Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homeward Bound

Bergen, Norway
This has been a wonderful experience in so many ways.

But I miss my gardens and can't wait to get back home.

Boarding a plane in 240 minutes.

Landing in Rhode Island sixteen hours later.

:-)

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, August 15, 2011

GBBD - August 2011

I have no idea what is blooming at home, but in Bergen, Norway, there's quite a bit to moon over.  Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see who started this meme.











Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Vegetable Stand to Die For

 These are not my vegetables, but if they were, I'd buy a little cart and show them off like this, too!

Norway is wonderful.  No time to to post.  Praying my gardens at home are doing just fine.

I heard through the Nordic grapevine that New York got hit with massive rains in the last day or two, and I hope those rains made it to Connecticut.

If they did, all should be well until I get home.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tomatoes

Cool, huh?

This is my first harvest of full-grown tomatoes.  I didn't look at the tags before I harvested these because it's starting to rain and rain and my hair do not good companions make.  I can see why Ugly Hornworm wanted at them!

I noticed one of the tomatoes is cracked (although still edible).  I know that was all my fault and am surprised I didn't have more tomatoes like this since I think I've watered the vegetable garden no more than five times this season.

I haven't tasted these yet but I will before we leave on Friday for Norway.

I did take the time to feel them as I washed them.  They were clean and firm.  So nice knowing that no chemicals were used anywhere near these plants.  These snapped right off the vine when I picked them; others that seem to be fully ripe didn't come off so easily so I'll leave them for another day or two.

I'm sure a good many of you are happy as I am that I've finally gotten real full-size food out of my garden.  Now maybe I'll stop whining about it and move on to bigger and better things.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grape Tomatoes in My Salad


Here's a teeny weeny colander filled with teeny weeny tomatoes.

They were delicious!

Aside from the chives, this is the only thing I've eaten from my garden.

I didn't plant enough soon enough but I'll know better next year.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hornworm Update

The beastly creature I discovered on my tomato plants yesterday is a HORNWORM.  How did I get me one of those?

So yesterday, not knowing if this was a Majestic Butterfly To Be, I picked the disgusting thing off my plant and tossed it aside.

I went online and Lisa confirmed that it was, indeed, a nasty hornworm that would never be a majestic butterfly.

I learned on Google that I could eliminate this thing with BT and after having such great success with BT on my maple (Eastern tent caterpillars have not returned), I went after the hornworm with my bottle of freshly-mixed solution in hand.

Except I couldn't find the nasty critter.

This morning, I find the creature in the middle of what will next year be my Rose Garden and I attacked it with BT believing BT would paralyze it.  Freaking thing kept moving.

Back to the Internet I went and learned that BT needs to be sprayed on the leaves the critter will eat and whilst eating the leaves, BT will enter Critter's digestive system and kill it that way.

Crap!  Does that mean I have to put this thing on my tomato plant?

I'm not doing that.  I am going to hope a bird will scoop down and eat this thing.

I don't have a problem spraying the tomato plants and pepper plants with BT but my concern is that I'm going to eat this stuff and I don't want to eat bacteria.  The label says, and I confirmed it with other sources, that I could spray my plants "right up until I pick the fruit".  What the heck does "right up until" mean?  I can spray a day before, an hour before, a few minutes before?  My clock doesn't have a Right Up Until on its face and my calendar makes no reference of it.

So I think for now, I'll spray the plants with green tomatoes and keep the stuff away from the red ones which should be ready for picking in the next couple of days.

Hornworm, be ready.  I'm coming to getcha!

UPDATE:  I prepared a solution of dishwashing liquid and cold water and poured it over the Critter.  It was dead in less than two minutes.  I sprayed the tomato plants with BT in case Critter's Cousin decides to pay us a visit.  None of the tomatoes are ready for picking so I wasn't too concerned about spraying the entire plant.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tomato Invader or Butterfly In the Making

I have no idea what this horrific looking thing is but it was too darn close to my tomato for me to leave it alone.

After all, I've worked hard to grow these tomatoes and ain't nobody stealing my thunder.

I didn't kill GreenThing because, God forbid, it will one day become the most beautiful butterly on earth, but I moved it to another zip code.

