A great day.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
A great day.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
- a few rashers (4-6 oz.) of smoked bacon, diced medium
- 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (preferably the white "Japanese" ones), peeled and diced in 1" chunks
- 2 medium onions, diced
- a couple of spicy red peppers, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- a few handfuls of okra, sliced medium
- 3 cups of shelled crowders, with some young beans broken into 1-inch pieces*
- 2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
- a can (28 oz.) of tomatoes (I really like Muir Glenn's fire-roasted diced tomatoes)
-"sweet" fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, chives), chopped fine
- salt (I like really flaky sea salt) and freshly ground place pepper, to taste (lots!)
*(or substitue canned black-eyed peas)
In a large cast-iron skillet that you can cover, slowly fry the bacon until crispy. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, boil the sweet potatoes in salted water until tender. Mash the sweet potatoes, and season to taste with salt, pepper, warm milk, and butter (and we add goat cheese, which binds the potatoes nicely).
Sunday, September 23, 2007
For the first time, I used some shade cloth over the greens. Maybe that will allow us to sneak the plants into fall without summer's noticing. The cukes are marked forty-nine days, giving us a good chance at harvesting some before our likely frost date around the end of November.
I've been busy at work (I have to get rid of that job thing), so instead of growing my own from seed, I purchased some tomato seedlings from Nize, my friend and local organic grower. Don't get me wrong -- I was ready with a bunch started indoors. But the darn cat ate them. And the dirt they were growing in. And then vomited them everywhere. But mostly on the furniture.
Sometimes it's hard to love the cat.
Anyway, I couldn't find time to replant, and it's probably too late to start now. So, I bought some small, organic seedlings. In my own plot, I put some 'Purple Cherokee', 'Roma' and 'Better Boy' into my grow holes filled with mushroom compost.
I should quickly run down what's blooming well in my garden...
- The zinns have started to fail. Not enough sun, so fungal issues.
- The Torenia that's been growing for months now is also looking ratty. But the cuttings I rooted still look fine, which makes me suspect a nematode problem. I'll check when I yank them.
- Confederate Rose is blooming daily.
- Roses. 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' continues to bloom nonstop. 'Tuscan Sun' is a close second. My 'Natchitoches Noisette' hasn't bloomed as much this year. It's the fourth year it's been in the ground, and it may well be starting the slow decline that is the inevitable fate of all roses not grafted on 'Fortuniana'. My English 'Abraham Darby' looks great, but I'm still waiting on 'Teasing Georgia', an English Rose I bought in the spring from the (now defunct) MerryGro Farms. It's growing well, just a little reluctant to bloom. But I think I should have a nice flush in November. It's not a great time for roses here, but fall's blooms are right around the corner.
- My geraniums made it through the summer for the first time. They look great. Keeping them pretty dry was, I think key. And so did starting them from seed. I should probably try to remember to plant some of the seeds I got from Swallowtail next week.
- Brugs rock. And so does my Datura. I need more.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
We haven't had a rain like this one in two years. It's welcome to stay around as long as it likes.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Mississippi Crowder Peas (Cowpeas, Southern Peas, Vigna uniguiculata). Aren't they lovely? The top are the seeds I'm saving for next summer; the bottom, some freshly-shucked peas for tomorrow's sup.
I bought this 'Confederate Rose' (Hibiscus mutabilis) about a year ago from Bioscape. The bloom starts off almost white, goes pink during the day, and the next day it's practically carmine.
There's quite a lot of variablity in the species. I think I've read that the single blooms throughout the year; this double/triple only started to bloom this week, but if it blooms like last year, it will bloom until hit by frost, and again all spring. The leaves go a bit wilty in the heat of the afternoon sun no matter how much it gets watered, but I'd say it's very drought tolerant: It made it through a dry spring without hardly any irrigation, and it's in almost full afternoon sun.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
If you ever find yourself in that way, make a trip -- it's kind of a wonderful throwback to a time when everyone had a small veg plot and many people still raised some small livestock... not because they had to, but because they loved having living things nearby. (Click on the image for a full-sized copy.)
I planted thirty last winter, and decided I needed at least twice that number, if not thrice, to get a large enough yield to do much more than eat them out of hand.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
A real winner in my garden. I got it as a seedling this season. It's grown to about three by three feet. Aside from needing to be staked to keep it from sprawling across a path, it's a very low maintenance, high bloom plant. Lovely dark foliage sets off these blooms nicely, I think. This is the first season I've grown Datura and Brugmansia. They make a very nice addition to the summer garden, blooming madly when other plants have stopped blooming or are blooming weakly.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
The sweet potatoes sprawled all summer, getting a bit bug-eaten but otherwise carefree and pretty enough in their own way.
Monday, September 03, 2007
We've had a couple of deluges this week here in western Volusia -- more than 2.75 inches this week. It's been so very dry an August... no complaints... but my tomatoes and cuke seedlings have washed away. I guess that's why God made seeds cheap.
There's LOTS of weeding to do and so much of my garden has grown out of bounds that I've had to move the goalposts several times already this season...
But fall is nearly here, and I can already sense the changes: There was a relatively cool and dry breeze out of the north. The sun is intense, but the sunshine already looks autumnal -- the greens in my garden are a little less washed, and it's not painful to be in full sun.
It's a great time for butterflies, hummers, &c. I took all these photos in, maybe, 15 minutes this morning at 10am. I've never had this many butterflies. This morning alone: Monarchs (only a couple -- these are mostly late-spring visitors though some stick around all year), Fritillaries (the most numerous butterfly in my garden right now), three kinds of Swallowtails (the black Tiger, Black, and Pipevine), two kinds of Sulfurs (Barred and Little... and a third, a nearly-white Sulfur... maybe just a phase of the Barred?), Long-Tailed Skippers, Zebra Longwings...
Someone will probably correct me with butterfly identifications. I'm rotten at telling the difference among the swallowtails.
(If you have a reasonably fast connection, these photos are better in a slide show from my Google account.)
Black swallowtail on citrus.
A Long-Tailed Skipper.