Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We Interrupt This Program to Bring You Some Whining

A small sampling of the events that have made my three-year-old cry today: I gave her a "boy sticker", I gave her a sticker with a mouse saying "You Are Special" on it, she left her shoes in the car, she applied her tattoo in the wrong spot, and she didn't want to do the new puzzle I got out. I won't go into the many minor boo-boos that cropped up, or the times she had what a semi-reasonable person might consider an actual grievance (using the terms very loosely - for example, couldn't find the book she wanted [on account of it was behind another book on the shelf] etc. etc.).

And yet she pulled it together for five minutes to help her brother gather up fallen (rotten) nectarines, and put them in a tub for counting up by fives - I am paying them a nickel a yucky nectarine on a daily basis. They want the money to buy ice cream at family camp, and I want the nectarines gone so we don't host raccoon sleepovers (any more than we already do). Win-win-uh...loss, if you're a raccoon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Warning: Harvest in Progress

Jam-packed with flourishing plants

Things are growing together and intertwining, making it hard to harvest in certain corners - a spacing problem, especially in my son's area. Luckily my small people can squirm their way into any opening.

Today I harvested more green beans and two lemon cucumbers. I *thought* about picking lettuce, basil, and nectarines. Unfortunately due to some boring age-related tooth problems, I can't eat many berries nowadays, so that drastically cuts down on my interest in picking them. The squirrels are totally psyched to see so many on the ground - if we don't harvest daily, the ripe ones drop off.

Sometimes (in the thick of spring planting efforts), I grumpily think that harvest is the only thing that makes gardening worthwhile. And then in the thick of harvest season, I'm all, UGH I'm soooo tired of picking my homegrown organic produce. #firstworldprob... well, you know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rain? In July?

Oh yes. We got a shower lasting an hour or more this morning, and as my son astutely pointed out, the clouds are still gray so there could well be more. This is not good for my tomatoes, but hopefully everything else can roll with it.

Monday, July 21, 2014


We inherited this dumb nectarine tree when we moved to our house in El Cerrito about four years ago. It sits in a weird spot, off-center in the backyard. It did nothing our first year; my husband pruned it the second year; we got a week's crop last year (which allowed us to finally identify what it even was); and now we are at the beginning of what will obviously be an extensive crop.

The fruits are edible, but small and not particularly good-looking. If you don't get out there are harvest daily they drop to the ground overnight and delight the raccoons, who barely need an excuse to party in our backyard anyway. WHY couldn't the previous owners have planted apple, pear, plum, or some sort of normal citrus tree instead? I guess it could be worse. Could be loquat. Zing!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mid-July Miscellany

It's mid-July, and while I've got a continuous harvest going, I do feel like it's not as much of everything as this time last year. (Except berries, which continue to deluge the household.)

The tomatoes, it must be confessed, are not producing anywhere like they should. See the Green Zebra at left - nada. What a waste of time, water, and dirt. My son's Sun Gold has one or two a day. My other cherry has one or two every couple days, and the Indigo remains disgusting - just tastes unripe, no matter how big it gets. Let's blame the drought, or possibly Flora Grubb Gardens for selling it to me.

I am getting - literally - a handful of green beans and sugar snap peas daily. That, at least, is perfect. Can't stop congratulating myself for not overplanting!

Between the two pumpkin plants that came up (out of I can't even tell you how many seeds), we've got two well-established baby pumpkins, with a couple more tiny possibilities. At least all my potted herbs are doing great, for once.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid-July Harvest

Nectarines ripening up (note new backyard fence section - complete!)
Lettuce tragedies aside, the garden is producing about a pint of blackberries and a handful of green beans and snap peas per day. I'm getting a zucchini a week (perfect!), an occasional tomato, and a bit of lettuce. The Miracle Gro regimen of every two weeks seems to be helping the basil and mint, and boy did the mojito I made last weekend with our mint and our lime really help me.

I am looking forward to when the tomatoes really start producing. We've got a couple of days before the oddball nectarines are ripe. This was an inherited tree in a stupid place in the backyard. The grownups in the family aren't fans of the fruit it produces, but last year anyway my son enjoyed them for its week of abundance. The fruits are small, just about the right size for his hand, and that's as good a reason as any to eat a fruit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happier News

Our two pumpkin plants are both happy campers, the slugs have been so busy with lettuce lately that they overlooked a strawberry plant, and my son's colorful garden corner is brightening things up around here.