Gardening Archive

Garden update, and a small outburst…..

Posted August 28, 2015 By Ruth

Another $3 or so of tomatoes

Say another $6 of hot peppers

Another two cantaloupes

Another Early Moon Watermelon

Two more Charentais

A million (only slightly an exaggeration) Rattail Radishes



Oh  yah.  If/when you do home additions, major repairs, deck building etc, I don’t care how far out in the middle of nowhere you are.  Please check building codes.  They’re there for a reason.  Even if enforcement doesn’t care about your area its very likely that the folks who live in your house after you will care ALOT when they discover stuff that’s not up to code.

And while we’re at it, nails are not appropriate for attaching a deck to a house (regardless of what your code says).  And if the deck is supposed to be “only temporary” then damn well reveal that fact to the folks buying the house.

We’re all fine, but the bank account is taking another hit.  And it could have been ever so bad.  So please.  Please.  Please.  Check building codes!  (and get permits, if only so that the folks after you can tell if you put in proper footers under that slab without having to break it up cause you didn’t follow code with anything else so why should we expect footers??)

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My first Charentais melon and a garden update

Posted August 24, 2015 By Ruth

I think the tomatoes are finally slowing down (thank god, I’m not planting that many again, well, probably not, maybe…..).  I got half a colander this time.  About $9 worth

Two more Early Moon Watermelons.

Another Cantaloupe.

More Jalapenos and a couple more Habaneros, call it $6

My first two Charentais melons EVER!  I took a picture of one, when they call them “about softball sized” they’re not kidding.  But oh gosh are they tasty!  I’ll definitely try these again next year.



If anyone else tries to grow these, the warnings about them splitting, within a day or so of turning ripe are correct.  The reason you didn’t get a picture of the 2nd one I picked was because sometime in the previous 24hrs it had turned color and split.  I cut it open to save the seeds and tossed the rest of it.  The ripen and split that quickly.

My Mystery Compost tomato plant is HUGE.  Its officially taller than me, even with the stem being bent the way it is.  The tomatoes on it are looking like Black Plums.  What I can’t figure out is how its getting enough sun.  Admittedly that probably explains some of its hugeness, its spreading like mad to get leaves into the sun.  But that doesn’t explain the decent amount of tomatoes that its about to produce……

I’ve now pulled a total of 7 little pumpkins (6-8inches long) out of the garden as the vines they were on were among those that have died.  Still another 4 large pumpkins out there turning orange.

What else am I forgetting?  Oh, I need to decide if I’m going to actually eat any of the okra I planted, or just admire it (it is a very pretty plant with pretty flowers)……

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Garden update

Posted August 20, 2015 By Ruth

Two more colanders of tomatoes: $18

4 more cantaloupes (I’ve lost track of how many total that is, 10? something like that, they’re little, but tasty!)

Two of the Early Moon Watermelons

a gallon ziplock of rattail radishes

a handfull of carrots (dammit, was at the market again, forgot to check prices)

Another handfull of jalapenos: $3

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Farmers Market pricing

Posted August 13, 2015 By Ruth

Tomatoes were running about $3/basket (those little green baskets they pack fruit and vegi’s into)

Cucumbers were $0.75/each

Zucchini were $1/each for more normal sized ones

Jalapenos were also about $3/basket

Garlic varied, but call it $1/head

I didn’t see any melons or lettuce or radishes and didn’t want to interrupt to ask since I wasn’t buying.  Forgot to check carrots.

Or, the pizza sauce that we were buying before we started making our own runs $1.99/16ounces



So, based on what I’ve picked out of the garden so far (though I haven’t been as OCD as I could have about keeping track):

Cucumbers, about $15

Zucchini, about $16

Jalapenos and other hot peppers, about $6

Garlic, about $30

Tomatoes, about $72 (!) or about $47.76 in tomato sauce

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Posted August 12, 2015 By Ruth

Here’re the pictures of the garden wilt I was talking about:

The Sugar Baby watermelons-

KIMG0192 KIMG0193You’ll have to trust me that the green in the first picture is all weeds, mostly clover.  The Sugar Baby watermelon vines are almost completely dead at this point, with only a couple vines holding on.

