August Garden Humor

It’s almost fall… that makes me happy! It’s also almost the first frost and the end of garden season… that makes me sad! Oh well…I guess I can start planning for next year soon!

Q: Why did the gardener need a cork?

A:  His garden sprung a leek.

HAHAHA! Our leeks are just about ready to be pulled. I’m very much looking forward to trying those this year!

 

August 31, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
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Bugs

I just wanted to take a minute and say that I’m so excited for fall, and I’m hoping we have a good winter this year, too. Although I enjoyed the early start this year getting my garden on late Feb/early March, I didn’t know what it would cost me. The bugs this year were out of control, far worse than normal, and I feel like we lost more crops to bugs this year than we have in the past. I would also like to note that our flowers seemed to do quite well (sunflowers, zinnias, and vincas mostly), though the petunias could have done without the aphid attack.

So… bring on the deep freeze and get these bugs out of here!!!!

 

 

August 29, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Bugs, Flowers, Great Outdoors

Mexican Bean Beetles

Our string bean leaves have been eaten, thanks to the the little yellow larvae of the Mexican Bean Beetles. Luckily, they don’t seem to eat the actual beans! We were still able to harvest quite a bit. I got another 2-3 cups this weekend before I ripped the skeletons out and sent them to the compost area.

They are big enough to see, pick off and crush, so you just need to try to remove as many as you can as soon as the attack starts. Larvae look like spiny yellow globs and the adults look like orange lady bugs. When you squish them, they ooze yellow.

Look at this crazy damage! I’m going to try to plant one more batch of bush beans this upcoming weekend; not sure we’ll get another batch before the frost but we really don’t have anything to lose. Most of the Mexican Bean Beetles are now in adulthood, so the larvae shouldn’t be an issue now… right?

Mexican Bean Beetles on Bush Beans

 

August 28, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
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Pumpkin fail

As I wrote a few posts ago about the cucumber plants dying, I realized the EXACT same thing happened to our pumpkin, only we originally thought we stepped on it by accident or something. It was growing really well, then, all of a sudden… DEAD! The vines shriveled up leaving two orphan pumpkins to turn orange and waste away in the sun. Squash, pumpkin and cucumber leaves are all very similar, so they are probably susceptible to the same types of fungus. We didn’t get to the pumpkins in time before the critters got to them, but I did get to harvest the seeds.

Before shot… seemingly healthy pumpkin

After shot… dried pumpkin seeds

I guess we’ll try again next year!

August 26, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
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Herb of the Week – Double Feature – Regular & Garlic Chives!

Trying to get back in the swing of things, I wanted to try to cover some lost ground with my herbs of the week and try a double feature. Ok, so they are both technically chives, but they are definitely each worth a look!

I LOVE chives! I’m actually surprised I went this long without featuring them. Chives seriously spruce up just about any savory dish; adding them to salads is awesome (my favorite is chicken or tuna salad for a little oniony zing), and we can’t forget about chive cream cheese.

I’ve had regular chives since we had the house. These chives actually started out in one of the long containers with fellow perennials thyme and oregano. I pretty much just dumped the entire packet of seeds in the 1/3 section and left it. The next year, the chives came back, but the other two herbs didn’t, so I tried to transplant the chives section into the container shown below, and dumped another packet of seeds around it to fill in.

That seemed OK for last year, and we got a decent amount of chives, but this year, when the chives came back, they were really suffering. I was very much looking forward to some flowers to try in a salad, but we only got two (both kinda dinky), and didn’t really look very appetizing.

I had already decided that I needed more chives, so I started a new container. And then I saw Garlic Chives, and had to try them, too. Both are doing fabulous in their larger containers (the regular chives look a little overwatered, but in general, still pretty healthy).  Garlic chives are a little flatter (more like grass) and the regular chives are definitely like little tubes.

Garlic Chives

Regular Chives

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that I’m not really a huge fan of eating garlic chives (kinda grassy to me). I haven’t totally given up, maybe there is a recipe out there where they are perfect. I just haven’t found it yet! Oh well, I have plenty of chives now regardless!

August 24, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Herbs

Morning Glory!

I tried planting some Morning Glory in my hanging basket with some German Chamomile. The German Chamomile didn’t do so hot in the hanging basket, but the Morning Glory climbed up the hanger and along the Shepherd’s hook that holds it.

I really like the Morning Glory a lot, but this one only seems to bloom about once a week for about 24 hours. I’ll have to investigate better conditions for next year, and maybe plant a few more so I have lots more pretty blue flowers!

On the Shepherd’s Hook

Morning Glory Close Up

August 23, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Flowers

Zinnias, Hooray!

