Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garden Update: No Blight (So Far)

I absolutely LOVE home-grown tomatoes.

After 19 years of gardening at Shady Hollow and losing my tomato crop to blight every year, I finally got a little smarter and decided to use a fungicide this year.

I began spraying as soon as the plants were in the ground. So far it seems to be working. The plants have grown well beyond their cages and are producing beautiful tomatoes.

These are the first two picked:

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This is the view of the plants from the deck:

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I did go for a period without spraying and am keeping my fingers crossed that no blight spores were able to take hold during that time. Even if it does rear its ugly head again, we have already enjoyed more tomatoes than we ever have from our little garden. If blight returns, I’ll be more diligent in my spraying next year.

Another garden success this year is okra. I had tried several times to grow okra, only to fail miserably. Most of the time it didn’t even sprout. If it did manage to start growing it soon just sat there and did nothing but look miserable.

This year I must have done everything right for the okra; location, planting time, fertilizer, water, everything. The plants have gone wild and we are enjoying fried okra and fresh tomatoes. Yummy!

The final veggie success has been black-eyed peas. My mother used to grow black-eyed peas and cook them fresh from the garden. My hubby had never eaten them other than in dried form and was amazed at the difference in flavor when cooked fresh. He isn’t accusing me of wasting garden space on them anymore.

Veggie failures? Yes, and not what you would expect. My summer squash failed as did the cucumbers. Two plants that have never given me problems before. I have no idea what happened. But this year, no squash or cucumbers while last year was a bumper crop of both.

As we head toward the fall season my thoughts are on greens. I have turnip, mustard, and collard seed that will soon be replacing the peas, squash and cucumber. I’ve never tried growing greens at Shady Hollow. This could be interesting.

I’ll keep you posted.

Be Blessed.

The Vines Are Blooming! Finally!!

This spring I decided that instead of potting up cannas for the deck I would plant vines. I planted moonflowers, a hybrid morning glory, black-eyed Susan vine, and cardinal creeper. I gathered sticks for them to climb on and waited.

Soon they were up and growing:

They grew and grew, but no flowers.

Now, at long last, they are blooming.

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I don’t have a picture of the cardinal creeper yet. It has only had a few blooms and I didn’t get a picture. So, there will be more to come.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Frog Encounter

My cannas were attacked by an insect that made it’s home on their leaves by winding a fine strand of silk around them before they opened. The caterpillar then lived inside the tube it had created, eating the leaves and finally making a cocoon. I have no idea what this insect is. I was mainly concerned with breaking the silken threads and letting the leaves unfurl.

As I neared completion, one remaining leaf needed my help, even though it had almost freed itself from silken bondage.

Imagine my surprise when I broke the remaining thread and found a little frog inside, hiding under the curl of the leaf.

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I guess it was a tree frog of some kind. I know it was tiny, and camera shy. I had to do some acrobatics that were downright dangerous to get a picture.

It didn’t stay long after I exposed its shady nook to the sun, but I’m sure its still in the garden, somewhere.

Be Blessed.