Monday, May 27, 2013

Back in the Saddle

They say that if you don't use something for a year you should throw it away. Well, it's been 364 days since my last post. Looks like I just made the cut. I can't think of anything witty or funny. How about I show you this year's spring garden?


 I'll start with a major upgrade I added this year. Automated watering. The two larger beds are now watered via a timer connected to drip hoses. 15 minutes of water at 4am, and 15 minutes at 4pm. Seems to be hitting the spot. $50 bucks and about 3 hours of work and I've saved I don't know how many hours of watering. Why yes, bartender, I will have another Guinness. I don't have to wake up and water tomatoes in the morning.

 


It's Memorial Day weekend and I planted a little late this year so I'm slightly behind last year in terms of fruit ripening, but the tomato plants are absolutely insane. I think it's the consistent watering. Or the steroids. Who knows?


 



On the menu this year are grape tomatoes, tomandes, amelias, whoppers, and cherry tomatoes.


 


 Here are some other highlights from the garden:


 


 Oh, and Buck says what's up.




 Maybe I'll actually keep up with this blog for a while. Probably not! Hope your garden is kicking ass too!

 Drew

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Gardening

I love three day weekends. I mean i LOOOOVE them. Today I slept until 11. Then, when I eventually decided to crawl my ass out of bed, I headed to the garden. What do I find waiting for me but the first vine ripened tomato of the season!




This is an Italian heirloom called Tomande. I got these seeds for like 50 cents as part of a bonus for spending X number of dollars on a seed order. I'd have never bought them otherwise. I am really glad I did! They were the first to flower, first to set, and not a single one of them has had any sign of blossom end rot. The other varieties are coming along pretty nicely as well.






It's not only tomatoes that are thick over here. Yup. You guessed it. Eggplants homie. 



These are fairy tale hybrids. So many fruits in this shot even Lady Gaga had to look.


Those of you that have been following my blog for a while may remember a melon trellis I built a few months back. I'm happy to say that it seems to  be a success!



Watermelons and cantaloupes are doin their thang. There's even a couple of melons on the vine!



Check out this baby. I named her Melon Keller. She can't see or hear, she just grows man. Hopefully I can be her Anne Sullivan. As for the cantaloupes - nothing. Let's just say that if the cantaloupe plants were teenage girls there wouldn't exactly be a line of boys beating down their door to get a prom date. Maybe I should start playing Kesha songs in the garden. 


Remember, while you enjoy this holiday, what it stands for. Happy Memorial Day!


Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 Garden Holocaust

Last week was eventful for the garden. Not in the "my summer trip backpacking through Europe was eventful" sort of way. More like a trip to the DMV. Yea there's stories to tell, but they suck. So in this blog I'm going to be like that lady at the grocery checkout line that you used to be neighbors with. You know, the one that makes sure to catch you up on her last six years of medical issues and asshole kids while she's got you trapped in a cage made of magazines and candy bars. And here we go....

The family and I decided it would be fun to take a quick trip to visit my little sister in Orlando. We were only going to be gone four days, but it hadn't rained in about three weeks. Needless to say, leaving the garden without water for that long with forecasts in the upper 80's would not be wise. No problemo, surely I could set up sprinklers on a timer or bring a plate of brownies to my responsible neighbor. I know what you're thinking. "Why get the experienced neighbor to do it in exchange for snacks when you can hire an idiot 10 year old girl from down the street to do it for $10 and some zucchini?" OMG I'm so glad you think that too! It's a good thing cause that's totally what I did. And the results were amazing! And by amazing I mean they sucked ass. Apparently the little turd spent a grand total of 30 seconds a day watering if she even came at all. My plants looked rough. Lots of the beautifully growing tomatoes and peppers I left turned to this:


"Alas, the devastation."

Funny thing about starving your garden of water is that it causes BLOSSOM END ROT!!!!! I'm not sure what I did to bring such karma on myself but dammit, I sure got it. And just for the record, screw that kid. I hope she gets diarrhea from the zukes i gave her. It was great, she showed up the day we got back all "Heeeey....just seeing how you guys' trip went......totally not here because I want you to give me money or anything.....tee hee." Yea well guess what sweetie, you're getting the shitty crumply wrinkled up ten from by wallet. See if I give you a nice crisp one after that mess. Uhhh, rant over.