The one set of affected pumpkin vines-



And the affected Blazing Star flowers-



So far, other than the “normal” tomato wilt affecting the Black Plum tomatoes I’ve not seen any signs of it anywhere else, I’m hoping the semi regular treatments with neem oil are preventing it from spreading.  But this is the first year I’ve had a serious problem with it too.  Anyone have any ideas as to what it is, what the cause is, and/or how to prevent it next year?  I ran across a product called “Root Shield” thats supposed to help prevent several varieties of wilt (including the normal tomato wilts) and I’m seriously considering picking some up for next year’s garden……


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Thats a little hot!

Posted August 12, 2015 By Ruth

I made my first batch of hot pepper jelly this week.  Right on schedule.  Except the ingredient list was a little different this year.

Normally I weigh out just short of a pound of red ripe Jalapenos, toss in a single red ripe Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper or ripe Habanero (or just do a full pound of Jalapenos, depending on what we have in the garden), and go from there.

This year the hot pepper growth pattern has been screwy.  The Jalapeno plants are half the size they normally are, and though they’re producing nicely they aren’t as loaded as normal.  However the Hot Wax plants are huge and loaded (normally they’re smaller than the Jalapenos and less loaded).

So I was getting ready to make jelly and realized I had 1/2pound of Jalapenos, and 1/2pound of Hot Wax peppers, and a single ripe Habanero pepper.  So I shrugged and made jelly out of that combination.


I will occasionally eat the tiniest little bit of the pure Jalapeno jelly.  But this batch is way out of my league.  Even Husband choked on it when he had his first taste.  Its a little hot!


I also pulled three cantaloupes out of the garden, a couple more Sugar Baby watermelons, the first harvest of Rattail Radishes, three more zucchini, another two colanders full of tomatoes….

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Posted August 3, 2015 By Ruth

So, I’ve been ignoring the compost pile this year.  Its covered in weeds, and I’m sure the tree roots are enjoying it entirely.  Its just been too busy a summer.

Yesterday afternoon I took the kitchen scraps out and noticed what looked like 4 or 5 tomato seedlings popping up out of it.

Then I looked closer.

And realized it wasn’t 4 or 5 little plants.  What I was seeing was the ends of the branches of one HUGE tomato plant.  The base stem a good inch in diameter.

I dug out my garden stakes and stood it upright.  Curved as it is it comes up to my chin, if the stalk was straight it’d be over my head.  Its got several flowers on it, and at least one baby tomato forming.

It gets, at most, a couple hours of dappled sunlight there.  The spot itself is VERY wet…..

It’ll be interesting to see what it produces!

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This week’s garden produce

Posted July 31, 2015 By Ruth

I promise I’ll make it to the farmers market eventually to price this all out!

Tomatoes!  2 more Purple Cherokee, the rest are black plums


The first batch of tomatoes made 1.5 quarts of sauce, this batch made 2.5 quarts.  Course, we’ve eaten several handfuls of the plum tomatoes too.

8 more cucumbers.

3 Sugar Baby Watermelons, two of which were quite small, but they were sure tasty!

1 carrot.  But there are two going to seed, which is screwy as heck, but a google search tells me that it’s not completely out of normal for carrots to seed in their first year.  I’m letting them go mostly for curiosities sake.


There are now several Pumpkins “ripe enough” to be picked and finish ripening in storage, but since the weather’s gorgeous I’m letting them ripen on the vine.  I’m not counting them towards totals till I pick them.

I’ll likely be picking hot peppers this weekend, as the Jalapenos are starting to turn red and so are a couple of the Hot Wax peppers.

Just realized I never counted the lettuce or radishes I picked earlier in the season.  I’ll have to guestimate off of memory.

Sunflowers are blooming.  So far they’ve all been the same variety, I planted 4 varieties total, including one variety of fancy dark colored flowers, hope I get at least a few of those this year!

If you ever wanted to know what lettuce allowed to go to flower looks like:



Thats a Purple Romaine in case you’re curious.


Flushed a tiny tiny baby rabbit (like, barely old enough to be out of the nest tiny) out of the garden while picking watermelon on Wednesday.  Looked like he was using the vines for cover more than for food, but I re-treated the garden with the deer and bunny repellent just to be on the safe side.  He was a cutie though, glad I didn’t have the dogs with me!

