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25 August 2010 @ 03:23 pm

Micro Froggies!!!

20 August 2010 @ 12:19 pm
Today's Wondermark may have been written for my beloved husband.
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14 August 2010 @ 10:26 pm
From Wikipedia:

In botanical language, a berry is a simple fruit having seeds and pulp produced from a single ovary; the ovary can be inferior or superior.

Examples of botanical berries include:

06 August 2010 @ 08:16 pm
The alt-text for today's A Softer World should read, "We are glad to have at least one of you as our friends."
01 August 2010 @ 07:09 pm
Whee! Okay, since it's been a million years since I posted, this is going to be a bit scatter-shot:

We have a house full of gorgeous and delicious tomatoes (3 varieties) peppers (beaver dam, others not ready yet), carrots (both), cucumbers, ground cherries, and assorted herbs. Eric has taken photos of at least some of these which I'll post once they're uploaded.

All of the peas are done for the season, and the green beans are few and far between. I let them dry on the vines and we threshed them (which is a funny term to use when you're doing it by hand, but whatever) yesterday. The seeds are still a bit moist, so they're laid out next to an air conditioner for further dehumidifying before I pop them in the freezer for de-weevilization.

The purple pole beans are still drying; they're very large and were the latest crop of the four legumes. We didn't end up eating many of these fresh, but they should be good dried (after I've pulled out as many as we desire for seed).

All of the peppers and all of the tomatoes except the Federles are free of blossom-end rot. Apparently the Federles need more calcium than the others. I'll fortify the whole plot next year; I bought plenty this time around.

As far as next year's planting, I think we'll need more space. I also need to change the configuration a bit; having short herbs in front, medium "bush" plants in the middle and tall/climbing stuff in back works for some items, but not others. More to come....

  • Ground Cherries
  • Basil - this needs its own space
  • Sugar Snap Peas - at least double the allotment
  • Carrots
  • Green beans - although might replace bush variety with a climber
  • Onions - these need a larger, dedicated plot. I'll bet they would work well in my big containers

  • Cucumbers - as mentioned earlier, my Boothby's succumbed to cold, but the 2 True Lemon plants are providing about the right total yield
  • Most herbs
  • All peppers - may also consider adding a chili
  • All tomatoes - this is about the perfect mix, or would be if I got a full yield of Federles

  • Sunberries - I don't love them enough for the amount of space they take/shade they cast. Interestingly, they seem to be sacrifical - something is eating their leaves but nothing else.
  • Radishes - smaller plot, more frequent plantings
  • Broccoli - again, too much space/light for its yield
  • Purple pole - may not plant again, yet to decide
  • Snow Peas - I'm thinking of planting only sugar snap next year
In addition, the perennials are looking good.  The rhubarb is lush, the strawberries are thriving in their container and want to go into the ground, and the raspberries, which surprised me by being blush-colored when ripe, are delicious and now producing nicely.

I never did get any endive/kale/spinach/radicchio in (as a result of not doing lead tests), nor did I plant any corn/sunflowers/melon (ran out of room).  Next year, I hope.

Next episode - adventures in tomato seed-saving.
Current Location: In the hot, hot, office
Current Mood: fullfull
04 June 2010 @ 10:55 pm
Okay, so it's been billions of years since I've posted one of these.  Life is keeping me very busy, as is the day-to-day maintenance of the garden.  Writing is a distant third in my priorities. :)

I bought way too much at the Friends' Plant Sale, as always.  Some of it is still waiting to be planted/repotted; more on this to come, no doubt.  I am particularly delighted to have found a nice little bay laurel.  I also got a pomegranate.  It claims to be self-fertile; if I'm very lucky I may eventually get edible fruit out of the deal.

We had one cold night during the second week in May and lost a tomato and a cucumber.  The tomato I replanted, but I was out of cucumbers.  The basil lost it leaves but there was enough root there that it's leafing out again (although we did replant one of the three Genovese basil with one we had started in a pot).  A couple of the peppers looked rough for a bit but have now recovered.

In fact, almost everything is looking fabulous.  The sunberries are unbelievably vigorous; I hope they taste good, too.  The broccoli is amazing, as is the parsley.  Most of the tomatoes and peppers look grand.  Everything is going like gangbusters except the cucumbers and rosemary, which are getting kind of a slow start.  For rosemary, of course, that's just the nature of the beast.

