Sunday, November 22, 2009


My friend Ross ordered some onion starts from the web a few weeks back and they arrived about 2 weeks ago. Of course, it's not onion planting season yet, but the starts only live for about 3 weeks so it was plant or die. I obtained a small handful and just planted them today in the two black flowerpots and around the spring garden.

I also had another run in with the leaf footed bugs. I have found that pulling a leaf off of the eggplant and then using it as a 'smusher' works quite well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Quazi--I don't like the feel of being so squished on the top and open on the sides, but it's rare that my cats will actually do what I want them to and he had been laying down for all the other pictures (see below)

Quazi--again. Once again, still kinda squished on the top, but it would have required me to go over and close the front door in order to prep the shot correctly. And I am lazy.

Shrimp Plant from Bob at Draco Gardens

The fish head (I have no idea what it actually is supposed to be)

Succulents--once again, from Bob at Draco Gardens

Bulbine--from the spring Garden Bloggers Get Together

Leaf Footed Nymphs. If you see one, it's actually an assassin bug nymph. If you see hundreds, then they're Leaf Footed bug nymphs.

Click to embiggen--I think the gall looking thing is (are?) nematodes. Vunderbar.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fall Garden Update

While out checking on the spring garden, I also did an inventory of the fall garden. I think everything I've planted has come up except for garlics 2 and 4. They may just be taking their sweet time though. I thinned all the carrots and spinach. I cut all the extra beets and chard at the ground. I haven't yet thought about thinning the onions and chives because they're still ultra small and I have a while before they'd start crowding each other. I also still haven't planted any strawberry plants. This is because I am lazy.

I did notice though that I have quite a few carrots in random places--the result of washout. Meh, so what if I have a few carrots in the pea and spinach squares at the right end of the garden?

Garlic | spinach| garlic |chard|garlic|spinach|broc |chard|garlic
Carrot| onion | beet | broc | beet | garlic |beet |chives|spinach
pea | straw |chives|carrot| pea | straw |onion|carrot|pea

Spring Garden Updates

Yesterday, I went outside to check on the spring garden. At this point, the reason for checking on the spring garden is because of the 5 tomato plants, 4 of them have tomatoes on them. Of course, the Krim only has 1 tomato, but still, it counts. In any case, since I figured at this point in time that any current flowers were not going to be able to ripen into tomatoes so I might as well pull off all the flowers on all the plants (including the pepper and eggplant).

Since the Brandywine Tomato didn't have any tomatoes, I went ahead and pulled it out. There are a couple of growths on the root (I have pictures, but I'm outside babysitting the cat to make sure she doesn't eat any plants so I don't have access to the pictures I took), which I'm pretty sure means something was wrong with the plant. The Krim has one tomato on it, the BHN and Viva Italia both have about 5 and the Roma is so loaded with tomatoes it's starting to fall over and take the tomato cage with it. This is the plant I'm most worried about with the upcoming freezes. With the soft freezes I can just put a sheet over it to give it some protection, but once a hard freeze is projected then I'll either have to make green tomato chutney (using Lancashire Rose's recipe) or I'll have to do what we did in Colorado--that is pull the whole plant out and then hang it upside down somewhere in the house and wait for the tomatoes to ripen. Of course, doing it that way, you only get the tomatoes that were close to turning pink to ripen, the ones that are itty bitty on the plant and are no where close to even beginning to turn pink usually are thrown away.

The Eggplant has about 10 golf ball sized or slightly bigger eggplants on it. It was during the inspection of the eggplant that I found out that I had an infestation of nymph leaf footed bugs. I immediately sprayed the plant with soapy water and then I came back out about 2 hours later and smashed up all the bugs I could find. This morning when i went back out, I didn't see a single nymph. The eggplants I can pull off whenever to use, but I think I'll let them grow until the first frost so they can get bigger.

The Corno di Toro pepper finally has some peppers on it--one is pretty big, and the others...not so much. I hope the big one can ripen before a hard freeze kills the plant.

The Thai pepper plant is in much the same situation as last year--that is there are about 5 peppers on it that are green, and they probably won't turn red before I have to pull the peppers off of the plant.

