Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heat Wave

After a long extended winter of cold wet snow and rain, we skipped Spring and went straight to mid summer. Most of the plants seems to love the heat and sun. The children certainly do! Both kids and garden have required lots of water in the last ten days.

I took pictures a few days ago and I can already see lots of new growth in the plants.

The sunflowers have reached the second cross support on the fence. We're getting a few tiny blooms from the wildflowers.

We have about five Early Girl tomatoes. I'm not even bothering with the growth-to-cage comparison picture because in just 3 days the plants have each grown several inches beyond the picture. The three plants in full sun all have tomatoes. The two in partial shade have blooms, but no fruit.

The muskmelon plants are thriving in the heat! Both have put on lots of growth although the leaves are still small. They're both flowering too.

The watermelon plants have also taken off. My single remaining sugar baby start fully recovered and looks fabulous.

The eggplants are also basking in the sun. All have what look to be flower buds. I assume this is where the eggplants may grow?

Zucchini! We have three that are almost ready to harvest. I can't wait! I love the big yellow flowers. I bought this book in hopes of a bumper crop.

The Howden is planning a hostile take over. And it looks as though Howden Jr. (to the left) is in on the plan. We've already got three little pumpkin lumps in the works.

The bean patch is looking pretty good. Most of the beheaded plants have grown new leaves.

Lest I only speak of my successes, it is with regret that I report that my poor lowly Basil plant is looking quite droopy and depressed. And none of the Basil seeds I sowed separately germinated. I had a few little sprigs that I'd started indoors, but something (Italian insect?) ate them.

Despite my attempts to net the strawberries, something is STILL getting to them before I can. There is a small gap in some spots between the netting and the ground so I think that may be the point of entry. Do mice eat strawberries?

My carrot patch is also looking quite sad. The foliage is being eaten away by who-knows-what leaving something that resembles sparse carrot grass (?) in the wake of it's feast. The second raised bed carrot patch suffered serious erosion (I suspect at the paw of the neighbor cat) and only a few of the sprouts survived. I can't justify the water to keep the remaining 5 or 6 seedlings damp in the 100 degree afternoons.


Patrick, Samantha, and I met my friends Maria and Julie downtown on Monday for some rest and relaxation at the park followed by a quick visit to a favorite fabric store. While the moms browsed, the babies danced. Please do enjoy:


Monday, June 16, 2008

Congratulations! It's a...

Tomato! I'm ridiculously happy about this little guy. He's growing on our Sweet Cherry 100 plant. I also picked my first tomato worm today. Not quite as ridiculously happy about that, but I did enjoy dropping him into a vat of soapy water. Mwah ha ha!

It's hard for me to see the change in the plants since I'm in the garden several (thousand) times a day. So here, for my own future reference, is the current height of the tomato plants relative to their cages.

This is an acorn squash that we grew from seed in the house and then transplanted very early. None of the squash or melons enjoyed the rain and cold, but after four days of sun and heat, most are taking off like determined green rockets! The leaves on this plant are each as big as my hand.

I'm not sure if the cold will affect the eventual production of the eggplants. They hardly grew at all the first two weeks but with the heat wave they've perked up and are growing rapidly.

The muskmelons REALLY didn't like the cold. I thought they might not make it. They are putting out new leaves now but they are still small. Their color has much improved.

I love the Howden. I tell it every day how much I love it and it is getting HUGE! It really looked like a goner a few weeks ago and it's made an astonishing comeback.

This pepper is about 3.5 inches long now and starting to fill out. I can't wait to eat it! Their are two or three other little peppers starting to form.

The strawberry patch with some of the squash hills in the background. I couldn't help myself and direct seeded another two pumpkin hills and one more watermelon a few days ago. I can't wait to see our garden transformed into the ultimate squash jungle in a few months.

We've harvested a handful of berries so far. I had to put up bird netting to keep the birds (and maybe the neighbor cat?) out of the berry patch. The "Ever Bearing" plants that I put in the ground in early May seem to have exhausted their first fruiting. I put in a second batch of about 12 more plants the last week of May and they are now fruiting. I also planted four or five "Quinalt" plants. I think they only bear once in late summer. Hopefully we'll have at least a few handfuls each week throughout the summer. M
Maybe next year we'll get enough to make some strawberry jam.

Another great comparison shot. I can't believe the change in the sunflowers in 10 days! I planted another 8 plants against the chain link fence a few days ago and they have already sprouted and are working on their first true leaves. Note the naughty stray squash in the middle of the wildflower seed. I think it's zucchini.

The Crimson Sweet watermelon transplant looks like it might be on the way to the compost pile. The Sugar Baby still looks like it's still trying, but not thriving. In a last ditch attempt to grow watermelon, I direct seeded a few. The seedlings are doing well so far, so there is hope yet! I only had Crimson Sweet seed so I hope the Sugar Baby hangs in there so we can compare the two melon varieties.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June Seedlings

The tomato plants are multiplying. Not of course of their own accord. I keep buying more.The bargain hunter in me can't pass up a $3 start knowing that canning just one jar of tomato sauce "pays" for the plant. We've got five plants now. They are all beginning to flower!

The sunflowers are growing visibly every day. The seed packets suggest thinning the plants to 18 - 24 inches apart but I can't bear to pull any of them.

The wild flower seed has taken off as well. I've plucked about 400 squash volunteers to date and found even more growing on top of the compost pile. I guess that's a subtle hint that it's time to turn the pile.

We planted two watermelon starts. The Sugar Baby looks better then the Sweet Crimson which is struggling in the abnormally wet and rainy weather. We've also got four watermelon seedlings working on their first true leaves.

Our first bell pepper! There are two more spent-flowers-turning-to-peppers emerging from this plant as well. The other pepper plants are a few weeks younger and are just starting to grow future flower buds.

The bean plants have sprouted. The birds pulled many of the seeds out of the ground. Next year we might try row covers to protect the seedlings.

The formerly pathetic Howden pumpkin is now thriving!

Our first vine is forming. It's really beautiful and amazing.

Think Happy Thoughts

Samantha got her first haircut today! She had a trim when she was two (which I must confess was a clean up job after her mother gave her a toddler mullet), but this is the first drastic length and style change. Her hair was nearly waist length and it was a tough decision. She really hated having it washed and brushed and it was constantly tangled and in her face. We were both tired of the battle.

She was very brave and the only part she fussed about was the hair wash. After that she was very compliant.

After being ushered through the first rite of womanhood, she was rewarded with a kid's cone at Arctic Circle.