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.