Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eggplant Update

Well my little eggplant seedlings from Garden Dreams have finally pulled through and started carrying fruit.  Granted the plants are quite small and stunted (probably from the HORDES of flea beetles we seem to have been cursed with this year) but it looks like I'll get at least one nice harvest of multicolored eggplant goodness in the near future.  

Beatrice Eggplant

My Turkish Orange STARTED FROM SEED!  This is probably the only thing I started indoor  this spring that is still alive.  No where near setting fruit, and quite chewed on, but making progress none-the-less.

White Thai Ribbed Eggplant

Zebra Eggplant

Kermit Eggplant

Louisiana Long Green Eggplant

Calliope Eggplant

Another Calliope Eggplant...this one is quite a bit darker for some reason.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harvest Monday: Short and Sweet

The last few days have been a little crazy so I haven't been able to do much actual gardening or write ABOUT gardening.  We did take pictures of our harvests this week though, and you'll notice quite a few massively split tomatoes.  We've been getting a whole lot of rain, which is great but some of the plants don't really know what to do with it.  The volunteer Black Prince tomatoes from last year are splitting the worst, which ironically is exactly why I didn't purposely plant any this year.  Ah well.

We are also totally done with all of our early planted summer squash and zucchini varieties, and the ones I've planted more recently are showing signs of the same yellow downey mildew that killed the others.  I just planted two types of squash in potting soil out in the back yard to maybe get a small crop in before all depends on the weather, and after this spring and summer I believe anything is possible.

On to the harvests!  After checking out this week's haul, please scoot on over to Daphne's Dandelions to see what the rest of the blogosphere has harvested this week :)

August 9th Harvest

August 11th Harvest

August 13th Harvest

August 15th Harvest

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pittsburgh Children's Museum Garden: Who knew?

Today we took a largely unplanned trip to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum and I had the pleasure of being able to photograph a really cool little educational veggie garden set up in front of the Museum!  Here's a quick photo tour that highlights some really neat ideas that I just might need to steal next year.

The garden is mostly raised beds and containers made from clay drainage pipes (or something like them).  It is situated in a little outdoor nook between the registration lobby and the gift shop.

I'm not big on fruitless flowers, but these are really pretty.  They were probably planted among the veggies to attract pollinators.

Is this purple broccoli in the front?  Or something else...I just don't know.

This faux (or real) log was planted with several herbs.  The vertical clay pipes were also planted with herbs and small veggies, and surrounded a long raised bed.  Such a cool idea!  

Brussel Sprouts

An Asian eggplant of some type.

Another beautiful and healthy eggplant...much healthier than my own at least.

Rain barrels!  They had a rotating composter too but I think I only snapped it in the background once or twice.  

More clay pipes were used as planters along the wall further in.  There are also some amazing  rough hewn wooden benches to sit on.

I just can't get over what a great idea those pipes are.  I have probably seen a ton of them laying around and never thought twice about using them in the garden.  Being square makes them quite a bit more useful than the round pots as they can be used as a border or lined up against each other for more stability.

A view from the end of one of those wooden benches.  The raised beds were quite high off the ground.  You can see a tiny bit of the city skyline in the background.

This is the best shot I could get of the long bed created with a border of clay pipe containers.  

A beautiful heirloom that I didn't see a tag for.

Tomatoes on the same plant but less ripe.  I MUST grow some like this next year.

Chard  :)

This photo is on the way home.  You can tell how many kids probably feed these squirrels.  This fat little guy didn't even blink when my son walked 2 feet from him.

This one just sat a few feet above us quietly observing.

A view of the beautiful day we had here from the car ride home.  I shot that through my windshield (while my husband drove) if you can believe it.

The Pittsburgh Children's Museum Garden itself actually has a blog, which you can find here if you'd like to take a look.  They host several educational workshops for kids and schools, though I've never been to one since we just discovered this garden today.  I love finding new gardens around town :)  

The rabbits are becoming less cute by the day...

Seriously?  My fall crop of bush beans are all just stalks now.  I don't even want to think about my melon patch.

Rabbit damage to the now leafless bush beans.

Rabbit damage in the melon patch.

The vine this watermelon was attached to was severed by a rabbit.

