Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just a little somethin' to look at...

Ok, I'll admit it, I've been slackin' on the garden work lately. I have done some cleanup and I started to move the mulch pile (that's been sitting by my driveway for months now) to refresh the mulch between the garden beds, but alas, I have not finished yet. I keep forgetting to go out and even check on my poor little lettuce plants (they did survive the cold and snow though). Since I don't really have much to report garden-wise, I thought I'd post a few pictures from my trip to Vermont in October.

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Ok, so this one is back in Colorado... they just look so sweet I had to post it.

I always put bandanas on them for Halloween - they just look friendlier that way. I also put a baby gate between the doors so when I open it for trick-or-treaters, the dogs can say hi to the kiddos but can't go out (or scare any of them too much).
Wilson has a bandaged paw because he ripped another toenail (second one in a month). The vet had to remove the nail and he had to be bandaged for 5 days. He's doing fine now.
Hopefully I'll have more garden progress to report soon. I'd better get that mulch pile moved soon- I think it will just add to the depth of my cross-driveway snowdrift if I don't get it out of the way. I don't need that bugger to get any deeper than it already does (and a storm's coming soon...likely this weekend).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Then & Now- October Review

Time for the final monthly review of the season!

I was a little worried about the spaghetti squash when I picked them. They nearly all had some yellow but weren't looking very ripe at all. I left them on the vine as long as possible even though the vines were looking pretty dead.

I had read they would ripen as long as they had started changing color and YAY they did! They spent about 3 weeks just like this on my dining room table. Only one looks like it may not turn. It didn't have any yellow when it was picked. I ate one for dinner tonight!
The yellowing bell pepper ripened off-plant as well and was eaten about 10 days later (it came on my road trip with me- it's the ONLY yellow bell that grew and I wasn't going to miss out on eating it!!

I had to pick everything that was approaching ripeness at the beginning of the month because I was gone for a couple weeks. I went back to Vermont for my class reunion. We had a whole weekend bash and it was a great time! As a bit of a gee-whiz, I tried to cover the garden to see what might make it while I was away. Temps had been hitting lows in the 30's before I left so I figured if the weather held out for a couple weeks, it might make it.

It didn't.

About a week after I left, the weather took a drastic turn. The forecast showed a low of 19 one night, high in the 20's and then a low of 14. I knew it wouldn't make it through that kind of cold. All of the covers had open spots for ventilation for the warm days and they would have needed blankets and probably lights to survive those lows. Oh well. I think the biggest disappointment was the raspberries. There were so many berries on the plants that froze before ripening.

I was part-way through the garden clean-up the other day when I had to stop for some reason. I didn't get to work outside again the end of this week for sure! We had a nasty storm roll through. We didn't get the 2+ feet of snow that some areas around Denver saw, just 3-4". Those 3-4" coupled with some wicked winds sure can make some good drifts though! This was my garden yesterday. I wonder how the baby lettuce in bed #1 are doing under all that snow.

Too bad my driveway looks like this too. We get the worst snowdrift across the drive with nearly every storm. I guess shoveling snow is good exercise at least which is probably good since I bought Halloween candy this week...

October Harvest Totals:


October Total: 927 oz = 57# 15 oz

September total: 878 oz = 54# 14 oz
August total: 338 oz = 21 lb 2 oz
July total: 157 oz = 9 lb 13 oz
June total: 69 oz =4 lb 5 oz
May total: 10 oz .

Total: 2379 oz = 148 lb 11 oz

Friday, October 2, 2009

Then & Now- September Review

Time again for the month in review (ok, so I'm actually a day late- oops!)

2/3rds of the beans are done & gone. I cut the plants and added round one of the fall additions. This bed was new this year and shrank to about 6" below the top of the boards. I added some partially composted weeds (bottom layer- I figure if there are seeds in there, most of them will be buried far enough down that they won't be a problem), mostly finished compost, coffee grounds & leaves. Topped it off with a piece of landscape fabric stapled to the top of the bed to keep it neat.

