Week in review – A reprieve from the rain

31 05 2009

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Everything is green. The yard is packed with baby grass, and the garden is growing fast.

If you read Things are a bit Spotty, you may recall that I was having a fungal issue with the tomatoes. I’m calling it Grey Leaf Spot until someone tells me otherwise. Last year this stuff completely ravaged my tomato plant to the point that I had very little yield.

Last week I treated the plant with Atomic Grow™ and trimmed off the terminal branches. I left a few of the branches with the initial stages of yellowing to see what would happen. One week later, the leaves are virtually unchanged and it appears that the fungal invasion has been stopped in its tracks. The new growth is green and healthy. I’m not going to go overboard with excitement, but things look promising!

Leaf-Spot-Halted

I know I said I would make my next Atomic Grow™ application yesterday. I reserve the right to change my mind, and so I have declared Sundays to be “Atomic Sunday”. I will make the application this afternoon and post some quick photos. There are some new guests in the garden (one for which I have planted a specific herb), and I will not be spraying that plant because I want to encourage the guests. Sorry for the vagueness, but I think I’ll let you watch them progress and see who can guess what they are. Their momma dropped them off on Friday, so stay tuned for some baby pictures this afternoon.

Here is the Oasis this weekend. Doesn’t everything look happy?

Oasis

A closer shot of some of the herbs. This is my first year with celery. I’m learning about self-blanching and how celery needs to be grouped together. I had thinned out the clump and moved some plants to outside areas. They are easily identified because they turned pale yellow. The central clump is still green. I guess we will wait and watch to see how they turn out.

Herbs

The cherry tomato plant has officially reached tree status in my book. It is upwards of 5′ tall and growing by leaps and bounds. If it didn’t make those yummy tomatoes I’d think it were a weed.

Cherry-Tomato-Tree

Time for a salad.

Cherry-Tomatoes

The succulent garden is doing great. Notice that green grass in front?

Succulents

Over the course of the week our banana flower has opened up and exposed the first hand of six bananas.

AJ explained to me that this is only the beginning. Each layer of the pod will open up in succession and reveal another hand. He estimates five or six more to come. This has been the highlight of my week.

Banana-Flower-Preopen

Banana-Flower-Opening

Banana-Flower-Opening-more

The poblano peppers got off to a rocky start, but now they are loaded with babies.

Baby-Poblano

Can I have more than one highlight? The Marketmore 76 cucumber has exploded in size.

Marketmore 76 Cucumber

And I found three new babies on a single branch. I’ve got to keep my eye out for those pickleworms. They are not allowed to eat our cucumbers.

Baby-Cucumbers

The muskmelon took a beating from the winds this week. The older leaves are fairly shredded, but there is so much new growth that it hardly matters. This plant is loaded with babies.

Muskmelon Vine

Dead frog walking. Yes, here is another Cuban Tree Frog. This one has set up housekeeping inside one of the bamboo stakes. The stake has filled with water, thus forcing froggie to poke out of the top in the daylight. These are nocturnal frogs, so you can see its determination to stay home. I was able to get extremely close and the frog didn’t budge. I’m still building the fortitude to round up and kill these invasives. I even bought some Benzocaine to put them gently to sleep before popping them into the freezer. AJ is promoting the idea of just stomping on them. Is he mean or what? Actually, it would probably be the most humane way. I just don’t think I could do it.

For now I am building a collection of photographs for their memorial. Eat up little froggie; your days are numbered!

Cuban Tree Frog in Bamboo

Mr. Fix It is still at it. This week the rains exposed another problem with the car: leaking tail lights, which allowed water to get into the trunk. AJ took them apart and found that they were both crazed and that one was cracked in various places. Here he is trying to salvage the blasted thing until we can afford a replacement part. Anybody want to buy a 1985 Mercedes 300D? 😉

Tail-light-repair

I’ll leave you with “Gravel Cat”, Jorgi.

Gravel-Cat

Check back later for a harvest update and some shots of the baby guests.





Saturday in Review – Spring is Springing

12 04 2009

Guess What This Is

These have been growing on my neighbor’s fence since we have lived here. Only yesterday did I realize they actually make fruit. I thought it was a mythical name, but they really do exist. If you know what it is, leave a comment. Otherwise, I’ll make you wait until it drops to the ground and I eat it.

Mystery-Fruit

AJ Builds Bamboo Wind Chimes

Add whittling to AJ’s list of skills. Today he carved up some of the green bamboo into what is sure to be the best looking and best sounding set of wind chimes in Brevard County.

AJ-Cutting-Chimes

AJ-cuts-chimes

Chimes-Cut

My Walk Around the Neighborhood

The weather was beautiful. We weren’t able to get the soil for Oasis2, so I used my energy to check out the neighborhood. Sadly, a few more people have leveled the sand dunes and destroyed the scrub habitat for their cookie cutter stucco houses; but there is still some natural land left.

Gopher Tortoise Butt

He was looking out when I approached, but got shy and showed me his butt when I went to take the photo.

