Wednesday, June 30, 2010



I planted gourds this season (June 18, 2010).  Luffas are my gourd of choice.  I didn’t want gourds for decoration or an crafting projects.  These will be used for scrubbing.  (Farmer MacGregor is known for getting paint on himself as well as the house and fence.)  The seeds were ordered from Park Seed Co. in South Carolina.  My research led me to believe that it takes the seeds 2-3 weeks to germinate.  Not in Bakersfield, California, partner.  The sprouts were up in one week (June 23, 2010).  

DSC_1666_4574Now that the heat is on, they are growing like a weed does where you don’t want it to grow.  I’m using a big terra cotta pot that once held a Satsuma Mandarin tree.DSC_0994_2300DSC_1669_4575The mandarin didn’t make it as predicted and now rests at the green waste dump on the south side of town

Seeds were planted at all points of the compass (North, South, East, West).  There is no fancy trellis for the 4 seedlings.   I’ve turned a tomato cage upside down for the vines to use on their climb skyward.  The fruit will be left to dry on the vine.  The skin will be peeled off to expose the luffa material.  The seeds should shake free to be used another time.

I’m surprised that so many people do not know what a luffa is.  My Granny would send them to us in packages that would also contain undervests, Roundtree jellies, Edinburgh Rockimage, and Smarties.  Now, loads of people probably don’t know what the other items in the package are; but I thought everyone knew what a luffa was.  A luffa is something I remember always having in the bathroom for scrubbing when I was growing up. 

My father had requested that I clean my dirty elbows.  I went in the bathroom and did what I thought was a passable job.  No way, Jose.  He took me in the bathroom, applied Lava soap to the luffa, then scrubbed my elbows a most rosy hue of pink.  My tender elbows remember that lesson on cleaning from so many years ago. 

 imageThis is what the wee beastie looks like.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lemon Squash for Dinner


Here’s a recipe for delicious Lemon Squash.

  • Chop up as much garlic as you like and place it in a container (jar, cup, etc.). 
  • Pour enough olive oil on top of the garlic to cover it.
  • Let it sit (covered) for a few hours at room temperature to mix the flavors.
  • Trim the ends off the squash.
  • Cut the squash lengthwise.
  • Drizzle on garlic olive oil.
  • Add -
    • Kosher salt
    • ground black pepper
    • onion powder
  • Place off the heat on your BBQ/grill to roast while you cook your meat.

Ding dong daddy o.  This is delicious!

Thank me later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - Epilogue

Remember when my granddaddy Split Leaf Philodendron had this strangely phallic blossom back on June 7?   It had a sweet, delicate, tropical scent.  More interestingly, it had an odd protrusion from a lily-like casing.  Is that a Split Leaf Philodendron or are you just glad to see me?DSC_1711_4389

On June 8, the XXX visitor began to retreat into its casing.  Kind of looked like a hooded monk at that point.DSC_1715_4393 

As the casing began to surround the center like a tortilla forming a burrito,  the white interior began to ruffle like a pom pom.  This happened in a matter of a few hours that evening.DSC_1716_4394

The entire interior was swallowed up by the casing and it just lay  there for a few weeks.  Today, I noticed that the “pod” was almost completely detached from the plant and the casing had opened to reveal a different interior.DSC_1650_4558 I pitched it into the compost bin.  It’s a pretty pathetic ending to  a very strange happening in an ordinary garden.

But now you know ….


…the rest of the story.  GOOD DAY!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberry Moon

Full Strawberry Moon – June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!*

DSC_1646_4554 And the strawberries just keep on producing.  There have been strawberries harvested everyday since April and they just keep on giving.  There aren’t enough at one time to make any jam so the uneaten berries are frozen.  (Of course they’re uneaten.  Who saves eaten berries?!  Gross.)

DSC_1498_3913 The strawberries are fertilized with Dr. Earth (latest application = 06/23/10) and irrigated with drip irrigation each morning.  The  length of time for irrigation has been increased to 20 minutes.  They receive full sun from sun up to sundown.


*  From the Farmers’ Almanac

Perfect Tomato

DSC_1248_1465 This is my favorite photo taken last year of what I thought was the perfect tomato (Better Boy?).  Great color.  Wonderful shape.  Excellent model.  Perfect background.  The 2010 crop is not quite to this point; but I do see lots of potential. Once the weather is consistently hot, I should be overwhelmed with a flood of red, ripe tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh Boy! Boysenberry


That’s right.  The 2010 crop of boysenberry is not bumper but it’s more than was expected.  This is the first season for the canes.  Boysenberries are Farmer MacGregor’s favorite berries.  This crop should be fairly easy to process.  2011 may be MacGregor’s year of the boysenberries.  2010 only produced one.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spittlebugs are Gross!

DSC_1620_4528Spittlebugs in their nymph stage suck the sap from a plant and make a foam to hide in.  My lavender has spittlebugs hiding out.  It looks exactly like the neighborhood boys have been hanging out in my garden and having a loogie contest.  Gross.  Tomorrow morning I’ll be using the business end of a hose and blast these gross things loose. image Gross!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wave Petunias / Magellan Zinnias

DSC_1601_4509Not everything is edible in Maybelline’s Garden.  This past weekend I tore out the pansies and stock from the two front flowerbeds.  Some of the lobelia was trimmed in hopes of blooming later this summer.  Those plants were planted back in October and had grown beautifully through the rainy season.   Sadly, they were ripped out to make way for some muscle plants that should be able to thrive during the summer. 

