The Potager

The Potager

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer's Winding Down

The harvest basket is less full. A lot of basil to be made into Pesto for dinner. Some cucumbers that should be pickled before they go bad in the refrigerator (oops - did I let that happen?), a few tomatoes and wax beans. Summer is winding down.

Now we sit in the garden in the evening and it gets too cool for us well before it gets too dark or too buggy. The eggplant has gone into the compost pile and will soon be joined by some other plants that have stopped producing. The tomatoes are hanging in there, but I have been looking for recipes using green tomatoes to be safe.

But the peppers are going strong and the seedlings are looking good. I have never tried a fall garden, so this is an experiment for me. It's all about timing - did I get everything in on time? Did I calculate the first fall frost correctly?  I am no expert, but I am having so much fun learning!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moon Flowers!

Moon Flowers!

This afternoon I saw this in the garden and made a note to come back to the garden tonight. It is my first Moon Flower Bud

Sure enough at twilight there was my first moon flower bloom! It is supposed to smell heavenly, but I could not smell anything at all. It is about the size and shape of a squash blossom. It also reminds me of a lily. I was so enchanted by it I stayed in the garden until dark.

In the moon light the rest of the garden was shadows, but the Moon Flower was visible. It was being visited by moths quite frequently (there's one in this photo).

The Moon Flower is a relative of the Morning Glory. But while the Morning Glory unfurls at the break of day, when the sun rises the petals of this flower will fall to the ground. It blooms for one night only. I am so glad I was there!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pepper Pointers

This is a jalapeno on the way to maturity. The woody lines are called "corking" and it means that this pepper will be much hotter than a smooth shiny green pepper. To pepper people, this is a good thing!
This jalapeno is also on the way to maturity. The black color is a blush that precedes red. This pepper will also be hotter than a shiny green one.  I'm trying to patiently wait for my jalapenos to turn red so I can make red jalapeno jelly with them. I've heard that it takes four weeks from the time they turn black or cork to be red. I may not have four weeks before the frost. And then I will need about two dozen peppers at the same time. I'm not sure if that will happen.
Fortunately, these two plants are churning out a lot of peppers because we use them every night in our dinner and occaisionally whip up jalapeno poppers for a snack. Yummy!

I had a few of these beautiful bell peppers earlier this summer. But the constant 90 + degree days were not conducive for bell peppers. The plants went into stress mode and didn't set flowers. No flowers, no peppers.

The smallish peppers that did grow looked like these. They are small due to the heat and drought (in spite of being watered.) The spots on them is another thing altogether. It's neither bugs nor a disease - it's sunscald. Basically the peppers got sunburned! It is only on the side that faced the sun and the rest of the pepper is good to eat. Now I know, if it's another record breaking hot summer to rig up shade cloth to protect the peppers! Or, more realistically, I need to buy my plants at a nursery and get a variety that resists sunscald. I bought these at Lowes because I was in a hurry.
I may even plant them from seed. I'll see how my life is going in March.

Seedlings and Caterpillars

It was chilly in my garden yesterday - in the 40's when I went out to work in it! I hope we don't have an early frost!
The radishes I planted between the carrots are looking good. These are a blend of Black Spanish, Cherry Belle, China Rose, Easrly Scarlet, French Breakfast, Long Scarlet, Minowase, Sparkler, White Hailstone and White Icicle. It's fun to see what you get when you pull one up.

These are purple top turnips.

I pulled out the dill and put in lettuce. Now I have a bunch of dill seedlings growing with the lettuce!

Dill is one of those plants you only have to plant once!

I stuck some mint at the edge of the woods and it looks good. Mint is too invasive to keep in the garden. The deer and rabbits don't eat it, so it will flourish here.

And just when I thought the asparagus I had transplanted was dead, this little sprout appeared.
I hope the frost holds off until he grows a bit bigger.
I'm not sure what the Asparagus bed will look like next year.

Cabbage -- not so good. I need to find a way to keep the bugs out of these. They are starting to form heads, but the heads are full of bug scat and holes. Yuk! Not just the green caterpillars but also these brown guys. They are ruining my crop! I spend most of my time picking them off lately. And all the gardening books said cabbage was an easy crop to grow!

The parsley has caterpillars too, but these will turn into Black Swallowtail Butterflies. They are different from the Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars the parsley had before (which got eaten by birds!)
There are three of them. Maybe I should put a netting over them to help protect them.
Why don't the birds eat the cabbage moth caterpillars?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Ah, the harvest is in full swing and we are eating well from the garden these days!

This one Ugli tomato cut up measured 3 cups. I am definitely saving some seeds from this plant. These tomatoes are delicious!

Hunky Hubby added a few more tomatoes, some peppers, some jalapenos, onions, cilantro, parsley, lime juice and salt and pepper for some wonderful homemade salsa.  He loves cutting up vegetables - and we all love the results!

 This was wrapped in a whole grain soft tortilla with guacamole, leftover london broil and cheese for a yummy dinner. (On paper plates! No dishes - it's a holiday weekend!)

The holiday weekend gave me a chance to catch up on some gardening chores, like planting more fall crops.
I put in carrots (Danvers Half Longs and Red Cored Chantenay) with Radishes (gourmet blend) planted in between. The radishes will be picked before the carrots need the room, hopefully.
I also planted lettuce - little gem, Merlot, and black seeded simpson.
These are all new seeds. I am a bit disappointed with the old seeds I planted earlier. Only a few of them have sprouted. I am throwing out my old seeds and starting next year with all new seeds.
My cat Smokey patrolled the fence top while I planted.

Patrolling lower down was this cute little toad. The wood he's sitting on is only 1-1/2 inches thick! Toads eat bad bugs, so I hope he stays and invites all his friends!
I haven't gotten any photos of them, but we are being visited daily by Goldfinches. They are feasting on the sunflower seeds and the zinnia seeds and eating something (bugs I hope) in the Ugli tomato plants (or maybe they just think they are trees - the plants are huge!!). The break from the hot weather and the animal visitors have made the garden a fun place to be in this weekend!