growing in containers.

Goose Creek has two distinctly different and superb flavors during two phases of its growth: when partially ripe and still showing some light green at the shoulders it has a brisk citrusy taste balanced with a fine, lingering touch of sweetness, and again at full red ripeness when it develops an intensely rich, earthy sweet flavor and luxurious, silken texture.

Tatiana's Tomatobase has something else to say about it: Family heirloom from the early 1800s, from edible landscape expert, Jimmy Williams, owner of Hayground Organic Gardening in California. There is some controversy about the origins/dating of this tomato, as tomato experts know that there were no 'smooth' tomatoes available in the early 1800s

Indian Stripe: (story provided by GG Gumbo from idigmygarden forum) Clyde Burson, Sr. is the origin of Indian Stripe. Donna Nelson, who grew up down the road from the Bursons according to Clyde Burson, Jr., acquired some seeds from the Burson garden in the mid-1990s. She sent some to Carolyn Male who asked Donna what Clyde called the variety. Donna said Clyde, Sr. alternately referred to them as Indian Zebra and Indian Stripe. Carolyn chose Indian Stripe as the name to distribute seed by. She subsequently sent them to Craig LeHoullier who then sent some to Victory Seeds who sells them as Indian Stripe
From Tatiana's Tomatobase: Considered to be a strain of Cherokee Purple. The fruits of Indian stripe are slightly smaller, lighter in color, and have more fruits per truss. The original seed came to Carolyn Male of NY from Donna Nelson, TX, who found this var. growing in the garden of Clyde Burson, a neighbor of her relatives in south central AR. Mr. Burson has been growing this var. for as long as he can remember. In the area this variety was known as Indian Stripe or Indian Zebra.
Carolyn Male chose Indian Stripe as the name for this tomato.

KBX:Discovered by Martha Hufford- this is what she had to say about it (from Tatiana's Tomatobase)-This is what Martha said about it in her letter to Linda Sapp at Tomato Growers Supply: "In 2002, I ordered some Kellogg’s Breakfast seeds from a seed supplier in California. Upon growing them out I noticed there was a 50/50 split of regular leaf and potato leaf plants. Out of curiosity I grew out 6 of the PL plants along side the RL ones “just to see what would happen”. The PL plants out paced the RL ones as seedlings and as mature plants they were noticeably healthier with heavier and earlier fruit set. Speculation by the tomatophiles at GardenWeb was that the PL plants would produce a pink fruit as there were no known orange PL varieties at that time. In late July after 75-80 days the 16-20 ounce fruits ripened to a beautiful deep apricot-orange. Taste tests had friends licking the plates. I saved seeds from that plant and trialed 6 more plants in 2003- all had the same results. Since then I have been growing out plants from the 2003 seeds along with the current year’s seeds to assess stability. Seeds have also been distributed to several growers across the country and in Germany who are part of the Tomatoville family. While the odd RL seedling does pop up from time to time (less than 2-3%), the color and characteristics of the fruits has remained stable over the past 4 years

I also got Dr Wyche's and Black Krim (I already had those)I'm glad he sent me Black Krim because I overplanted last year and only have a few seeds left.

From Blueribbontomatoes on Ebay I ordered Purple Dog Creek:A family heirloom from the small community of Dog Creek near Munfordville, Kentucky, where the tomatoes were served as part of a "thank you" outside dinner served to a WV preacher and members of his congregation, who were in Dog Creek to do home improvements for the low income elderly of the area. Doug Zuknick of Romney, WV received the seeds from his WV friend in 2005 and shared it through Tomatoville.
Introduced to SSE in 2008 by four members; original seed from Doug Zucknic of Romney, West Virginia. (description courtesy of Tatiana's Tomatobase)

I'm also waiting for the group to send back some seeds for a SASE. I have no idea where I'm going to put all these tomatoes. I think I'm either going to expand the garden or start another bed by the driveway. The job will be to convince DH to let me do that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I thought I'd give Ruth Stout a try...

