Wednesday, July 28, 2010

reap what you sow

This image is the bloom from a Rose of Sharon that seeded itself next to my deck in the back of my house. It was a pleasant surprise and a welcome ‘Good Morning’ from the garden when I let the dog out this morning.

Recently, I have been reading the book ‘grace from the garden: changing the world one garden at a time’, written by Debra Landwehr Engle. It’s full of inspirational gardening stories and I highly recommend it. In one of the last chapters of the book, I read the following garden poem:

for the garden of your daily living:
plant three rows of peas,
1. peas of mind
2. peas of heart
3. peas of soul

plant four rows of squash,
1. squash gossip
2. squash indifference
3. squash grumbling
4. squash selfishness

plant four rows of lettuce:
1. lettuce be faithful
2. lettuce be kind
3. lettuce be patient
4. lettuce really love one another

no garden is without turnips,
1. turnip for meetings
2. turnip for service
3. turnip to help one another

to conclude our garden, we must have thyme.
1. thyme for each other
2. thyme for family
3. thyme for friends

water freely with patience and cultivate with love. there is much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow.

tomato thief

We have a tomato mystery on our hands presently. At first, a ripe ‘Big boy’ tomato went missing from the vine. I chalked it up to perhaps a critter or hungry neighbor. But today I have discovered that 2 ripe Roma tomatoes were swiped from the vine. I am at a loss.

If it is a critter, than how do they know the precise moment that the fruit is ripe and why are there no left over tomato parts strewn about the garden and lawn? And why would a hungry/thirsty critter ignore the seemingly more manageable ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes which remain unscathed?

I have more questions than answers, but I have a plan. I will put up some kind of wire or netting to discourage any potential critters. And then if I still see ripe tomatoes go missing I will have to assume that a tomato thief of the human variety is involved.

There are still many green Roma tomatoes ripening, and even a few more Big Boy tomatoes that should be ready soon. The ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes continue to perform well and I probably harvest about 4 everyday. I’ve had to improvise support for the Black Cherry’s by tying twine to the electrical meter support since they’ve outgrown the 5’ stakes.

Mr. Stripey still has no fruit, but lots of flowers! And I’m hoping the bell peppers start growing more fruit soon. For a few days we feasted on jalapeño peppers from the garden and they were SO hot. I think they were the hottest jalapeños I’ve ever put in my mouth. I wonder if home-grown = hotter?

The ornamentals are doing well too. Half of the Rose of Sharon is blooming really well. The Black-eyed Susan’s and Butterfly Bush are blooming like crazy. And there are no pest or disease problems to speak of. Things are good in the garden, but I do wish it would rain more often!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

le jardin de pizza

It has been 3 weeks since my last blog post and all I can say is I’ve been busy; and so has my garden. Last night we made a pizza using homegrown Roma tomatoes, basil, and bell peppers. It was so delicious, it has inspired this ‘pizza garden’ blog!

Part of the reason I have been too busy to blog was that I read 'My Life in France' in record time for my first book club meeting. Julia Child's book was absolutely delightful in every way; I felt as though I was travelling and eating all over France with her, ergo the blog's title. [Pizza, however, was not a part of her French culinary escapades.]

Pizza gardens are gardens that simply contain the ingredients one may want to put on a pizza. Looking into it, I found that ‘pizza gardens’ all usually contain at least tomatoes and basil. The rest of the ingredients/plants could include sweet peppers, hot peppers, oregano, onions, parsley, eggplant, scallions, rosemary, jalapeños, cilantro, spinach, etc.

This theme could be wildly popular with kids too; picture a raised vegetable/herb garden actually in the shape of a pizza pie, with dividers made to look like ‘slices’ of pizza! It was a lot of fun enjoying the ‘fruits’ of my vegetable garden labor. And as the Roma’s continue to ripen and the garden yields more peppers, I hope to try another pizza soon!

There are ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes ripening everyday, from the bottom of the plant upward. That tomato plant is now almost 7’ tall. I also harvested my first ‘Big Boy’ tomato over the weekend and will be trying that soon. ‘Big Boy’ only has a few more tomatoes ripening so I’m a little disappointed in its yield.

‘Mr. Stripey’ has yet to produce any fruit, but I am hopeful as it continues to grow and flower. The other no-name tomatoes are still growing, but remain fruitless as well. The jalapeño plant is producing lots, though I have yet to actually try one. And the red bell pepper is growing like a weed, but hasn’t set fruit yet.

The Black-eyed Susan’s are blooming profusely, and look great next to the sedums which are finally flowering. The butterfly bush and Verbena are flowering nicely as well. Although I was surprised that the butterfly bush I relocated across the drive has a lighter bloom color, almost a soft pink/purple as opposed to the lilac of the parent plant.

The Rose of Sharon are starting to bloom more, but are darker in color than I was expecting. Now, the blooms are lilac with a darker, magenta eye. The hollyhocks have completely petered out and I see no signs of seed pods so I’ll be cutting them all back soon.

The mint is almost taking over that planting bed, but it is nice to smell. The evening primrose is still blooming, and its fragrance is light and lovely in the evenings. We’ve received plenty of rain lately, so I’ve been able to cut back on watering. Also, our mid-to-upper 90 degree days have cooled slightly. Until next time, happy gardening!

the image used above is not my creation, instead i found it here.