Wednesday, December 27, 2017

After the solstice

Solstice day I decommissioned the greenhouse heater. Only the petunias and the pak-choi are left there, the latter almost ready to yield its seeds in hundreds of pods. I took the basil, the parsley, a couple of mystery trees, and the eggplant to the shop, where they now rest in front of the south facing window.
Not quite visible is the eggplant, here in more detail:

The only veggie still producing is the carrot patch in the window garden, and here is my latest harvest, yesterday:
Now it's time to start thinking about the preparations for next season. I have pruned all but one of my fruit trees, and I have chipped the pine bark with which I wil try to modify the Ph of the soil so as to make it acid enough to produce blueberries and lupini. I have failed plenty with the lupini, and I have never tried growing blueberries.
Horse manure is next on my agenda, and I will add it to all planters and garden spots. And because I have kept good records of everything that has grown, I will make a final tally once the carrots and the eggplant are done.
The garden is a wonderful place to find peace in, even when times are hard and not all is well. May 2018 be a good year in the garden and out.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Winter is around the corner

At bed time last night the thermometer was at 38F; this morning 28F. The forecast is for temperatures in the 20s the next several nights. So I picked some tomatoes, a total of about 2 kilos, both heirloom and small ones. Their colors are not are vibrant as earlier in the season, but one can still see the difference: pink the heirloom; orange-red the small ones. The heirloom have some cracks, too. So these are headed for the salsa-making procedure, sometime this week. I am curious to see how long my little heater can keep the temperature of the greenhouse above freezing.
My eggplants (I have a few in the greenhouse) have flowered all fall, and I have used a q-tip to aid the pollination process (it seems not to have done anything). Great flowers and no fruit. Until now. Unbelievable, but a three-inch long pink eggplant has formed. Now we'll see what happens. Love to watch these creatures.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Carrots, squash

The carrots are producing nicely, and today I gathered a supply for the next couple of days:
They are stubby, but sweet and crunchy.
The squash production was not super this year, but considering how late I planted them, I am happy with what we got:
Delicatas and orange squash; also butternut and green squash: 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Apples, tomatoes

The apple harvest is over, and my share of the crop (after the deer took what they could) is of more than 260 pieces (many of them half-munched) weighing Kg 22.757. Not bad! Much of the crop has been turned into apple sauce and frozen for future use. Crisps and apple butter are also being produced.
The tomato crop continues to be excellent, and today I picked a few babies, heirloom and Campari, weighing a total of Kg 1.219. The largest specimen came in at 340g.
Many more to come.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

First carrots

My carrots have been growing quietly in the window garden, protected from the deer., Today I pulled two out of the ground, and they are nice:
I look forward to a good, slow crop.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

More Tomatoes

It's mid-October and my tomatoes are going strong. So far I have harvested Kg 6.281 of heirloom tomatoes and Kg 1.791 of small tomatoes. The latter include two types, distinguished by their respective seeds. Next season I will keep them separate and each clearly labeled. Production will continue, as my greenhouse is now protected from night frost.

Yummy salsa-to-be!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


While the visiting deer has destoyed every plant within his reach, and has inflicted damage to the fruit trees, I am delighted with the outstanding performance of the plants in my small greenhouse.
I decided to try to keep things growing as long as possible. Two nights ago the temperature dipped to 31, and I managed to keep the temperature of the greenhouse in the 40's by putting a space heater there. But that was a temporary Fix. Today I managed to install a thermostat in the greenhouse, and I attached the space heater to it. The function of the thermostat is to turn the heater on at 45 degrees, and turn it off at 47 degrees. I don't think I need to reach higher temps in the greenhouse--all I want to do is avoid a freeze. In daytime the sun will warm things up well.
Here are two examples of how things are growing in the greenhouse: petunias flowering; and pak choi seed pods forming. Wonderful.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Salsa time

This morning I harvested eigth heirloom tomatoes (here with my finally flowering petunias), a total of exactly kg 2.3 (5.1 lbs). The largest of them weighs 671g (1.48 lbs). They are all beautiful and unblemished. I will turn them into salsa for the winter: tomatoes, sweet onions, plenty basil, olive oil and red wine.
More tomatoes are coming, heirloom and Campari. If I manage to heat my little greenhouse before the next frost I'll have more produce this fall.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Apples, beans, rat, deer ...

