Friday, July 30, 2010

Fungi is no Fun at All.

So - thank you to everyone who suggested spraying milk on the leaves of my plants months ago. Had I taken prompt action I might not be here right now telling you that my plants are covered in powdery mildew and I'm having to hack off leaf after leaf after leaf.

My two early and huge crops - zucchini and cucumber - aren't looking as green as they should. In fact they aren't even looking green at all. They are all splotchy, powdery and white.

Powdery mildew is an airborne fungus that doesn't require constant dampness to form. In fact the heat helps it to spread. Once it is on the plant it spreads fast.

Research online gives me the following causes:
1. Overcrowding - Guilty as charged.
2. Watering from overhead - Guilty again.
3. Hot sun - I can't take the blame on this one, but it's there.
4. Humidity - Check.
6. Letting it go too long once I noticed it - Double check.

1. Cut off severely affected leaves.
2. Spray weekly with a 50/50 milk and water solution.
3. Treat early instead of waiting like I did.

Word is that I can still eat the veggies - if the plants still continue to produce. I can't help but wonder if this isn't partially the cause of the shrivel sticks I've been occasionally picking.

If anyone has any additional advice for me - please send it my way. I'd hate to lose all these plants.

I really kind of love them :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life In Transition.

A small lilac bush sits at back right corner of my lot.

Some time last year the tree stopped blooming and the life inside of it faded.

Early this April, however, I came into the backyard to find the bush bursting with life. Vibrant orange and pale yellow flowers trailed over the branches. Though it had stopped thriving as what it once was - the bush lent its strength and structure to an incoming vine - the beautiful blossoms and sweet, sweet fragrance of the honey suckle.

A month or so passed and as the honey suckle faded back to a subtle green, a morning glory vine eased its way in and began the process of showing its life over the branches. Mornings burst over the bush in a blueish lavender. All uninterrupted by, but supported by the life below.

I've been observing this transition of life for months. So many lives blossoming then receding over the same set of branches. The ease of exchange. The way it can almost happen before your eyes without you even noticing. The way nature comes in to fill the space to keep life beautiful.

Isn't this what living is all about? Allowing yourself to change over time, to embrace new life, the people that come and go, the situations that present themselves. Moving always - forward.

We all have this wonderful opportunity to open our arms wide during periods transition. To surrender ourselves to the changing the life around us. To make room for new love and situations.

When we don't fight hard against nature we can live fully in our skin.

I'm thankful for the bush that surrendered itself to open my eyes to this. It helps me to realize that there has been value in every stage of my life. Each has enabled me to learn and display critical parts of myself, to give and receive the exact love I needed at that time.

Also featured on Firing Up The Canon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One more time and I'm gonna wash your mouth out with...

Lettuce :(

My green leafy lettuce is now leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. A total disappointment as it is one of my most beautiful crops and I have plenty of it right now.

The cause - HEAT.

Online sources suggest putting it in the fridge for a couple days before eating it to cut the bitter bite.

I'll try it. I'm not willing to give up yet.

On a positive note - I just ate my first little orange pepper and have quite a few more in progress on the plant. I'm creating zucchini at a rate I can't even keep up with. I've been harvesting a bean or two here and there. Once my tomatoes start to ripen I'm going to have a case of acid reflux even Pepcid can't tame - lots on the vine.

Next week I'm going to take a shot at fried green tomatoes and take care to taste my early crop.

It's all about looking and learning for me. And it's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blossom End Rot

It was just as I suspected.

My little shrivel stick zucchini's are likely a product over overwatering. The pruned fingers of the veggie world. Visually predictable.

I semi-suspected we were giving the plants too much fluid - watering daily. Especially the plants that I did on the side of the house - they just simply do not get enough hours of sunlight to justify a daily watering. Truth be told, the main garden probably doesn't need it either.

I'm going to cut back on the water supply this week and see what happens. It's not quite as hot as last week so this is probably a good time to try it out.

Hopefully this is a journey back to plumpness.

Wish there was a Lubriderm for shrivelly squashes. That'd be an easy fix.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shrivel Sticks.

So...some of my zucchini are shriveling on the vine while they are very small. Most of the ones that are looking funny start to do so at the 2 inch stage of growth, but now I have a slightly larger one that has gone prune finger on me? Any ideas?

Does this replicate the human condition of too much time spent in water? Should I water less? Or is it something else?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Zucchini Bake

We finally cooked one of the two big zucchinis from the garden. The other was gifted and awesomely prepared by Veronica last Wedneday night.

For mine, here's what I did.

I selected a rotisserie chicken and shredded the breast meat. Then I purchased some pesto made at the mustard seed market, a bag of sun dried tomatoes, portabella mushrooms, garlic, and feta cheese. Everything was mixed together and left to mingle in the fridge for about 2 hours.

The zucchini was then sliced down the middle and scooped completely clean until each side was a hollow boat. The insides were added to the previously combined deliciousness.

The zucchini boats were stuffed, Parmesan cheese was generously sprinkled over the tops and the boats were baked in the oven.

The end result - Taste-tastic.

The photo isn't the best because I was too lazy to pull out the Canon, but it does give you the picture.

Bon Apetit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spinachery! Take Two

All of the spinach that I planted early in the summer has now been pulled up and composted. It shot to seed quickly in the heat - although i did managed to harvest three times before having to pull it up. I consider that a decent start.

I've now planted a new road of seedlings and will wait "patiently" while they take their turn coming through the soil. I think the plan is going to be to start a new batch of seeds every three weeks so I keep a good rotating crop of veggie friendly iron in the dirt. Makes morning eggs all the more exciting.

I've also harvest, shared and munched on all of the green onions that I started earlier in the season. So, of course, I planted some more of those as well. I have to be honest. I much less patient waiting for their arrival. I just love them.

So, here's to three weeks from now! Until then I'll be enjoying my early bean and zucchini crops.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nothing "ini" about em.

As promised - here are a couple pictures of my first Zucchini harvest. We were on vacation for a week and when we returned home we found two extremely large treats in the dirt. We actually scavenged for these guys at 1 a.m. It was the first thing i did after pulling in the driveway.

With their size, it was recommended that I scoop out the seeds area, stuff them and bake them - so this Sunday that is what I'm going to try:)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


So, it's different than I though it would be. Harvesting. Plants are wise and protective - camouflaging the fruits of their labor carefully. I swear I look around my garden at least twice a day and it's entirely possible that even when carefully looking I could miss a vegetable that is right in front of my eyes.

This morning I went back out just to see what changed from last night through this morning after a night of rain - and things really do change just that fast. But instead, what I found were about a dozen beans ready pick. Beans that I didn't even know had begun to sprout. I wasn't looking close enough - even though it seems like looking is a majority of what I do.

I washed them and put them in the salad I picked for lunch.

It's so rewarding and exciting to see the work we put in paying off. I'm in love with my food.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lettuce Be Happy :)

Picked a bunch of lettuce for dinner today and wanted to share some photos of me in my happy place :) Everything is huge. Tomorrow I'll show you the zucchini we pulled out after a week of being gone. They are amazing.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Sneak Peek - July 2, 2010 - Early Morning

Onions From Seedling

Cucumber Flower

Pepper Growth

Beans Climbing up the pole.

Zucchini Flower

Lettuce Growing Wildly

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cleveland Urban Garden

Huge urban garden installation taking place in Cleveland's Ohio City area. Pretty neat. I love to see under-utilized land being given over to growing food to sustain people in our area. This is great.

I was pleased to read in the article that, "One survey already ranks Cleveland the #2 local food big city in the country. Portland is #1."

One more on a long list of reasons we aren't so bad:)

Read more here!