The zinnias have been doing amazing in the garden… and they are so bright and beautiful I love cutting them for my table. I only planted 4 plants (granted, a few seeds per ‘spot’), so I wasn’t expecting that many flowers, but I have plenty! I’m definitely growing these every year from now on. Only 1 packet of seeds will give you a ton of zinnias! I’ve already had about 5 vases full of zinnias, and there are many, many more. I have 3 colors dark pink, orange, and peach. The bushes are about 3 feet high, and are actually very pretty to look at. You can’t keep up with cutting them, so there is always a lot of color in them. I might even try to plant some at the house next year, too. I didn’t realize until now they are deer resistant!

As you can see on the last picture, the ‘good’ bugs like to hang out there, too! Praying mantis is on the most top flower to the right. The butterfly is a bit harder to see on the bottom left in a bit from the last flower.

Zinnias on the table!

Zinnia ‘Bush’

Zinnias with Praying Mantis & Butterfly

 

August 22, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Bugs, Community Garden, Flowers

Busy as a bee…

OK, I’m so far behind on my herb of the week and lacking for posts in general, it’s just pathetic.

“Busy as a bee” on a sunflower

Between the business trip to Germany, work, vacation to Vermont, (mini) vacation to Ocean City, NJ / Atlantic City, turning 30 (Holy crap! still not ready to accept it!) surrounded by my loved ones, cleaning the house,  actually tending to the garden/yard, and, finally, just enjoying the summer, I just didn’t get a chance to fire up the computer and sit down and write some posts.

I have (kind of surprisingly) been thinking a lot about what I really want out of the site, ideas for posts, etc. However, now I just need to start actually doing some of them — unfortunately, I have the problem in other areas of my life that I do too much thinking and not enough doing, too! (My sister made me get pinterest… and there are so many awesome ideas on there! More on that later.)

All in all, the garden has been quite productive, even though there have been quite a bit of challenges as well. Full disclosure: the sunflower above is not actually from our garden, it was from another plot in the community garden. Our sunflowers are actually doing phenomenal, but there wasn’t a good image of a bee on them.

Here is the veggie count to date:

Plant Unit Total
String Beans (bush) cups 6.0
Lettuce Mix cups 3.0
Mesclun Mix leaves 12.0
Roma Tomatoes lbs 2.3
Cherry Tomatoes lbs 3.9
Juliet Tomatoes lbs 5.0
Swiss Chard Leaves 14.0
Zinnia 35.0
Golden Squash 4.0
Greyzini 8.0
Zucchini 9.0
Largo Squash 7.0
Cucumbers 16.0
Bell Peppers 2.0

Unfortunately, these are the final numbers for the squash and cukes. The squash had a good run (except for the golden squash, I really think we sprouted those way too early), and although the numbers aren’t super high on the others, we had a single squash (Greyzini) weigh in at 7lbs 4 oz, and the rest of them weren’t far behind in sizes. We really like our squash on the grill, so we let them grow quite large. I was really excited for a good year of cukes, picking 10 the first harvest! Then earlier last week, they just crapped out and the vine died in a matter of 48 hours (same thing happened with our garden neighbors – consensus is some sort of fungus got to them). At least we got a good bunch out of the 3 plants I had, and I have a few more that are holding on in the fridge I’ll eat this week.

As for the rest, we’ll just have to wait for more posts. I don’t want to overdo it the first time back in about a month!

August 21, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Flowers, Great Outdoors, Life, Produce

July Garden Humor

In honor of one of our best garden producers (and my stomach, which in the past has caused me problems):

What vegetable can tie your stomach in knots? 
String beans!

Haha! Happy August!

July 31, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
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Truly Mammoth Sunflowers!

Ah! Almost a week between posts and I missed the herb of the week this week. I will have to make up for it this Friday!

Anyway, so much has been going on in the garden (no thanks to me, thank Mother Nature!), so I needed to post. I showed a few weeks ago that our first sunflower was blooming. This one we had sprouted indoors, and I think came out a bit stunted in the terracotta pot while it waited to be transplanted, and now it is happily creating seeds (albeit stunted, too).

Once we got the rest of the garden cleaned up, I planted some seeds direct in the ground — and WHOA have they taken off! They are seriously living up to the “Mammoth” name and are like trees growing out of the ground. The “trunks” are about 2.5 inches in diameter, and are currently standing a little over 5′.  I have 3 regular “Mammoth” growing — which are the kind with edible seeds which we hope to harvest, and 3 “Evening Sun” that will be a deep red or orange. I’m planning on having a fabulous vase at some point in the early fall with the Evening Sun! I’m pretty sure next year we will just plant direct in the ground.

July 22, 2012 · Sheryl · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Community Garden, Flowers, Produce