Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Still Reaping


From faithful Garden Commentor Marvel:

We’re clearly Autumn-bound, here in the Willamette Valley. The sun’s coming in at a good slant, the university (OSU — Go Beavs) is having its first home football game and we’re hauling & processing veggies to beat the band. There’s plenty left out there to harvest and eat/store in coming days/weeks (e.g., the late potatoes are ’bout ready to dig up; kale, cabbage & brocolli are looking good; the basil’s primed for the blender & pine nuts), but it’s the tasks at hand that have our attention.

The Summer was fairly mild and the tomatoes showed it — harvest was relatively scant & late…with none to waste, every precious one was brought in and lovingly prepared/processed.


We husked & dried the popcorn (first time we’ve grown it) and have, in the loudest, most kinetic operation my kitchen’s ever seen, wrestled the kernals from their respective ears. Whew. There are vintage hand-cranked shellers (looking much like medieval torture devices and hard to find) and modern, zippy-looking ones (w-a-a-a-y too expensive), but we used tools at hand (me = a sweet corn skinner; Jack = a gnarly pair of pliers). We may not plant popcorn again, given the wrestling required.


The apple crop was good (for us and our organic/no spray ways, anytime we lose less than about 85% to the various bugs [talking to YOU, coddling moth], it’s a good year) and I have a swell recipe for a savory chutney using crisp apples and green tomatoes (plenty of those around) — cooked up a double batch of it just this AM.

This year was absolutely THE WORST for my tomatoes in the 20-some years I’ve been gradually expanding my “garden” from a plastic pot on a rental deck to a whole bunch of 15gal rootpouches on an asphalt driveway extension. Of course I overbought seedlings, but I got everything planted out & tomato-laddered & fertilized in good order and then… well, we’re currently under ‘extreme drought’ conditions. Which wouldn’t have been an issue, except that the humidity level hung between oppressive and unhealthy from July into September (all that water & none of it doing our poor plants, or my lungs, any good). I could not bear to spend more than an hour or so outside on any given day, which just about gave me time to keep the raised flower beds and lilacs from drying up once I’d watered the tomatoes. So at least three different varieties of blight hit early & hard, and the few fat green specimens I carefully nurtured got messily destroyed by some bird or small mammal despite the large saucer of water I carefully kept filled for just such visitors (another disaster that hasn’t happened in at least 15 years). And the whole yard looks like it was cruelly abandoned, ungroomed and dusty.

I’m trying to decide whether I should order a handful of “essential” heirlooms from my favorite California-based mail-order source right now, rather than waiting to look at multiple sites in February as a mood-lifter. Or if maybe I should just declare a moratorium, and spend next year’s green season doing some serious & desperately-needed spadework to revive the rest of the yard…

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Florida Vignettes

shar phalonopsis

From “Loyal lurker Shar from NE Miami-Dade”:

Top pic, from this Spring: a Phalaenopsis orchid that I perched in the low crotch of a Peltophorum tree so many years ago. I forget it’s there until I happen to pull into the drive at a height low enough to see it in bloom.

shar volunteer staghorn fern

Volunteer Staghorn fern pup on Triangle palm trunk

shar lobster claw heliconia

“Lobster Claw” heliconia with first bracts opening

shar fully open lobster claws

Fully opened Lobster Claw heliconias

shar peacock

This guy has been hanging out at a house a few blocks from mine in the last few years. Then one day I tooled down the alley behind my house on my way to whereever and…


What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Butterfly Fuel

bella q butterfly

From longtime commentor Bella Q:

I get garden envy every Sunday, and while I don’t have any (recent) photos I do have some swamp milkweed seeds I just collected. I’ll send some to anyone who trusts me with an address, or to you for distribution.

I’m attaching a posed butterfly pic from years ago. I saw it as we were leaving the house and commanded Mr. Q to go get his camera. He noted, quite reasonably, that the butterfly was unlikely to wait until he returned prepared for a photo. He was wrong.

