Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Jiminy on a bean, basking in the sun with his 8-legged buddy.

Finally, a squash!  Right under the apple tree.

A leek going to seed.

Saj enjoying some shade, tucked beside a sprig of catnip (hidden behind the much larger "zombie plant").

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Zucchini Pickings and Volunteer Sunflowers

The first zucchini of the season!

Potato flowers

Volunteer sunflowers in the potato patch.

A closer look.

Volunteer sunflowers in the south garden.  Pea patch in the background.

Beurre de Rocquencourt beans


Two little cucumbers.  The cucumber plants are as slow as molasses this summer, even growing hybrid varieties. 

Butters (neighbour's kitty) enjoying some early morning nip.  Butters' people are away for three weeks for their wedding and honeymoon.  Their other cat is content to stay at their place and be visited daily by a housesitter.  Butters is staying with us.

A big bunch of sage among the (few) carrots that managed to grow from my first, second, third, and fourth sowings!

After digging up the onions, I decided to toss some carrot seeds along one side of the empty bed.  I figured it couldn't hurt. This time, I covered the area with burlap.  We had two heavy rainfalls in the week following, so the soil and burlap stayed wet.  Ta-daa!  We have seedlings!  (Click to enlarge) Now all we need is a really warm September, with no heavy frosts.  Hopefully, the maggots that went after the onions won't have a taste for carrots...

Green cabbage

The crabapples are starting to ripen.  It seems early.

The Opalka paste tomato plants are looking feeble this year.  They have managed to put out some fruit, though, so my fingers are crossed that the weather will cooperate long enough for them to ripen.

Royal Burgundy beans

Monday, July 28, 2014

Resistance is Fertile!

Resistance is Fertile (26:37) can be watched HERE.

Image from
Resistance is Fertile chronicles the journey of the South Central Resistance (SCR), a group of teenage renegades as they set out to reclaim and [beautify] South Central Los Angeles through the art of Guerilla Gardening--the illicit cultivation of someone else's land. With every birth of a garden lies the chance that it will be transformed back into a barren wasteland at the hands of the city government. With the aid of several veteran LA-based Guerilla Gardeners, the SCR attempts its most ambitious mission to date: The BIG DIG. Will the BIG DIG restore hope and revitalize a community or will it simply fall at the hands of the government and become another statistic? Join these environmental warriors as they green the hood for the good.  (Written by Mike Greischar, director)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jiminy Cricket and The Golden Beets

Here are the golden beets I picked yesterday, photobombed by Jiminy Cricket!  That's a grasshopper, actually.  We have had a large number of grasshoppers around this year.  Several have been unusual colours, including lime green with red eyes (that one really looked like a cartoon character!), dark yellow, and orange in addition to the usual brown and khaki ones.  

I roasted the golden beets this morning.  Love them!  They are very mild and they don't bleed or stain.  I will grow them again next summer, but will buy a fresh batch of seeds, first.  The ones I have are very slow to germinate, have a low germination rate, and take a loooong time to mature compared to the red beets I grow.

The star-shaped, blue borage flowers are starting to open.

One of last year's leeks going to seed. 

R is very pleased that our apple tree is finally producing some apples!

Saj in the (rather sparse, this year) flower bed.

Yellow Taxi tomatoes

The first nasturtium of the summer!

The squash vines were starting to crawl up the apple tree and the corn, so R installed some stakes for them to climb, instead - mostly willow, but also an old pool cue!

A zucchini.  I'm not sure what kind.

Calendula and Shasta Daisies

The Pink Bumblebee tomatoes are the first to ripen this year.

It has been a few years since I last grew Canadian Wild Goose beans.  I don't remember them having runners, but I guess they do!  I must make a note to space them farther apart next time.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

"This grocery store gave 'ugly' fruits and vegetables their own aisle.  Watch what happens."

(Full article HERE)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A New Foe

We are having another round of rain, thunder, and lightning.  Definitely an indoor, cozy kind of day.

I have been putting off writing about the discovery we made July 16th.  It still needles and tires me to think about.  Earlier in the month, we discovered, to our surprise, that our radishes were riddled with little maggots.  None of the radishes were salvageable.  We thought this was very strange, but considered it an unfortunate fluke, composted the radishes, and forgot about it.

We had also been noticing that the onions were looking wilted, with parts of the stalks turning brown even though they were far from being large enough to pick.  We had never grown onions before, so thought maybe this was just their process.  One looked particularly sickly, so R pulled it, only to discover the same little maggots chowing down on the onion!  I couldn't imagine something wanting to munch on raw onions.  He pulled several more and they, too, were riddled with maggots.

I came inside to do an online search.  Meet the root maggot, the latest infernal beast to blight our garden.  Their favourite targets are brassicas (so this is why we lost several broccoli this year), carrots, and onions.  They have been known to go after bean plants as well, on rare occasions.  I had never seen or heard of them before this summer.  The eggs can survive through the winter, so we can't count on the frigid temps to kill them.  I will have to take measures to not only prevent the flies from laying eggs at the base of newly germinated vegetables next Spring (mulch heavily, sprinkle with diatomaceous earth or wood ash, and/or drape all areas securely with row cover), but to deal with any eggs still in the soil by adding nematodes to the soil next Spring and tilling very deeply late this Fall.

We ended up having to pull out our entire onion patch.  We salvaged parts of about about 10 onions, which we immediately chopped and froze.  The information I read online recommended not composting anything effected by root maggots, so we tossed the onions and stems directly into the trash can.  What a disappointing afternoon.  Not only did we lose our onions, we didn't even come out of it with stuff for our compost bins.  

We have had about a week of rainy weather with a number of storms, sometimes including hail.  Between the incoming storm and the sky being full of smoke from wildfires, the morning of the 18th had the eeriest atmosphere I have ever experienced.  I was sure a huge hail or wind storm was going to hit.  Everything was cast with a gray-orange, and then green, light. The clouds had a strange shape and hung close to the ground.  Thankfully, we ended up only getting rain later in the day, but words like "apocalypse", "zombies", "tornado", "creepy" and "bunker" were on the tip of everyone's tongue as I ran errands downtown that morning.

A few pictures from the past week and a half:
The onion bed.  Back to square one.

Red frilly mustard bolting.

The first Scarlet Flax flower to appear.

 The basil is finally taking off.

I am not sure what kind of dahlia this is, but it's cute.  The first few blooms have been lacking a full set of petals.

Broccoli - we have harvested and blanched 7 heads so far.  The heads started to bolt when they were still fairly small, which is always frustrating.  They certainly taste great, though!

Puddles in the garden!  It poured on the 16th.

R transferring water from the barrels near the house to the ones at the front of the property.  All of our barrels went from being empty to full in about 45 minutes.  That is 3000 litres of water, plus a 40 gallon drum.

Filling the cat's water dish.  They prefer rain water (or melted snow) to tap water!

A few days later, in the sunshine, Karl curled up on the hot lid of one of the rain barrels.