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We’ve been busy

Over Labor Day weekend, The Hubs and my dad ripped out the deck because we are putting in a patio.  It took a long time and of course it was unseasonably hot.  I didn’t take their pictures while they were doing it because  laser beams would have shot out their eyes and melted me.

This is the aftermath.

The deck was a good foot off the ground and Max used to go under there and gnaw on his “acquisitions” shall we say.  Max of course found all of the good bits of dead mice and bugs while I was raking up the gravel/rocks/nails/bits of wood/plant debris/dead rodents.   It was so gross.  It seriously made me rethink having a dog.  I love him and all, but ewwwww.

And yes, our yard looks super trashy right now.  Everything that was up by the house has to be somewhere else for a while three weeks.  I’m sure the neighbors love us.

The pergola is going to stay.  Hopefully.  We’ll see what the concreters say.

The Hubs moved the rest of the river rock last night and it is now prepped for the concrete guys.  They might be here in a week.  We don’t know, because they haven’t committed to a date.  So it’s hurry up and wait.  The story of my life.


In the August Garden

August, you are a welcome relief after the hottest and driest July on record.  The weather has been absolutely lovely.  I have had the windows open every night this week, the dog has been able to be out all day without fear of heatstroke, and I can walk barefoot to the mail box without causing intense pain because I’m too lazy to slip my sandals on.  I digress.  Back to the garden…
I ripped out the cucumbers early in the month.  Quite frankly I was sick of them.  I keep getting 2 or 3 in the CSA bag each week and I am the only one who eats them.  I think I am just not going to plant them anymore.  No cucumbers is sacrilege right?

The Tomatoes are still bonkers.  The three that I have carefully staked, pruned, watered regularly are pretty pathetic.  I know the heat, drought, etc. are most likely to blame.

I have to wonder how much they are affected by these things when I look at the Roughwood Golden Plum which I have totally neglected since day one.  It’s awesome.  I pull 6-8 tomatoes every day off of it.

The peppers are loving this weather of course.  I have made two batches of jalapeno jelly so far.  I have also roasted and frozen a handful of bell peppers and cubanelles.  Check out this red bell, it can’t decide if it’s half green or half red!

As much as I cuss the pumpkins, they sure are pretty!  Both plants have cross-pollinated with each other AND the butternut squash.  I’ve never planted all three at once before.  This was quite the experience.  I didn’t know cross-pollination was an issue.  Good thing I just don’t care if my pumpkins look odd.  They were mostly for the kids anyways.

I will leave you with my harvest from Sunday.  This is my first link up with Daphnes Dandelions and her Harvest Monday!

July garden update

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July has been brutal and we are only nine days in.  The record heat was nasty to say the least.  It hasn’t rained since I don’t remember when.  I have had to bust out the sprinklers and water the lawn for the first time this year.  It pained me to do it too.  In spite of the heat and lack of rain the garden is doing really well.

The pumpkins along the back fence are going bonkers.  I cut back the vines every other day or so.  The Baby Boos that volunteered crossed with the mystery Trader Joe’s.  We have some bigger softballish sized striped pumpkins.  I have just given up on them.  If they live-great.  If they die-even better.  I am sick of them.

The raised beds are doing awesome.  Everything has taken off and is going crazy.  I did have to rip out the zucchini.  They had succumbed to squash vine borers.  I think.  That’s what Google tells me anyway.  It happens to me every year.  They were in the first square bed where that big empty spot is.  I’ll think I’ll put beets and peas in there for a fall planting.

I had to add bamboo stakes inside the tomato cages.  I usually just use the cheapy wire cages and never have an issue with height.  They always fall over because the plants are so prolific, but they never get high.  This is my year for amazonian tomatoes.  They are 6 feet high now.  I also had blight or septoria on my Silvery Fir tomato.  I trimmed the affected leaves and branches.  It’s mostly gone, but it caused this epic tomato fail.  Behold.  I’m sure they taste like ambrosia.  Snort.

