Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on Irene. I know you like to water, but seriously. Enough is enough.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just hanging out. Waiting for Irene. She's going to water my garden for me. I hope she's gentle.

Friday, August 26, 2011

So my Spring-planted raspberries were starting to be taken over by a monster tomato vine. Not sure which variety. Either a Cherokee Green or Lucky Cross that was left over from earlier in the season. I decided to plant it in a large empty spot by the raspberries. All of a sudden, it took off. Foliage so lush and healthy. It kept growing and growing, but I never saw any tomatoes or flowers. I was sure it was because it gets a lot of shade from the overhanging holly. My poor raspberries were getting buried and were trying so hard to get to the light. I didn't want to have to do it, but I got out the loppers. I would have just grabbed the vine and pulled, but it was so dense I decided to chop away huge chunks first. There were no tomatoes on it anyway, and it had to be done for the sake of the raspberries. First chunk. Gone. Second large chop. Done. Third large cut....WAIT! What is that? Two of the most perfect large tomatoes I have ever seen (with the exception of catalog pictures). Not a blemish on them. No cracks. Just tomato perfection. Chopping stopped! Although the vine is about half the size, these two perfect nuggets of summer perfection are still going strong and the raspberries can see the light of day once again.
I was harvesting pumpkins really early this season. I was worried that I wouldn't have any pumpkins for Halloween. Almost all the vines had completely died. Then, after what seemed like overnight, wa-la! The vines re-rooted themselves and shot up all this new foliage. Next season I will have to make more of an effort to bury the vines in the beginning of the season.We've achieved pollination! All hope is not lost. A Halloween pumpkin!
First berry of the season...a Caroline. These are some big, yummy berries.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Anyone else feel the earthquake about 1 1/2 hours ago. Felt some good shaking here! Exciting.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's a great start to the weekend when you go outside and immediately see this on your carrots. He's my new temporary pet.I also found a ton of monarch eggs on my Tropical Milkweed. It's going to be a fun summer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ewws and Ahhs

First the ewws. EWW!! Aphid infestation on my Asclepias incarnata. Gross. Funny though. The plant right next to it appears aphid-free. Now the ahhs. AHH! I love this time of the year. That monarchs are leaving their eggs on the milkweed. The Black Swallowtails are leaving theirs on the carrots, parsley, and fennel. My daughter and I found these just a while ago.
Below: Monarch Cat.
Black Swallowtail Cat.Two monarch cats and an egg (near the tip of the leaf) that I brought in to raise. So much fun. These were on the Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) that I started from seed this past winter.Two black swallowtails that I also brought in. There is also an egg on carrot foliage in there somewhere.Fun for the whole family!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mystery Tree and Pentas

My mystery plant. I cut it to the ground last year (I couldn't pull it out by the roots). It's back. The leaf shape is very interesting, so after looking online I think I found it. A tulip poplar tree. This would turn into a giant tree that would dwarf my house. This is one of those times that I wished I had more land so I could relocate it. It would be beautiful. I don't have the heart to kill it, but I'm going to try to get it out of the ground and pot it up in a few weeks. If it survives, I'll probably gift it to someone. Stars and Stripes pentas. I purchased this plant on eBay this past Spring. I planned on keeping it in a container, but changed my mind and planted it in the garden once the weather stabilized. It is becoming very lush despite its initial small size. The blooms are beautiful, and the variegation is breathtaking. Love it! I will definitely be potting it back up and overwintering it inside this winter. Too gorgeous and carefree not to keep.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Photos of Today's Garden

Cherokee Green, Stupice, and Lucky Cross tomatoes. It rained very hard the night before I picked these, so the big ones cracked. Still tasted good though!My new birdbath! It looks solid, but it's very light-weight. Love it! It's a Pedestal Bird Bath for Wild Birds by Gardman. It says it's frost and weather resistant. At $30 bucks, it felt like a steal.
A portion of my backyard bed. In the front is one Walker's Low nepeta with Autumn Joy sedum behind it. To the left are two "leftover" tomato plants that needed a home. I believe the front one is Stupice. No clue about the other until it matures. The ugly plant on the right is some sort of aster that I purchased from Jung. It's always been ugly. It puts out flowers though, so I think I'll move it in the Spring back behind other plants to hide the hideous foliage.
A few weeks ago the kids started some cabbage, lettuce, and radishes in the empty spots next to the Caroline raspberries that I added in the Spring. A few of the raspberries didn't survive, so now I'm just making the best of the space until the replacements arrive next Spring.
Fiesta del Sol tithonia. I am absolutely in love with this plant. It hasn't even reached two feet high and is so lush and healthy....Love it!!!! It handled the drought and 100+ days without skipping a beat.
Fat 'n Sassy hybrid bell peppers. Now sold under the name King Arthur.
Two more Spirit pumpkins. Some of the Oregon Sugar Pod II peas I started several weeks ago are planted along the front edge of the bed.
Winona Strawberries that were planted this Spring. They are sending out runners and filling in nicely.
Common milkweed that I started from seed in late winter.
Carmine Jewel bush cherry that I just purchased this Spring. The tips appeared to have some sort of blight in the beginning of the season, so they were cut back a bit to remove the funny looking foliage and stems. Now it's putting on some new, healthy growth. I will be transplanting it in the fall to its permanent position in the garden.
Yukon Gold and Red Norland potatoes that are just starting to show signs of dying back.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I planted Scarlet Nantes carrots this Spring. Not for myself, but for the black swallowtails. One of the perks is that I do get to eat some of the carrots. Knowing that I was planting them for butterflies, I didn't bother to thin them. Nor did I amend the soil with compost to loosen it up. This location was lawn until I dug out the grass this past Spring. I wanted foliage, not the actual root, so I just planted and hoped for good germination. Good germination is what I got.
This is the result of compacted soil. Forked roots. There small size, most likely due to drought and neglect. The largest carrot on the right was on the back edge of the planting. It had some room on all sides where other carrots weren't crowding it. Obviously it took advantage of the space. Next year, no matter how hard it is. I will have to thin out my carrots. Finding a happy medium between tons of foliage for the black swallowtails to devour and some large carrots for me. In the meantime, the carrots above will be going into a slow cooker stew first thing tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Sun Golds are really starting to churn out tomatoes now. I was just outside picking this bowl of tasty morsels. I looked up and saw tons more starting to develop. Oh my. Last year two Sun Golds wasn't enough. This year, four Sun Golds. I might have overdone it. The dry weather is working to their advantage. Last season, many cracked due to the rain. The great thing about having a drought (I know...I can't believe I wrote that) is that there has been no cracking so far. Each one is a perfect ball of sunshine.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Have Monarch Cats!

Yeah! Monarch cats on my tropical milkweed! This is great news since there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of butterfly sighting this season. It's scary. Only a handful of times have we seen a few monarchs relishing in the blossoms....and I guess leaving a few eggs behind! Once the cats are a bit bigger, I'll bring them in for the kids to watch and release.

I will definitely need to plant more than three plants next season. A friend gave me three as tiny starts last fall. I overwintered them indoors. In the same pot. TORE apart the roots and planted them outside. They are thriving despite drought and neglect. Love them and love my monarch cats!!!!