Gopher-tortoise-butt

Prickly pear blooming

I accidentally broke down a neighboring cactus; so I brought it home to plant. Prickly pear fruit is so good.

Prickly-Pear-Bloom

Prickly-Pear

Deer Moss

This stuff is increasingly rare; but I know of a few patches where it still thrives.

Deer-Moss-Patch

Deer-Moss

Carpenter Bee

This guy was miffed about my invading his territory. He buzzed me for a long time; often hovering inches in front of my lens. Unfortunately I am not equipped for shooting fast moving insects.

Carpenter-Bee1

Carpenter-Bee2

Black Racer

Nature was bold today. I heard a rustling and looked over to see this snake emerge from the brush. It was preoccupied with its search for food and didn’t seem to notice me at all.

Black-Snake-2

In this shot the black racer was so close I could have reached out and grabbed it. Unfortunately, I was not equipped for photographing snakes either. Sorry for posting blurry shots.

Black-Snake-1

Back Home

Synchronized Cat Rolling

Llami and Smokey are on the same wavelength.

Cats-Sleep

Cats-Roll

Dinner From the Garden

The lettuce is finally growing. I know I should thin it out and let a few plants grow large, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I plucked the outer leaves from all three varieties (Bibb, Romaine and Oak Leaf).

Bibb-Lettuce

Lettuce

Not sure if AJ realizes he ate weeds for dinner; but I also put some Purslane in our salad.

Purslane

This is all you will hear from me for a couple of days, unless something spectacular happens. I have housework and work work to get done before the weekend is over.





Week in Review – The Thriving Landscape

6 04 2009

It’s been a nonstop busy week. AJ’s mother, Karen and her beau, Mark stayed with us last weekend and through Tuesday morning. We worked hard the rest of the week and on Friday afternoon got news that Allan Sr. (AJ’s dad) was on his way. Exhausted and with a marginally functioning brain, I fear that I was a terrible hostess. A good night’s sleep, some great coffee and a hearty breakfast found me in better spirits by Saturday morning.  The remainder of the weekend was filled with more abundance and goodness on behalf of Allan Sr. It seems to be a trend that our quality of life drastically improves on a weekly basis. I will share all of this in my very next post, but first I want to give a progress report on the flora in our mini-Eden.

Tillandsia Fasciculata

This beautiful native airplant was rescued by AJ and given a new home in the dead hickory tree which we now call “The Mushroom Tree”, due to its proliferation of shelf mushrooms. The native bromeliad has put out four flower stalks since we adopted it; two former stalks still drying and releasing seeds as a new one emerges.

Tillandsia fasciculata

New flower stalk

Tillandsia fasciculata flower stalk

Old Seed Heads

Tillandsia fasciculata Seed Pods

Seeds

Tillandsia fasciculata Seeds

Although these native bromeliads are difficult to grow from seed, they do put off numerous pups. Today I made “Tillandsia Crabs” by placing some pups from another plant into some shells I have been holding onto for years.

Tillandsia Crabs

Tillandsia Crab

The Edible Landscape

This is a cactus I salvaged from a debris heap. I knew it when it was a massive and mature cactus so large that were it to fall on a person it would cause serious injury if not death. The cactus produces large, sweet fruit; which I eagerly anticipate. For now I have it in a pot with purslane and pink purslane at its base. Purslane is an edible weed, rich in omega 3 fatty acids. I made a delicious salad for dinner using some collected from my garden. Good stuff!

Purslane & Moss Rose

Oasis2 still awaits soil. This is my project for next weekend. The pole beans, lima beans, watermelon and musk melon are all from heirloom, open pollinated seeds from victoryseeds.com. A promisingly prolific tomato plant is from my friend Robert.  All await their new homes in the future raised bed. Stay tuned for the details of this project.

Oasis2

Victory Seed Company

I can’t say enough good things about Victory Seed Company, other than I wish they would have warned me about how prolific their seeds are! Assuming that not all would germinate, I planted too many, too close together. Everything I have planted is growing fast. I did a mini-harvest of spinach, lettuce and a few other herbs to add to our dinner salad. I don’t think we will have to wait longer than a week or two to really begin eating from this garden.

Baby Bibb Lettuce from Victoryseeds.com

Baby Bibb Lettuce

Baby Sage from Victoryseeds.com

Baby Sage

Baby Spinach from Victoryseeds.com

Baby Spinach

Baby Carrots from Victoryseeds.com

Baby Carrots

Baby Pablano Peppers from Victoryseeds.com

Baby Pablano Peppers

The Flea Market Tomato Plant

This tomato plant has at least 20 tomatoes and counting. Can’t wait to see how they taste!

Tomatoes

Gift From the Universe

Last but not least, behold The Dumpster Chair. I have been looking for a small chair or bench from which to reflect upon my garden. Friday I took the trash out and discovered this little treasure in the dumpster. A nice coat of white paint should restore it to its former glory. Another project for another day. For now, it is the perfect garden seat.

Free-Chair