I’ve got a weird wilt/leaf die off happening.  In both Sugar Baby Watermelon tires, one pumpkin tire, and I noticed yesterday that now some of the Blazing Star flowers look like they’re succumbing.  I’ll have to get pictures.  Took me a bit to figure out what was going on.  I initially took it for a fertilization or water problem.  And maybe it is, but that doesn’t completely explain it.  Treated all affected areas (and several other tires that looked like maybes) with a heavy coat of diluted neem oil in hopes of stopping the problem.  

The plum tomatoes are definitely being hit with wilt too, but that’s not abnormal for tomatoes, especially considering the weather.  I didn’t treat them with neem, no way to avoid the ripening fruits, and I don’t want to have to worry about washing the neem off.

No more sign of the nest of stinging insects I found last week.  I was able to finish weeding that tire safely.  Here’s hoping the permethrin can go stale on the shelf now and I won’t need it again!  I discovered that apparently some people with arthritis find relief from pain by using bee stings.  I can promise you that I won’t be trying it.  I spent almost three full days on a max dose of benedryl because the hand closest to the sting (the sting was on my lower right arm) became extremely painful to use.  There was essentially no external swelling from the sting after the first 8hrs, but something was clearly going on internally.  I haven’t felt joint pain like that since the time the doctor prescribed me Levaquin for a respiratory infection!  Gives me a better appreciation for how much worse my joints could be…..

Started pots of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli that I’m going to try over-wintering this year.  I’ll plant them out end of August/beginning of September -ish depending on the weather.  Then I have to figure out how to protect them from the extreme cold lows we get in the winter.  I’m thinking a plastic teepee type setup ought to work.


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Garden update

Posted July 23, 2015 By Ruth

8 cucumbers out of the garden so far

1-Cherokee purple tomato so far

and a bunch of Black Plums (I forgot to measure or count, will have to guestimate) tomatoes.

Didn’t make it to the farmers market this week, so the estimate of cost of the above and the zucchini will have to wait.

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I’m having one of “those” weeks…..

Posted July 22, 2015 By Ruth

It could be ever so much worse, but still.

The last 5 days in a row we were predicted to get rain, potentially a lot of it.  We got a sprinkle once.  Looking at the weather map it looks like there were actually storms, but they ended up going around my immediate area somehow.  For 5 days in a row.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m thrilled that the yard has finally dried up enough for me to mow completely.  But it also means that I’m having to water the garden…..

Monday in particular was extra “interesting”. 

Monday we received a notice from the state that we were being audited due to our claim of getting solar panels put up in 2012.  We have 30 days to provide them with the paperwork to prove the claim or they’ll cancel the refund.  Never mind that I included copies of almost everything they’re requiring with the tax paperwork……So now we’re digging through files and muttering rude words as we discover that this or that piece of paper didn’t get filed properly.  We’ve got it all, but it’s still frustrating as heck.

After spending an hour digging through files and getting frustrated I went out to go spend an hour or so in the garden since I find that generally calming.  Keeping the volunteer clover from taking over is pretty much a constant chore anyway, and after the discovery of the giant zucchini hiding under the clover in that tire I’ve been trying to work my way around the various beds to at least thin the clover enough to be sure I don’t have to many other surprises waiting for me.  Everything was going smoothly till I grabbed a specific clump of clover in one of the cantaloupe tires.

There are yellow jackets nesting in that particular tire.  Under that specific clump of clover.  Immediately adjacent to a ripening pumpkin and a still growing cantaloupe.

And yup, I got stung.

Today’s Wednesday and I’m still swallowing the max dose of benadryl in order to keep the swelling down and itching from driving me crazy.

I hate using general insecticides in the garden.  I have, after much work, finally managed to have enough pollinators in the yard to ensure proper pollination of everything.  And the last thing I want to do is kill them.  But I’m not going to try to work around a nest of stinging insects either, even if we didn’t have family who’re allergic.  ESPECIALLY when the nest is immediately adjacent to two growing fruits that will have to be picked before TO much longer.  I picked up a bottle of concentrated permethrin, and have already treated the nest area once.  I’m being extra careful to ensure it doesn’t get onto any flowers or the like, but I’m still not happy about it.

I’m just hoping the rest of the week goes a bit smoother…….

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