Sunday, July 16, 2006

Garden Update #9

It's Sunday morning again, the time when I wander out into the garden in my bathrobe and see how the garden has changed from the previous week. If I wanted to be brutally honest, this week I should have photographed lots of weeds, since I've been neglecting my garden something horribly. In this coming week I need to be doing some serious weeding. But I did get to eat some things from the garden this week, and wrote about how to cook spagetti squash as a summer squash for Weekend Herb Blogging. I even gave away a few cucumbers, peppers, and spagetti squash to some neighbors and friends, so that's a good week in the garden in spite of the weeds.

I finally succumbed to temptation and bought a fantastic new camera, which is 100% more complicated than my other camera, and which I'm barely learning how to use. Some of these pictures are experiments with the new camera and some are taken with my old one. I have to confess that the obsession with the new camera is part of the reason for the garden being neglected so seriously this week.

The one thing I did do in the garden was trimming the herbs, which were overgrown and starting to go to seed. This is my oregano plant, which was twice this size before I trimmed it. That piece of gray concrete is a sidewalk which extends a tiny ways into my garden.

Here's how the sage and rosemary plants looked after they were trimmed. The sage had lots of flowers, but they had to go!

The sad saga of the basil continues. I've become convinced that it's snails that are eating my basil and (organic gardeners cover your ears) I've decided I'm going to resort to poisoning them since every one of the 30 little basil plants that I started from seed have been systematically devoured. All I had left were six larger plants which had also been seriously eaten, so at the Salt Lake Farmer's Market I bought four new basil plants, and after I planted them I put a ring of snail killer around all the basil. I'll be watching closely to see whether any more damage occurs. (By the way, the nice guy selling the basil told me that earwigs won't eat basil, so one possible culprit eliminated.)

This is a volunteer tomato plant. Usually I pull these out, but this one seems to be a Brandywine (heirloom tomato) and it already has quite a few flowers. It's in a spot in the garden where there's some room, and happily situated itself right by my other two Brandywine plants, so I'm going to let it grow and see what happens.

My Better Boy tomatoes have completely overgrown their cages, so this week I'm going to trim them back quite a bit.

The west side of my house where it's partly shady hasn't turned out to be the best place to grow arugula or swiss chard. I'll try something else there next year. The arugula did grow well, but it's fairly bitter tasting, and the swiss chard isn't growing as well as it did in the garden where there's more sun. However, I do have enough swiss chard to start cutting it. I've only cooked chard as a green, with olive oil and lemon juice. Any ideas for cooking this?

The Blushing Beauty peppers finally have a few peppers starting to turn orangish. The plants aren't getting very big, but they have quite a few peppers on them.

I picked these three lovely peppers, gave away two of them, and today I'm going to make something from the third one.

Last, but not least, my tomatoes are slowly starting to ripen, and about half my plants have a few ripe tomatoes peeking out. This is a sight that makes a gardeners heart jump with joy.

And the best news of the whole garden update, I ate my first garden tomato of the year. This may not be the best looking tomato you've ever seen, but it was sweet and delicious. It's a Celebrity tomato, one of my favorite all around tomatoes, and a variety that I try to grow every year.

That's all the garden news for this week. If you want to see the progress of my garden from nine weeks ago, here are the links to the other garden updates.

first garden update
Garden Update #2
Garden Update #3
Garden Update #4
Garden Update #5
Garden Update #6
Garden Update #7
Garden Update #8 (Rand's Garden)

Don't forget to check back later tonight for the Weekend Herb Blogging Recap. I'm hosting this week, and there are lots and lots of new participants! It's not too late to send me your entry (kalynskitchen AT comcast DOT net) as long as I get it by 3:00 today, Utah time. Check out the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging if you need more information. There are about 14 people signed up to be guest hosts right now, and next weekend the host is one of my very good blog friends who lives in New York City and likes to take photos of the city. Any guesses?
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  1. The pictures are beautiful, Kalyn! Those peppers are magnificent--can't wait to see what you will do with them. I've been thinking of getting a better camera too. Did you get a SLR camera? I would like to upgrade to that.

  2. Sher, you are sweet, but some of these photos are not the greatest, due to my complete lack of knowing what I'm doing with the new camera!! I got a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, an SLR camera that was recommended by Elise of Simply Recipes. (I also checked with Ilva from Lucullian Delights about what kind of camera she has, since her photos are so amazing, but Costco had a great price on the Canon Rebel so I went with it.) Mu brother bought the same camera to use to photograph wireless gadgets for his website, which was a big plus for me, since we can kind of learn it together. I hope when I learn more about the camera that people will be able to tell in my photos, although I still love my old Casio camera too and I'll still use it for traveling and in restaurants.

