Saturday, July 15, 2006

Enormungus Scary Garden Update of Doom

Did a ton of gardening this morning, in both the front of the house, above, and the back. Still more to do, but I got way too much sun. You'd think that splashing cold water out of the hose onto my upper arms and face (while filling up the self-watering planters) would clue me in that I was getting sunburned. When I felt like doing it again, and again, and again, and kept doing it? Well, let's just say sometimes I get a bit too focused!

I redid the front area so that I could add perennials, like the dahlias, and the clumps of lilac, sage, and geranium on the edges. The frontmost bed will be for annuals. The one advantage of our clay soil is that once you get raised beds with some good light mix over the dirt, everything roots down into the clay layer and needs much less frequent watering. I've still been taking garden pix, but no time to post them on the net lately. Watered everything, mulched some more things with compost, tied up the big sunflower that wants to fall over-- and discovered that the ants are aiding and abetting its colonization by cottony scale, where the side flower stems join the main stem. Had to blast them out of each joint, what fun. At least I was in shade at that point.

I had already had to clean scale off the little Meyer lemon potted tree a few days beforehand, blasting each and every leaf, top and underside, with water. Boy, that was fun-- not! It seems to be recovering. Gave it a new top-dressing with compost, and a deep watering, and the leaves are definitely greening up again, but with considerable scarring from the little nasties. When processing the photo for uploading, though, I see there are still a few scale on it. Time to do it again, argh!

I'm starting to get tomatoes here and there, and finding that a bunch aren't what I thought they were. Some are easy to verify. This is definitely my Green Zebra, and next to it, a Hawaiian Pineapple. I have an Aunt Ruby's German Green about which I'm pretty confident, too.

On the other hand, this is so not my much anticipated Black Cherry. I thought maybe if I let the tomatoes ripen more, they'd darken, but no. Saw a Black Cherry in the Master Gardener tomato trials plot of the Sunnyvale Community Garden a couple of days ago. They go right from dark green to a chocolate-red color. Bzzt!

As for its buddy here, into which I put so much toil and worry while rescuing when I had to move all my raised beds? Well, it's definitely not my even more eagerly-awaited Noir de Crimee. Well aich ee double hockey sticks, as my Grandmere used to say.

No problem, I'm sure they're good, but I don't know if I got the seedlings mixed up (easy to do with a zillion tiny pots) or if some of the seed from eBay was from folks who don't know how to really breed tomatoes. There are basics like putting a bag over the flowers and pollinating with a paintbrush so that you are sure you are breeding true. Definitely a 'learning experience' with regard to labelling while starting seedlings, and while transplanting them!

I've been seeing a tremendous variety of pollinators lately, including large black carpenter bees and various types of tiny bees. I feel that my strategy of letting various things go to seed, and planting a mix of flowers and veggies, is really paying off in diversity. Here's some volunteer lemon balm and savory; note the tiny buzzy dude at twelve o'clock, in the top third, on a lemon balm leaf. I accidentally sprayed a new bug out of the air while filling the watering can. It was quite striking, gleaming a metallic dark blue, almost navy blue, and with dark wings. It hung out on the patio table, flicking its wings to dry them, for a few moments before flying off. Of course, I had already put the camera in the house on one of my trips to fetch something. I think it was a Blue Mud Wasp, though the picture on this website does not do it justice-- seen from above, it was really pretty, not scarily-waspy at all.

Keeping a saucer of water available on a stand in the garden also helps. It's supposed to be for birds, but I think a lot of insects drop by to avail themselves. This photo is from back in April. The stand is now across the path from its previous location, and there's barely room to get back there between the tomatoes!

The ones along the fence are all supposed to be paste tomatoes, except for the one cherry, a Principe Borghese. The one that's supposed to be Amish Paste is making fruits that start out with the oblong classical 'paste' shape, but several have rounded out and reached almost beefsteak tomato size. I have no clue what the heck is going on. Boy howdy, am I going to be a better labeller going forward!

There's so much more to tell, but I need a better workflow than Blogger and FlickR, and all of us probably have stuff to do! But please do follow the links on any of these photos (except the bird bath) to the full set of my July garden pix. More tomatoes, more flowers, including the daylilies I need to do a separate post about, insanely out of control lettuce going to seed (yes, that is a 3-foot tall tomato cage!) and more. Have a great summer, hope to post more soon!


Blogger Jeanne said...

Looks great! You have so many good things going on in the garden.

11:50 AM PDT  
Blogger Shane Marie said...

Ah, mystery gardening! I love that "surprise" when I get something I know I didn't plan for. It's like when the labels on my canned goods slip off :)

9:29 AM PDT  
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5:06 PM PDT  

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