I got myself a very nice hoe - the compact triangle-head variety, which is fantastic for a small garden like mine.  I love it; I can't imagine trying to do all this weeding by hand.

The peas are in blossom, but nothing else is yet.  However, I've already harvested half the radishes.  We re-seeded with carrots because I think we'll end up eating many more carrots than radishes.  It surprised me how much spicier the radishes got after just a few extra days' maturity - these claim to mature in 21 days, and they're not kidding.

Lessons for next year:
  • I think I already mentioned that I intend to start all my indoor seedlings in the large pots (36 per tray).
  • Start peppers and tomatoes just a bit later - Mid-March should do the trick.  Start rosemary very early and cucumbers very late.  I know that various organizations provide charts for this, and I'll use them this time around.
  • Remember to put the darned calcium in this time.
  • Make sure to put the broccoli where it can't overshadow anything.  It's not tall, but it's dense!
  • The vine on the south fence is incredibly vigorous; I'll have to remove it at the source if I intend to grow anything sun-loving near it.

I haven't managed to deliver plants to everybody who spoke for them, but I do still have them!
11 April 2010 @ 01:57 pm
We had an incredibly productive couple of days digging things up, cutting things down, and chopping things apart, followed by a little bit of planting (3 rhubarb crowns).  Eric was mighty, and persistent enough to rid us of a few tree stumps that had taken up residence in the chainlink fence several years ago, not to mention a huge hunk of concrete formerly used as a fencepost anchor.  I found a circa 1900 silver teaspoon and a badly corroded pliers.

We agree on our hatred of chainlink fence, but we'll keep it for a this year, at least - it makes a perfectly good trellis for climbing crops, and I've placed the garden up against the fence with that in mind.

The Karens were right - the cucumbers are already  flowering, darn it.  I think it's time for coldframes & bees.

We did have a visit from a honeybee yesterday.  I told him that he was a little early, but there would be wonderful things here for him before too long.

It's also time for me to take soil samples for lead testing - right after lunch.  Results will determine whether I do raised beds; I'm hoping it won't be necessary.

It will be a struggle to keep writing here as the weather gets nicer.  If previous years are any indication I'll be tempted to turn my computer off in May, and back on again in November.
Current Mood: accomplished
01 April 2010 @ 01:24 pm
And just in case you're missing the Important News of Today, you might want to check out Slashdot.
25 March 2010 @ 06:56 pm
We have lots of little crocuses coming up in the lawn - several white, a few lavender, and so far just a single deep purple one.  So far they're all on the north side of the lawn - those always show up sooner than their opposite number.  I planted them there a few years ago, and they have mostly hung in there, although it seems I lose a few on the south side and gain a few on the north every year.

* * * * *

The seedlings are doing well.  I let some of them get too dry to the point of wilting yesterday, but they've all recovered.  The broccoli and cucumbers are about to lose their seed leaves.

The wilt problem with the tomatoes was confined to just a couple of plants.  Looking closely at one of them it appeared to have bred untrue, so I culled it.  There's one more that isn't quite as dramatic; I'll give it a few more days to see whether it's going to straighten up (literally & figuratively).

* * * * *

I repotted 3 houseplants last week: the new fatsia, the ficus lyrata, and the ficus elastica.  No more ugly plastic nursery pots in the living room!  And it only took 6 years or so.  :P

The jasmine has scale, and apparently gave it to the fatsia.  So last weekend when the weather was nice, I took them each outside, hosed them down, spritzed them down with spray oil, and let them sit outside until dry.  The fatsia seems completely cured.  The jasmine was so heavily infested that I'm going to give it another go next time the weather is decent.  I can see the ugly little things beginning to fall off already, which is good.  I hate scale.

Mum's clivia miniata is blooming beautifully.  I'm so lucky it's hanging out with me for now. :)

Tomorrow Mum & I head to Ikea to pick up some more of that incredibly cheap utilitarian shelving they carry.  I have cleaned out the grow room and intend to use one wall for storing indoor plant supplies.

* * * * *

Thank goodness it's spring.