Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reaching New Heights

One of my mixed gourd plants and a Baby Bear pumpkin are reaching for the stars. Both have climbed two-thirds of the way up one of my American Holly trees. The vines are now over 30 feet of the ground and climbing. How am I going to harvest those?
Long Storage Sampler from Dixondale Farms. Not as big as I had hoped. I still have a few in the garden of bigger size. Unfortunately we went on vacation for a week right when they were bulbing and we were experiencing a pretty good drought. I'm sure they would have done better with (1) more regular watering during the drought, (2) better soil preparation, and (3) if I left them in the ground a few weeks longer. You get what you give. I still consider my first attempt at growing onions a success...and a good learning experience.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


It's yet again in the 90s. 93 to be exact. This heat sucks for the corn. Every day I go out to try and hand pollinate it and NO pollen falls. Ugh. I have two ears with silks on almost every stalk and NO pollen. I hate this heat!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Relish and...again!

I just finished canning some dill relish for the first time. Exciting. Plus, at 2 pm I had another hummingbird sighting! What a fantastic day!

Hummingbirds and Butterflies

The kids and I get home after running some errands. My son gets to the back window and yells, "Mommy. Look at that bird!" Expecting to see a robin, cardinal, or other common backyard bird, I peek out. A female ruby-throated hummingbird! My second sighting in my yard this season. I'm sure there would have been more sightings, but the sweltering heat and humidity has kept us prisoner indoors. Of course I place out all five feeders instead of the three I've been maintaining. Then my son tells me that he wants to go on a butterfly and bird watching trip in the backyard. We saw this lovely spicebush swallowtail on our adventure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Todays Harvest and More

My 2 year old daughter and I picked these tomatoes this morning. A combination of Box Car Willies, Celebrity, Cherokee Green, and Sun Golds. As you can see, my daughter can't keep her hands off of them. She ate almost half of these shortly after taking this picture. That's my girl!
"Shell" garden- Blue Lake pole beans along the walls, Salad Bush cukes, a volunteer marigold, and th remainder of my onion plants.
The corn started to tassel, but there were no ears on the stalks. I wasn't sure where the corn pops up. Now I know. There are two ears developing from between the leaves and stalk. Pretty cool.
Below are my sunflowers. Looks like something really finds the leaves tasty.
Most of my onion harvest. I think I pulled some of them too soon. The leaves had fallen over and had some yellowing on the tips. Oops. This was my first season growing onions, so I'm still learning.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beauty and Sadness.

Golden Acre Cabbage
Despite being planted very late in the season, long periods of drought, high heat, and high humidity this cabbage is still developing a nice head.
Spirit Pumpkins
Sadly, vine borers have found my two pumpkin plants. I had three nice pumpkins developing on them. Looks like we'll be buying Jack O Lantern pumpkins again this season.
Red Norland Potatoes
I dumped my three gallon container in which I planted two small seed potatoes.
The harvest. The largest is about that size of a golf ball.
Spicebush Swallowtail on Royal Red butterfly bush.
Vanilla Ice sunflowers are opening.
Tiger Swallowtail on Royal Red butterfly bush.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

After a Week of Neglect Through a Heat Wave...

My tomatoes have started to ripen. As I've stated before, the Cherokee Green tomatoes were by far the most delicious tomato I've ever grown. Instead of just one plant, I grew two this year. Good thing, because as you can see from the picture below, my Cherokee GREEN is RED!!! I used the seed from the same source as last year. I guess it has some cross-pollinated seed or other variety accidentally mixed in. I won't be upset if it still tastes anything like Cherokee Green though...Well, I hope the other plant is green.
The garden held up relatively well without receiving any care over the last week. It endured the high heat and humidity with only a few setbacks.
A severe rain a few days ago really took a toll on the potato foliage. It's still growing strong though. I can't wait to harvest these!
We had a period of drought, high heat, and humidity last week. I failed to water my new blueberry bushes. I use the hose for all of my plants with the exception of the blueberries since our water is so alkaline. I use rain water for the blueberries instead. I forgot to go back and water them separately. One held up beautifully with the aide of some potato foliage shading it a bit. The other two didn't fair so well. They both had a severe reaction to the shortage of water. :(
The foliage has completely died back. This is so exciting!
Time to dump it. I feel like a kid again. Wait! Could it be?
I found potatoes!!!! I planted one seed potato and yielded about 4 times what I planted. My first potato growing experience has got me hooked. I can't wait to see how the other varieties faired. Especially the ones that were grown in the ground.
Amish Paste tomato with blossom end rot. The only loss so far this season.
I took a peek under my enormous Spirit pumpkin foliage from my two plants this morning. There are three pumpkins!I harvested all of my garlic today. Since I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with the watering of my hanging flower pouches full of strawberry plants last week, I improvised. I moved them out of the strong direct sun and hung them on a couple of pepper cages that were staked on top of one another. I decided that the top of the cages would be great to hang my garlic on while it cures. I think I might do the same when I start pulling up some of my onions.
I harvested over seven pounds of cucumbers this morning. This time I used my water bath canner to make these cucumber sandwich pickles. I also used the cukes to start the process of making sweet icicle pickles. For the first step they needed to be quartered and soaked in a brine for a week. I will finish them up next weekend.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cukes, Garlic, and Canning! Oh My!

I took a stab at canning for the first time yesterday. I made 6 pints of dill pickles. How fun! The best part was hearing the "pop" of the seal forming after taking them out of the water bath. Success.
Here are the Salad Bush cucumbers I have been flooded with. Only three plants can produce a ton of food. That's why these were turned into pickles. Freshly picked garlic from the garden. These were the ones along the edge of the raised bed, the areas which dried out the quickest, so the bulbs are on the smaller side but still taste great.

Cukes, Garlic, and Canning! Oh My!