Angry birds

I went out this morning to spray because I saw some bug damage yesterday during my daily walk-through of the garden, and a Very Angry Bird started chirping and dive bombing me. I ignored it, figuring it was just surprised I was outside so early, when it flew down and landed just feet away from me on the rose arch. When I didn’t move fast enough, it actually moved to stare me right in the eye and tell me what it thought about me — and it wasn’t safe for a family blog. After a minute or two I suddenly came to the realization that the thing I thought was a clump of leaves caught in the shrub, wasn’t. I…

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First blossom! And the winner is…

I was surprised to see my first open blossom today on a tomato plant that I grew from seed! So exciting! My sister in Houston already has first-sized tomatoes, Daddy has tomatoes, even Del has a legitimate double tomato on his Bear Claw, but I didn’t even have a single blossom. Until today! 2020’s first tomato plant to open a blossom is … Stupice! This isn’t a surprise — Stupice is known for being early. I should be eating tomatoes from my own garden come the end of next month. My aunt always says it’s a big thing to get your first tomato before July 4 here. I think I will make it! The rest of the garden is looking…

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Catchup day

Today is garden catchup day. It’s been too cold to work, so today we made up for it. We cut grass, weed wacked some spots that needed it, made two trips to the dump and two to the woods, cleaned up most of the old shed stuff, planted out about 25 leeks, put in a 18 hollyhocks, moved some new bricks to the garden beds, moved the grow bags where they can be watered automatically, mulched around the clematis and roses, started mulching around the blackberries to see if it will keep them honeysuckle down, put the fire pit back together, stacked up the wood from the wedding, planted zinnias, planted herb seeds, and pulled I don’t know how many…

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Flood damage

I’m tired of gardening!!! It’s been five months of pretty steady labor and heat, and I’m getting tired. I’m so sick of gardening I didn’t even want to pick tomatoes at Del’s on Friday. I’m just sick of it. This has been one of my best gardens ever harvest-wise, but it has also been one of the most challenging with the deer and groundhog and water issues. I’m getting worn down. It’s been a week since I about killed the garden by overwatering. Here’s the damage: The pole beans that got flooded are dead. I am trying to let the Garden of Eden grow until I can save some seeds, but it’s not looking good. The bush beans are also…

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Beautiful morning

It was stunning outside today! We finally got some rain last night, which was a big relief. This morning when I went to go pick up the girls from Seminary the dew and mist were coming up in the fields. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We are so beautifully situated here: I went out and worked in the garden for a little while when I got home. I pulled some beans and a few blushing tomatoes. The San Marzano was red enough to pick, and I pruned off the diseased branches on several plants. I did pull the Celebrity, finally, so it’s gone now. I hope the others will survive, but I definitely see late blight on the older…

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Blackberry mystery

I keep reading that blackberries don’t produce fruit on their floricanes (second season growth) and so you should cut all that off every year because they won’t produce fruit on those canes again. But how do you explain this? I want to start more blackberry plants. Jared loves them and it’d be nice to have enough to freeze some next year. I think I will leave the canes alone again and also start some new plants by layering and from cuttings. I looked over the plants today, planning to get some cuttings, but I think I will wait a week or so for more canes to come up, top them, and then use whatever I cut off to make cuttings.…

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Cooking the harvest

Many of the tomatoes that I pulled to keep away from the groundhog have ripened, and so I decided I better cook or preserve some. Today I roasted the ripe tomatoes to make my first roasted tomato sauce — so EASY!! I also made up the syrup for the blackberry ice cream and froze several tomatoes whole to make sauce at the end of the season. I have more tomatoes coming along than I realized. Today they are looking so straggly! But I looked back at nctomatoman’s pictures from his garden, and his look much the same as mine. I’ve got to stop comparing my garden to those who only grow hybrids and who can do it in straight compost…

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How much pruning is too much?

I did some more watching of Craig LeHoullier, and I kept reading that he gets rid of all damaged leaves from his plants. I looked at some of his pictures from his blog, and his plants are looking just a straggly as mine. It was such a relief! It’s not me — it’s just how tomatoes are! Last week I didn’t spray after the big rainfall as I should have, and I did very little removal of diseased leaves. This week I made up for it and cleared most everything I could. I pruned one Celebrity back so hard (every leaf set was damaged) that I left just one branch of unblemished leaves at the top of the plant. I…

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Skipping the Miracle

Today was my weekly Wednesday garden spray, but I decided to give the plants a rest and did not apply any Miracle-Gro this week. I want the tomatoes to be able to put their energy into ripening some of these green tomatoes instead of making leaves, and I think it’s probably a good idea to give them the occasional break anyway. I read that beans do better without fertilizer after they get a couple of leaves, so I’m leaving them alone, too. This was the first week I sprayed with the new tank sprayer. The copper fungicide is a fun blue color, which belies the insecticide I added to the mix. I had planned to put some mancozeb in with…

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