If anyone knows what this is, please share, and let me know if it's a Tomato Invader a Butterfly In the Making.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

An Angel In My Father's Garden

I finally found the right angel for My Father's Garden.

I didn't want something too big or too small or too whimsical.

Or too Catholic.

So here she is, looking up at my father's tree the same way I always looked up to him.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Help! What To Grow Under a Roofed Deck

I think the back deck is just over 800 square feet.  I'd have to go to Town Hall and see what they came up with, or find the tape measure and figure it out myself to be sure.  I'm not doing either today.

Suffice it to say, the backyard deck is huge, even though to me, it still looks small.

It's time we start thinking about living as civilized human beings:  trash the trash, furnish, decorate, stain and seal, and all the rest of those chores that make us feel as if we belong in our suburban surroundings.

Bah!

I live on a super private lot so that I won't have to worry about neighbors or cops reporting me as the owner of an unfit front yard, back yard, side yard, any yard.

But the deck has become an absolute pain in the ass.

Why?

F-U-L-L   S-U-N   24/7.

No lie!  Norwegians are leaving our house looking like Dominicans.

And this brings me to the problem!  We need to roof a good portion of this deck.  This way we can step out onto the deck when it's pouring rain (my favorite time outdoors is during a rain shower) and our friends can join us for a barbecue without requiring triple doses of sunscreen and Coke-bottle sunglasses.

Sounds good, sounds reasonable.  EXCEPT.... what will grow under this sun-barring roof?  Container gardens will not thrive.  Hanging baskets will peter out.  Forget small trees in chic pots.  Galvanized steel window boxes will be barren.  Will coleus survive?  Doubtful!  Even run-of-the-mill houseplants can't withstand such shade.  So what am I to do?

A skylight!  A big, four-foot-square skylight in the middle of the roof with ceiling fans on either side and pendant lights on the other two sides.  That should do it... but it will be too bright, too hot, too sunny for our guests?

Our deck is a two-tiered deck.  The lower tier will not be roofed and all I want there are four bistro tables that will seat two each.  Our "kitchen" is on the lower tier.  The tier is long and wide and will hold plenty of container gardens between, amongst, around the bistro tables.  The lower tier is "walled" by the obelisks and the Rose Garden is just on the other side of the obelisks.  The lower tier is not the issue.

The issue today is plantings under a roofed deck.

If I can figure this out, the work will begin immediately!  In the meantime, forgive the clutter, the mess, the mismatched, homemade "furniture" and $5 chairs from Home Depot that fall apart after the seventh rainfall.

I'm doing the best I can.

Monday, August 1, 2011

GOOPS for August 2011 - Delay

Cucumber Seedling on August 1, 2011
Joene has a tradition of posting GOOPS (Gardening Oops) on the first of the month, and although I follow hers religiously, I've never participated.  Not because I don't have an Oops or two of my own, but because I wouldn't even know where to start.

I decided this year I would grow vegetables for the first time (if you don't count the cherry tomato attempt back in 1998).  Like a good little tree hugger, I bought my seeds, made my beds, amended the soil, and went to work.

I planted seeds.

Onion Seedlings on August 1, 2011

Carrot Seedlings on August 1, 2011
In May.

It's what the package said to do.

Now here it is AUGUST and I still have nothing that came from seeds.

Everything is way, way, way delayed.  I lost the peppers I planted from seed.  The spinach never sprouted (and if it did, I thought it was a weed and pulled it).  The carrots are just BARELY coming through.  The onions are so feeble they make me cry.

My GOOPS was that I didn't start all this stuff from seed INDOORS so that my little plants would be caught up with the rest of Connecticut come harvest time.

While others show photos of freshly-picked tomatoes and peppers and cukes and zukes, I show GRAPE tomatoes that came from a well-established, Home Depot PLANT.  I think that's cheating.

Lesson learned.

Next year I will start my seeds indoors waaaayyyyyy before the last frost date and then I can compare notes with Heather and Daphne and Skippy and Regina and Joene and all those smarty pants who know better!

Until then, I hope to have my first harvest at the Thanksgiving table.

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