Thursday, June 12, 2008

In The Garden

Edit! After reading some comments I guess I did not make something clear in this post. I do not use synthetic pesticides or herbicides or fertilizers of any sort. I only use organic, natural pesticides and then, only when I have a bug problem. Generally I prefer Pyola, which is an organic product containing mostly canola oil and pyrethrins. It does not persist in the soil and does not harm beneficial insects such as bees etc. It is the only organic product I have found that is effective against Japanese beetles also which are a major problem here. Also, if you look closely in the shot of the tomato plants you will see marigolds planted in amongst the vegetables. I like marigolds but I use these as a pest deterrent also. You can tell I don't spray my weeds because of the humongous jungle over to the right!

My garden is doing pretty well despite my neglect of it. I have tried to weed and spray after I come home from work but that doesn't always give me a lot of time. There is grocery shopping and supper to fix etc. Plus, some days I am just too tired. The heat is fairly difficult right now and there is talk of our crew going on 4/10's to save driving into town one day a week. We are all spending quite a bit on gas right now. In a way, that would be nice to have a three day weekend but we have also considered the possibility of not being able to make 10 hours in this heat. We are in some of the hardest part of construction work; the foundations and 8 hours is pushing it sometimes.
I'm not sure what you can make out in the pics but I have planted okra (half from karl) , corn (silver queen), purple hull peas, blue lake green beans, several varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, just a couple of squash plants and cantaloupe. Oh, and 3 types of peppers.
Hey karl, these are my wonderful Pantero Romanesca (sp?) tomatoes you sent! I have several of the Cherokee Purples too. They are all doing wonderfully and I am sooo happy with them. These are waist high and starting to get little green tomatoes! I also found an old heirloom tomato from Russia (Black Prince) at our local co-op. I was quite surprised they would have such a thing but bought 2 and they seem to be doing well. Has anyone out there ever raised any of these before?
My 2 fig trees finally seem to be flourishing. They have just sat in the ground and tried to die the past two years but look much better now. I think hoping for actual figs may be asking for too much though. I don't know, they may have 2 or 3 this year.
I have done some work on the house and will try to show that maybe this weekend. I am now able to move my scaffolding up to the next level for the siding and should be able to top out the north wall soon. I hope none of you are experiencing really bad weather where you are. Seems like there is all kinds of stuff going on everywhere. We had a fairly strong thunderstorm here yesterday but I was glad for the rain.
Oh, the grasshoppers are horrible here right now! There are just hordes of them. They don't seem to be eating much of my stuff but they probably will start. I have read that ducks make good grasshopper control. Do any of you notice that ducks or chickens help with this? I know chickens will eat them but didn't know if they are actually that aggressive in their pursuit of hoppers. I thought I might get some Muscovies as I read they are especially fond of grasshoppers.
*Van Morrison


Shannon said...

Your garden looks wonderful! I am now officially very ashamed of my complete and total lack of progress in my own. I live right on the other side of the mountain from you(about 2 or 3 miles), so I can't blame the weather anymore. All that and progress on the house too! You have inspired me once again to do more and better than I have. I look forward to your next post with curiosity, excitement, and some degree of self-loathing.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Your garden look really good. I gave up on putting in a full vegetable garden this year. I have some vegetables in the gardens by the house. I am sorry you feel it necessary to spray pesticides.

You would love Muscovy ducks. They are delightful.

Anonymous said...

Hey ER, good to see you back girl!

The garden looks wonderful. I knock my weeds out with boiling water, bit of a pain carting the kettles around but worth it

It seems strange to see all those summer crops when ours are all winter, you mad yanks have it all back to front I'm tellin you LOL


hillbilly2be said...

The garden looks great! Your plants have really taken off in the warm weather.

We have quite a few grasshoppers here, too. The chickens seem to vacuum up everything that is not in the garden, but there are plenty of grasshoppers content to hang out in the garden, eating the peppers and okra. I'll let the chickens in there after the season...

