Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gargantuan Gourds

      This has been my first year to grow swan gourds.  I have purchased seed packets before, but have never planted the seeds.  This year I started them, and they are like the energiser bunny that keeps going, and going, and going.  While most of the other squash stuff has succumbed to this or that malady, the swans keep taking over garden territory.

      This shot shows a Marina Di Chioggia squash in the foreground, and behind is a dark green buttercup squash and a mottled swan gourd to the left.

Here is a swan on the ground
And here is one hanging from my new trellis
      The problem with the hanging gourds is that it straightens the necks.  I just started putting hanging baskets under the young gourds so that I can have them with a crook neck.  In any event, a beautiful and humongous gourd.

Berry Delicious

      The everbearing red raspberries are in, and they are delicious.  Scrumptious. Wonderful red raspberries that go well with bananas.  With watermelon.  With cereal.  And really well with ice cream.  With just about any fruit, or just a big handful eaten while cruising the bushes.  Be prepared for seeds in your teeth.  Well worth the taste sensation.

      Ah, there they are.  Some years we have to cover them to keep off the catbirds and robins.  So far this year they are uncovered and we are getting a great harvest.  They have just really come in at the first of September, and will continue to bear a little until frost.  Until then, great eating.

      The plants tend to multiply by runner, so I have loads available for you to start your own patch.  If you live nearby, give me a shout.  If you are further away, maybe I can start a mail order business.  A great way to extend your fruit season.  My patch has been going for twenty plus years.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Kitchen Progress

      This is the state of the kitchen yesterday morning.  The new granite counter top is in, having replaced the wood edged blue formica counter we put in 23 years ago.  Got our use out of that one.  The 23 year old stove was still working, though got tossed so a new one would have proper measurements with the new granite. The old wood cabinets remain, though look nicer with the new counter.

Slightly different angle and lighting
Let the back splash work begin

      My wife is out of town helping my daughter with her family move to Daytona Beach.  What strange timing.  So this post is as new to her as to anyone else following the progress.  The tile guys were certainly very concerned about protecting the new granite counter.

One wall covered, one waiting
Back splash above the stove, after grouting
Back splash under cabinets, pre grouting

      This shot was taken last night as I was preparing my bachelor dinner, a wonderful Stouffer's lasagna.  Even with phone interruptions, I did a terrific job with the cooking.  The splash on the right is grouted, the splash on the left is waiting for the tile guys this morning.  It's looking great!

      This is the view outside when I have my back to the microwave.  The messy table is not my fault, it is all stuff that had to be removed from the counter.  Our dog Abby has had a wonderful time supervising all of the tile work.  The next shot is from the landing outside the door in this picture.

View from landing to back deck

      The tall yellow flowers are the African daisies.  There are several clumps available for give away in this unusually cool August.  Let me know before they go to the yard waste dump.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Marina di Chioggia

      This is my first year growing the Marina di Chioggia squash from Italy.  It is beautiful in its weirdness.  This one is supported by an inverted bucket, as I was afraid the 15 pound squash could burden the vine,

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tumbling Tomatoes

      These tomato plants are volunteers from last years' Sweet 100 patch.  There is supposed to be a path under these plants, and it is difficult to get into the garden.  So after some very heavy pruning and a quick bamboo trellis construction, this it what it looks like now.

      Ah, the path is back.  In a few days the plants will fill back out, yet have plenty of space for sun and air circulation.

Fabulous Friday

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Picking Potatoes

       Back on April 6th of this spring I put my Kennebec potato starts in the ground.  I ran out of garden space in the back yard for potatoes, so took the leftover starts over to my park garden.

      These two trenches were about eight feet long, and the potato starts are about a foot apart in each row.  The bed itself was actually the remains of about eight inches of leaves covered with mushroom soil from the previous year when I was trying to wipe out a weed invasion.  There was no prep this year, just using a hoe to make the trenches.  In went the potato pieces and the trenches were refilled.

      The picture above shows the potato patch on the left as of June first.  Potato beetles found the patch a couple of weeks ago, and although insecticidal soap had kept them somewhat in check, I found the adult beetles in force this morning.  I dug my hand under one plant, expecting to find only a few new potatoes, but was surprised to find a couple of good sized spuds.  Decided then to harvest the whole small bed to take away the beetle food supply.

      The vines had only started to yellow and had not collapsed at all, so I would not have harvested yet if not for the beetle problem.  But the good news is, the potatoes look great, and were harvestable by hand by simply pulling up the plants.  The potatoes had formed in the leaf layer, and were essentially sitting on top of the harder soil.

      This picture shows how the potatoes just pulled out with the rest of the plant.  Then pulled them off the roots and put them in the harvest bucket.

      What a great harvest.  From just the small patch of leftover seed potatoes at the park.  Wonder what the bigger patch will yield.