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Friday PhotoEssay

First off, I have to point out that yesterday’s Eggplant Lasagna post that said “Eggplant is my new favorite vegetable” was written by Denise, not me. I will admit that some of the recipes Denise has tried are definitely tasty, but I’m not sure that raises eggplant onto my “favorite vegetable” list. Let’s take a tour of the garden, shall we?

Here’s the whole garden picture from this afternoon. The tomatoes and other summer vegetables are starting to get that slight yellowish brown cast to them…They aren’t quite that same deep green color as they were a few weeks ago. The sweet potatoes are still crazy and you can see the brassicas growing like crazy in the distant beds.

This is the ‘Deadon’ cabbage variety. We seem to be starting to get a handle on the cabbageworms to some extent. This plant doesn’t have any damage on the new growth, for the most part. We are still regularly applying Dipel dust (Bt) to keep the caterpillars at bay. I still see the cabbage butterflies flitting around laying eggs and a few of the caterpillars lurking here and there. I’ll be glad when it cools down so the insects don’t reproduce as fast!

Hey! We’ve got Swiss Chard! This is the ‘Fordhook Giant’ that is planted in the Pizza Garden. I thought it was going to be white stemmed, but it is looking rather pink stemmed at the moment. Not that I (or the camera) will complain as the fall progresses.

This is the Fall/Winter Salad mix that we got from Wild Garden Seed. They have different mixes designed for different seasons, which is cool. The other neat thing is that they divide the seeds for each mix into 2 packets, a “slow germ” and a “fast germ” packet. The idea is that you plant the slow germinating seeds first and the quick germinating seeds a week or so later to help have the plants ready to harvest at the same time. The seedlings along the middle dripline were planted 2 1/2 weeks ago, and the ones along the close dripline were planted 1 1/2 weeks ago. They are about the same size now, so we’ll have to see if that amount of staggered planting worked out or if we should have waited another week to plant the faster germinating seeds.

The vegetable arbor has really turned into the cherry tomato arbor. Not that I’m complaining…it’s pretty neat. It is a trifle overwhelming though. I picked about a half gallon bag full of cherry tomatoes this afternoon just by going after the ones that were within easy reach. Yikes! Both of these varieties (Super Sweet 100 and Golden Honey Bunch) are winners in my book.

It looks like we have successfully gotten a good stand of carrot seedlings this year. I was worried about that, given the sandy soil and the weather. The kale and spinach were not as successful, so we may have to try replanting those if it every cools down again.

Some of our tomato plants (other than the cherry tomatoes, which are constant), are still plugging along. Both the ‘Limmony,’ shown here, and the ‘Jetsetter’ plants have a lot of medium-sized, developing greet fruit. If it doesn’t cool down too much, we could still have quite a lot of tomatoes ripening this month.

Have a great weekend!


Hey, look what I found out in the garden this morning?

Those little, tiny pairs of kinda pointy leaves? Those are the parsnip seedlings! They have survived quite the weather fluctuation so far. (The bigger seedlings with the pink stems are the radishes.) Obviously, with our lovely weather, the radishes aren’t quite as big as we hoped they would be by this time. If we can just stay semi-warmish for a few days, those radishes should really take off! We will have to be careful when it gets around to harvest.

Friday PhotoEssay

There was this weird wet stuff falling from the sky this morning. I think something might be broken somewhere! A cool, cloudy morning is sure nice for a change.

I did a little bit of quick research to determine at what point we are supposed to start harvesting the Roselle (hibiscus) to use for teas, drinks, cooking, etc. Come to find out, we are actually supposed to use the calyx AND the ripened fruit. Here you can see the stage we are at right now with the calyxes turning more and more pink, but the fruit/seed pod is still very green. It should be bright pink/red when it is ready to use. I guess we’ll be waiting a little longer for our hibiscus drinks.

I showed you our cup of harvested black sesame earlier this week, but I thought you might like to see what it looks like on the plants. I think it is interesting that the pods get so small and insignificant when they dry, and also that they open like they do! Normally one of the improvements that we breed for in seed or grain crops is the “non-shattering” characteristic that keeps the seeds firmly attached or enclosed through harvest.

I haven’t posted many herb pictures this year, because most of the herbs were just struggling to get well established in the heat. This is in the perennial herb garden, and you can see that the Lemon Balm and the Anise Hyssop have finally filled in to the point that they are looking really nice next to each other. On the edges you can just see the sage and thyme that are also looking pretty good.

These are the lettuce seedlings that we planted on August 7th. They have grown very fast! We will be transplanting them on Tuesday, providing all goes well.

The begonias and coleus in the Prairie Star Annual trial weren’t looking bad for most of the summer, but they weren’t spectacular. After a couple weeks of not-quite-so-hot weather, they are looking really nice!

Have a great weekend!

Mini Friday PhotoEssay

I think this is the first offical Friday PhotoEssay of the year! Of course, you’ve been seeing a bunch of construction pictures, but I think it’s high time we moved on to plants, don’t you?

This is a bit of a “mini” photoessay because I’ve only got 3 pictures to share, and they are all of baby plants – seedlings. All of the seedlings I planted last week have germinated, so I thought we’d take a look since they aren’t your common, everyday seedlings.

This is the Thunbergia (aka Black-Eyed Susan Vine). Those big seed leaves look kind of chlorotic with the dark green veins and pale yellow areas between veins. However,  want to get some true leaves growing before I start with any fertilizer. You can see those first true leaves starting to unfurl. Since this is a vine, it is going to get rather gangly rather quickly. That will be a challenge with the lights!

This is the Thai Red Roselle seedling. It has its first true leaf already and while it isn’t red yet, you can see that tinge of red in the leaf petioles (stems) and starting into the veins of that true leaf.

This is the Jicama. If it looks a little bit like a pole bean, well there’s a good reason for that. Jicama is a member of the Legume family (the same as peas, beans, vetch, etc). Theoretically that would mean that it fixes a little bit of nitrogen from the air like other legumes, right? The seed packet does specifically say that it does not like too much nitrogen. I wonder….

After a quick internet search, it would appear that jicama does have the ability to fix nitrogen like other legumes. That ability results in a tuber that has more nitrogen than other edible tubers, theoretically making it more nutritious. I found a couple sources citing it as being more nutritious because of the nitrogen…I wonder if they are equating more nitrogen to higher protein? Nitrogen is an important building block in proteins.

So, even if we don’t get a great yield from our jicama plants this year, we should get some nitrogen for our new garden soil out of the deal!