The peppers have been loving the heat as well.  I have over 30 jalapenos on the plants.  I am just itching for them to be ripe so I can make jelly.  I know my family and friends can’t wait for that jelly either!  There are a lot of bell peppers in there too.  Most have blossoms and some have baby peppers.  the problem is, I can’t remember if they are green or yellow.  Typical me.

The cucumbers love their trellis.  The Hubs still grumbles when he looks at it, but I don’t care.  I had enough cucumbers to make something.  I didn’t know what to make though.  So I made sweet/hot pickle relish this weekend.  After tasting it, I think I like sweet dill relish more and I’ll make that next.  I went out the garden tonight and took pics.  Can you believe I didn’t have a single cucumber to show you?

Basil.  Ugh.  Why did I plant so much?  My mom made me.  No really.  I only wanted two, but she added the kind she liked.  So we have two Genovese, a Lemon basil, and a Thai basil.  We are going to be eating pesto all winter long!  WOOT!  Now if only my family was excited about this as me.

I have Brussels sprouts growing on the back side of the herbs.  They are doing well in spite of my total lack of attention.  I planted them in May.   The most I’ve given them since then is a cursory glance.  We’ll see how they taste this fall/winter.

That’s all for now in the garden.  I will do my best to be diligent to go out there every day and pay attention to the garden.  It’s so hot though!  I don’t wanna!  You can’t make me!

Garden Update

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June has been pretty hard on the garden.  It was cool and rainy and then it was super hot in the 90’s with no rain for a week.  The plants are doing ok though.  I have a few concerns, a few surprises, and a few heartaches.

Mom’s Big Fat Cherry Tomatoes
Waltham Butternut Squash
First bell pepper

First tomatoes

In a blink of an eye this little guy will be a baseball bat

Look! a peapod!

Good looking beet.
2 inches away from the good one I have this.  I am at a loss.

My potatoes!  What’s going on?  Any ideas?

Garden Update

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It has been just about 3 weeks since I planted out all of my seedlings.  Things are looking well.  I added a fresh layer of grass clippings last night.  I never used to do this, but it’s really been helping with the weeds.  The first picture is of the raised beds.  I have plans to add one or two more this fall.  I think I’ll be done adding to them.  I think…

Starting at the top bed that looks like a number 7 we have from left to right: Old German tomato, Rhubarb, Silvery Fir tomato, and Spudakee tomato.  In the next bed that looks like an L from top to bottom: 9 yes 9! Jalapeno plants, bell peppers green and red, cubanelle peppers, cilantro, sage, sweet basil, lemon basil, thai basil, dill, and brussel sprouts.  That sucker is full!  in the square bed I have a zuchinni, burpless cucumbers and a pickling cucumber.  I can’t remember the varieties right now and I’m not at home.  I’ll get back to you.  The potato towers are doing great!  I have German Butterball and La Ratte planted.  This is my first year with the towers, so I am curious what the yield will be.

This is the back fence garden, creative I know.  I doubled the size of this garden over the fall and spring.  I really like how it turned out.

On the far left are my lilacs.  I planted them in the fall of 2008 and they were really really really slow to take off, but they just exploded with growth this year.  I think the mild winter helped?  Maybe?  Who knows.  Tucked in the back by the fence line are some shallots.  I didn’t know what to do with them and I didn’t want them mixed in with the onions so I threw them in the corner.  Next we have Baby Boo pumpkins that volunteered.  I planted those three years ago and they have been volunteering ever since.  There are also Irises all along the fence line.

On the right side of the back gate I planted another tomato so I could experiment with letting it trail.  It is a Roughwood Golden Plum.  Then I have irises, Husker Red Penstemom, and onions.  In the box looking thing are some young pumpkin plants.  I got a free pumpkin from Trader Joe’s last year.  I saved the seeds.  I wish I knew what kind it was.  I was delicious.  That I know for sure.  There also seems to be a red pool noodle in my garden.  I will have to ask the kids about that.

