Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Tomatoes! Sorta.

The very first ripe tomatoes to come off the vine! The upper one is a Celebrity, your basic supermarket tomato. The lower one is an heirloom Carbon. They are juicy and sweet and totally better than any tomatoes from the grocery store. Unfortunately:

They've the dreaded blossom end-rot. This happens when the watering is either too irregular, or there is a calcium deficiency in the soil. So I now water with milk every day.

Actually no, milk is too expensive. Bill over at City Farmers got me some gypsum and told me when to water. He also told me that I could still eat them. I wish that tomatoes weren't so damn picky. The squash certainly don't have this problem.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby Spiders

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We found a spider eggsac exploding with baby spiders on the corn the other day. Despite the creeped out feeling, I just try to remember 'Charlotte's Web'.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Click to enbiggen

It's been almost impossible to grow greens in the summer heat. I've had marginal success by spritzing them with water two or three times a day to keep them cool, but the trade off is that the water droplets might burn the leaves, killing my salad dreams anyway.

So, using a couple pieces of spare rebar and an old plastic trellis, I ziptied a ramshackle shade that may be the most hideous kludge I've put together yet.

Sagging in the middle and braced by PVC, I hate this thing with a passion. Sure, it works, but will the neighbors think? I'm just going to break down and drive over to Home Depot for some 2x2s and have done with it.

Here's my threadbare lettuce patch as of now. I'll be planting some more stuff here, so hopefully I'll be show off some after pics later.

The Day's Harvest

So we've got some green and purple basil for pesto tonight, and a couple of patty pan squash. That's the good bit.

Next to the bowl is a young potato plant, which I ripped out of the ground in the spirit of reckless experimentation. As you can see, we got one big potato and few really teensy ones.

The other reason I pulled it is because I planted a few potatoes in a wine barrel, hoping to fill it in as they grew. But this one grew about three times as fast, so filling around would've meant burying the others.

I hope it tastes good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Aphids Destroyed my Favorite Taco Ingredient

My cilantro has been sucked dry by rampaging insect hordes. A sad day.

The New Potato Bed

I built a new potato bed out of the random flat pieces of concrete we have lying around. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I'm looking forward to building a larger bed out of the same material.

As the potatoes grow, I'll stack up more stone, until it's maybe three or four feet high, I hope. I'll have to learn to make gnocchi.

My Tomatoes are Amazing

My tomatoes have developed into a mighty shrub, and are planning their invasion of the other beds. My only defense: I deviously caged in the tomatoes with leftover fencing material.

As you can see, the tomatoes are trapped, and unable to invade the strawberries.

What is This Bean?

I have no idea.

Part of our back fence is covered with these guys. Last November, the previous year's crop dried out and popped open, flinging beans against the house. I was convinced that neighbor kids were throwing rocks at us. You can see one half of the old pod above.

The new pods are stiff and covered in velvet. Or it feels like it. I cracked one open, but the beans taste like grass. An inedible plant, or just not ripe?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Geranium Update

As promised in my first geranium post, here are some pictures of what I called the "candy-striped" geraniums that unexpectedly emerged from some older cuttings:

I love how the hot pink is only on the edges of the petals for a true two-toned effect. Gorgeous!

And just for fun, some portraits of two of our three kitties who were hangin' out near the geranium bed:


Mina & Linus