I did discover a really cool place after my root canal on Monday though!  I was wandering around with my face half numb looking for the spot I had parked my car in Pittsburgh's South Side (if you've ever been there you'd understand) and I saw a giant poster with a kid or something on it and words like "sustainable" and "recycle" attached to a building that looked oddly retrofitted with green upgrades.  Considering the whole area is filled with giant 100 year old brick row house buildings, I knew this had to be something neat.

I went inside and found myself in a small lobby filled with information brochures with a glass door leading to a larger lobby with no one manning it in sight.  I started trying to process the brochures in an attempt to figure out where I was, when a nice lady who looked to be returning from her lunch break walked in behind me.

"Can I help you with something?"

I turned around, smiled a half-novocained smile in what I hoped was a very uncreepy manner and replied: "No I uz ust undering ut thiz place uz."

I then decided that the drool, slurred speech, and garden dirt stained clothes I wore due to an emergency tipped tomato plant right before my appointment might be giving the woman the wrong impression, so to combat that I managed to rankly overcompensate by telling her that I was looking for my car after a root canal and liked to garden and was intrigued by the posters outside all in one godawful slurred run on sentence.  I'm totally sure that I came across as a nutcase.

ANYWAY it turned out to be a green building that even collects difficult-to-recycle items like CFL bulbs and batteries.  I am still not completely clear about whether they are some type of outpost of the PRC (Pennsylvania Resource Council) or just a different non-profit that works with the PRC, but any place that has bags of worm poop in their lobby for a small donation is pretty cool in my book.  They also give tours of the building to school kids or anyone interested in seeing how it operates!

It's not every day that you leave the house to get a root canal and return with a sandwich bag full of  worm compost.

So I guess things aren't too bad since the worm compost seems to have been just what my ailing eggplants needed to perk up a bit.  However, if anyone out there is keeping count, this makes two baby water melons and four baby musk melons bitten off by the bunnies.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Harvest Monday: OMG Tomatoes Edition

So many pretty tomatoes this week!  I know there would be quite a bit more if the plants were healthier, but it's hard to complain too much when so many others have lost more plants than I even started with.

We also yanked our broccoli today in favor of some fall kohlrabi since it was practically done putting out side shoots, and we got the super-diseased squash out to make room for more beans.   I would still like to attempt more summer squash, but will likely do so in the back yard in buckets to avoid the squash-killing plague that is totally out of control out front.

Anyway, on to the harvest!  Thanks again to Daphne for hosting Harvest's always fun to see what the blogosphere is harvesting :)

Wednesday's harvest (that big guy is our first pineapple tomato).  The kids LOVE the tiny little orange sweet peppers there. 

Friday's Harvest.  Our first totally healthy cabbage!   Last year they were all destroyed by bugs...this year I only grew one but wish I had a bunch more!

Sunday's Harvest.  This picture was taken with the wrong camera setting so it's much darker than it should be.  That is the last green zucchini from the downey mildew infected squash plants.

Today's Harvest.  The banana peppers are still afflicted with some weird disease that acts like blossom end rot except the spots uniformly form an inch or so ABOVE the blossom end.  Very weird. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The way of the garden...

The zucchini dies out from Squash Vine Borers and Downey Mildew...

Just as the new crop of zucchini across the yard sets it's first fruit.

New things are germinating in every corner, like this replacement crop  of cucumbers.  White Wonder, Burpless Hybrid, and Lemon.

Fall carrots will soon need thinned.

And icicle radishes are growing strong.

Spring pests like aphids and flea beetles are growing fewer, while the fall plague of stink bugs is  finally here.

The dominant colors in our harvests have shifted from all shades of green to orange and red.

And eagerly awaited tomatoes like this pineapple variety are ripening daily when just a month ago a single grape tomato was cause for celebration.

Some veggies pulled through after they were given up for lost, like this little eggplant.

And a few surprising volunteers are finally letting us know what they are.

Fortunately, for little boys who get bored easily, nature keeps things exciting for us!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weird Tomato Wednesday

Black Krim tomato with cat facing

The mystery volunteer tomato plant that seems like a hybrid of Black Prince and a standard red tomato of some type.

This Better Boy fell off the vine, but is a pretty rainbow of yellows and oranges.