DSC_1603_4511 Some Wave petunias (Misty Lilac) were plugged into the bed next to the driveway (See the loose bricks?  I drove into them.).  The petunias were fertilized with Dr. Earth and given a long drink of water to start them off right.  I never realized that petunias have a scent.  These have a soft, sweet scent.  Their light color makes them stand out at night; so I expect the hot summer nights to be perfumed with petunias.  (I can smell the breeze bringing the scent inside as I post this.  It sure beats the smell of feedlots.)  The Wave variety of petunias spread out.  The number of plants here should cover the ground nicely and continue to bloom until frost.  The plant tag directs to feed weekly and to remove spent blossoms to encourage growth and continuous  flowers.  There’s a Watermelon Crepe Myrtle multi truck tree that is centered in this flowerbed.

DSC_1602_4510 The other small bed next to the sidewalk has Magellan Zinnias.  Their not listed as dwarf but they only grow to 18”.  This variety is multicolored and should be able to take the heat of summer.   There are a couple of Loropetalum chinensis “Rubrum” in this bed as well.  Until they grow up, there will be other plants to keep them company.  This bed was also fertilized and irrigated to get everything off on the right root. 

Farmer MacGregor fears that these zinnias will attract neighborhood hoodlums that aspire to recreate a scene from Caddy Shack.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nice Melons!

Farmer MacGregor enjoys watermelon; so this winter I searched the Baker Creek seed catalog for the perfect variety.  The Malali seemed like it would fit the criteria.   A small, seeded, sweet melon that grows well in the oven-like garden known as Bakersfield, California.  Sold!  The seeds were planted on April 28, sprouted on May 6, and they haven’t stopped since.

They share a bed with the Lemon Squash (left).

DSC_1410_4069 April 29, 2010


DSC_1695_4364May 31, 2010


DSC_1718_4416June 10, 2010

 DSC_1593_4501 June 19, 2010


DSC_1567_4472 For some reason, whenever I work in the melon patch I have the desire to do a little tweezer work.  Sadly, these will not be ready for the 4th of July; but old MacGregor will have the rest of the long, hot summer to enjoy melons.  I’m now on the lookout for the dreaded pests that are sure to show up.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Lemon Squash

DSC_1578_4487Lemon Squash is moving right along now that the heat has been turned up.  The plant (leaves, stems, & flowers) looks just like zucchini.  It’s the fruit/vegetable that is different.  It really does look like a lemon.  It’s supposed to be about the size of a lemon as well.  Right now the tendrils are continuing to grow and reach for the support in order to climb on up.  More and more flowers open each morning with gobs of pollen for the garden insects to get drunk on.




Thursday, June 17, 2010


DSC_1542_4447Lantana grows super easy in zone 9 – Bakersfield, California.  This plant is in an old 5 gallon bucket.  It has never been pampered.  Sometimes it gets a good drink of water.  It’s always in the sun.  Pruning is a snap.  I just took the clippers and hacked at it any which way to remove the twigs.  In a short period of time the blossoms appear for the summer along will the nectar seeking creatures.  This would make a super easy hedge for someone that doesn’t want to bother with a fussy plant.

Lantana.  Reminds me of Dan Tanna.

image 1978.  Seems like yesterday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


DSC_1555_4460 Whoa, Dude.  The sunset is awesome.

Damselflies are some of the “good guys”.  They munch on mosquitoes, flies, and other small insects.  Sometimes they might dine on a spider.  They hang around water and lay their eggs there.  I’m not sure where this guy is finding any water around my garden; but these strange looking creatures are welcome as long as they like.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2 and 2 are 4…

DSC_1549_4454 Now I have found inchworms on the Al Kuffa tomatoes.  Just like the post yesterday, little black specks of caterpillar $h!t was deposited on the leaves and fruit.  I looked on the underside of a munched on leaf and found one of these.

DSC_1549_4454 SMASH!  It was too late in the evening to save this little morsel for the birds; so it got the business end of my Croc.  Just keepin’ it organic.  Now I have this song of early mathematics stuck in my head and would like to share.

Danny Kaye Rocks!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tomato Hornworm

Whenever you see something like this (little black specks)…

DSC_1539_4444 …look further up on the tomato plant and you’ll probably find something like this.

DSC_1111_1331 Some gardeners will leave caterpillars alone and  let them eat as much as they like.  Not this gardener.  Tomato Hornworms are plucked for the plant and set out for the birds to gobble up.  The birds and I are higher up on the food chain.  Besides, bugs outnumber humans by a whole bunch (high math speak).

It’s probably easier to simply destroy the eggs before they hatch; but that would be a very difficult egg hunt.  I don’t like squashing them; so I simply harvest them for the birds.

By the way birds, stay out of the garden.  Everything is getting nice and ripe.

The next pest adventure is to find out what’s nibbling on the leaves of my Black Hungarian Pepper plants.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Garden Update on a Full Stomach

This evening I had a nice spaghetti dinner with Farmer MacGregor’s Hungarian style sauce.  Doggies, I’m stuffed.  I couldn’t bend over and work in the garden after dinner.  All I could do was take photos and some of those are really out of focus.  Here’s a report of progress in the garden using only photos.