The last 1/3rd was still producing until a few days ago. There may be a little more to come but it won't be much. The yellows in the other bed have pretty well quit too. Most of the 2 beds in the center of the photo (the plastic overlaps to the other one) are no longer producing. The plastic is there for one reason - the peppers. I picked all the usable peppers today as we are expected to freeze tonight. All the extra real estate is covered for a couple reasons. I'm getting ready to take a trip before long. I want to try and give the peppers a chance to produce a little more (though I don't have high expectations) but I won't be home to monitor temperatures in the garden. The peppers are under a curtain and in the middle of this plastic tunnel. The ends of the tunnel are open for ventilation. We'll see how they look when I get back.

The sunflowers have been cut down. I hope to save the seeds for sunflower shoots this winter and for the birds.

Anybody know what these black things are on the back of the sunflower leaves? They're everywhere. They're not squishy like eggs but harder like spores on ferns. I haven't had a chance to look anything up quite yet...

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I was sad to see this plant go. It was one of the prettiest plants in the garden this year. It was quite seriously hit with powdery mildew though I don't think that was it's only problem. I initially ignored it figuring it was just time for the plant to go. When I realized I was seeing powdery mildew I did try spraying it but it was too late.

The squash all have some yellow so I'm crossing my fingers they will finish ripening. I harvested 16 from the plants today as well as several Giant Marconi peppers, the ONE yellow bell on the plant, and a few pimiento & banana peppers. I also dug about 5 lbs of potatoes.

I'm afraid I will miss these ripening, so sad... I'll tell the neighbor to come pick them. I think she'll be happy to.

September harvest totals:
CUKES 1# 4
CORN 4# 7

September total: 878 oz = 54# 14 oz

August total: 338 oz = 21 lb 2 oz
July total: 157 oz = 9 lb 13 oz
June total: 69 oz =4 lb 5 oz
May total: 10 oz .

Total: 1452 oz = 90 lb 12 oz

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I really am still here!

Just wanted to add a quick post to let you all know that I AM still here! There should be a new post in the next couple days. The hubby came home for a visit this last couple weeks and I haven't had time to write anything. I'll try to get caught up soon.
Thanks for stickin' around!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meme Award!

I would like to thank Rachel of GrafixMuse's Garden Spot and Shawn Ann of Shawn Ann's Garden for giving me the Meme Award!

The Meme award guidelines:
1. Link back to the person who gave you the award

2. Reveal 7 things about yourself

3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and link to them

4. Let each blogger know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

5. Let the tagger know when your post is up.

So here goes...

1. I'm from small-town Vermont (ok, so nearly everyone in VT is from a small town...) and though we've lived several places, Colorado Springs is the biggest city I've ever lived this close to (about 360,000 people). I don't actually live in COS but I'm only about 10 minutes east of the city. I don't think I would like to live anywhere bigger.

2. We have lived in Ogden UT, San Angelo TX, Great Falls MT, Wasilla AK and Falcon CO.

3. I was a Realtor in MT and AK. I am currently in a class to get my license here.

4. I am the middle child of 3. My sister is 2 years older and my brother is one year younger. My brother was adopted from Korea when I was 5 and he was 4. He didn't speak a word of English when he came to live with us.

5. I don't have kids of my own but I have a stepdaughter who is 25 and a stepson who is 21. My s/s lived with us when he was in high school. The first parent/teacher conference we ever went to as parents was for a sophomore. Both kids live in Montana now.

6. I have 2 dogs - Veronica, a 7 y/o lab/hound/shepherd mix and a Wilson a 3 y/o lab/??? and 2 cats (13 & 15 years old).

7. Our first dog was a lab/chow mix who was a great dog. After she died, I said I wasn't getting another black dog because I knew there wouldn't be another like her. Then I saw the puppy pictures of Val & Veronica that the shelter posted online and that was the end of that... (we brought them both home).