With a little TLC the garden seems to be making a recovery. Luckily not all of the veggies got rot, probably just 20 percent or so.


Bell peppers are coming along.


Carmen peppers are looking nice!


Godfather peppers are gnarly looking but they supposedly taste great.




The first of the tomatillos are starting to be ready. Salsa verde in the near future.



And I'm finally starting to get some action from the eggplants and okra.

Just for the record I don't really hate the kid from down the road, I should have known better than to expect anything more from a youngster. Damn kids these days....

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not quite 2 months into the season

So here I am, as entranced with the garden as ever. I have to partake in garden gandering at least 3 times a day or I get withdrawals. It's my heroin. So if I ever go to jail I'll probably have to find a way to smuggle seeds up my butt hole. What can I say, once a junkie always a junkie. Anyways, I'm not sure how to segue from my ass to the garden, so let's just look at some pictures.





Tomatoes are coming along quite nicely. No sign of blossom end rot as of yet, so for once I might actually get to eat the first run of tomatoes this year. That is if the birds don't get to em.

The first veggie of the season has been harvested, and it is an 8ball zucchini!



That zucchini was the first flower to bloom on all the plants, and did so with no male flowers present. In fact, it had wilted probably 3 or 4 days before the first male opened. Yet it grew. Strange huh? I thought that maybe it was some special hybrid that didn't require pollination but then other females started dying, as they do when they don't get "sexy time" with the males. Not sure what the hell is up with that, but there it is.


Peppers are coming along. I am like a kid waiting for Christmas here. Tomatoes and squash and all that is cool, but dammit I can't wait to see some color on some peppers.






Soon. The orange sicle and carmen plants are just full of peppers. Godfather and bell peppers aren't far behind. Still waiting on the jalepeƱos and poblanos. Go figure. Hurry it up esse! Papa quiere pimientos!

And just for shits and giggles, here's a pug sniffing some stuff.










Sunday, April 29, 2012

Attack of the Squash Vine Borers

Anybody who's had trouble with squash borers killing their squash plants knows how much of a pain in the ass they can be. Last year they tore our squash up. This year I was prepared. I saw the moth laying eggs a couple of weeks ago and I tried to pick off all the eggs I could, but it's virtually impossible to find them all. So I knew this moment would come.



That orange frass is the tell tale sign that one of those little jerks has burrowed into the plant. What they do is burrow into the stem and live there, eating the plant from the inside out. After about a month, when your plant is toast, they climb into the ground and go into a cocoon stage where they'll wait until next spring to hatch out as a moth. If you see this bastard around your garden, it's time to arm yourself.





And they leave little red eggs on your plants that look like this:




If you're not looking out for them, you probably won't notice anything is wrong until it's too late. You'll just kind of find your plants wilted and sickly, completely unaware that this son of a bitch is inside your squash or cucumber or watermelon plant, having a goddamn feast!





Once the borer has made it inside, there's really only two options to evict his ass. One is to carefully cut the stem of the plant open with a razor blade, extract the bug(s), and carefully cover the incision with soil in hopes that it will heal. F that noise. I'll take what's behind door number two. This option involves injecting BT into the plant. Here's what to do. First, you'll need a hypodermic needle.




I have a nurse mom so I've got the hookup, but I'm pretty sure you can get them at any pharmacy. Step two is to mix up a batch of BT, I use Thuricide, and fill up the needle.



"Don't worry squash plant, it'll just feel like a little pinch."


Now it's time for the fun part. Take the needle and inject it into the stem of the plant. You'll probably have to move the needle in and out some while trying to inject the chemical until you find the sweet spot. Do this in a few places along the stem so that you know there's nowhere for the little turd to eat plant guts without a BT marinade. I put about a syringe full in each plant.





Repeat these steps and inject all your squash plants. You're supposed to sterilize the needle with a bleach water mixture between each plant to prevent the spread of disease, but I was just too damn lazy to do it. If my plants all die as a result of trying to save them, well so be it.