Jun 30, 2008

Tomato cages Gilligan style.

Mr Primitive Archer himself came over today to help me build some support for my very rapidly growing tomatoes. We used bamboo and twine... simple and it does the trick. I did less tying up than I thought I'd have to. I'm just going to keep an eye on them and tie as needed. If I need to add another tier to the structure later I will. Last year my plants were taller than me so it's a possibility.

We have blossoms... and tomatoes! They're burried deep in the mess but they're in there. It always amazes me how quickly they grow... hell it amazes me that these plants were once teeny lil sprouts in my bedroom... and now they have fruit. So far I've only spotted Silvery Tree Fur tomatoes but all the other plants are loaded with blossoms. The Rutgers plants look especially wonderful, very strong and healthy. They're the tallest of the bunch.
I've also spotted eggplants. They're small. Real small. Smaller than peanuts. Come to think of it, they're about kidney bean sized. But, I'm very happy. For a while there I thought I was going to lose them all together. The new leaves look much better and I'm seeing fewer pin holes. I guess that whole healthy plant thing holds true. I did lose all the whites though (I think, I guess time will tell).

Here's a little insignificant-in-the-grand-scheme- of-the-world success story for ya. See that little, lone clamatis? I've been trying for two years now to get that thing to climb my mailbox. Notice it has CLIMED THE MAILBOX (ignore the broken fence behind it). Sigh.. it's the little things that make me happy (unless we're talking about that fence). Now only if I could really get it going next year... move that one by the front fence being smothered by ivy and they'll be two of them. Imagine the vinage! Ok, I'll stop.

And just a few more shots from in and around the garden over the last week or so... some lilies, lavender and the Gilligan tomato structure. I'm not entirely happy with my recent photos as my computer... the one with all the cool photo editing stuff, is down and I've been using my husband's.

weed = herb = something else I didn't know

A few weeks ago my oldest son had a little sore on the corner of his mouth. He and my dad go for a little walk, come back and tell me they "put special medicine on his boo boo". My dad is famous for picking something random from the wild and knowing WAY more about it than the average dude out for a walk. I was a little freaked out about what 'medicine' was applied so closely to my son's mouth until my dad shoved a Primitive Archer magazine at me with an article on this very abundant weed.. er... herb. Now that I've read about it I notice it everywhere (one day I'll post my uphill battle to grow grass).

I just grabbed this lil tidbit from the web:
Read the whole thing here

"Medical evidence exists to confirm uses as an alternative medicine for asthma, emphysema, bladder problems, bronchitis, fever, hypertension, rheumatism and blood sugar control. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, dysentery, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, coughs, asthma and hay fever. It also causes a natural aversion to tobacco and is currently being used in stop smoking preparations. Extracts of the plant have antibacterial activity, it is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly stops blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings and swellings and said to promote healing without scars. Poultice of hot leaves is bound onto cuts and wounds to draw out thorns, splinters and inflammation. The root is said to be used as an anti-venom for rattlesnakes bites. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion. "

Amazing right?

... what exactly is eye lotion?

Jun 23, 2008

Who knew?

Dusty miller bloomed?
Neither did I but I'm sure glad it did.

I've been slacking off a bit in the garden since the swim season started. For instance, I should be out there watering right now but I'm inside finishing up entering meet results.

The flowers beds actually look just fine. A few weeds here and there but nothing to clutch your pearls about. The window boxes are alive so I must not be slacking off too badly.

Speaking of window boxes... I don't just overcrowd tomato plants. Look at that thing! I would have liked to put some purple queen in the middle and the bright green sweet potato vine on the outsides but I had to work with what I could find. Next year I'm sticking to purple on the inside regardless of what plants are available.

One more shot of part of the front flower bed. I love this lambs ear. It comes back nicely every year and I've been able to separate and plant it all over the place. Soft, fuzzy leaves. :)
The petunias I bought were %75 off because every one in the flat looked just about dead... Not one bright bloom. I dead headed them, kept watering them and viola! Teri gets a steal from the giant home improvement store!