In the corner behind the shed is the compost bin, wheelbarrow storage, brick pile, garden paraphernalia stuff that never seems to have a home.   Don’t look at me that way, you have a corner like that too!

RIP Rainbarrel

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The Hubs broke my rain barrel.  I was sad.  Good thing I hadn’t painted it to look like R2-D2 yet.  Le sigh.

Attack of the baby tomatoes!

This morning The Hubs asked me, “When exactly are you planting your tomatoes?”

I batted my eyelashes then pointed at the kitchen sink and said, “Why does this bother you?” 

His charming response?  “Uh yeah”

Like those dishes?  Want to take bets on whether they will still be there when I get home?

So yeah, um it’s not usually so cluttered.  I have the nine tomatoes, 1 cubanelle pepper, 2 sweet potatoes growing slips, 3 potted orchids and 1 hanging orchid.  And a bunch of dirty pancake dishes.  I had to snap this in a hurry because I had to get to work.  Next time I’ll scrub for you.  Maybe.  Meh, we’ll see.

I checked the weather forecast and it looks like the lows will be warm enough all week long that I feel confident putting them out.  I think they will get a good enough head start that if it does get chilly I can cover them. 

Now where to put them?  I have had some blight issues the last two years so my raised bed space is limited.  The only bed left has a big ol’ clump of rhubarb in it and it’s backed up to the fence so I can’t get to the back side easily.  That and I think I can only fit 3 in there.

I think I’ll put my cherry tomato in a pot on the deck, so that’s 4.  I’m giving 2 to my mother in law, so that’s 6.  That leaves me with three more.  I have a long bed on the back fence that has some perennial flowers in it.  I doubled it’s length this year,  so it has plenty of room for the tomatoes.  

Ignore the junk wood.  I have no excuse.  Well, yes I do, but it’s a long story.

The real question is, do I really need that many tomato plants?  No.  Do I want them, oh yes!  I have a sickness, I am addicted to tomatoes.  I like to eat them right in the garden with a sprinkle of salt.  I figure I can throw the last three back there and experiment with staking.  I usually use plain old cages.  I have been intrigued by teepees and have thought about just letting them sprawl.  I am a negligent gardener at best so the sprawling really appeals to me. 

I guess we will just have to see how it goes.  I’m sure I’ll change my mind as I’m planting them.  I’m a Gemini, it’s what I do!

Weekend Update

We survived the weekend.  All that hype and the only thing we got was a heckuva lot of rain.  We ended up with three large rounds of rain.  After the first, my poor yard was saturated.  There was standing water in the landscaping rocks and in the holes Max dug shallow parts of the yard.

My newly installed rain barrel is now full.  The hubs and I had some minor disagreements as to where it should be located.  He felt the front of the house with more roof square footage was best.  I had a rain barrel at my old house in Colorado and assured him the back of the house would still provide ample amounts of water.  He may have vocalized rudely that I never listen to him and just do what I want anyways.  Whats wrong with that?  I’ll post a picture of it a little later, I have something special planned for it.  Think Star Wars.

I made a deelicious and horribly fattening side dish this weekend.  I know it’s not a new creation, I’ve seen them all over the web, but it was a hit at our house nonetheless.

You will need:
one tube of refrigerated crescents.
garlic powder
one hunk of mozzarella that’s been hanging out in the 
fridge for way too long OR the cheese of your choice shredded

They are easy peasy to make.  Unroll the dough into the precut triangles.  Sprinkle with garlic powder to suit your preferences.  We used a lot.  Then sprinkle the cheese on the crescent.  Roll ’em up and bake per the instructions on the packaging.

 They tasted a lot like cheesey breadsticks from Pizza Hut or Papa Johns.   The Hubs wasn’t high on them, but the kids loved them.  I may or may not have finished the hubs’ roll. 
It was awesome!

Garden Hands

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This is a happy happy garden hand.