Monday, September 17, 2012

Stems & Buds

Jarrahadale Pumpkin on dried lavender.
Out in the garage was a basket full of dried lavender stems and buds (insert Cheech and Chong's Acapulco Gold Filters).  It was in danger of being tossed out by Farmer MacGregor who will remove most all clutter EXCEPT for his 1976 Harley.  Nevertheless, the bounty in the basket has been put to work.

Out in the garden the dried grape leaves under the pumpkins have decayed and the squash are in danger of rotting or getting chewed up by insects.  The lavender straw has been placed beneath some of the pumpkins while dried thyme is cushioning others.  If the herbs do as advertised, this will not only support the squash as they mature, but insects will be repelled by the strong (wonderful) aroma.

Pumpkins and marigolds.
Once the lavender and thyme has been exhausted, I will use rosemary and bay laurel.  I have noticed that the evil squash bugs are not congregating near the marigolds.  I may even use spent marigold plants to support any further pumpkins.

Note:  I stumbled upon a great herb combination of lavender and chocolate mint.  When the hose rolls over these neighbors, the scent is terrific.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Garden Update

My screwed up back doesn't allow me to work in the garden as I would like.  I can't even get down and take photos.  I simply get down as low as I can, point the lens in the general direction, then snap a photo.  Most times it works.  If it doesn't, I simply delete.  Here's a sample of what's going on in the garden.
Garlic Chives are going to seed.
The vegetable garden is still producing.  In fact, the fall/winter vegetables have already germinated.  Seeds of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower were sown on Labor Day, September 3, with the majority of germination occurring just 3 days later on September 6.
Waltham 29 Broccoli

Peppers of all varieties are improving with the cooler weather.  Some might not consider 95° cooler; but it is and there are fewer hours of the day dedicated to baking at those temperatures.
Bell Pepper
A couple of Better Boy Tomatoes were planted earlier this summer with the thought of having fresh, large tomatoes into the fall.  Looks like that plan is working out.
Better Boy Tomato
Pumpkins continue to produce well.  Daily squash bugs hunts continue as well.  The pumpkins rest on dried grape leaves in an attempt to avoid rotting portions on the squash.  So far, so good.
Jarrahdale Pumpkin

Fruit trees that have fruit are Granny Smith Apple, Robertson Orange, Rio Red Grapefruit, and Variegated Pink Lemon.  All the fruit trees are due for a haircut/pruning and a feeding.  I would like to wait for the weather to cool down further; but it doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon.
Granny Smith Apple
The Red Flame Grapes set a second crop of berries this summer.  The first issue was a bust.  All the berries split and were moldy.  These bunches aren't as tight and look pretty good.  The berries a larger too.  Don't know if they will be very sweet.
Red Flame Grapes
Some flowers in the veggie patch are appreciating the change in weather too.  All kinds of pollinators are attracted to the garden with the help of all kinds of flowering plants.
Calibrachoa Hybrid - Superbells Coralberry Punch
Petunias without bud worms!
There's tons that needs to be done before we're officially out of Swamp Pants Season:
  • Turn the old tomato bed.
    • Plant peas
    • Plant sweet peas
  • Clean up the overflowing boysenberry canes.
  • Prune / feed roses.
  • Clean out remaining tomato (Gold Currant) bed.
    • Plant lettuce
    • Plant onions
  • Prune / feed all fruit trees.

Monday, September 3, 2012

National Empty Chair Day

Labor Day marks the end of summer (...not here in Bakersfield, California however.  We have a long, hard road to go.)  Labor Day weekend is a summer weekend with typical celebrations of barbecues and fun in the great outdoors.  In the garden, Labor Day weekend is just that...labor.

Farmer MacGregor has been busy preparing the shed for painting.  He dug out all the Celebrity tomatoes and their wooden supports.  The lawns have been mowed and everything is thoroughly irrigated.  The broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage seeds have been planted in a bed that had signs of Root Knot Nematodes on the beans but no evidence on the Black Beauty Zucchini.  I'm rolling the dice with an investment of a few dollars for seed to see if these fall crops succeed.  Peas will be planted in the Celebrity Tomato bed were there was evidence of nematodes on the tomato roots; but the plants produced well.

In a nod to the viral observation of National Empty Chair Day that was spurred by Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Maybelline's Garden offers a version of the empty chair.  The chair isn't used much during time when work needs to be done.  Others are so much more creative. If you should see this one floating around the conservative interwebs, you'll know a bit more about the story behind the image.