Sunday, June 6, 2010

Garden Update

It's been a while since I updated you all on my gardening misadventures. It's interesting that many of my coworkers and husband think I have this phenomenal green thumb. Either I don't talk about my failures enough or they are just not listening. It could be that human nature causes us to remember the good more than the bad, possibly as a means to survive. Why dwell on the bad when that could depress you and keep you from scavenging food, finding a cave and hiding from dragons.

Here's my ONE pear. I actually consider this a SUCCESS since I just planted this tree and didn't expect any. There were eleven pear-lets that mysteriously disappeared, possibly victims of aforementioned dragon.

This is my first blackberry! I got so excited, I took a picture of it on my Blackberry (cell phone) and am using it as a screen saver. Blackberry on a Blackberry, get it? I'm so funny:) Actually, I picked this too early because I didn't know better and when I handed it over to my husband in a ceremonious "here, I have brought you the first of the season", a strange twisted, contorted facial motion consumed his face. It was bitter. Apparently, water, feed, wait til they turn dull and fall off easy when you touch it method of harvesting is better. Who knew?

And my first peas. They are-were delicious, then some mysterious
pest devoured the leaves, made the peas bitter and left me without anymore snacks while gardening. A FAILURE co-workers and hubby.

This beauty is the flower from one of my garlic stalks. I expected garlic scapes and was ready to harvest them when they 'turned around' but this never 'turned around'. It just kept growing up and when it bloomed, well i JUST had to leave it, it was beautiful. None of the other garlic plants produced a flower and continued to develop bulbs. I was about to harvest them when I came across a farmer at the Austin Farmers Market and he said wait until June. I harvest them 3 days before June because they fell over and I was worried. They probably could have gone a few more days but I didn't want to risk it. I had a lot of garlic to lose. This flower is full of bublets but they aren't worth harvesting for me right now since if I started with bublets instead of bulbs, it would take me 2-3 years before I could harvest garlic and I just have a small city plot. It would take up valuable space for too long. But maybe.... when I get a few acres....

And now on to the herb garden. I highly recommend an herb garden for EVERYBODY, especially beginners. They are WEEDS!! You can't mess them up! In Texas, almost all of them come back every year and the ones that don't, let them bolt and save the seed:) See, easy*** A SUCCESS! This is Lemon Balm, I like this. I have been adding this to my green tea that I make by the gallon so that I can kick my diet coke habit. Diet Coke is bad, so is real coke. You get a choice between a toxin (Aspartame), and High Fructose Corn Syrup (A major player in 'Diabesity', 'Syndrome X' or 'Metabolic Syndrome').
This is Red Veined Sorrel. I'm not sure what this is other than a culinary herb but I do have an
herb resource.

Why would I grow an herb I don't know about? Because I came across several at one garden shop that I didn't know about and knowing how hard it is to find herbs other than the big 5, I grabbed all of them. The big five are Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint. You can find those easily, even at the local supermarket. Sorrel, Curry, Thai Basil, St. Johns Wort, Lemon Balm, Comfrey? Grab them if you see them. They are harder to find.

This is Curry Herb. It smells just like curry, I believe it repels dragons. You will come across this if you like to cook Thai food. I'm glad I have one now, we cook Thai regularly. For those of you who know Dave, you know why....

One of many sunflowers thanks to the big Burpee bag of wildflower mix. It lured many interesting bees to my yard. Some of which watched me carefully as I worked around them and tried to buzz me back. 'Watch it mister!' I would tell them. "Don't bite the hand that feeds you!" Some of them understood, I swear.

My garlic:) Apparently I need to dry them for four weeks out of direct sunlight before cutting the roots and tops. Then, store in ceramic for 6-8 months. Yea! A SUCCESS!

This is funny. Anyone who sees my 6 rows of tomatoes will think instantly, "SUCCESS". This 'success' started with huge failures, plural. I started the seeds indoors with regular fluorescent light bulbs because I had read that you could. I thought I was going to be a huge success, I had almost 70 tomato starts. I was on to something, then......dampening ended my tomato I thought. It was still early in the season so I purchased 2 growing lights from a local light bulb shop, they are expensive, and started over. At first I was really good at labeling my plants,
but after the first disaster I was in survival mode. I planted as many as I could as fast as I could. What I ended up with were 3 heirloom plants and about 30 cherry tomato plants!! Oh boy, fortunately they are all indeterminant so I won't have to harvest 1000 cherry tomatoes all at once. But, alas, no canning this year:(

A failure or success? The jury is out, canning takes up valuable time.

The Herb Garden.

A chive flower, so pretty.....

I think, a Monarch Caterpillar. I had nine of these chomping on my dill plant. I 'fed' them and let them live. I got an email from The Natural Gardener that the Monarch butterfly suffered devastating losses in Mexico because of the rains and if you see them, spare them, share your crop. So I did. As for the two beetles in the first picture, what are they? If you know let me know. Apparently they were using my Golden Dorsett apple tree as a romantic rendezvous. I spared them too, as most bugs I come across until I can determine if they will be a nuisance. A balance of bugs is ideal for any garden, they keep losses and disease at bay. Big bugs eat small bugs, that's the way it goes. If you kill one segment of this web, it falls apart and you lose everything.

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