Vegetable wise, the cucumbers died. I'm not even going to speculate what happened there (ahem... water). The tomato plants look absolutely wonderful and are starting to get tall and bushy. I've got two tiny tomatoes on a silvery fir tree plant already! The rest all have blooms. I'll take pictures soon enough. I've staked most of the peppers. For some reason my peppers and tomatoes grew a lil crooked this year. No matter I guess, they seem to be doing well.

I'm confident the eggplant are going to survive the flea beatles. I've got a few plants that look wonderful, a few that look so so. I'm sure most of my failures this year are because I'm not tending the garden like I should. It's just so hard to find the time to get out there during the swim season.

Jun 9, 2008

empty nest

The robins flew the coop last week. I was able to snap a photo of one in an azalea. One hung out in the ivy on the fence, and the other in the lilac.

Free Tomato Plants!

Ok, so they don't look so hot, but they're free nonetheless. I posted a freecycle for my left over tomato plants. I have about 30 out there just waiting for love. They look horrid I'll admit, but if they're transplanted and staked they'll do just fine. I gave 4 of them to my neighbor, I'm sure she'll plant them but lets face it.. she's a widowed 81 year old woman and really how will she be able to eat all those tomatoes? She's already got two in the ground! Not to mention, she's the first person I think of when I've got a surplus. The plants themselves don't look too bad they're just all crooked. You can see from the photo they're just kinda... well.. crooked!

It's ridiciously hot in NJ for June, 99 degrees for three days in a row so far. A lot of the veggies are wilted even though I watered around 10pm last night. I'll do my best to get out there again tonight and give them a good soaking. The weather is another reason I've got to get rid of those extra tomato plants as soon as possible. The left over peppers I had all died from the heat and lack of water... they looked wonderful too. Bad Teri... Bad.
My eggplants are fighting flea beatles. I read that most healthy, strong plants will be able to fight them off but sheesh.. look at them! I've just about lost my Rosa Blancas. I only had two left and they're just pathetic. I'll have to read a bit more on what to do about them, I'm not a fan of pesticides since I've got two little ones playing in the yard. I didn't have this problem last year and my eggplants did very well. They're a big staple for us and we were looking forward to a few different variety this year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they make it.

The snow peas are doing very well and I'm kicking myself for not planting them all along the chain link fence like I'd planned. There aren't really enough to bring in for anything substantial. I could take them ALL and throw them in a salad but I don't really want to do that. Matthew grabs one for himself (and one for grandmom) every time he passes by and eats them right off the vine. I guess they're just a fun mini-crop for now. I don't really mind too much, but they sure are delicious and I wish I had more. Hopefully I'll read this next year and take action.

Lets talk (or view, rather) overcrowding shall we? 5 varieteies of tomatoes... I'm sort of looking forward to untangling the mess come July/Aug. I'll build some bamboo cages... cages, who am I kidding.. they're more like something you'd see on Gilligan's Island.
Since I'm posting my failures... check out my broccoli. Note, broccoli doesn't do well in containers. Not sure if I'll try this again next year or not, even directly in the soil.

The lettuce is still doing OK. I took an entire head of redleaf to my parents house yesterday for burgers and I thought it was a little tough. I'm not sure when to harvest them (hellooooo ever hear of google?). The romaine is still kind of tiny and I haven't even pulled a leaf yet. I planted a windowbox of romaine for my mom and it really took off. They looked wonderful but had a little white, fuzzy insect on them (aphid?). Needless to say they're not doing very well now. She did take one and said it wasn't up to par. I'm drenching mine with water at this point because it's so hot out there.. I really hope they can hold on a bit longer. If they start to go south, it looks like a salad of baby romaine for dinner in the next few days!

I broke down and bought a few cucumber plants from home depot. I have some room next to the tomato bed that I'm considering turning into a lil cuke haven. More to come.

Lastly... here's a success (ok, two). I moved all these daylilies from various places in the yard last year and planted them along the patio to make a little garden room. Ok, so it's not a real garden room bit it's as close as I can get in my little teeny yard. They looked really sad last year, this year they're taller than Joey! He's standing right up against them believe it or not. I threw some other lilies in there and I think I'll clump them together in the fall.

This sounds like a pity party I know, but overall I'm very pleased, just annoyed with the heat and the pests.