Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest we forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jaune du Doubs Carrots!

Pulled my first real harvest of carrots today and I was pleased to see that they're long and lovely! I can't wait to enjoy them. They were grown from Jaune du Doubs carrot seeds generously given to me by Linda at Tree and Twig Farm last year.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled the first carrot of the season up experimentally, and was disappointed to see that it was all stubby and round. Some Googling around revealed that this was either due to medium that is too wet, too rich, or too dense. In my case, I think it had to do with the carrot living next to a rather aggressive chicory plant that had a huge, fat taproot and a dense network of roots. These carrots from further away seemed to benefit from more breathing room.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Garlic tucked in

Or, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." :)

Last spring I potted up some garlic cloves that had sprouted, which grew up nicely inside my apartment and then yielded these lovely little marble-sized garlic bulblets after the leaves had died. I wasn't sure what I would do with them.

I thought vaguely of planting them outside, but a previous attempt at planting sprouting garlic cloves outside last fall yielded nothing but rotten cloves in the spring. Not encouraging.

But hope springs eternal and all of that, so after my bulblets started sprouting this week, I stuck 'em in the ground. Let's hope good things happen!

By the way, Eating Niagara also has an interesting four-part video series on attempting to grow garlic indoors.

Growing Pains: Growing Garlic Indoors part 1
Growing Pains: Growing Garlic Indoors part 2
Growing Pains: Growing Garlic Indoors part 3
Growing Pains: Growing Garlic Indoors part 4

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall garden update

Thinking of closing this blog and posting exclusively to circles in Google+ now. There's more control over who gets to see what you publish, and comment management and interaction in general seems better over there. The first is important to me since I discovered several sites stealing content that I had created in my other life and making money from it. Infuriating, and I can't afford a lawyer to go after them. So far I haven't found any Dirt Gently content similarly stolen, but you never know.

There was an overnight frost warning issued last night, but my balcony stays pretty warm because it's attached to a large brick wall. The only plant I took inside before bedtime was my pepper. It's generated lots of beautiful fruit, but for some strange reason they're all orange. They were grown from the seeds of Hungarian chili pepper that I bought last year; the peppers were all yellow then. Guess it was a hybrid. I hope these orange ones are tasty.

Hungarian chili peppers of unknown heritage

The chicory plants I grew from seed are thriving a little too well in the big cedar planters. They're well over four feet tall each, with abundant foliage and flowering stems. The roots are huge and gnarly. I was originally inspired to grow them because I saw them growing in abandoned lots, weedy backyards, and on the side of the mountain, but they were much smaller because of grazing and lawnmowers I guess. As much as I love the flowers, I'm worried that they will take over the planters, and I don't know if pulling them will solve the problem because they can regrow easily from root fragments.

Huge-ass chicory

Big gnarly chicory roots

Also doing a little too well are the violets I transplanted from the common backyard of my apartment. I found dozens of these violet seed husks all over the planter, all the product of a single plant.

Beets! There's a big juicy one, but so far the other roots look a little scrawny. They've been catching up this week and putting on some size, though.

Most of the spinach I started around the beginning of August had bolted and so I had to compost them. The remaining seedlings were pretty scrawny, but I planted them out anyway in September. They haven't done much, and when I looked today, flower buds!

Lavender and rosemary continue to bloom, and so does a solitary sacred basil plant that I somehow missed when I harvested all of my basil. I love the clove scent of sacred basil. Aren't the rosemary flowers cool?



Tulsi basil

Seeds of the blackberry lily continue to ripen. Can't wait to see the pods pop open to reveal little black beady seeds. It's why I grew these.

Belamcanda chinensis seed pods

The black pasque flowers and Caucasian bellflowers I potted up are going gangbusters. The foliage of each plant is a handspan in size, and they're putting out new leaves all of the time. They ones I transplanted are still small, though, and those bellflowers are showing yellow leaves. I'm not sure what the problem is.

Wintersown Pulsatilla pratensis ssp. nigricans and a dime in a pot

And a sibling plant in my recently-built cedar planter.

Campanula bellidifolia in a pot ...

... and looking sad in a planter.

Next to the bellflowers are Liatris spicata. They didn't flower in this, their first year, but they did develop some caudexy-looking above ground bulbs.

Here are some velvetleaf seed pods.

And some nasturtium blooms.



On the back balcony, kale is going crazy. I can't give enough of it away. I think a soup with lots of kale in it is in order once it's time to chop those beasts down. The squirrels seem to love it too. They made a nice salad with kale and the collard and bok choy seedlings I transplanted in August.

Monster kale

The squirrels have been freeloading ...

... and making buckwheat, clover, and kale salads.

And finally (for today), a sweet potato that's sprouted. Wondering what I should do with it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm still alive

And the moonflowers have been blooming steadily through the month of September. For some reason, they aren't very fragrant, but I think that it has something to do with the low-ish temperatures we've been having.

Also, there have been giant radishes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Almost there ...

It is cold, rainy and miserable and the first moonflower bud looks just about ready to open up. Will it be tonight?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Couldn't wait. Pulled this enormous (to me) sucker this afternoon.

Bolting Radish

One of the radishes I planted earlier this month decided to be naughty and bolt!

Jack and the radish stalk ... It was 2 feet tall!

Decided to pull it to give neighbours more room rather than wait for the buds to flower.

The root looks nothing like it should, and didn't taste very good either.

A "regular" purple plum radish.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2011

No new blooms this GBBD except for this lone harebell that I noticed just in time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sad Trombone: Sick Tomatoes

It's been pretty cloudy and rainy since the end of July, and with the tomato plants already a bit stressed from bearing fruit, some nasty surprises have shown up: I have early blight on my White Queen and Red Pear tomatoes, and a fungal disease and possibly an unidentified something else on my Beefsteak plant.

Early blight on White Queen and Red Pear tomatoes.

Something fungal & something else on Beefsteak tomato.

White, fuzzy spots that you can rub off = fungal to me.
Not sure if this is the end result of fungus, or something else.
Since I think the plants have set all the fruit that's going to appear, and most of them have only to ripen before I harvest, I've been pruning aggressively and hoping that the remaining leaves are enough to sustain the plants until all the fruit is good. With early blight, there's nothing that can be done anyway. Still, the plants look silly with 80% of their foliage gone.

I think that having the three plants so closely spaced together contributed to how quickly they got sick. I definitely could have pruned more aggressively before they became diseased to increase air circulation as well.

I am very pleased with how prolific the Beefsteak plant was, and the tomatoes it produce were definitely the right blend of acidity, sweetness, and sliceability for me. Even though I still have seed that I have saved last year, I will definitely be saving seeds from this year's harvest to add to my stash.

I wasn't expecting such small tomatoes from the Red Pear; they're cherry-sized and Roma-shaped. I was expecting full-sized Roma-style tomatoes. Still, the taste and texture was definitely that of a paste tomato. Despite how prolific it was, I won't be planting these again as cherry-sized paste tomatoes is kind of weird to me.

White Queen was a big disappointment. Tomatoes were a very pale yellow, although they showed a little pink and even red wherever there was a stress point on the fruit (i.e., a lesion or split). They are slicer-type tomatoes, with very weak acidity and sweetness. The plant did not produce very well at all, and the tomatoes tended to split easily. Wimpy taste plus wimpy production equals a plant unsuitable for a balcony.

Red Pears at 1 o'clock, with the rest Beefsteak and White Queens.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First tomato!

Hard to believe that my beefsteak tomato plant looked like this four short months ago.
And started yielding fruit three months later

That swelled and blushed in the sweet July sunshine

And today yielded lunch!