News good and bad. The last couple of nights the babies growing in the vegetable penitentiary, the greenhouse-side bed and the herb garden have suffered frost damage. The total of beans harvested (except the pole beans, still trying to produce) is kg 4.919. I have been able to freeze a number of portions for winter consumption.
Pests have been hitting the garden. In the greenhouse a rat cut all but one of the eggplant leaves with surgical precision, and for that he got his just reward (not to scale; this is a BIG rat):

Our visiting deer has enjoyed the run of the garden tasting tomatoes, defoliating everything he can reach. Next season I will protect my plants better. Here is a sample of his random destruction:

The apple harvest has begun. Here is what these babies look like:
I don't know what kind of apples they are, other than they are dear to me. I have already made two batches of apples sauce. So far I have harvested, not counting those fallen to the ground, thirty apples weighing kg 2.6.
I guess I have been wishing for summer to linger, but the Virginia creeper has warned me with with its fall colors, such as they are in this corner of the world:
Hello Autumn!

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I harvested the first melon cuke, here pictured with its cousin lemon:
I have determined that the greenhouse visitor is pak choi. I have harvested, cooked, and eaten it. Delicious. Now I will wait for its seeds for next season's garden.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tomatoes but then trees

The heirloom tomatoes are ripening, and so are the small tomatoes. I don't know if these are the Campari tomatoes (from seeds I saved from tomatoes bought at Sprouts), or the small tomatoes I had enjoyed last year, or both, or which is which. This follows from my not impeccable labeling, but, heck, the plants are producing.
I have an interesting visitor to the greenhouse, and I do not know what it is. It has brand new florets, and the stalks look edible and juicy. I won't try it until I know what it is:
The tomato vines in the greenhouse have reached the ceiling:
and are full of fruit. So, vegetable life is good.
Now I have to start thinking about my apricot and plum trees. As in the past few years, they both flowered beautifully, only to drop the flowers and develop shriveled and curled leaves. Eventually there is some new leaf growth, and this is healthy. First the apricot, then the plum:

I will prune both trees, then treat them with my spray oil, fertilize them, and keep an eye on them.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


The peach harvest is over. I picked 196 peaches from the mama tree, and 4 from the young peach, a total of 200 peaches weighing Kg. 18.571. Not bad!!
The heirloom tomatoes are ripening. Yesterday I picked the first two, and promptly turned them into sauce for my spaghetti, which turned out delicious. I added basil and sweet onions. These two babies came in at 880 grams, two pounds, roughly! The larger weighs 481 grams. Many more will follow, and the little tomatoes are also ripening.
Today I picked the first lemon cuke, a 66g specimen that I will enjoy at lunch. I also picked some of the pole beans, but I must say, I am not fond of their shapes. Here are both items:
The zucchini have been coming, 11 so far (Kg 2.435), with many more to come. The squash have taken over the vegetable penitentiary, and are coming in all shapes and colors. I will study the situation to see if I can figure out what sort of cross-breeding is going on.
Next in line are the apples, and tree is so loaded that the longer outer branches rest on the ground. Lots of fruit, apple sauce, apple butter ...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

First blush

This is what I saw this morning. A lovely prelude to more blushing:
Even the decorative babies outside the greenhouse are sprouting flowers. Nice!

