Thursday, July 30, 2009

Around the Garden

In the bottom bed the Music Box sunflowers are finally blooming. The single Lemon Queen has buds but isn't quite there yet.

The Sungold F2s keep setting more and more tomatoes. I take more foliage off as it gets diseased. We have a chronic spot disease that we get every year. I'm not sure which one (my money is on Septoria), but it tries defoliating most of the plant. It never succeeds as the tomatoes seem to keep growing.

The potatoes and pineapple tomatillos look happy. I get a few tomatillos every day but they are so tiny I haven't done anything with them yet. The potatoes have put out a few flowers but not many. Waiting for potatoes is an agonizing process for me. The other plants I can pick a little now and more later. The potatoes are just too much waiting with nothing to show for it in the middle of the summer. I guess winter squash is the same, but right now I want potatoes for baked fries.

Near the potatoes are the most beautiful cluster of dill heads. I'll be sad in a way when they finally set seed and get cut down.

In the middle bed the beans are very happy. I'm glad something is happy there as the other plants are struggling.

The cucumbers finally set their first cuke. These are parthenocarpic cucumbers so they don't need to be fertilized. Still the little cukes shrivel up and turn yellow. They didn't like our weather much. The squash isn't much different. I finally got one zucchini last week. I hand fertilized another, but still it shriveled up. The Costata Romenesca zucchini were just putting out female buds that didn't even get a chance to open. The bud would rot away before that. Finally it looks like they are willing to set zucchinis. I see a female blossom about to open on both plants. As to the winter squash, the Neck Pumpkins are just starting to run. The Magdelena Big Cheese has a bit of a jump on them. I even see a tiny female bud.

In the top bed the lettuce is hanging on, but not growing very quickly. I have more seedlings inside to put out soon. The Asian greens are growing. I really need to harvest them, but haven't gotten to it yet. I keep traveling and saying to myself, "I'll wait until I get back to harvest so they don't have to stay in the fridge." Then I get back and pick all the other things. I just don't have time to eat it all. I'm leaving again this weekend for a short trip then again later in the week. Aaarrrrggghh! It is too bad my husband won't eat them. I could set him up with lots of veggies while I'm gone. Instead I went over to my neighbor and gave her all my snow peas.

The snow peas are the only peas left. They look terrible, but they keep producing on pretty new shoots. They take up 2 1/2 sqft of ground space and just keep putting out little bits every couple of days. I'd take them down if I thought they would stop, but they keep going. I'll see how long they last. At some point I may not be able to stand looking at them any more and just take them down to make the garden look prettier. They are such ugly plants right now.

Well that is not quite all the garden, but most of it. I forgot my eggplants which are still sitting there and not doing much. They bloom. Nothing sets. The onions are growing. I don't think they will get as large as they ought to for storage. The leeks keep getting bigger. Hmm I didn't check on the carrots. And the peppers keep producing. The serranos got picked again today. The jalapenos will need to start being picked next week. The chard chugs along as always. And many of my herbs are flowering. The cilantro is setting a lot of seed this year which I hope it keeps. Last year it mostly mildewed before picking time.


  1. Such a beautiful sunflower! You're beginning to rival Dan with your photos.

    You sound just like me....once a plant turns ugly, I just want to pull it out. I don't care if it's still producing, I don't like to look at it. I think that will be the fate of my crookneck squash before long.

  2. Daphne, I opened up your post (I read it thru my RSS reader) and saw that sunflower... and said "Wow!"

    How absolutely gorgeous! I love sunflowers! Can't wait for mine to bloom!

    Your looks fantastic. I may try those sungolds next year. Can't believe how much fruit you have coming on!!!

    Enjoy you little trip!

  3. If that isn't the happiest sunflower I've ever seen, I don't know what is! Just really shockingly pretty!

  4. Annie's Granny, I think it was all the sunflower and no skill was involved. I wish I could use it as a cutting flower. The plant is supposed to be 2' high but it is much closer to 1'. I am warring with myself over the peas. The part that wants a better harvest is making me leave it in. The part that likes a pretty garden is screaming at the other part to pull it out.