And now for the hard part...I would like to pass the Meme along to the following bloggers: (and since I was slow to respond, I know some of you have already gotten this. Don't panic, you don't have to do it again...)

Subsistence Pattern

The Corner Yard

Gamine's Garden

The Gardens at Melissa Majora

Sinfonian's Square Foot Garden

Toni's Weedless Square Foot Garden

Our Engineered Garden

Thanks all! Now I've got to get caught up on my reading!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Then & Now- August Review

Time again for some comparison photos!

The green beans started the season looking less-than-great in June, mustered a good recovery in July and are now winding down production.

This bed has Landreth Stringless, Contender and French Filet bush beans. I would plant the Contender and French Filet again. They produce nice long, straight pods and seemed more productive than the Landreth. The raw flavor was also better. They were all mixed together for cooking so I didn't notice any flavor difference at dinnertime.

The sunflowers are going a little nuts now! The bees love the sunflowers as well as the bolted broccoli flowers. They have both sprawled out of the beds enough that I avoid those pathways to not anger any bees. Most of the time, I can see about 10 bees in the broccoli.

The spaghetti squash look like they're maturing now. They are starting to turn yellow though there is still a lot of green on the fruits. My understanding is they are ready to pick once they have fully turned color. The foliage is looking pretty shabby and appears to have some powdery mildew starting as well.

It took seemingly forever, but some of my peppers I started from seed are producing! I really thought they were never going to grow (my watermelon didn't...). Next year, I will not subject the peppers to such cool spring temps. They'll have to be babied a little more.

My pumpkin is nearly ready! I think there is also a second one just starting to grow. I'm not positive how many surviving plants I have on that ladder but it's at least 2, so the production is really low. On the other hand, I bought the seeds on clearance last fall for about a quarter so I'm not going to complain too much.

I also have what I believe may be a larger pumpkin that sprouted from some compost under my transplanted lilacs in the back yard. I must not have looked at it closely for a while because when I checked it earlier I had several male blooms and no females. I checked it yesterday and there's a fruit that's probably 10" long! There's another small one as well. I'm pretty impressed as this didn't receive any care at all. I think I watered the lilac once this summer as it looked a little wilted (probably because this large squash plant was sucking away all it's water). Maybe I watered twice.

Zucchini 74 oz (4 lb 10 oz) 15 fruits
Beans (all varieties) 150 oz (9 lb 6 oz)
Pattypan Squash 14 oz 2 fruits
Carrots 11 oz
Peppers 3 oz (2 fruits)
Potatoes 34 oz (2 lb 2 oz)
Cucumbers 33 oz (2 lb 1 oz) 6 fruits
Tomatoes 19 oz (1 lb 3 oz)

Total: 338 oz = 21 lb 2 oz

July total: 157 oz = 9 lb 13 oz
June total: 69 oz =4 lb 5 oz
May total: 10 oz .

Total: 574 oz = 35 lb 14 oz

If you'd like to re-visit my July review, click this link:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Slow & Steady

The garden is slowly and steadily creeping along but I don't have anything major to report this week, hence the recent blog-slacking. I've also started studying for my real estate license finally (time to go back to work again), so I've had a little less garden time lately. I've been picking beans and zucchini pretty regularly but neither is threatening to over-run my house yet. The cherry tomatoes are starting to produce a little more but again, nothing overwhelming.

The sunflowers are still looking nice...

The spaghetti squash are starting to show some yellow now

and the small sugar pumpkin is starting to show some orange.

That's it, that's all I've got for today... slow & steady...

Monday, August 17, 2009

OT: for fans of handmade jewelry...

Ok, I know this is WAY off-topic, but I wanted to pass on a chance to win these handmade "Moonlight" earrings made by Sara of Shy Siren.

I know Sara from our days in school and I think she creates beautiful jewelry, so I wanted to pass this along to those who may be interested.

To enter, visit Shy Siren, pick your favorite and visit the Sweeter than Me blog at and leave her a comment.

Now, off to check the garden..

