Friday, August 31, 2007

Anise Hyssop

The bees have been filling their pollen baskets (that bundle on this bee's leg) from the anise hyssop, as the broccoli blooms are slowing down. The hyssop had been putting out the fluffy colored tips and I thought that was all it did. Then, one day, I noticed the purple flowers and all of the bees.
This year's garden has a lot of yellows, oranges and the lavender/purple from many herb blossoms. Hyssop has been a nice addition this year. Like other herbs, the plants get rather large, but also rather non-fussy. Fresh & dried, the leaves have refreshing mint & anise attributes. I haven't yet tried making tea from it yet, though.

The above photo is the view from the bench looking across all 6 beds, from the calandula and dill combination suggested by Anita, to the sunflowers in the mostly flower bed and then the bean climber with runner and pole beans. Just to the right is the hyssop. So you can see that that some purple helps add variety. A but of a jungle, but I'm enjoying it and I think the bees are also.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Snakes Petunia and Herbert are back in the garden! What's not to celebrate with these critters. They don't eat the vegetables and do eat their share of bugs and slugs, I hope.

Ok, maybe it isn't the exact same ones. Petunia is always too fast to see but Herbert takes his time and I did see his nice red stripe. These two I just saw are larger than Petunia II who I relocated to the garden several weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Place Your Seed Orders

Thanks to my Dear Sis-in-Law, I have a new seed source! Many unusual and new (for 1890) varieties. And many I've never heard of before.
My pumpkins won't make it to 150 pounds, and I do expect their real value to be in the pie!
But don't these Cocoanut/Coconut Squash seem like just the thing for manageable squash meals? Every heard of them? I did a little searching and didn't find a current version of this variety.

Thanks, Sis, for sending this! It will be fun comparing varieties. Love the drawings and descriptions too. I'd post more flowers for you but without the cosmos this year, the bouquets are just not the same.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunflower of the Year

I can no longer tell which are the volunteer sunflowers and which are something I specifically planted. This type has done really well this year while others didn't seem to grow as well. Lots of branches with medium size flowers which are nice for cutting. Even on the sunniest days, it makes me think of autumn. Quite appropriate in this summer that wasn't (not that I've minded the cooler temps and rain, after last year).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tunnel Cloche Dreams

Wouldn't this cloche look nice in Petunia's Garden? This photo is from a Seattle P-Patch (community garden) I stopped by last weekend. My zucchini would like one of these now if it doesn't warm up again soon. The tall tomatoes on the left side of the photo are inside the cloche. The plastic covering has just been cut away when they grew too tall. I hope to have one of these in place by the end of Sept. (Hint, hint to DH who was traveling when I took this photo.)
The gardener used T-connectors to attach PVC conduit "ribs" going from side to side with a "spine" along the top of the cloche. I like how sturdy this design made the cloche.
Then, on the ground along each side of the bed is a 2x4 with holes drilled in it and the "ribs" inserted in the holes. This keeps them straight and evenly spaced. The plastic covering was held on by clips. Some look like what I've seen for sale for this purpose and some looked to be sliced pieces of PVC pipes. So now the question will be "September this year or next?"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Preparing for the Ball

The Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkins are progressing. I can just see the mice out here soon having pumpkin carriage races through the pasture. Both my neighbor and Anita gave me seeds for these. I love how they grow and hope they'll reach the nice color seen in Anita's pumpkins here in her Country Cottage Garden in Germany. I keep finding signs that Petunia and friends have moved from the garden to the pumpkin patch. I haven't seen her exactly. I did take matters in my own hands, though, and relocated a small garter snake to the garden from a spot near the garage (we'll call her Petunia II). S/he had a red stripe like Herbert, seen here last summer. She should be quite happy in the herb row.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Seedling Challenges

Several weeks ago, I started some seedlings for the fall garden: lettuce, Brussels sprouts and, uhmmm, something. Was it broccoli or something else? (I was a little tired of broccoli at that time so why would I have planted so much?) Would broccoli and Brussels sprouts have similar seedlings? I either had one BS and lots of broccoli, or lots of BS and one mystery sprout. What to do, what to do? (yes, I know - mark them next time)

Finally, yesterday, I decided the giant leaves on the left, above, are for a 4 o'clock flower because I have a very similar one in the garden now. The next set of leaves will confirm. Then all of the seedlings on the right and in several more pots are Brussels sprouts.

Tonight, the lettuce seedlings and Brussels sprout seedlings (hopefully) were planted out in the garden. Swiss chard seedlings were planted out a week a go. Maybe this will give us something to eat with the pumpkins in the months ahead (stop by tomorrow for pumpkins). A little rain for a few days would settle them in very nicely.

