Wednesday, August 31

In My Home Garden

Strawberry Spinach
Mystery Squash
Magenta Phlox
Musk Melon

Monday, August 29

Garden After Irene

The skies are clear and blue today unlike yesterday when the winds howled and the rain poured thanks to Hurricane Irene. My community garden plot made it through with only a little damage.

The corn stalks knocked over...
And the sunflowers, too...
We propped them back up and they looked as good as new.
The onions were ready to be pulled...
We picked corn for dinner.
We have a lot of peppers, some turning red. The peppers are the big success of the season.
Grape tomatoes...

And Thomas Jefferson's Asparagus beans. These are unlike green beans in that they grow off the very end of a long stem, two at a time. These are dense and tough so I'm curious how they are going to cook up. We picked those that were good sized.

Sadly, the cucumbers are not producing at all. We have many watermelon, most quite small but looks like a few might make it to a decent size.

Saturday, August 27

Mystery Plant

At a meetup group several months ago, someone gave my son a piece of this plant. Over the summer the leaves off the main part have grown from the sides of the original piece. We aren't sure what this is or how to care for it. It looks related to a Christmas Cactus to me, but the leaves are much larger. Does it grow upright or eventually hang down like a Christmas Cactus? If you know about this mystery plant, we'd very much appreciate any info in the comments!

Sunday, August 21

Zucchini Gratin from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

Wondering what to do with all that fresh zucchini? Here's a great recipe from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Perfect recipe for late summer.

Saturday, August 20

Rachael Ray Tours New York City Garden for Kids

Rachael Ray talks with Warrie Price of the Battery Park urban garden in New York City where kids grow veggies on an urban farm. Love the affordable raised row method used here which doesn't require wood frames. A beautiful urban garden!

Friday, August 19

Maine Community Garden Update

I spent some time at my garden plot yesterday.

My acorn squash and pumpkins were ready for harvesting. The vines were dead as is usual in late September here, so it seems early . I chatted with Dad, he said his garden seems to be several weeks ahead this year too and has the same problem. Also, we've both noticed less yield in general. He says his summer squash and zucchini are tough.

I pulled the vines and covered the area with mulch.

The peppers are doing great.

Have lots of green tomatoes but none ripe yet.

The plants I thought were eggplant turned out to be huge sunflower plants. I didn't plant them. I've noticed this variety growing in another garden so they must have seeded in. A nice surprise.

Asparagus Beans are blossoming but no beans yet.

Onions are getting larger.

Melons are growing. Just need for them to ripen.

Cucumber plants looking sickly. Blossoms but no cukes.

Corn is almost ready to harvest.

I saw a lot of pests- mostly different kinds of beetles. We did see a huge green caterpillar covered in wasp larva.

Weeded, watered and mulched.

Thursday, August 18

Recipe for Summer Squash

Portland Community Garden Late Summer

After one of the wettest summers in the Pacific NW we finally have had a few weeks of warm weather. Here you can see that the Rainbow Chard continues to do well and the leaves are getting quite large now. I love Chard because as soon as you harvest a few leaves, more grow back and Chard grows here spring through early winter.

I have been harvesting tons of the Yellow Wax Beans. They grew and started producing beans very quickly even though they are only a foot tall. I would definitely grow more of these next year.

Pictured is one of the many squash plants that have started to product. I like the Lemon Squash we are growing because the plants don't get that big, but produce a great deal. I also found the squash easy to cut and the peel very soft.

There is a lot of talk in the garden about winter gardening. I was told that we can grow a great deal here in the Pacific NW just by using a row cover. The best time to sow seeds for winter gardening is now. I have read that the trick is not having too much top growth by the time the cold weather starts in most plants. Not sure if I want to take a break or continue to garden all year round.

Tuesday, August 16

Giveaway for 50 Beautiful Deer Resistant Plants Book

50 Beautiful Deer Resistant Plants Book Giveaway
Enter to win today! 
Timberpress is offering another great giveaway. Click here to enter!

The grand prize includes the following:

 -The book "50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants
- a pair of gloves from Womanswork
To win you will be required to complete several actions by Wednesday, August 17, and be entered up to four times.
 You can also read posts about the book and contest here.

This is what's eating my eggplant!

So this is what's eating my eggplant! We've had heavy rains so these guys are out in the daytime today. I saw this one backing out of the hole it made. My eggplants are full of holes. SLUGS!
I also saw this caterpillar on the eggplant leaf but not sure if it's actually eating anything.

Saturday, August 13

Catalpa Seed Pods

The Catalpa Tree is producing the long seed pods for which is it known. They look like long beans. Right now they are green, but will turn black and fall off in a month or so.

Some interesting facts about Catalpa Trees:

  • It is a member of the trumpet vine family
  • Northern Catalpa Trees have larger leaves then Southern Catalpa Trees and are a slightly different species
  • The name comes from the Native American word Catawba of the Catawba Tribe of South Carolina
  • It is also knowns as the Cigar Tree or Indian Bean Tree
  • Native American peoples used the leaves and bark as a poultice
  • The Catalpa Sphinx Moth caterpillar eats only the leaves of this tree. It can defoliate the tree, but usually does no permanent harm. Fishermen use the caterpillars as fish bait so often plant these trees as a good source of bait.
  • The largest Catalpa Tree is in Lansing, Michigan
  • They were once planted near railroad tracks to be a source of wood for railroad ties and eventually naturalized around the country.
  • It is usually pronounced Catalpa in the North, Catawba in the South.

Friday, August 12

Dad's Garden

Things are growing in Dad's garden. The pumpkin vines are getting huge, lots of tomatoes, and cukes. He's planning to make bread and butter pickles this fall.

Tuesday, August 9


Would you believe there are over 40,000 daylily cultivars? Here are four I photographed recently, just as the sun was lowering on another day.

Saturday, August 6

Community Gardens Grow Great Ideas

This show by Peak Moment highlights some innovative concepts in creating many community gardens by fostering community as well as food.

Tuesday, August 2

Note to Michele: What is Eating My Eggplant?

Hi Michele,

I want to show you what I discovered in my garden today. Little tiny eggplants. I was so happy to see these forming, but then, I took a closer look to find every baby eggplant had a hole bored into it. Take a look:
It looks like a bullet hole in each baby eggplant. I asked my resident master gardener, he said he thought some kind of borer and will try to find out more from the extension service. Do you have any ideas?

Below is my patch of Strawberry Spinach. So far no berries like yours.
I bought another bale of Salt Marsh Hay today to put more mulch on the garden at home.

So that's the update from my garden. How are things going at yours?


Monday, August 1

Egyptian Walking Onion Harvest

Today, I harvested some of the tiny top onions growing on the stems of my Egyptian Walking Onions. As the stems grew top heavy they bend and lower the little onions to the ground. The stems then begin to dry up as you can see in the photo below. Once dry, they eventually break and the little onions are free to propagate where they have landed.
Having plenty of these plants, I decided to harvest the little onions.
 I cut the stems and brought the bunch inside. Then I trimmed off the stems so I just have bunches of tiny onions left.
I'll let these dry and store them in a jar. My kitchen has the fresh scent of onions today- a bit like chives but stronger. These are strong enough to make my eyes water as I was cutting the onions off the stem. Once the clusters have dried, the onions can easily be broken apart into individual bulbs.
These can also be planted at this point or later, after drying. The first year they will get green stems but probably no top onions. The second season the top onions will grow. These are perennials, so once established, you will have a forever supply of Egyptian Walking Onions.

What to do when it is just too Darn hot to Garden?

It has been a very hot summer everywhere. From what I have been told it is normal to get 100 plus days from the months here from  May to Oct...