Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I have never harvested lettuce seed before. In fact, this was my first year of seriously trying to grow lettuce. Turns out it's not very difficult. Little Gem and Jericho romaine lettuce were my experiment for this season. They held up beautifully to the crazy weather we had and were slow to bolt. I let some of my lettuce from the summer go to seed. I wasn't sure how viable the seed would be, so I saved some and sprinkled the rest on two of my empty raised beds. I guess the seed is good, because I have a lettuce field growing out there! I never expected such good results, so I didn't take the time to space the seed. I'm just going to let it go and see what happens. If I really wanted them spaced half decently, I would be there half the day pulling the extras out. These are two great varieties of lettuce. Highly recommended!

Monday, September 28, 2009


I had a chance to get out into the garden yesterday. The first time in weeks. Even though I only have a few plants I sure got another great harvest from them. Some bells were picked on the smaller side due to my inability to get as much time in the garden as I would like and the low temperatures we've been getting some nights. These are bell peppers, Anaheims, and jalapenos. In the garden I have eight bell pepper plants, four jalapenos, and couple Anaheims. I am very proud of how these turned out this season. The bells were in the square foot garden (raised bed), and they were spectacular. I planted one per square foot, and they couldn't have done better. Two of the jalapenos were also planted in a square each. Again, they thrived in the raised bed. The Anaheims and other jalapenos were planted in the ground. They yielded almost as well. Below is one of my largest peppers picked yesterday. A 14.4 ounce Fat N' Sassy bell pepper. I'm loving these peppers!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Speaking of High Country Gardens

I'm pretty impressed with High Country Gardens. I placed my first order with them last fall. I ordered the Acapulco Salmon and Pink agastache that I just mentioned along with this Fireworks goldenrod. Again, it was a tiny plant that could just fill the palm of my hand with great roots last fall. This season...bam! It took off. It is now around 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It does live up to its name. It looks like fireworks bursting in the sky. I've never been a big fan of yellow in the garden. I always associated it with weeds. This is one of the few yellow plants that I really do like. It started blooming a few weeks ago, and it is going strong now. It provides a great introduction to fall.

My Favorite Plant....EVER!

Last fall I ordered an Acapulco Salmon and Pink Agastache from High Country Gardens (back left). This has quickly become my favorite plant ever! Not only has it bloomed NON-STOP, but bees love it. I have it between the sidewalk to my house and driveway. This highly-scented gem fills the air with the scent of lemons. Rain or shine. I wish I could afford more of them to place all over the garden. It's a nasal treat. :) I've never had such a fragrant, free bloomer.
This plant looked like nothing more than a few dormant twigs last fall. Look at it now. It took no time to fill in and be a real stunner. This photo doesn't do it justice...at all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bush Sugar Baby Watermelon

My first ripe Bush Sugar Baby watermelon was ready yesterday. It had a hollow sound when I thumped on it and it had some yellowing on the part that touched the ground. Blemish free on the outside. Sweet smelling inside. My father was here to share it with. It was the perfect size for two people. Although it looked and smelled great, I thought it was a bit bland. On the other hand, my father thought it was good. It has been a particularly rainy season which might have something to do with the lack of flavor. These vines took up very little space, so I will give them another try next season to see if the yield and flavor improves. This vine only yielded this ripe melon. There are two softball-sized melons still outside, but wilt has pretty much desimated the foliage and vines.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Iroquois Muskmelon

I finally had a ripe Iroquois muskmelon and some Blue Lake pole beans. It slipped easily from the vine and had a slight sweet aroma. It weighed a whopping 7 pounds, 5.8 ounces!
I sliced into it...beautiful! Aroma...delicious. Taste...blah...watery...such a disappointment. There were bad rains for two days leading up to it ripening. Such bad timing :(

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Red Peppers

I finally was patient enough to let peppers turn red in my garden. Above are Fat N' Sassy bell peppers.
This is a mix of Fat N' Sassy bell peppers in red and green stages, Opalkas, two Black Krims, and a small Cowlick Brandywine tomato.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beans. Beans. The More You Eat...