Still harvesting beets and tonight I put some in the oven before I went out planting. My neighbor suggested it and I do like how they came out. Very sweet all on their own. Then some green beans for dinner too. I'll be freezing some this weekend as we probably won't be able to eat or share them fast enough for a while.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Garden of Memories

On a daily basis there is a garden inside the house I enjoy. Today, I'm remembering my Dad and his mother, my Grandmother. I'm also celebrating that I've been able to grow the garden a little more. Here is the addition to my garden:When my Grandmother died almost 20 years ago, a little before my wedding, my family sent me me home with a number if items from my Grandmother's house. This included a stainless flatware set that my husband and I still use every day. I'd never been able to confirm the manufacture or find any additional pieces, until now. All I had to go on was the "Rose USA Stainless" on the handles. As you can see in my new addition, I now know the pattern is from Sears Roebuck and Co. , which doesn't surprise me. This ceritificate is dated Dec. 25, 1958. My set is probably about the same age.
Flatware is more difficult to photograph than vegetables, but here you get the idea of the Rose pattern. I've always liked it and my set has worn very well through the years of use, although the flat knife blades are showing wear, probably brought about after we moved to a house with a dishwasher. Plus, I wanted more place settings to use.
For the past year, I've been internet searching now and then to see what might pop up. Nothing, until a few weeks ago when this set popped up on E-bay. I was amazed, to say the least.
And and other bidder too! Fortunately, they didn't know how much I wanted it and I won with a very reasonable bid.

Grandmother was a vegetable gardener and loved colorful flowers. She had a large rambling rose bush at her house. I suspect someone bought the set for her, to replace the miss-matched silverware / flatware she used everyday. She was used to "making do" with what she had so I think she kept the new set for special occasions. My Dad has also been gone for 3 years now so I don't think I'll ever know more about our set.

Just like the items I brought back from our Kansas trip, for inside and outside the house, I love the life in family pieces. A walk though the garden involves discussing the hows and whys of the plants found in it and a visit to the inside garden has its stories too. If you visit, you'll have to see this inside rose garden too.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cucumbers and Squash

Tasty lemon cucumbers. I understood cucumbers wouldn't grow as well here as they did in Alabama, so I settled for zucchini in the salads. Let me say this: Not the Same! So, I'm happy to find these perfectly sized cucumbers that will produce here in the NW.
Above, the cucumbers growing up the old gate. These vines aren't very long so this gate seems about right for a little vertical growing. On the next row behind them in the in the photo are Delicata squash plants (bush variety). First time to grow these too.
The Delicata squash will develop more distinct green strips as they mature (I think). Looking forward to the: "sweet nutty flavor with hints of brown sugar and butter"!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Emily's Garden Update

The other gardener likes to get input about growing things (& she needs it too). Remember how my garden looked in early July? Here is the link to Emily's Garden if you've forgotten. Here is how it looks now.... It's simple really. First, carefully check out the situation and make sure the rabbit isn't hiding in there.
Determine which parts just need a good cleaning. Take your time.
And which parts must be chomped. Then do it! Easy as that. And soon your garden will look as good as mine.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Runner Beans Indeed

To snip or not to snip? The beans have reached the top of the 10-11 foot structure. Just let them keep growing or snip them back to encourage growth lower on the vine?
A photo in the evening light tonight. The structure is made from 2 movable fence sections left by the prior home owners. The climbers are helda (romano) beans with while blossoms, violet podded stringless beans with purple blossoms and scarlet emperor runner beans with red blossoms. We've harvested only about 6 of these beans so far. At the bottom of the photo are bush beans - romano gold and a French/filet type called cupidon. These we have been harvesting all week.

Recap: all beans planted May 30th. Seedlings were chomped by something in late June, and then looked like this in July. I fear we will soon be leaving beans on the neighbors' doorsteps.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Secret to.... ahhh, Heck!

We've been caught! Those wonderful Mess o' Trout warming the tomatoes here and here?? Weellll... they are actually warming the NEIGHBOR'S tomatoes! Cool summer (after last year), not many ripe tomatoes, neighbors on a trip... guess a NW gardener has to resort to other fun antics. Now they suggest leaving them on to see if it really works.

Remember, these fish have been around before... click on this post to see what we found after returning from Christmas dinner. And the rest of the story in this post.

Maybe we should have just decorated our own tomatoes. Now the neighborhood has to watch to see where the trout show up again. Or maybe we'll soon have some ripe tomatoes and move on to zucchini flings. Welcome home, Neighbors! Glad you had a nice trip.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Secret to Great Tomatoes...continued

Yes, that's right - the secret is to illuminate! Our northwest days are in the mid 70's this year and the nights barely in the mid 50's. And less hours of sunlight every day. The tomatoes need a little extra glow to get them beyond shades of green.

Shown here is the Mess o' Trout variety. (Remember when these first arrived in December? See this post.) You probably have your own favorite set. Why have them just hanging out on the patio when they could be giving your tomatoes a little boost after dark!

More to follow...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Morning Sunflower

This is the east facing sunflower in the pumpkin patch. I didn't get as many sunflowers to sprout and survive early slug invasions as last year, but the ones growing have lots of room. This one is a Sunseed Sunflower. Most end up facing west, but this one got me out there in the morning to capture its sunny face.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Here are the 4 Rouge vif d'Etampes pumpkin plants. There is one young Wyatt's Wonder that will fill in the middle, hopefully. The late sprouting Snackjacks will have some competing to do for space, but I'll try to make room. I'm using burlap green coffee bags and other grass blockers between the vines, leaving space between the bags for the little roots along the vines to reach the ground. In the last week, the vines have outpaced the bag laying, though! If the developing pumpkins make it to orange, I'll have some to share.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What color is your world II

Let's see, photos of vegetables, flowers, cats or spiders eating stuff. Oh yes, let's go with spiders eating stuff. Notice this one does have a yellow tint. These crab spiders can change colors to fit in with their surroundings. See the white one with the bee & information on these spiders in this what color is your world post from last year. See the spider in the beans in this post , but it's probably a different variety.