The butternut vine is keeping on, keeping on. It has one butternut squash on it, and the squash is already bigger than the one I pulled off in the summer--apparently squash plants do not like the head of summer. Also keeping my fingers crossed that the squash will ripen before a freeze.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Garden: Growing

I went out yesterday afternoon and checked on all the plants. Everything looks to be going along swimmingly. Garlic hasn't sprouted yet, but I think just about everything else has. Plan for this weekend: thin.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Garlic: planted

After soaking 5 cloves of 5 different garlics overnight in a baking soda water solution, and then soaking all the soaked cloves in rubbing alcohol for another 3-5 minutes, I am glad to say that I have planted the garlic. Obviously not all of it, so I may be doing this dance all over again shortly.

Since this blog also doubles as my gardening notebook, I'd better make a note of which garlics went where (lest I end up in the same situation as Vertie).

Using metal garden marker stakes that Bond got me for my birthday, I opted to write numbers instead of names--mostly because they are reusable, and I want to reuse them. Each stake is placed front and center of each garlic square.

Numbers, names and description written on the bag:
1 = Burgundy: A Creole Garlic, Very rich garlic flavor - Mild/Mellow pungency when raw - Harvests in mid-season - Stores 8-10 months.
2 = Kettle River: An Artichoke Garlic, Rich mellow garlic flavor - medium warm pungency when raw - Harvests in early-mid summer - Stores through winter.
3 = Shilla: A Turban Garlic, a rich garlic flavor - warm pungency when raw - harvests very early in season - stores through fall.
4 = Korean Red: An Asiatic Garlic, Mildly rich garlic flavor - very mild pungency when raw - Harvests in early-mid season - Stores 5-6 months.
5 = California Early: An Artichoke Garlic, Rich mellow garlic flavor - medium warm pungency when raw - Harvests early in season - Stores about 6 months.

As noted earlier, I got all these in the sampler pack for growing in Texas from Bob at

I went ahead and added one Korean Red clove and one Shilla clove to our breakfast potatoes this morning. Because there's no way I can tell a difference between one type of garlic and another when they're mixed in the same dish, I did sample a small raw piece of each. It's amazing how the pungency really is very different between them. I first tasted the Korean Red and said "hmm, that's a little 'hot', not very though." and then I took a taste of the Shilla and was like "wow, that's hot! and it tastes like garlic garlic."


Already seeing chard, spinach and beet shoots. Mostly chard and spinach--theres only one place where a beet shoot is coming up, which makes me think that it's not a beet, but one of the spinach seeds I accidentally dropped.

I've got my garlic soaking right now, so I can plant that in about 3 more hours. I did give Bond and Ross 3 cloves of two different kinds of garlic, so hopefully they'll have some luck.

Now i just need to figure out what to do with the rest of this garlic...

Note: for whatever reason, I've decided to go in a fiscal year sort of sense for growing seasons--I think this has to do with the fall to spring season and which year do I put it under, etc. Because I work for the guvmint, and they do fiscal years from October 1 to September 30, I think i will do the same--kinda like the school year if you think about it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Garden '09 - Spring '10

We leveled, and filled the secondary garden today. We built the wood framing last weekend, but didn't feel like doing all the other parts of it. We decided we HAD to do it this weekend since we are officially now in November, otherwise known as "almost too late to plant anything...including the garlic I bought."

Since I didn't know for sure if we were going to actually be ready to plant stuff until this afternoon when we got the dirt, I didn't bother soaking all the various seeds overnight as I was supposed to (the spinach, chard, beet and garlic all need to be soaked overnight), plus I still haven't bought the strawberry plants. Update: I planted the spinach, chard and beet seeds last night (11-2). The chard plants are one per square, the beets and spinach are currently at 9 per square which will be thinned to 5 per square. Hopefully when they're at the point of being large enough to thin and use.

I'm doing a somewhat modified "square foot" gardening thing. Modified in so much that instead of square feet, it's square 10". This is because the bed is 30" wide. And 30 does not divide by 12 easily. But it does divide by 10 easily. It just meant that I had to redo all the math of how many plants to add per square. Of course, it probably would have made more sense to do 2 one foot rows and then one 6" row. Too late now, already have seeds planted.

After going through and making a plan based on height of plants and companion planting, I ended up with a grid that includes 2 broccoli, 2 chard, 5 garlic, 2 green onion, 2 chives, 3 carrot, 3 pea, 3 spinach, 2 strawberry, and 3 beet squares. As I did for the spring garden, the descriptions are as follows:

Broccoli: Renee's Garden, All Season Blend; We've mixed equal amounts of seed for these great tasting, high-yielding hybrid varieties with early, mid, and late season maturities for the longest possible harvests. We've chosen cultivars for flavorful, extra-fancy, tightly beaded main heads and abundant side shoots. All three have excellent disease resistance and weather tolerance. Transplant to Harvest: 60.