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pattypan Progress

Friday night, the first pattypan squash was nearly ready to pick. I already had a zucchini to eat with my dinner, so I left it to grow for one more day.

It's about 3" across and weighs almost 5 ounces.

This was my first pattypan (ever) and while I want to try it grilled, I was having some leftover steak and didn't want to fire up the grill just for the squash, so I decided to saute it the same way I cook zucchini.
Other than my dinner a bearing a strange resemblance to Lisa Simpson, it was pretty good (sorry, no finished photo, :-) I was hungry). I thought it had a little milder flavor than my zucchini. Something about the shape of this squash made me wonder if the skin would be noticeable or tough but it was very tender. I might slice it in a chunkier manner next time I saute it. I'll probably cut it into thicker whole slices when I try it on the grill.

I'm giving it a thumbs up!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Unsettled Weather

Yesterday was a warm and clear day. We didn't even have our typical afternoon storm threat. I uncovered all the garden beds so the plants could have some nice warm sunshine and didn't give it a second thought. I didn't give it a second thought until I went to bed last night that is.

As I was laying there nearly asleep I suddenly heard the sound of rain which was soon followed by the sounds of thunder and small hail. I jumped out of bed and headed out to cover the garden. I made it as far as the front porch. When I got outside, there was so much lightning overhead combined with the fact that it was late and all the neighborhood had gone to bed, that I didn't dare go- call me paranoid but people DO get hit by lightning- so back to bed I went. I cringed every time I heard the hail come back. After about 30 minutes, the storm subsided and I fell asleep.

This morning, I went to check the garden and was pleasantly surprised to find very little damage and .4" in the rain gauge. I knew I wouldn't be home this afternoon and they were predicting more storms, so the covers went on early today. As far as I know, it was quiet until this afternoon. Shortly after I returned home this evening, a storm arrived. Fortunately, we missed the golf ball sized hail (again) that the storm was throwing on it's way east. The brunt of this storm tracked just a little south of us, so we just got about .2" of rain and some small hail (and thunder of course). I clicked on my weather link (on the right side of the page) and they show 1.98" of rain and are just located about a mile of so from here.

When I looked out my kitchen window after dinner tonight, this is what I saw.

This (below) is the main part of the storm.

Doesn't it look like that could be a tornado? It's not, but it was putting on quite a light show a few minutes later.

It seems quiet outside now. We'll see what comes tomorrow!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

August Update

It's been a pretty quiet week in the garden. I have harvested just a few zucchini, a half pound of beans and just under 2 pounds of small potatoes. A few of the pots of potatoes were looking dead and I was pretty sure it's too early for most of them to be ready. When I poked down around the "done" plants, I discovered that they were dry! With all the rain we had in July I was worried that they were too wet. Most of the straw was wet but the compost at the bottom was dry. I watered the pots and I plan to take the moisture meter out to check everything tomorrow as it has been several days since we've had any significant rainfall.
Early week harvest - zucchini, beans & potatoes.

I hand-pollinated the little pattypan when the bloom opened the other morning. There are a few more female blossoms starting to form now as well.

The Green Dragon Burpless finally has a little cucumber! I need to look up when these started producing last year, it feels like they have been very slow this year.

The yellow bell pepper is growing nicely. The other peppers are showing more blooms now too.

I did make this unpleasant discovery on my Roma tomato today (grrr...). I'm going to try adding some calcium (and checking their moisture) though from what I saw online today, Romas are very prone to BER, so it at least makes me feel a little better. :-)

To end on a more positive note, I've got a couple of these blooming...

The sunflowers are planted along the edges of the corn bed in an attempt to aid pollination by possibly acting as a windbreak so the pollen doesn't all get blown away in our winds. I honestly don't know if this will make a bit of difference. It was a suggestion I received over on GardenWeb and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. As a bonus, I plan to save the seeds- some for the birds and some to sprout for shoots to add to salads.

That's about all for right now. This week we're supposed to have temps in the 80's so I should be seeing a little more production in the garden soon (I hope!).

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