Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Bit of Colour

The first "Ruby Eclipse" sunflower to open.

Fairyland Dwarf CandyTuft

Marigolds - we have so few this year!  The shot of colour is welcome in the garden.

The first "Meteor" zinnia to open.

It's tricky to see, but there is a bee enjoying the Creeping Thyme...

...and another one snoozing on a Shasta daisy.

Silver mound, poppies, Bachelor Buttons, Shasta Daisies, Echinacea (not blooming yet).


Red Swan snap bean plants.  The flowers are white and pink.  Pretty!

Another one bites the dust.  The Great Brassica Massacre of 2017Damn root maggots.

The Ping Tung Eggplant is coming along.  No flowers yet.

This is a Galeux d'Eysines squash.  About 6 have been pollinated and are starting to grow.  It would be wonderful to finish the season with a bunch of mature winter squash.

The neighbour's cat, who we call Loreal, likes to follow me around the yard while I check the garden.  Headbutts, purring, rolling on the driveway, and grass nibbling. (Loreal, not me).  Here, she is checking out the Galeux d'Eysines plants.

A Heritage Mix of 5 early dry beans from Salt Spring Seeds.  They are doing well - I just didn't know beforehand that they would have runners!

Green Arrow peas

Of the 3 varieties of peppers I started this year, the jalapenos (as usual) are doing the best.  I'm pleased to see this, but at the same time... What's a girl gotta do to grow a good crop of sweet peppers?!

The Exuberant and The Serene

Bea curled up among the pansies and Bachelor Buttons...

...and little Lou being a wingnut in the apple tree!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Feathered Pranksters

Have I somehow angered the brassica gods?

Walking through the garden this morning, I noticed damage to two cabbages.  I don't know if it was a magpie or a raven, but it sure did a number on these vegetables.  Of course, rather than go after the three wilted, on-the-verge-of-dying cabbages, it targeted two of the healthiest, crispiest ones.

Little bugger.


Birds (again, magpies or ravens) have also been taking V-shaped bites out of strawberries for the past few week.  After finding several more damaged this morning, we put up CD and tin plate deterrents in the north garden and some of the raised beds.

CDs hung on poles in the north garden.

Not much to show in the way of flowers yet.  Plenty of alyssum blooming, but sadly, not a dahlia in sight.

A few zinnias have begun to open.

Only 1 of the 4 zucchini plants is mature enough to put out flowers.  It appears that one zucchini is growing already, though I don't know how it was pollinated.  The plant has produced two female flowers only.  I thought this was an heirloom variety?!

The apples are starting to show some pink.

My poor pepper plants.  All have remained small and spindly.  They are putting out flowers, though, so maybe they will surprise me by the end of the summer.  This is the first pepper of the season - a tiny sweet banana pepper.

The Early Annie tomato (determinate) plants seem to be doing well.  All were planted in containers along the north fence.

The first sign of flowers on the cucumber plants.

The Painted Pony, Dapple Grey, and Cattle bean (below) plants are all producing flowers.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cherry Chutney

I have wanted to try a recipe called, "Simply Delicious Cherry Chutney" for some time now.  Two factors made me decide that this would be the year: 

1) The delicious Okanogan cherries currently available from the fruit truck parked downtown (they are larger, sweeter, and juicier than the cherries imported from the US that are sold in the local grocery stores).

2) A fantastic gadget R. found this week at Canadian Tire - the Starfrit cherry pitter. It is a much cleaner, much faster way of pitting cherries than the way I had been doing it (with a sharp knife). 

I did this batch in about a half hour.

The recipe I used is found in the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving.  For some reason, it is not listed on their website.  Fortunately, it is detailed on this "Canning Homemade" blog post.  The only difference is that the original recipe calls for raisins, not dried cranberries.

Here is the finished product.  Kind of a blurry picture, but you get the idea!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Brassica Carnage

We are having a problem with root maggots this year in the north garden.  Most of my brassicas are planted there.  The vile creatures are gnawing away on the roots of the cauliflower and broccoli, killing the plants.  We've lost about 7 so far, and 2 more look like they're about to give up the ghost.  So far, they haven't gone after the cabbage. *touch wood*  We sprayed nematodes on all the garden plots and raised beds last year to deal with them (to the tune of around $75 for the product, including shipping).  Apparently, the beneficial effects don't last beyond one growing season...

Healthy broccoli plants on the left, and maggot-targeted broccoli (bottom) and Romanesco cauliflower (top) on the right:

On the positive side, these broccoli are starting to produce heads...

...and the Ruby Eclipse sunflowers (thanks, Sharon!) are growing well.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Early July Update

It is remarkable how differently things in the garden do from year to year.  This time last year, I had a beautiful dahlia on one of the plants and a large tomato growing.  This year, there are no signs of buds on the dahlia plants yet and the tomato I spotted is small.  The carrots, however, are doing better than in all the years I have grown them. *Touch wood*

I laughed out loud, looking back at a June 2013 post and seeing how small the currant bush was!  It is now a sprawling monster.  Strangely, it has never given us currants.  It was loaded with the beginnings of them this Spring but for some reason, they all dropped off.  Maybe the soil is lacking something they need? 

North garden

Along the fence - Early Annie tomatoes, sunflower, eggplant, zinnias

Tiger Eye beans, garlic (bulbils) in foreground, garlic (cloves) to the right.

Lettuce and 3 Burpless Muncher cucumbers. Cattle beans to the right.

Detroit Red beets, onions, and carrots

Onions and carrots

Leeks.  They still look so small!

Galeux D'Eysines squash

Galeux D'Eysines squash

Potatoes (R), Green Macerata cauliflower, zinnias, & Speckled Algonquin beans (L)

Green Macerata cauliflower

Cabbage bed - mostly Red Express cabbage

Pea patch - zinnias, peppers, and string beans (sprouting!) along the front.

Painted Pony dry beans & Berkeley Tie Dye tomatoes. Water barrels along side.

Bush cucumber

Basket of petunias Floofy's owner gave us.  Lettuce in the green container.

South side of the house; tomatoes, peppers, parsley, eggplant, cabbage

Assorted Mint, kale, parsley

Pepper plant (they are all still small and feeble looking) and lettuce.

South side of house; Russian Rose tomatoes, sunflower, Tene's beans (dry)


Behind the house; assorted lettuce, beets, and Swiss chard

Dapple Grey dry bush beans

Flashy Butter Oak lettuce