Blue Lake Pole Beans. They are now producing a heavy crop. Tasty to boot.

Our Latest Adventure- Tropical Freshwater Fish

About 7 years ago my husband and I started two fish aquariums. These fish survived a three hour drive to a new apartment. Then another move around two years later to our current home. It's amazing what you can do with large cooelrs. Unfortunately we had a fish heater malfunction about a year ago that only left us with two very large plecostomus. One in a 29 gallon tank. The other in a 55 gallon tank. All by themselves. This allowed them the opportunity to grow over a foot long. They each took up their entire tanks, so we couldn't get any other fish. We found a local pet store willing to find them new homes.We also decided to make our first attempt at using real plants. I love gardening, so how different can under water gardening be? Just kidding. From left to right I have these plants in the tank (photo above): Lemon bacopa, lace java fern clinging to the "wood", Amazon sword, red ludwigia, Italian Val along the back (tought to see), another lace java fern on the other piece of "wood", and a frill plant. There was a small tan snail mixed in with the frill plant that I got a PetSmart. I can't find it in the tank (I couldn't NOT put it in...I didn't want to kill it). Hopefully it doesn't multiply. The little blue bags contain gravel from the established tanks. I am also running the old filter cartridges from the established tank in the new tank. The former tank had no problems with disease, so I'm not worried about introducing anything harmful to the tank. I do want to introduce the good bacteria into the tank to help cycle it a little more quickly.

This all stemmed from my four-year-old son showing an interest in getting Dwarf African Frogs. We invested in some new lights and a glass cover and moved the tank to the living room. Now we are the proud owners of 8 Red Wag platties...all male. No baby fish are welcome here! That would cause a whole new fish problem. After a few weeks my son will get his frogs and some other tiny fish. Overall it has been a great experience for the family. We spend lots of time watching them swim around and eat. The kids are fascinated by them, and their smiles are worth every bit of work it took to get the tank up and running again.

Late Summer Garden

Summer is coming to an end, but there is still a lot of pep left in these plants. There are scarlet runner beans and Scarlet O' Hara morning glories climbing up the trellises. The back includes red, Will Rogers zinnia. The front is a mix of Butterfly pentas, Red Rubin basil, petunias, Lady in Red and Coral Nymph salvia, a Jalapeno M pepper plant, and anaheim chili pepper plants. Moss Curled parsley is hiding behind the peppers on the right. Closer to the birdbath are volunteer marigolds from last years plants.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Iroquois Muskmelon
I am still waiting for the giant in the front to ripen. It just sits there tempting me. I can't believe how large it has gotten. It almost spans the edger is sits upon that is 12 inches wide. These can grow to around 7 pounds! Wow! Maybe next year I'll find seeds for a smaller muskmelon. An heirloom or open-pollinated variety. Maybe Charentais or Petit Gris de Rennes. Those both had delectable descriptions. That way I may get a few more per vine, and they would hopefully ripen a bit quicker.

Bush Sugar Baby Watermelons
I'm still waiting to try one of these. The largest on the middle right has appeared to slow down in growth while the other two are taking off. I'm hoping that's a sign of its impending maturing.

Scarlet Starlet or Scarlet Charleton?

I was so excited to find seed for Scarlet Starlet marigolds. I wanted marigolds in my garden, but I'm not much of a fan of their look. Scarlet Starlet didn't look too marigold-y, so it was perfect. Unfortunately over time the flowers have begun to change. For the first few weeks most blooms looked like the flowers advertised. Now that the season is further along the blossoms are quite variable on the same plant. Above is a picture of what the blooms look like now. The flower on the left is the new variation taking over. The right flower is what they should look like. I don't exactly dislike the newer blooms, I just wish the plants were consistent with their packaging.