Monthly Archives: September 2011

Friday PhotoEssay

Today it’s time for our regular photoessay – I apologize if the pictures seem to be getting redundant, since we’re not doing a fall garden this year.

Our okra seems to be dropping its leaves suddenly. We have rather bare okra plants. Honestly – I have no idea what’s up. I haven’t been paying much attention to it, and I’ve never grown okra before. I don’t know if it’s been too wet or dry or if something has attacked it. Any ideas?

These are the Big Bertha peppers, and they have been quite productive this year! Very impressive.

Hmm…I think we may have forgotten to fertilize this pepper. A little bit nitrogen deficient, don’t you think? I’m surprised it has any peppers on it!

Some of the tomatoes from our Heat Set plants are starting to ripen, but this one seems to be ripening in stages. Part of it is ripe and part is still quite unripe. Could be some damage caused one section to ripen faster or it could be genetic. Okay, this is getting a little depressing.

This should cheer you up! C’mon, I’ve barely posted ANY Swiss Chard pictures this year. You have to admit that it brightens the place up a bit.

The volunteer hyacinth beans brighten things up nicely too, don’t they?

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Alaskan Lichen PhotoEssay

Call me busy, lazy, or what you will, but I am finally getting around to sharing some of those interesting lichens and other sights from my hike in the Tongass Rainforest.

This is the view from the near the trailhead where we started. The water here is actually part of the Pacific Ocean – I believe the George Inlet.

One of the first interesting plants we came across were these Dwarf Dogwoods. A groundcover, they are also called Bunchberry, and they are edible. Fairly tasty too! We also saw lots of wild blueberries in their natural habitat – a very acidic muck soil.

Skunk cabbage – technically edible and good as a laxative if you are in need of it. Apparently it is a favorite of bears coming out of hibernation in the spring, although we saw a large patch that had been enjoyed by the bears much more recently.

Our guide called this Scrambled Egg Fungus. It kind of looks like scrambled eggs, and apparently if you fry it over a fire, it rather tastes like scrambled eggs too.

This is a type of lungwort lichen. (There are many different types.) It is on a bed of moss that is growing on a fallen log.

This is a stairstep moss. It’s a little hard to see in this picture, but the “leaves” grow like stairs above each other. Each “step” is one year of growth. Our guide said that the oldest they have found is 15 steps high.

This moss-covered fallen log is sprouting licorice ferns. The licorice ferns are edible as well – surprise, surprise, they have a licorice scent and flavor.

This is probably my favorite lichen that I saw on the hike. The grey green lichen with the red cap is called “British Soldier” lichen. Too bad that grass blade cot in the way of my picture!

Most of the fallen trees in the old growth forest become nursery logs. New tree seedlings begin to grow, using the moisture, nutrients, and boost up to the sunlight to get them started. Eventually, the old tree decays and the roots from the trees on the nursery log reach the ground.

This is a type of lichen called Witches’ Hair. It’s presence indicates very pure air quality.

This cute little plant is a tiny relative of the Venus Flytrap. I didn’t catch it’s name, because I was too busy taking pictures!

The midpoint of our hike was at this river, which is inhabited by salmon at this time of year. We saw a couple of bald eagles, plenty of seagulls, jumping salmon, but no bears. Oh well!

Almost everything was covered with some type of moss or lichen. The intricacy of the ecosystem in a temperate rainforest is pretty cool!

Video Wednesday

The pickings for videos is getting a little thin on the vegetable side of things for the fall…things are kind of winding down, and there are only so many videos on extending the growing season!

This is a fairly new video that we did on storing and preserving peppers, since they are one of the few things that did well this year.

Quick Harvest Report

The peppers continue to pour in, with dozens of bell peppers and dozens of dozens of hot peppers.

The Family of Four Garden isn’t producing much, though:

4 oz of Okra @ $4.00/lb = $1.00

3 Bell Peppers @ $1.25/each = $3.75

2 oz. other peppers @ $0.31

2 oz. tiny tomatoes@ $2.00/lb = $0.25

Weekly Total = $5.31 (exactly the same as last week!)

Year to Date = $188.51

 

Friday PhotoEssay

A much cooler, cloudier end to the week than it started out. There’s some nice things in the garden right now – I wouldn’t exactly call it “bounty” but it might be something like it.

The peppers continue to do well. In the front here are some of the first Pasilla Bajio peppers and some NuMex Sunrise Chiles. In the back is a big pile of hot peppers.

The bell peppers are doing better too. Here we have several purple and green bell peppers, a white bell pepper, and two tiny little Piros peppers.

This ugly brown grasshopper was hanging out on the okra, enjoying himself. I like the green ones better, for some reason.

Some of our Master Gardeners have come to enjoy the Malabar Spinach as a salad green. Pictured this way, it does almost look edible, doesn’t it?

There’s a closer look at that pile of hot peppers. We’ve got green and yellow cayenne, the Bulgarian carrots, Yatsufusa and Sapporo Hot chilis, and purple cayenne. Anyone need some heat?

The ‘WATCH’ Celosia is looking great again this year, but then, we expect it to thrive in hot, dry conditions!

Have a great weekend!