Sunday, August 30, 2009



It’s time to say, “Farewell,” to the tomatoes.  They’ve been in the garden since March and have produces pounds of fruit.  Sadly, I didn’t record anything.  This season is a season set aside for learning and one thing I learned is to try to keep a garden journal.  Many quarts of salsa and tomatoes have been canned to enjoy in the winter (or maybe tomorrow).

Three types of tomatoes were grown:  Ace, Early Boy, and Better Boy.  Ace was my favorite even though there were problems with blossom end rot.  At the end of the season, there are only small, poor quality tomatoes being produced.  It’s time to rip out the plants that have become home to many insects and toads and prepare the spot for fall/winter crops (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli).

There is a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I can grow and preserve tomatoes.  There is enormous satisfaction knowing that I grew the perfect tomato.


There is even satisfaction knowing that I grew the weirdest tomatoe(s).


You be the judge.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Suggestions, please.


The summer flowers are doing great.  Lavender, marigolds, sweet alyssum, petunias, etc.  Now, I need to find something for the fall/winter in Zone 9.  Chrysanthemums are fine if I could find something more unusual and fall-like.  The varieties sold in the nurseries around here resemble daisies.   The plants will be in full sun.  They need to be hardy.  Nothing gets babied here.

Any suggestions are appreciated.  Thanks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trick or Treat


Pumpkins (Cinderella) were planted on June 10.


DSC_1067_1279June 10, 2009 – 3 hills with 3 seeds each. 100 days to harvest (9/20).


DSC_1073_1285June 15, 2009 – 1st sprout.



July 11, 2009 – Lush growth



July 14, 2009 – Fruit setting.


DSC_1258_1472 July 19, 2009 – Aphid / Ladybug War commences.



August 7, 2009 -  Accidentally pluck a pumpkin.


DSC_1545_1750August 20, 2009 – Ripening nicely (~ 70 days).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peaches Start to Finish


January 2009 – Bare root tree stock planted for espalier line.  There were no expectations in 2009 to have fruit produced by the very young trees.

DSC_0147_079 O’Henry Peach is a yellow, old-fashioned, sweet peach.  It’s a freestone that is large, firm, and with a full red skin.


March 2009 – The pink buds begin to open.  All types of insects descended into the garden.  Maybe they were already there but finally woke up or hatched.DSC_0472_499

Ladybugs joined in by feasting on all the “bad” bugs.  Go girls!


April 2009 – The tiny fruit was hanging on and growing rather than dropping from  the young tree.  Fruit did not hold on the plums, nectarines, or apricots.  The pears did not have any fruit.  The apples were the only other trees to hang on to the fruit.


May 2009 – Five peaches looked like they were going to hang on into the summer.  When the temperatures began to rise, they began to blush.


June 2009 – A garden fence had been constructed on the north side of the espalier line.  It was painted without losing any of the precious crop. 

Nothing notable occurred in July 2009 regarding the peach tree.


August 2009 – Blasted birds started to sample the fruit.  It was time to act quickly.  The fruit felt firm but soft.  This indicated that they may be perfect to harvest.







                 Before                                            After

DSC_1484_1692 The birds received 1/5 of the crop (1 peach).  They were delicious.  O’Henry Peach grafted on Citation Hybrid rootstock (dwarf) by the Dave Wilson Nursery in Reedley, California, is highly recommended for production in California’s Central Valley.  They are noted for being strong, vigorous, heavy bearing trees.  The fruit is supposed to be excellent for freezing.  We’ll see if we can make it that far next year.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Pumpkin Update

The aphids are winning.  They have descended on the pumpkin patch and are breeding like…like insects.  I started by blasting them off with water.  That worked mildly.  I persisted; but they outnumber me.  My friends the ladybugs swooped in for a feast.DSC_1441_1668

They liked the food so much they told their friends.  Everyone stuck around for a mad aphid orgy; and now I have a flock of ladybugs working overtime trying to keep those aphids under control.DSC_1450_1677 Baby ladybugs are pretty creepy looking; but they are very hungry.


This is a very small sample of what the bug population in the pumpkin patch looks like.  I’m considering using soap; but I’m not sure what the effects are on the ladybugs.

DSC_1490_1698 I was trying to put the biggest pumpkin on a wooden support to keep it out of the mud.  This would prevent any scarring, rotting, or bug damage.  Just as I feared, the danged stem popped right off the squash.  No snap.  No crack.  Just a pop. 

DSC_1493_1701 Here.  You can see how big this baby is next to my size 9 Croc.  Now what can I do?  It’s only August.  These were planted on June 10 with hopes of having Halloween pumpkins.


How much longer until October?

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