Friday, September 1, 2017


Today I harvested the first two zucchini. Many more will follow, as all five plants are healthy and full of flowers.
These two beauties, of the right eating size, came in at 380 grams.
The peach harvest continues, and today I picked 40 more peaches, a total of Kg 3.583. More to harvest in the next few days. But the birds are competing strongly for the fruit.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Peach harvest in full swing

To date I have harvested ninetyeight peaches weighing a total of Kg 9.656. Here is a shot of some of my latest pickings:
I have eaten MANY; I have given some to our neighbors, and Nancy made a delicious crisp. A few minutes after I had taken some peaches to John's, he HAD to text me to declare the peaches "amazing." Yes, they are: delicious and more delicious. And there are many more to come!
The produce I have harvested so far consists of Kg 2.457 of green beans, with more to come.
In a few days I will have zucchini to harvest, then cucumbers (of two kinds), with winter squash to follow.
The heirloom tomatoes are getting bigger and bigger, but none is showing any color yet. The other tomatoes are coming along. I can't wait, but I have to!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The peach harvest has begun!

After yesterday bean harvest, which amounted to 653 grams (for a total 2002g--4.4lbs--so far), and looked pretty good,
I turned my attention to the old peach tree, which is loaded with fruit about to turn ripe. And this afternoon I picked 18 peaches, all ready to eat:
These are delicious, smallish white flesh fruit, and weighed 2152g (4.75lbs), an average of 120g (4.2 oz) each. I don't know how many will be left after tonight's meal.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A savage beast in the garden

Today I picked 317 grams of green beans from the wagon garden, the first harvest of the summer from that venue, with many to come, I'm sure.
But the spectacle of the day was caught on the iPhone by Nancy:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Finally looking like a garden

I have waited for the garden (and the trees) to start looking good, and now they are. Here's a detail of the peaches in the old tree (still about ten days from harvest, I think):
Yummy! And the foliage on the young peach tree is luscious:
and, by the way, I discovered a fourth peach hidden there somwhere. Yes, there are four good looking peaches on that tree.
The beans in the wagon box are a few days away from a first harvesting:
All the squash and cuke varieties are flowering
In sum, life is good!

Friday, August 11, 2017

92 grams of green beans

Aside from herbs and arugola, this modest harvest (sufficient for two servings of my Sicilian Potato, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Capers, Oregano salad) is the first of my late garden (late, not late):
This came out of my elevated box by the greenhouse, and more will be ready in the next few days:

The other, larger box, is a week or ten days behind, but doing well, and we will have enough for a winter supply of frozen beans:
The various squash and cucumber plants, planted very late, are also coming along:
The heirloom tomatoes are in good shape, too, as this specimen shows:
And the apple and peach trees are loaded and getting riper--but we still have a few weeks to go:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Month

It was June 18 when I could get back to the garden. It has been a busy month, and if I don't jot down something to mark time and space, I will forget the causes of the success or failure of my work.
I got three loader buckets of horse manure from the stables. I unloaded the manure and dumped it at one end of the penitentiary. I finished fixing the wagon garden to be ready for the soil: first I lined the bottom with plastic; then I added some surplus pavers; then a substantial amount of rocks, and finally I filled the bed with a mix of my compost, the horse manure, and peat moss. Then I filled the four beds I had built this past winter and spring. I planted tomatoes of several varieties (from my own seeds) in three of the four beds, and peppers and eggplant in the fourth (also from my own seeds).
The yard was parched and I had to water everything starting from the fruit trees. They are looking better now, and:
the apple tree is loaded with fruit

the old peach is promising a good crop (not too visible in this picture)
the young peach has three peaches on it, and here is the picture of one
Unfortunately all three grafts failed. The plum and apricot crops also failed.
The grape vines have very little fruit, and I had to repair the damage to one vine caused by the wind that accompanies our monsoons. I hope to train the vine to circle over the "gate" I built

Of the vegetables, the green beans are the fastest growing, some in the box by the greenhouse and some in the wagon garden 

The five volunteer tomato plants in the greenhouse trough are loaded with flowers
and the ones in the boxes are coming along
I am thinning them down as the stronger ones elbow out the weaker plants, thus performing a sort of vegetable eugenics. We'll have to see if there is enough summer left to enjoy the produce.
And Nancy added a nice touch just outside the door to the yurt
So, a part of the old Ponderosa has been put to good use.