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In The Garden Now

Let's just see if I can update this blog this year...


June 15, 2011

I have been very remiss in my posting as of late.  Much has been going on in the world and in my own little world out back as well.  The garden is growing well.  Something is eating the tops from various plants around the garden (beets, kale, broccoli, peas, cucumber, and the occasional bean).  I suspect a raccoon, but is might be something else.  The parts are not strewn around the ground, they are completely missing, which makes me think it is something bigger that is just taking them and devouring them.

On the plus side, I have made salsa from my cilantro and some onions (plus tomatoes and lime from the store), many salads of mixed greens, with turnip and onions.  The peas are producing now and should be ready in a few days for the first harvest.  My fruit trees are looking healthy and this year I am trying a trick with paper bags on my on apple tree as a way to avoid spraying.  It will look like I am growing paper bags, but I am told the apples will come out well!

Anyhoo…  I promise more pictures in the next few days, but for now, enjoy this of a salad from a day or two ago.

Immature red onions (I pull every other one), basil, chard, beet, Russian kale, Dinosaur kale, and early white turnips. Yum!


Clavate Tortoise Beetle

June 2, 2011

The insect has been correctly identified as a Clavate Tortoise Beetle.  Apparently they like the nightshade family, so you might see them munching on tomatoes, peppers, morning glories, etc.

I have never seen them before in my garden.  They are also apparently not a sever problem.  I would suggest hand picking them.  I just check my plants in the morning when I get up.  I found about 10 or so the first time I saw them there, and have found only 3 over the last couple of days.

There was also some talk of these beetles eating bean leaves, and although I have holes on my bean leaves and some defoliation, I have yet to see any insects on my beans.

Found this:

“The eggs are deposited on the leaves which the larva eat except for the veins. When full grown, they drop to the ground, burrow in, pupate and over winter. They emerge as the adult beetle in midsummer.”

Maybe that explains the beans?  I will have to have a closer look at the beans.  Maybe the larva feed on the underside, and I am only seeing the adults on the tops of the tomatoes.

Identify This Insect!

May 31, 2011

I found several of these on my tomatoes eating away at the leaves.  They put 3-4mm holes in the leaves close together.  I can’t seem to find them anywhere in my research about tomato pests.  Does anyone know what they are?

Here is the culprit! Anyone know this guy? (BTW you can click on the picture to enlarge it for a better look.)

Peppers Are In!

May 31, 2011

Remember those peppers that I had trouble with in paper pots?  well, they are doing well (not as well as the ones I started in plastic though) and they are all in the garden now.  Here is a quick look at how they are situated in my garden.

Hab/Scotch Bonnet and Super Chilies from overhead.

Another view of my hot pepper plants. There is some turnip behind and chard, leek, and spinach in front.

Things are pretty much now all in the garden and growing well for the most part.

Peas are getting up there a bit now. They did have to grow over from their planting spots to this netting. They are interplanted with purple top turnips and some parsnips.

The four broccoli plants are getting bigger. Behind them are a few kohlrabi and some white Russian kale. In the front there is early white turnip which will come out in a couple of weeks and the three dinosaur kale plants will take over that you can see there.

Here is an overall picture of the garden as it stands now. Lots going on in there. It's messy, but that's gardening in my world!

Let’s Get Growing!

May 20, 2011

It has been a busy week in the garden.  The warm, wet, overcast weather provided a great opportunity to plant several of the starts that I had.  The tomatoes got into the ground on Wednesday, along with the basil (Thai, Lemon, and Genovese).  This year we have Green Zebra, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Brandywine, Campbell’s, Ultra Girl, Sweet 100, Amish Paste, and Cherokee Purple.

Here are the tomatoes with basil in front. Along the right there are some hills with zucchini, squash and pumpkin. There are also onions, turnips and beets in this picture. Along with that you will see many dill and coriander volunteers.

The summer squash was put in the ground as well (starts and seeds).  I am using seed from last year from “Dark Green”, which also goes by the name “Black Beauty” I believe.  I am also trying Parthenon Zucchini from William Dam Seeds.  It is a parthenocarpic variety. If you read up on it, I am basically growing the Virgin Mary of zucchinis, which I guess will produce Jesus zukes?  Should be an interesting trial.

The winter squash and pumpkins were also put in (some starts and some seeds).  I am growing Baby Blue Hubbard and Early Butternut (both from William Dam).  I am trying some white pumpkin and large orange pumpkin that I started from seeds that I saved from our Halloween pumpkins.  We will see how that goes.  No harm in trying eh?

Beans are in the ground as well.  We have Kentucky Wonder Wax Yellow pole beans and some Romano style pole beans that have been passed down from grandma.  She claims she got them from the old Italian lady who shares the back fence with her.  Has to be good right?  They are!  We have grown them for several years and save seed.  The Kentucky Wonders are new to us.

The Cucumber starts and seeds are also in the ground.  Again, we are growing the saved seed from grandma.  Not sure what they are, but they are good!  We are also trying Wisconsin SMR 58 from OSC.

Snap peas along with radishes that are marking my parsnips. There are also some purple top turnips in and amongst the peas to mature later.

Lastly, things are growing well with the peas up to a foot or more.  The chard and spinach are coming along.  Beets are going to show their true leaves any day now.  The carrots are starting to show their true leaves as well.  Radishes and White Lady hybrid turnips (William Dam) will be ready before we know it! There are many volunteer parsley, coriander, and dill seedlings as well.

If I can keep the ants from farming aphids up there, we should have a few cherries this year!

Almost forgot the fruit trees! Apples are just opening, pear is flowering, along with the sour cherry and 2 sweet cherries, and the plum. The apricot has finished its flowering however. Might be an interesting year. Wonder is the late spring warmth and late flowing of the apricot will actually allow it to produce fruit?! There has been no frost since the bud swell and flowering, so who knows?

Harvest Monday – Rhubarb

May 16, 2011

This harvest is from a neighbour across the road who never seems to use all of her rhubarb. I went by today and asked to take some and this is what she gave me. We have started harvesting from our own, but it sits in a cooler/shadier spot of the yard. A good place for us to have it, but not the place it probably wants to be!

This was what she graciously gave me. She said to come back for more if I need it. That is not a paring knife either. That is my mid-size chef's knife.

Most of this rhubarb is going to get cleaned, chopped, and frozen right away.  The rest we will eat fresh of the next few days.

Stalks after trimming the leaves. People used to eat the leaves as greens, but this is now a no no, unless you want gut wrenching pain and possibly death!

Another good thing about this harvest from our lovely neighbour is that I get the leaves too for the compost!

Compost Bound!

So now that we have a good supply of rhubarb, we have to figure out what to do with it.  To be honest, last year we usually stewed it up with strawberries and ate it with ice cream.

Rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar or honey, and a little vanilla.

This year we are eating it with oatmeal in the mornings.

Best breakfast ever. There is nothing like freshly stewed rhubarb with some strawberries over oatmeal!

We will definitely be making at least one pie with it.  The question now is: How do you like to use your rhubarb?  Any favourite recipes?

Mystery Plant

May 9, 2011

While not a plant from the vegetable garden, I do have a plant in my flower garden that I am unable to identify. I had one last week that I was previously unable to identify, and just found out is called Valerian. Nice plant, nice foliage, nice smell.

The new plant in question is a perennial. I cut it back every year to the base almost. It sends up shoots pretty early it seems. It grows long and sprawls on the ground (maybe a meter or so). I have never seen it climb anything near it, so it is not a climber. I can’t really recall any noticeable flowers (although I will look this year more closely).

Without further wait, here it is. Any guesses?