Monday, July 14, 2008

Harvests, Insanity and a Rose for Remembrance

Today had some great harvests. The best was the chamomile. I've been picking it for weeks now, but today there were so many blossoms. I brought them inside to dry on the windowsill (below you can see they are sitting next to Lono, the Hawaiian god of fertility and agriculture). I tried drying them in the dehydrator for the first batch, but they didn't dry all the way through. When I checked them in their glass jar, they had a funky smell, not the wonderful fragrance of the flowers. Now I'm very worried about how to tell if they are really dry or not. I don't want to destroy another patch, and I have four batches sitting on my windowsills.

Squash was also in abundance today, one zucchini and two yellow straightnecks. Previously I've only gotten two yellow squash at all from this plant, now it gives me two in one day. I sort of expected the zucchini to do this. That one zucchini plant had three female blossoms open yesterday, but today only one seemed of a good size to pick. I'm sure I'll get more tomorrow.

I have started the dreaded summer zucchini glut. I ate one zucchini yesterday for lunch and had all three squash today for lunch. Really they don't have many calories. A medium one has only around 30 calories. You can eat a truckload and not gain weight. And let me tell you, it feels like I've eaten a truckload of zucchini. I wish I had counted the zucchinis from this plant. I think I've been getting about 2-3 each week for about a month, but now it seems to be getting crazier and the squash are getting larger. The one I picked today was 7" long yesterday before it was pollinated and 9" when I picked it this morning. Maybe it is just a temporary glut, but if it keeps up, I'm going to have to start annoying my neighbors and hand them out. I'll be known as the poor zucchini lady that isn't willing to throw out her zucchinis so tries to pawn them off on unsuspecting strangers to keep from having to eat them all herself. And I planted a succession crop of zucchini. What was I thinking? I need therapy for my love/hate relationship with them.

Well lets put potential insanity aside and get back to the garden. While picking the dreaded zucchini I noticed a pair of cucumber beetles mating in a squash blossom. I wanted to get them out and drown them, but there was a honey bee, also enjoying herself in there. In fact she seemed quite drunk on the nectar. While I was waiting for her to finish imbibing and leave, another bee joined her. Sigh I'm having some pretty strange parties in my garden, and I'm the cops that have to break it all up. But break it up I did. I picked the blossom and held it upside down a little bit away from the other squash blossoms, until both bees left. Yes weird gardener strikes again. I just stood in the garden for a good 3 minutes waiting for the bees to fly away so I could kill cucumbers beetles. The cucumber beetles were obviously having a good time, since they had not stopped their sexual escapades at all until their unexpected cold bath. Sorry beetles, but you are not welcome at my parties. Invited guests only.

Then it was to the roses for some more uninvited guests. I found some Flower Longhorns deforming my roses. They were summarily uninvited. Now unlike most of you in gardening blogland, I don't really do roses. I don't like hard to grow plants that I can't eat. But once upon a time, before she moved away, I had a gardening friend (technically I still have her for a friend, but it is not the same when she lives 2000 miles away). Yes someone I could talk gardening with and she liked it, and I might add, didn't want to change the subject. She loves roses. She talked me into one. "Hey," she said, "David Austin has some new roses out and they don't get nasty diseases like the others. They are very easy to grow and smell good." She got me with the talk of the scent of roses. But easy to care for? Not. Really it is a rose. I put it in my fruit garden because it makes rose hips. Not that I use rose hips, but at least it fits with the concept. It has full day sun. It has good air circulation. It gets sick if I don't spray it. This is the first year that I've sprayed it. I used the same sprays as the veggie garden, aspirin, worm casting tea, and Serenade. It is much happier this year. And oh yeah I fed it for the first time in years. It probably likes that too. It is amazing that this rose hasn't died off yet considering how I treat it. But still I'm at least a little attached to this rose, despite the neglect. It smells nice and it reminds me of Debbie.


  1. Hi Daphne- I have been drying chamomile in my oven for years and it has always worked well for me. I blogged about it a little while back. I know they are dry by sight now but you could try breaking one blossom in half and if it sort of crumbles and falls apart it is dry enough. Hope that is helpful.

    I am still anxiously awaiting my zucchini to begin producing...

  2. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog Daphne! My blooms are very similar to your chamomile, however seem to be lacking petals at present.

    Sorry to hear about all of your unexpected guests. Seems like they're everywhere. Sounds like your rose is growing on you. And it has a sentimental history of sorts to boot:).

  3. All the reasons I don't like zucchini (besides the taste) and roses.

    I liked your party though. You must have the garden hot spot of the neighborhood.

  4. Cindy: Thanks, I'll try breaking one up and see what I find.

    Chey: Hmm no petals. It looks so much like my chamomile blossoms, but then again, you can always tell chamomile by scent. You don't even need to look at it.

    Tam: It is the hot spot. I keep finding new bugs, most of them good or at least innocuous. I saw an assassin bug this morning and yesterday I saw a Mason wasp. I've never seen one of those before. It is such a pretty wasp. If it would just stop flying for a second so I could take a photo, but that one and some other wasps I really want photos of are obviously hunters. They quickly buzz from flower to flower, looking for prey. But they never stop to drink like my other wasps and bees. I did see one of them land once when it had caught a fly, but sadly no camera with me.

  5. I need to break up FEW squash borer sex-parties apparently. Your post made me smile! I guess it's too late to start another crop, although in this heat, they're growing like crazy. I'm going to search the internet for the resistant zuke you told me about.

    Thanks again!!

  6. It's the tromboncino squash! Apparently it's very zuke-esk and borer resistant!!! Thanks again!

  7. Yea thats the name. I have to plant one of those next year to see if it works.