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Frosty morning

This was the view out my front window this morning:

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Brrrr, frost!

(I would have taken a picture of the garden but it was too cold to go outside).

Fortunately, I picked a whole bag of poblano peppers this weekend. I left some on the plants, too, so I’m curious to see how much cold they can tolerate.

I’m hoping the parsley and Swiss chard will keep growing a little longer. The green beans are on their way out, though. The leaves are wilted and dark.

What garden?

Last weekend I finally snuck away from the baby for a little while to tend to the garden. I was surprised and a little annoyed to discover that it’s no longer summer and the growing season is winding down.

All those weeds I’d been planning to pull since July? They were looking just as overgrown and half-dead as the zucchini plants. Well, I pulled them anyway. I wheeled away two cart-loads of weeds and dead vegetable plants.

The sight of empty garden beds has me excited for next spring already.

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The garden is still producing plenty of stuff now, though. I’ve been checking for frost every morning and so far we’ve been in the clear.

Here’s some Swiss chard (heavily harvested, but still growing):

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We finally got poblano peppers this year, too. Hurray! This is the third year I’ve tried to grow these guys and the first time it worked.

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After all that, you’d think we would have eaten at least one by now. Nope. They’re still sitting in the refrigerator and on the vine. Next year I may scale back the hot pepper section of the garden.

My column last week was about the serious space problems in my garden, specifically the rather unwise decision I made to plant green beans in every square inch of the garden.

“Overcrowding is not just a problem for cities and schools”

At least now we’ve got a lot of green beans. This is just one little sample. There are still whole sections of the green bean crop I haven’t touched yet. We’re running out of room in the refrigerator.

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Zucchini update

Just when I thought the zucchini was dead …

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I find this guy hiding under the leaves. It looks like our squash section is back in business.

Thanks to all the rain, the neglected garden is coming along better than is should. We have quite a few hot cherry peppers turning red.

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The tomatoes are looking good, too. A few more days and they should be ready to eat!
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Native gardening

So I finished that book about native plants in about a day. It was eye-opening. Here are two columns that sort of relate.

Autumn olive is no lover of mine

New landscaping approach accounts for insect appetites

Here’s a picture of that lovely invasive weed, autumn olive.

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As you can see, the murder has not been carried out yet. Soon. Soon.

Zucchini rot

Well, I may not have the usual over supply of zucchini this year. The plants were producing just fine, then we got this:

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I really quick Web search makes me think that the rain might have something to do with it. It could also be some sort of nutrient deficiency in the soil, but there are still some healthy-looking zucchinis on other plants so that would be odd.

At first I was angry, but now I’m a little relieved. What was I going to do with all that zucchini anyway?

Garden reading

Rainy days have made it hard to work outside, so I’ve been turning to my bookshelves.

I’ve been working my way through “Teaming with Microbes” by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis. I enjoyed the descriptions of bacteria, fungi, bugs and other creatures that live in the soil. Now I’m at the part where they’re telling me how to count my soil organisms, which sounds like fun but I don’t see myself having time to do it.

So in the meantime I just picked up “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens” by Douglas W. Tallamy, which has been on my shelf for a while.

I’ve also been flipping through “For Love of Insects” by Thomas Eisner. It’s full of stories about the insects he has encountered throughout his science career and all the fun things he did to study them. There are a lot of experiments that involve feeding one bug to another to see what will happen, and getting bugs to fight.

What garden books are you reading to pass the rainy days? What books should every gardener have on their shelves?

Daylilies

I was looking for something to do outside this week with the baby and we found ourselves wandering around at R. Seawright Gardens in Carlisle, Mass. It’s a farm that grows daylilies and hostas in a big field. You walk around with a price list and pick out the flowers you like and the employees dig them up for you. I wasn’t shopping this time. I just went because July is when most of the flowers bloom and it’s really pretty.

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When we got home, I decided to spend some time photographing the daylilies at my house (most of which came from that big field).

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All my daylilies are ready to split, I think. This is at least the third or fourth summer for all of them and they’ve gotten noticeably bigger. I found some Web sites that say spring is the time to split (oops, missed that boat), but others say you can do it in late summer after they finish blooming. Perfect!

Hot peppers

My hot peppers looked a little dry yesterday so this morning I watered them.

Now they look happy.

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These are the jalapenos, which are the furthest along. My cherry tomatoes are just forming and there are blossoms on the poblanos.

Considering the grocery stores are predicted to face shortages of jalapenos because of the salmonella scare in imported Mexican produce,  I’m glad my little crop is doing so well. Now if my tomato plants succeed this year, I’ll be all set. Fingers crossed!

How exactly does that work? You just sprinkle human hair on the plants? Thanks for explaining further.Dagny
www.onnotextiles.com
organic apparel

Hi, Dagny!
Yes, I just sprinkled human hair in the garden. I aimed for the soil around the plants, rather than the plants themselves, but you know how hair is. I used the tiny clippings left over from when my husband trims his beard and when we cut his hair with electric clippers. I just took out another container of hair this past weekend and sprinkled it on the soil around my hot pepper plants. Everything’s pretty big now so I think it’s safe (my chipmunks seem to prefer plants that have just sprouted), but it doesn’t hurt to add a little extra.

Here are some photos I took this morning of the plants that were damaged by critters and rebounded after I put down hair clippings.

Green beans:
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Swiss chard:
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Parsley:
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I couldn’t resist taking some other pictures of the garden because everything is getting so big. Here’s my yellow squash in full bloom. I picked my first little squash this morning. I love the flowers on zucchini and squash plants.

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