  3. nice photos, kalyn! Wow, I'm jealous of your new rebel. I'm still at the point and shoot stage though. I don't think I'd know what to do with an SLR.

    BTW, you said you usually pull out 'volunteer' tomatoes? I didn't know this, and was pleasantly surprised this year by how many of our tomato plants from last year came back. I had procrastinated buying tomato plants this year, and I started to worry that we wouldn't have any, then they started sprouting up on their own! So we just left them alone, and yesterday, we picked our first large tomato (since they grew on their own, I can only guess at the variety). We have been enjoying a couple of harvests of cherry tomatoes already.

    So why do you usually throw out volunteers? Are they less healthy somehow? Thanks.

  4. You'll probably hear from organic farmers about how to deal with snails... But let me just remind you as a dog owner that snail bait is very attractive to pooches (I know from experience -- with a happy ending!). So keep the garden gate closed.

  5. JMom, the main reason I pull out the volunteers is because I buy tomato plants, and the volunteers are a lot slower to produce tomatoes. I've heard that when the volunteer is a hybrid it will revert back to one of the parents and not be as good, but I don't know for sure. Brandywines aren't hybrids so that shouldn't be a problem. Let me know how your volunteers produce, I'd be interested in hearing. About the camera, I know nothing, but I'm trying to learn.

    Cookiecrumb, I thought you were busy with George Clooney!! Has he left already? Seriously, a lot of people recommended organic ways to get rid of the snails, but none of them have done the trick for me. I do have a fence clear around my back yard where the garden is, and the gates are always closed so that shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for the tip though which I will pass on to my neighbors who have a cute dog, a big garden, and even more snails than I do.

  6. Nice photos Kalyn. I can't imagine the learning curve being too steep for you and firmly believe I will see professional quality soon!
    Gardeners are never without their tribulations. I wish weeds were the only thing keeping me from having the most spectacular garden ever (in my wildest dreams). I look forward to your updates - keep 'em coming!

  7. Great post, reminds me I must do some more trimming.

  8. Kalyn,

    It looks like your garden is doing beautifully!

    I just loving hearing about other gardens ... it's the best part of summer!

  9. Nah, George is still here. I've got him out picking slugs off the tomato plants, even as we speak. When he's finished there, we're going to think about supper. :D

    Have fun with that camera. It has taken me a year to get halfway semi decent, and I'm not shooting anything I'd brag about yet. So give yourself time.

  10. Did someone mention George Clooney? What have i missed?

    Lovely photos Kalyn. Congratulations on your new camera. Isn't it exciting to have a new toy? I was so excited when i got mine...
    You won't regret it - i have the same camera [EOS 350D - apparently it's the same one?] and it's such a pleasure to use. Enjoy!

  11. Christine, I appreciate the vote of confidence. I've got a lot to learn.

    Tanna, happy trimming. Tomorrow morning I'm out there.

    Ivonne, thanks. I love gardening.

    Cookiecrumb, You're letting George out of the house?

    Mae, I'm very excited to hear you have the same camera since your photos are awesome. As I said, I have a lot to learn. As for George, you must read Sher's WHB post.

  12. the vegetables that taste best often don't look as pretty. one of the biggest problems is that people expect food to look a certain way and so supermarkets only buy produce that fits the "perfect" tag visually. the taste of produce has become a secondary issue. i say give me ugly veggies that taste brilliant!

  13. The vegetable garden is really booming, too bad about the basil.Damn snails.

    I really like the Celebrity tomato, it grows really well here and thrives on neglect. In fact if you baby it too much and water it all the time it tends to get those unsightly cracks.

    It's always such a dilemma when I get a volunteer tomato, especially an heirloom since you can be setting yourself up for an outbreak of disease.

    I'm in the market for a new camera myself. The four (omg!) that I have are okay, but they're all very small for vacations and such and I'd like a serious print-quality digital camera for a project I'm starting sometime next year.

  14. Hi... I'm new here! I'm late on the bandwagon on this post, but I had a similar basil issue... slugs. Snails? Slugs? You have my empathy!!

    I solved the problem by first setting out beer and drowning the poor critters (oh how I hated to do that). Then I decided they weren't worth my ale, so I moved the basil plants to containers in the same location, and not a slug has touched them since! They've finally recovered though are stunted for the summer, most likely. I feel your pain!!

    Your photos and garden are gorgeous and I'll be a regular visitor to your blog henceforth!


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