    Toni, when I went into the garden I so wasn't expecting it. One has opened before this but it was pale yellow and facing straight to another plants so I could barely see it. It is hidden in the foliage. This one opened up showing the worlds its true beauty. Thanks.

    Tessa, thanks. I just wish it were taller. 1' is too short for a sunflower (it is about 4" across).

  5. Daphne... that sunflower photo needs to be hung in your kitchen... oh my gosh... it is so very very pretty!

    Your photos are making me want to update my camera from my little canon elph to ???

  6. Gorgeous photos today! I agree the sunflower is beautiful, but I love the dill shot myself. Spectacular!


  7. Well that photo was taken with a Nikon D200 (a nice digital SLR) with a good macro lens. My husband tells me that his macro lens is really his only good one. All the others are compromise lenses picked so they are light enough to travel with. I tend to do all the close ups with that camera because they come out so much better. My wider shots are done with an elph. The elph is my camera. I like it because I can drag it into the garden and take photos even when my hands are dirty from digging. I treat it badly, but it is there when I need it. I've gotten some photos (like one of the butterfly photos) that I wouldn't have if I couldn't drag it with me all the time. I would never dream of treating my husbands camera like that. I wash my hands before picking it up and take my photos then bring it back inside. I try to keep the water and dirt off of it.

  8. henbogle, I love the dill too. It is so much better in real life though than on the screen. There is something about dill flowers that are so ethereally beautiful.

  9. That sunflower is just lovely, although I did get way more excited about the tomatoes. It is good to see that even though it is diseased it keeps growing and producing. My tomatoes did that at the end of last summer, and my indoor experimental Winter ones are doing int now too. Good to see there is hope. Great gardening

  10. Your Sungold F2s is like my sweet 100 hybrid cherry tomatoes, it produces almost 200 tiny one, it's a bit too much for us, they are good to share it with relatives, friends, and neighbors.

  11. Gorgeous Sunflower, I just saw one on another blog that was the deepest red I had ever seen, almost black. My lemon queen's are still not blooming either. When they do I should have two smallish heads and three tiny heads. To much shade I think.

    My zuc's keep shriveling up as well even with me acting as the bee. I have been having a decent amount of cuc's though. I am growing double yield, they perform very well.

    Question, do you need more them one tomatillo to have fruit? I had one spring up from my compost and someone was saying you need two for pollination.

  12. Stunning sunflower! We battle tomato disease in our area too - chronic battle with bacterial problems due to the damp and cooler conditions.

  13. prue, I get more excited over the tomatoes too. I just hope they keep up their production. I'll be giving tomatoes away to everyone.

    vuejardin, I used to grow those too. They are quite prolific and tasty.

    Dan, no you don't need two to get pollination. They are self pollinators and inbreeding like most of the other Solanaceae crops at least according to Suzanne Ashworth in her book Seed to Seed.

    kitsapFG, some days I wish I lived in California in a place where it never rains and has no humidity. My garden would have so many fewer fungal problems. So many things would grow well there. Then common sense prevails and I'm happy for my rain. We don't have water issues here. I don't have to run the air conditioner all summer long. Then I'm happy again. I have to remember what I do have.

  14. I you hadn't said otherwise I would have thought that the sunflower was 12" across on a tall plant! It's a really beautiful shot.

    Too bad I can't transport some zucchini to you. One of my plants keeps branching out and it's producing nearly a dozen zukes every couple of days. But I'm still waiting for tomatoes and eggplant.

    California isn't really a perfect place to garden either. I've finally figured out why my bush beans and one of the tomatillos are going yellow - spider mites.

  15. I love the dill photo but the sunflower steals my heart. I love them and every year plan to plant more than the year before. I dont think I could ever have too many.

  16. Michelle, it is a very deceptive photo that way. It is such a tiny little sunflower. We only occasionally get spider mites. Usually in August after a couple of weeks of hot dry weather. They usually don't like out wet weather and can't seem to multiply in it. Thank goodness. The mildews are bad enough. I think we all have our problems no matter where we life.

    MissyM, this is the first year I've planted them (well the first year they came up). I saw the Music Box sunflowers in the seed catalog and just had to have them.