Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ruffled Poppy and Russian Giant

Discovered a ruffled pink poppy yesterday afternoon!

Teddy Bear sunflower

Multi-headed volunteer sunflower in the south garden in front of the house.

The Russian Giant sunflower in the potato patch is starting to open.

It's stalk is very thick!  Used when firewood is scarce in parts of Russia, I've read.

A purple peppermint dahlia starting to open.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Ox

This post is a little different, having nothing to do with seeds, gardening, or permaculture.  

THE OX is a portrait of master woodworker Eric Hollenbeck and the alternative high school he has partnered with.  I really enjoyed watching this short film, and would love to see more films like it.

The Ox from Ben Proudfoot on Vimeo.

From the Blue Ox Millworks website:

Blue Ox is a fully functioning Victorian job shop which produces custom architectural millwork, as well as interior and exterior details for historic homes and new construction projects around the United States. But it's more than that. Blue Ox is a school, a historic park, and a haven for craftsmen.

Blue Ox is the product of nearly four decades of work from master craftsman Eric Hollenbeck and his wife Viviana. It is a place where craftsmanship techniques of the last century are preserved and quality takes precedence over mass production. It's also a place where community comes together and lives are changed in positive ways.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Peppers, Poppies, A Squatter In The Tool Shed

The bell peppers are coming along...slowly, but surely.

The Yellow Taxis are finally showing hints of yellow!

Opalkas have underperformed this year.  These are the best ones.  Still green, though, and hard as rocks.

We have plenty of Paul Robesons on the three plants by the side of the house.  They were among the first tomatoes to ripen and they are delicious.  I think these will go on the list of tomatoes to grow again next summer.

We have about a third the amount of the leeks we grew last year.  This is one of the largest.  It was one of the transplants we got from the local nursery, so I can't take credit!

Apache chili peppers

The light purple eggplant on the left is a Ping Tung (heirloom), while the dark one on the right is a Vittoria (hybrid).  The Ping Tung plant is revolting against the cooler nights by letting go of it's leaves and refusing to put out more fruit, though there are still plenty of blooms on it.  The Vittoria has two more small eggplants on it.  They are now growing at a snail's pace, but I might still come away with two more eggplants this summer.   

The other eggplants I had (Rosa Bianca and Black Beauty) have, to my surprise, bounced back after I sprayed the daylights out of them with an insecticidal soap. They all have several blooms on them, but I doubt the days are long or hot enough now for them to develop fruit.

R. has been attending to the apples on our young apple tree behind the house.  These are the first ones it has produced.   He checks their progress daily.  Funny how different people seem emotionally connected to different things in the garden.

R. took several pictures of this very large spider in the tool shed with my camera.  Yay.  Thankfully, he warned me before I downloaded my pictures.  I am equally thankful that the close-up he tried to take turned out blurry.  *shudder*

The flower bed has been a bit of a write-off this year, but I finally have poppies!  Three so far.  They don't last long, but are so pretty.  These ones are Flanders (also called Ladybird/Ladybug) poppies.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Drummondville's Front Yard Vegetable Garden

This is the first Canadian example I have heard of (there are plenty in the USA) where a front yard garden was ordered to be removed.  I can't imagine why - theirs is as neat as a pin!  The couple received international support to change the bylaws in their city and were able to keep the garden. Worth a watch (~10 minutes long).


Friday, August 22, 2014

Tucking In The Garden

Temperatures have started to dip low overnight.  Last night we went out around 8:45pm to tuck the garden in.  Better safe than sorry!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Waiting Game Begins

New growth has slowed down in the garden and now the waiting game begins to see what will ripen - and in the case of the beans, what will dry - sufficiently before the first hard frost hits.  My eggplants and peppers just seemed to be hitting their stride when the nights turned cool.  Tomatoes are just now starting to ripen, even the cherries.  I hope for another month of very warm weather, but what we get is always a toss-up.  Tonight's forecast calls for a low of 2 degrees, so we will be covering what we can with old bedsheets and row cover in case it dips even lower.  It is wearisome to be concerned about frost when September hasn't even arrived yet.

This morning, it was a chilly 4 degrees at 7:00am.  I was up roaming around at 4:30am, and admit to feeling some anxiety that it is no longer broad daylight at that hour.  I don't know where that comes from.  It sits heavily, though, right in my solar plexus, and it goes back almost as long as I remember.  Strange, when I love Fall so much!

A new dahlia opened, a little lopsided.  Pretty colours, though!

The dwarf varieties of sunflower I planted way back in June are just now starting to bloom.  This is a Music Box sunflower, being visited by a bee.

A Music Box sunflower and beside it, a Teddy Bear sunflower just starting to open.

