Garden

Hello, Summer!

by Shawnda on June 16, 2013

in Fruit,Garden

Cantaloupe

We spent the last 8 days on the funnest, most awesome vacation we’ve ever taken. Eating Mickey Mouse-shaped Ice Cream Sandwiches like it was my job (and it kinda was), princess-ing all the things, princessing them some more, and riding roller coasters.

13 family members under one large roof. And there wasn’t a single argument, much less a stabbing. Successful. Epically so.

What I wasn’t doing? Certainly not thinking about my garden! But I didn’t have to – my friend Kelly garden-sat for us. She was paid in all the produce she could pick.

9+ lbs of Juliet and San Marzano tomatoes, alone, I hear.

The first thing I did this morning was fill one of those large, city-issued garbage cans full of prunings from the tomatillo and tomato plants, and then I spotted a beautiful golden globe peaking out from under the green canopy.

A cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe

My knife slid through the chilled fruit like it was butter. It was absolutely a perfect welcome home.

Well, perfect right after a sprinkling of salt. Fess up – who else salts their watermelon and cantaloupe?

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Garden Fridays: I Hate Squirrels

by Shawnda on May 24, 2013

in Garden

SERIOUSLY.

Do squirrels actually serve a purpose in the circle of life? Other than to eat my strawberries, destroy my tomatoes, and steal my bluberries? Those little bastards are roaches with fur and one day I’ll invent a motion-activated flame thrower to teach them a lesson.

One day.

How are your gardens growing? We’ll start out with the good… because you’ve already guessed the bad.

The Good
Green Beans
They’re more than good, they’re grrreeeeaaat! 3-lbs-in-one-week great. And next week, I’ll show you the awesome, 4-ingredient, barely-a-recipe way we’ve been eating them.

Juliet tomatoes
These are larger grape-style tomatoes. There might be no tomato on this planet that is better for roasting… and then eating straight off the pan. The plant is a beast. INSANELY prolific, which is good because it’s also a favorite target for squirrels.

Meyer Lemon
White flies and leaf miners attacked the dwarf Meyer last year and we thought it was a goner. But we saw new greenery on it earlier this spring and now it’s full of flowers!

Zucchini
Just harvested 3 zucchini this week! Will be starting a new seedling in a pot this week because I expect the vine borers to show up any second now…

San Marzano
Two plants, completely loaded with green tomatoes.

Cantaloupe
Two vines off to a slow start. Dozens of flowers later, I found 3 cantaloupe yesterday!

Basil
LOVES the weather right now. And we love eating pesto on everything.

Kale
LOVES the weather right now as much as basil.

Serranos
I wish the serrano and jalapeno plants would trade places… but they won’t. And I’ve learned to embrace the skinnier pepper. I had to. Because I’ve picked over 100 peppers in the last 13 days.

The Eh
Strawberries
Demoted :( The wonky weather killed production – we went from getting a pound every other day to 5 tiny berries in the last week. But the 2 hours working in that box, weeding and fertilizing and adding new compost, should hopefully start paying off again soon.

White Peach Tree
Massive fruit drop last month left only 8-12 peaches on the tree. But we’ve eaten the first peach of the year and it did not suck.

Grapefruit
Massive fruit drop, only 6 grapefruit left on the bush. I think the real problem is that it has outgrown it’s pot and I waited too long to prune it this year. We’re going to try to make room for it in the ground this summer so it can grow as big as it wants.

Jalapeno
Still angry at me from moving it from it’s big pot in the sun to a less-sunny corner of the “pepper and tomato” box.

The Bad
Tomatillos
Dozens and dozens of blossoms the last two months… not one single fruit. They have until July 4th and then my late summer tomatoes go in the ground in their place.

Pomegranate
2 dozen flowers and not a single one fertilized.

The Other Peach
It tried to bloom in late April and early May… when it was sub-40 in Texas. There will be no peach crop from it this year.

Blueberries
&^%$#@! squirrels.

Eggplant
I planted a seedling ~3 months ago… and it’s still less than 6 inches tall. At this rate, we’ll be having eggplant at Thanksgiving.

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Garden Fridays: Now With Mystery Tomatoes

by Shawnda on April 26, 2013

in Garden

How are your gardens doing?

That’s most of the “overage” from the spring garden: I’m still heavy 3 tomatillos, 3 cantaloupe, 3 yellow bell peppers, and 6 mystery tomatoes that could be a:

Beefsteak
Yellow Pear
Sweet cherry red
Red grape
San Marzano

The mystery tomatoes sprouted in the beds. And based on their locations, they could be anyone of those. At best, I could narrow each plant down to two. (Or I could, until I mixed the plants up before labeling them.) Curiosity is going to get the best of me so I’ll probably grow them all in containers just so I can get closure. (Unless you’re nearby and want a free plant or two – BUT YOU MUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM.)

The weather here has been pretty wild, even for Texas – we ran the heater the other night! And the only thing in the garden that has been happy is the kale and the strawberries (1/2-lb a day!). Everything else is as cranky about the extreme swing in temperatures as I am.

Especially the white peach tree. Every time I go outside, I find another one (or 6!) of these guys on the ground. That makes almost 3 dozen peaches inside of a week :(

fruit drop

We should have our first juliet tomatoes sometime next week… assuming it stays warm enough. Until then, there are plenty of strawberries!

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Garden Fridays: Sort of.

by Shawnda on April 19, 2013

in Garden

White Peaches

I mean, it’s Friday. And I took pictures of my garden, like I do every week…

But damn. What a week.

White Peaches

Kinda makes pictures of half-grown vegetables pretty silly, huh? But that’s what we do on Fridays – I pull never-ending weeds from the strawberry bed while Landry eats the strawberries. And then I take pictures.

White Peaches

I was hunched over the Twitter app on my phone until 3am this morning because I just couldn’t tear myself away. And the first thing I did this morning was reach for my phone, even before I could hold my eyes all the way open for more than 2 seconds.

So I’m kind of done.

White Peaches

I’m going to unplug as much as possible and play with my kid, who gets to be a completely innocent 3-year old, oblivious to the tragedies of Boston and West this week. We’ll practice writing her name and she’ll spend 38 seconds converting all the Ls to triangles. And then the triangles to As. And then get distracted and ask me to trace her hand before running off for an obscure toy she hasn’t seen in 6 weeks but just remembered that she NEEDS it. RIGHT NOW.

White Peaches

I’m going to thank the Good Lord for first responders and civil servants and the others who volunteer their lives so I can stand barefoot in my backyard and take pictures of ladybugs and baby figs on Friday mornings.

White Peaches

I’m going to drink wine outside on one of Houston’s prettiest ditches on what will hopefully be one of spring’s prettiest days. And probably Instagram the &%#$ out of it.

Because that’s what I do on Saturdays.

Or any day, after two glasses of wine.

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