Chard: Renee's Garden, Italian Silver Rib; A long time favorite of Italian cooks for its flavor and substance, this fine variety has wide, crisp, silvery-white midribs and crinkled, shiny green leaves. The large-framed, handsome plants grow easily and vigorously from spring through late fall. Heirloom Silver Rib produces an abundance of big succulent leaves with sweet crunchy stalks to enjoy as mild, mellow-tasting greens. You'll find it consistently delicious simply steamed with fresh lemon, sautéed with aromatics or added to stir-fries, soups, and casseroles. Days to harvest: 50. Notes: These are the seeds I got for free from the Planning for Spring Gardens Master Gardener seminar.

Beets: Renee's Garden, Jewel-Toned Beets (red sangria, golden, and striped chioggia); Our mixture of burgundy, golden, and candy-striped beets yields big harvets with glowing rich colors, succulent testure and sweet earthy flavor. These beets will become an easy to grow, long keeping staple in your gardenn and kitchen. The smooth roots can be harvested at any size to bake, boil, or steam and enjoy hot and buttered or chilled in an herb vinaigrette. The nutritious young tops are unrivaled as melt-in-your-mouth steemed greens. Days to Harvest: 55.

Carrot (1): Liberty Garden, Danvers Half Long; Home garden favorite, dependable, heavy yielding. Very sweet with good flavor, fine grained and tender. Days to Harvest: 75. Note: I bought these seeds eons ago, as in fall of 2007 I think; however, the package sell by date is Sept. '09. Also, I planted these in 2 of the three boxes--the two closest to the currently existing garden.

Carrot (2): Renee's Garden, Sunshine Mix (Yellowstone and Nantes Forto); Our novelty mix offers gardeners the fun of growing both sunny yellow and bright orange carrots. You'll have eye catching rich harvests of crisp, smooth, evenly cylindrical roots that reach a full 8 inches in length. Both of these premium European varieties taste sweet and crispy with no soapy off-flavors and you can enjoy them over a long harvest period. Whether fresh sliced into carrot sticks, or quickly cooked, their sunshine bright colors are a kithcen gardener's delight! Days to Harvest: 88 Note: This is only planted in one square--the one closest to the neighbor's fence that lives behind us.

Scallions: Renee's Garden, Salad Scallions (Green Feast and Red Robin); Enjoy colorful salds and sautee's with our unique blend of tender-crisp green and red scallions with straight stalks and juicy flesh. Bred for high quality, heat tolerance, and disease resistance, they are perfect to spring plant and harvest will into summer. Pull them as needed to eat fresh for weeks and add an aromatic sweet zing to everyday meals whereever you crave a mild onion flavor. Plant their pretty colors again in late summer for a long standing fall crop. Days to Harvest: 65.

Chives: Renee's Garden, Garlic Chives; Garlic chives, also called Chinese chives, have slim flat grass-like leaves that taste like a perfect combination of weet garlic and chives. Just snip them over salads, fresh vegetables, or any savory dish to add a subtle and delicious garlic accent without any of th efuss. The green strappy leaves form neat mounding plants with pretty white edible blossoms. This permanent perennial herb is a joy to have ready at hand--a gardening cooks secret! Days to Harvest: unlisted. Note: I put this in the raised bed which means that I'm going to be treating this as an annual instead of a perenial.

Peas: Unknown; Bond had left overs from their planting this year so I got the extras.

Spinach: Unknown; Bond had left overs from their planting this year so I got the extras.

Garlic: Already blogged about that here. Of course at 4 (5 plants maximum) per square, and when each bulb of garlic probably gives 20 cloves, it means I'm going to either a) have a bunch of left over garlic cloves and will be giving the stuff away to other gardeners (so if you want to try your hand at garlic, but don't want to purchase a pound of it, let me know and I'll give you a couple of cloves), b) will be eating half of the stuff I bought rather than planting it, or c) will be building another garden next weekend just for the garlic. I'm guessing it will be a combination of all three.

But seriously, if you want to try growing garlic, let me know.