A few more Morning Glories among the corn.

I think I'm going to have some poppies...?

The Snowcap pole beans are taking forever to produce bean pods.  This is the largest one!  There are a handful of tiny ones on other the vines.

Our one and only Red Kuri squash.  Another one was pollinated but didn't quite "take".

One of two Sweet Meat squash.  The other, growing further up the apple tree, has remained quite small.  The one pictured below is about the right size.  Please ripen before the frost hits, pretty please...

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Okay, it's not gigantic, but it's a pretty good size!  

This is our second cucumber.  The first was sliced and eaten before I could take a picture of it.  The cucumber plants we started from seed were zapped by cool - and then very hot - weather, so we bought four transplants from the nursery (one of those ended up zapped, too).  The three remaining plants stayed about 7 inches long for a month and a half, but once they took off, they grew vigorously.  

We'll have lots of cucumbers this year...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vittoria In The Lead

This morning, I discovered a third eggplant on the Vittoria hybrid.  Not the small one at the top, but the large one on the bottom left-hand side.  It had been growing under the leaf mulch!   The Ping Tung has two eggplants, while the Black Beauty and Rose Bianca varieties have none.  The latter two seem to have been zapped by mites or some kind of leaf fungus.

I also discovered two Paul Robeson tomatoes at the bottom of this plant, behind a mass of leaves (which I removed).  Not only were they ripe, they were over-ripe.  They squished to mush when I tried to pull them off.  Euw.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cabbage Roll Casserole, Here I Come...

The first cabbage from the garden.  It weighs more than I did at birth!  *L*

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Pink Surprise

A volunteer Morning Glory growing up a cornstalk.

12 hours later

A new little dahlia

Love these!    :-)

Kenearly Yellow Eye beans starting to dry

Near the end of pea season

The Sweet Meat squash is coming along!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Herb Clippings

Last September, I brought in small rosemary and sage plants to see if they would overwinter indoors.  They did, and have thrived outside this summer.  I will bring them back in next month, and have also started clippings to pot and give as little gifts this Christmas.

Left to right:  chocolate mint, rosemary, and sage.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bean Blight and My First Ripe Tomato

Yesterday, R spotted the first ripe medium-sized tomato of the season.  This is a Moskvich, and is one of several early varieties I'm growing this year.  "Early" to me means that these varieties should be half-way ripe by now.  With the exception of five cherry tomatoes, however, this is the only tomato that appears anything other than green.  I'm trying not to feel anxious about it, despite the change in the air, the quality of light, and the sense that the season is winding down and shifting into Fall.  We still have 2/3 of August left and, with any luck, several weeks of warm weather in September.

One of the dry bean varieties I was most looking forward to growing out was Molasses Face.  For the first time since I began gardening, something (blight?) has damaged one of my bean crops.  I hoped for weeks that it would only effect the leaves and that some the beans would develop normally.  Unfortunately, whatever has wrecked the leaves is now affecting the beans as well.  I am not ready to pull them out and compost them, though I fear that's where this is heading.  Such a shame.  It was a brand new package of seeds!

It looks like we'll have 4 good-sized cabbages and one tiny one.  A few of the cabbage transplants didn't make it.  I didn't buy red cabbage transplants this year, as I am always left with way more of it than I can use (and R doesn't eat it).  I will grow a few again next summer, though, as I really missed its colour in the garden! 

Turnips!  This is my first time growing turnips.  There are a few things I'll do differently if I grow them again.  They take up a lot of space, so I will plant them in a single row (instead of the double row I did this year), along the back edge of a container or the garden, and I will force myself to thin them once they've sprouted.  (One of my weaknesses - I hate doing away with healthy seedlings, even though I know the result will be larger, healthier plants if I thin what comes up!) 

Lemon yellow dahlias

Summer Savoury.  Though I don't use it often in my cooking, I love the smell of Summer Savoury.  It looks pretty in the garden, especially once it starts putting out tiny flowers.  Thyme and majorum can smell musty to me, but Summer Savoury always smells green and fresh.

Yet another picture of a leek going to see.  I just think it's so pretty.  :-)

Though I planted this variety of tomato as an afterthought and was not emotionally invested in how well it did, the Yellow Taxis have pleasantly surprised me!  They are not ripe yet, but they have produced an abundance of firm, perfect little spheres on the two plants I have.  If they ripen well and are flavourful, I will definitely save seeds from the Yellow Taxis.

The Eva Purple Balls, another early variety, also seem to be doing well.  They are similar to the Yellow Taxis in shape and size, though not as tightly clustered on the plant.   I admit to being more invested in how they turn out, for whatever reason! 

Yellow Taxi tomatoes - not ripe quite yet!