Meanwhile, I finally searched online and found a pretty good web page with ideas for organic pest control. I tried blending up some jalepenos, garlic, and water, then strained it and added the liquid to some water to make 1 gallon. Then, I mixed about a cup of the concentrate with some water/Dawn dish soap mix and sprayed the peppers with that in the early morning. Late in the day, no grasshoppers on any of the plants, and no damage to the foliage. Hopefully, it will continue to work. Anyway, the price was right... it made a gallon of the concentrate mix, which should last a long long time.

Love seeing your garden! :)


karl said...

your garden looks beautiful. thanks for planting the seeds. i think you will find that the black prince is similar to the cherokee purple. the cherokee purple has been grown in these parts for much longer and is more suited to natural gardening than many other heirlooms. too bad you didn't try the omar's lebanese--next year. those are our most robust plants this year.

spray uhh water right?)

edifice rex said...

Hey Shannon! No! don't feel bad; you have a family and everything so you are really busy. It's just me here so I've got lots of time to work on things. And I haven't made that much progress on the house! :(
Ya'll should drop in and see the place sometime since you are so close. If you see the red gate open, come on in!

Hello Philip! Check my edit for the deal with the pesticides; I don't use conventional ones. We had a Muscovy duck when I was young and it was nuts! That was the craziest animal I have ever had but it kept us in stitches. Always into something.

Thanks Molly! I just pull my weeds by hand; big pain but they don't come back usually. Well, it seemed so weird to me to read on your blog the other day when you mentioned that ya'll had a very cold day! We yanks get a lot of things backwards! HA! I have a friend who is visiting your beautiful country this coming week and she was saying she just could not get used to the idea of having to pack winter clothes! Does it get very cold in your region? I think I read where you rarely see snow?

Hey Ron! Thanks! Yes, the plants are really starting to go now. Well, that is one reason I was considering ducks because I thought they might not scratch and uproot like chickens. Of course, they will probably just stomp all over everything and break my plants! LOL! I may try your bug juice. Sounds like it works good. The Pyola I use is not too expensive but I do have to order it.

Hey karl! Thanks and thank you so much for sending those seeds to me. I really appreciate it and I have not forgotten about your mug you want. I'll be throwing some more this weekend. I actually gave the Omar's Lebanese seeds (since there were not a lot) to the Switchman to try. I also gave him half of the Cherokee Purple. When I left the railroad job he said the plants were all doing well. We talked a lot about gardening and so I am happy to hear that variety is a good one. Hopefully, they will do very well for him. Check the edit also about the spraying.

Anonymous said...

Hey ER, no, we never ever get snow where I am, if we did they'd all be racing round screaming the sky is falling LOL

The coldest I have ever known it here is -8C, omg it was freezing lol

Our cold here is very damp, so feels worse. I was in canada about 8 years ago, it was -34 and I felt warmer than in our cold, theirs is very dry, or at least it was whilst I waas there.

I do miss the snow, that was the first time I had seen any (at 40 years of age) I was like a kid with a new toy!


edifice rex said...

Hey Molly! Well, I would have thought you all would have fairly dry winters. See, that shows how little I know about Down Under. I really enjoy being able to "talk" to you and learn about your place. When I was a child we regularly had a good amount of snow each winter but now if it snows enough to just cover the ground we have a fit! We act crazy and everyone gets excited. Ha ha! Our Northerners would think we are idiots. I miss it too!

Robbyn said...

Oh man, pink eye purple hull peas...a true southern garden!!
The garden looks really great, you have time to keep it going is a wonder :) Can't wait to see which tomatoes are your favorites, since the ones you mentioned are on our To Try list for next year. Glad your figs are doing well, too...ours were languishing in the heat and we had to pot them to get them to survive, but with this rain, they've had a whole new lease on life

edifice rex said...

Hey Robbyn! Yeah, I love purple hull peas and this is the first time I have tried to grow them. Can't wait for my first plate of peas, fried okra and fresh tomatoes! YUM!
Well, like I tell everybody, I don't have a family or kids or anything so I have time when I get home to work. You all that have kids and spouses are really the ones with the hard work etc. I'm very anxious to taste the tomatoes too. I'll let you know which ones I like and are easiest to deal with.