Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chilly Halloween Fun

The day after planting a slew of new seeds, I invited a bunch of preschoolers over for a Halloween playdate, and of course we ended up in the backyard (NO WALLS CAN CONTAIN US!) and of course some of my seeds got trampled, or - let us say - worked deeper into the earth. We'll see what comes of them.

But it was worth it, because we were doing an awesome Halloween spooky ice activity - frozen hands with surprises inside. Tipped off by Anne from Left Brain Craft Brain to the post at Happy Hooligans, I prepped the latex gloves at noon, dumping a large portion of liquid red food coloring in each. I got them out of the freezer at 4 PM. They were mostly frozen and in fact if they had all been entirely solid it would have taken the kids a lot longer to harvest their toys. The project's mess was all contained in the yard, where the grass was in its death throes anyway. (The red does get all over fingers and clothes - could have used a couple of those gloves for myself!)

The three-year-old kids all loved digging in their icy hands for some period time, varying by attention span, but my big first grader may have enjoyed it the most. He didn't have any parental help (because I was scurrying around distributing supplies to everyone else), and he took the longest, extracting his toys and applying salt with almost surgical precision. He told me later that it was so much fun it made everything else about the day "boring". Um, sorry?

I was too rushed to follow the Happy Hooligans suggestion about removing the gloves carefully, so we did break some fingers and the moms amused ourselves by staging them in some unused dirt a la fresh corpses. Classy. Thanks to Anne for the photos!

I'm both glad and sad nobody got a photo of the "bloody" pile of surgical gloves left at the end. Revolting!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Planting

As much as I gripe about the weather around here, we do have the potential for four-season growing. Take that, New England and your beautiful fall leaves! Yesterday, we clipped our pumpkin fruits, leaving me free to pull out the pumpkin plants from the ground, along with my potted tomato that produced a grand total of maybe 6 tomatoes over the course of the year, and one of my two remaining potted basils. I planted from seed:
Bibb lettuce
Salad Bowl blend lettuce
Basil (ambitious, I know)
Beets, golden and red
Broccoli raab (last chance for this packet of seeds to impress me after lack of performance last go-round)

I still have four cherry tomatoes, two green beans, and a zucchini in the ground, all of which somehow managed to convince me they justified their dirt for at least another week. I also have a pretty row of leafy carrot greens and just enough cilantro for my own needs. It remains warm in the afternoons and cool overnight, hope my little seeds are cozy!

Normally I would not call myself an optimist, but you can't help it when sowing seeds... definitely part of why I keep at it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Too Hot

Ridiculous heat wave in the EC this week, but I took the 3 year old outside early (like 8 AM early!) to do some harvesting and garden maintenance. This is four varieties of tomato - finally a couple green zebras deigned to ripen. Woo hoo; I'm over them. All the cherries' production are much decreased. Our carrot greens are looking leafy and pretty; it will be guesswork as to when's the right time to pick. I trimmed my dry as a bone mint back, along with not one but two pots of dead-or-dying basil; I'm okay if they decide to continue their slow march to the grave regardless.

I also stopped by the city to take advantage of Free Compost Week, but unfortunately didn't make it there until 11 AM so I boiled to death while shoveling up my allotment. Then it stunk up the car on the way home, with my poor daughter clutching her pink sparkly t-shirt over her mouth, through her car seat buckles, to breath through.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Too Many Tomatoes??

Daily harvest
Yes, that day has come, when I am finally tired of cherry tomatoes. We'll see if they last through November like they did last year. Still pending: a great deal of boring garden maintenance that goes along with the change in seasons. I hope to make it to the local compost giveaway this week - er, that is, I will be sending my husband, so I hope *he* makes it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

As the Harvest Turns

Harvest season is wrapping up with a whimper in my garden. The green beans - all 8 individual plants - have succumbed to a form of powdery mildew. (My husband suggested wearing a hazmat suit when I pull them out. I am picturing it like the scene in ET when they remove him...) The cherry tomatoes are dwindling. Our pumpkins never did get big, but they are bright orange, so we'll pick those this week. I have a few cilantro guys and some tiny feathery carrot greens coming up, and that's about it; I need to get out there and sow another round of those seeds. Our weather has alternated with hot (75F) days and a couple rainstorms over the last week - it's been more muggy than foggy this Indian Summer. (Daughter: Why is it called that? Because the Indians like summer the most?)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend Away; Or, When Cherry Tomatoes Run Amuck

The garden has been quietly consistent for the past few weeks; everything that's been producing has kept producing, and nothing that hasn't been producing has surprised me. We went away for the weekend. I picked cherry tomatoes on Friday morning; I picked more upon our return on Sunday evening. Then I went out today and gave them a thorough harvest. This is about two pounds. My best hope for getting rid of them is to position the tub near the edge of the kitchen counter and then sternly forbid the kids to go near it. They adore "sneaking" treats. Hahahaha... I am the sneakiest.

I'm getting something that looks a lot like powdery mildew on some of my green beans, but not all, which would almost be a relief at this point. No relief for me!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Green Bean City

Solved a minor green bean mystery the other day. One of the plants on a pole had snuck up and over the neighbor's fence. When I noticed it and pulled it back over, I found some monsters on it - obviously inedible, obviously been growing for some time. When I plucked them off and redirected the plant, I hoped/feared it would spur more growth and in fact that seems to be happening. I'm getting a large handful a day now. The cherry tomatoes are all continuing their party too. My basil sadly just can't hack our crazy weather (cold and chilly until 1 or 2, when it might reach 70). None of my lettuce seeds have come up! Cilantro coming along, at least.