If you’re interested in the swamp milkweed seeds, send me an email at annelaurie dot verizon dot net, and I’ll forward your message to Bella.


I’m finally starting to get full-sized ripe tomatoes. But it’s been a penance to do anything outdoors — we’re in a drought, but the humidity’s been preternaturally high all month — my poor tomato plants are limp-leaved, and I need to start spraying Serenade more consistently if I don’t want the various blights to conquer the whole lot. First World problems!

What’s happening in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Suitably Sultry

s-cat Hibiscus_1

It’s felt positively tropical here in Massachusetts this week, so these pics seem especially timely. From loyal commentor Schroedinger’s Cat:

Finally, I have the garden photos from my India trip that I had promised to send you a couple of months ago. I was in India in the May of 2014. They are from my mother’s friend’s garden in Lonavla.

Lonavala is a weekend gateway for folks from Mumbai and Pune, nestled in the hills. It also has the Ekvira Temple and Karla Caves. More posts from India trip on my blog.

You will find hibiscus in most Indian gardens, since it is Ganesha’s favorite flower especially the red variety. Curry leaves are used to season most Indian vegetable and legume dishes like dal, etc.

What’s happening in your garden(s) this week?

s-cat Mango
(Mouse over each image for identifying labels, because FYWP)
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Sky’s the Limit!

marvel summer16 Sunflower

Faithful garden correspondent Marvel:

Our summer garden has been putting on some serious growth and in the case of the popcorn and sunflowers, most of the growth is vertical.

marvel summer16 Choke-Corn

I love the look & rustling sound of growing corn and we have an open spot where it does well. My problem is that regardless of how I stagger/delay sowing the corn flights to limit the amount of corn that ripens at any one time (I want to EAT the stuff, not FREEZE it), with our long Summer days, once the plants start taking off, they all ripen within a few days of one another. My solution this year is to buy fresh sweet corn at the local farmers’ market every week and plant pocorn in Area 51 — it’ll all ripen togther and I’ll harvest it in th Fall. It’s doing well — easily seven feet tall.

As tall as the popcorn, the sunflowers [top pic] are towering wonders this year.
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Zone 10 Luxury

shar Epidendrum orchids

Epidendrum orchids

A little subtropical richness to celebrate the summer warmth, from “loyal lurker” Shar in NE Miami-Dade, Florida.

shar Bougainvillea


shar Ixora, Jatropha, Ficus, Liriope native ferns

Ixora, Jatropha, Ficus, Liriope, native ferns

shar View of a native snail on pool coping from inside the pool.

View of a native snail on pool coping from inside the pool

This week we picked our first ripe tomatoes — an undersized Vintage Wine and a few SunGolds. It’s a start!

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Red White Green & Blueberries

marvel jul16 Blueberry

The rest of reliable garden correspondent Marvel‘s latest report from the Willamette Valley…

At top: Blueberries. there’ll be a scant harvest this year, but we’ll do better next.

marvel jul16 Cabbage

Cabbage unfurling. It’s a green, slo-mo ballet every time.

marvel jul16 Area51

Area 51. In this fairly compressed snapshot: sunflowers, dill, parsley, tomatoes, popcorn & artichokes. It’s taken several years, but the soil out there is finally in pretty good shape.

marvel jul16 Apples

Jonagold Apples — growing up cozy and doing their best to repel codling moths. I hope they’re victorious.

marvel jul16 Lavender

Lavender — graceful and sweet-scented.

Here north of Boston, my neglected flower beds are beginning to burst with bright daylilies and sweet-scented Zepherine Drouhan roses — amid the flourishing weeds. With any luck, I’ll be able to pick up a few six-paks of heat-hardy annuals when we go out for ice cream this afternoon, but with the Spousal Unit on vacation this week I’m not sure how much I’ll actually be able to accomplish during the daylight hours…

What’s going on in your gardens this week?