Since DH is in graduate school as well as working full time and digging up the entire garden on my own in a timely fashion while working full time probably isn't realistic, I decided to try the Ruth Stout method of gardening. Before I ever heard of Ms Stout I decided I was too lazy to drag the leaves to the curb last fall so I shredded them and piled them in the veggie garden and flower beds instead; figuring I'd turn them over with the soil in the spring (or wonderful husband would do that for me when the semester ended). Then I read about Ruth Stout and got excited- I don't have to wait for him to turn over the soil! (I usually get 1/4 of the garden done in the time it takes him to do 3/4 plus mow the lawn). I can plant stuff when it should be planted, not when the garden is ready! I won't have to water! I found her book "No Work Garden Book" on Ebay for a reasonable price and I started reading it today. Checking out the garden forums I frequent, there are clearly 2 well defined camps with a lot of middle of the road people: the Enthusiastic Tillers and the Enthusiastic Non-Tillers. Since I don't have a tiller, I'm going to join camp #2. A garden fork isn't much of a tiller and I'm lazy so I think I'll feel right at home with the Enthusiasic Non-Tillers, I can be pretty enthusiastic about not forking the garden in the spring- I hate dirt filled blisters. Should be a pretty interesting experiment.

About the pic- I have no mulch-related photos so this is a picture of a bunch of roses I picked from my garden just before a major rainstorm last year. You might be able to see some of the rain drops still clinging to the petals. It was worth getting wet to save the flowers.

Oh shoot...this is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday...I blew it...maybe I'll be quiet next Wednesday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Sowing day 1

I started Winter Sowing today! I'm making a flower garden for the south side of my mom's house. I plotted it out on graph paper then I started with the milk jugs: Sweet William, 2 kinds of Zinnia's, Bachelor Buttons, Catchfly, Coneflowers, Bee Balm, Bells of Ireland and Lupine. I still have to put together jugs for the hollyhocks, cosmos (2 kinds) foxgloves and Sunflowers. I tried to pick a mixture of annuals, biennials and perennials that would be pretty low maintenance and would attract birds and butterflies as well as work as a cutting garden and self seed (is that too much to ask?). The bed is already there. It's great soil filled with weeds. It gets great sun, it kills me to see it full of weeds. I do one bed per holiday for her. This will be her Mother's day present. I've already done her front garden and the bed on the north east side of her deck. This is the holy grail bed, I don't want to screw it up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Anaheim is the first one up!

Oh Joy! It's better than Christmas!
One of my Anaheim seeds sprouted yesterday! I'm so excited! I have to get a newspaper pot together to put it in. No movement on the rest of the peppers or the eggplants. I wanted to post an inspirational pepper picture from last year but realized the only picture of peppers/pepper plants I have are of the one that mysteriously died. Note to self: take more healthy plant pictures this year- not just tomato pictures! Anywho- I decided to post a picture of my coneflower/sedum Autumn Joy from the end of the season last year when the goldfinches were visiting. You can only see one goldfinch in this picture but there was a whole flock that day. I had to be the personification of stealth to get the picture without scaring them away.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life ends and begins again...

Sad news to report: We lost my sweet Desdemona in October. God rest her soul, I miss her sweet face and gentle manner every day. The place isn't the same without her. Bodie took the loss as hard as the rest of us and looked for her for weeks in all her favorite napping spots. We recently adopted a 1 1/2 year old female Malamute to keep him company. The rescuer drove her 3 hours to our house and she jumped out of the car...all 36 lbs of her! Clearly she's not a Malamute but a Siberian Husky and according to the vet she's not 1 1/2 but 4 or 5 (note the size difference). We named her Juno and we love her just the same. She's a little crazy but settles down nicely. I'll be taking her to doggie school at the end of the month. She likes to dig, so the flower bed inside the fence will be a big challenge this year.

I started the peppers (Anaheim, Mulato Isleno with some heat and Jimmy Nardello and Chervena Chuska sweet frying peppers) and eggplants (Violetta di Firenze and Rosa Bianca) today. I'm on the fence about doing eggplants again but figured I'd try them in containers on the deck with the peppers and not waste garden space on non to low producing plants. I put them in between damp paper towels in sandwich baggies on the heat mat. Fingers are crossed.

Finally, yes, I did get late blight last year. It was ugly. It was sad. It was Baaaad.