Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finally Had to Happen

I can't remember the last time, but I spent the entire weekend indoors.   Didn't even look out of the window that much.  Have to admit, the week before this was one of the hardest in my recent memory, or even long term memory, for that matter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Fruit Inventory

I did a quick inventory today, by memory of what we have here at New Dawn.  Many of these trees are still small, but they will grow.

Blueberries (3)
Jujube (1)
Mayhaw (1)
Pear (2)
Pawpaw (1)
Plums (2)
Mulberry (2)
Pomegranate (6)
Texas Everbearing Fig (1)
LSU Gold Fig (1)
Celeste Fig (1)
LSU Purple Fig (3)
Loquat (5)
Arboqina Olive (1)
Ruby Red Grapefruit (2)
Rio Red Grapefruit (1)
Ponderosa Lemon (1)
Lisbon Lime (1)
Meyer Lemon (1)
Variegated Lemon (1)
Louisiana Sweet Orange (1)
Variegated Orange (1)
Moro Blood Orange (2)
That is what I recall off the top of mind, but there may be more.

Even The Best Laid Plans

We had a great Father's Day.  First my Dad, then Cel's Dad, then tradegy struck.  Mom fell in her home, off to the ER.   Cel went first to get her back home, while I cleaned up and then headed over there to provide nurse duty for the next 2 days.  Finally back at home, but still no rain, ugh.   I watered as best I could, but we really, really need rain.  Not just a little rain, but lots of rain. 

OK, I confess, the break from the weeds is welcome, but it is taking its toll on the things I treasure as well.  Truly established plantings are OK, but anything less than 2 or 3 years old is beginning to suffer.   Especially the vegetables.   And the really frustrating part is that it seems to be raining all around us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Statue Wearing High Heels

There's a giant doing cartwheels a statue wearin' high heels.  Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn. - Credence Clearwater Revival

OK, really, there's no giant, she's barefoot, I'm looking out my front door, and its way to hot for the happy creatures to be dancing.   So don't bother me about details, lol.
It's another scorcher.  There are thunderstorms in the area, but they are doing a great job at missing us so far.  We continue to hope.   One thing is for sure is that I have to quit using city water to water the garden.  At this rate, I'll be the next person to have the $64 Tomato.   I can either put down a well, which makes sense long term, but there is always that short term cash issue.  The other way is to tap the bayou.  Water quality is not great, but should be sufficient for irrigation.  The nature of the bank does make this a logistical challenge.   I need someone more experienced than me to come brainstorm this one with me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Getting Tired of Eating Them, So It's Time to Put Up Dem Maters

Even with the bugs and heat taking their toll, the Tomatoes are coming in faster than we care to eat them, so its time to put some up.   Tomatoes are by far one of the easiest vegetables to store, with proper preparation that is.  Fortunately, that preparation is quite easy.  Slip them in some boiling water until the skin splits, move them to some chilled water to make them easier to handle.  Remove the skins, which is quite easy at this point, put in Ziplocks, squeeze out the air, and freeze.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making New Plants

With the right environment, many plants are very easy to reproduce from cuttings.  One little known is the tomato.   For folks in our area, Zone 9, there is little need to buy fall tomatoes or grow them from seed.  Just pick your best producing tomatoes from spring, take some cuttings in late June or early July, put them in the right environment to root, and whalla, you have your tomatoes for fall.   While going through some antique (junk) shops on vacation recently, I ran across this perfect little propagator (terrarium).   Should be great for propagating cuttings, holding most of the moisture with just a tiny bit of air circulation.  Not too bad for $20 with stand.

Another source for fall tomatoes, especially if you like to take a gamble on type, is to throw all of your bad tomatoes, bug damages, etc. in the compost bin.   Till it up good about mid June and then wait for the seedlings to pop up in the compost.   Now, this way you never know what you'll get, but that is a big part of the fun.

False Indigo

False Indigo is a delightful little plant. Tough as nails, too.   I don't remember where we got this start from, perhaps a friend, or an old abandoned house.  Cel probably remembers.  Either way, this is a very troublefree plant, yet non-invasive, a very unique quality.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

If You Want Blood, You Got It, and a Few Other Blooms, Too.

When the heat finally let up, I finished the porch cleanup.   Then did a little watering of the Tomato plants.   Oops, now that I am writing, I forgot to lock the chicken coup.  Be right back.  Headed out with the flashlight, but after being allowed to roam free all day, they were back in the coup waiting for me to come make them safe.

Hmmm, now what else.  I put some Cajun Delight Okra seeds in the seed starter.  I took the plastic top off of the Earth Box, and as I suspected, the soil was quite dry.   The upwards water percolation was just not happening.   I'll water it as a standard planter box to see if I can salvage the two tomatoes planted in there.  I was out there 2 hours, so I know I did some other stuff, but I'll be darned if it is coming to mind right now.  Oh well.

OK, how about some pictures.  First, the Blood Lilies have arrived.   Neatest things you ever saw.

And a little Jacobina, set back by winter, but not down for the count.

And I guess we can finish up with some Christmas Berry.

Heat is Brutal

Its a tough one out there today.  Cel put up tomatoes this morning, then she mowed the 3 acres today, then went out and picked 3 more grocery bags full of Tomatoes from the garden, and weeded it, too.   Somedays I prevail, but others she just plain puts me to shame.  I mostly cleaned up a month worth of poop being left around here and there.   The crawfish boiling equipment went up for the season.  The beach stuff was consolidated and stored in the attic where it will be nearby.  The crawfish may be over for the year, but the beach certainly isn't, if the BP oil doesn't ruin them all, that is.

I filled all of the gas cans, treated with Stabil in preparation for the hurricane season.   Always good to have fuel on hand, as just before, during, and for a while after gas can be hard to come by.  I keep 30 gallons in the shed.  I'll fill up the boat tank as well, so that's another 24 gallons at hand.  Oh, and another 2 - 1/2 gallons of 2 cycle for the chainsaw, blower, and tiller.   While I am not likely to need a tiller after a hurricane, the chainsaw is a must as many limbs and sometimes trees are down that need to be cleaned up.  Fortunately only once, during Hurricane Lily, did I have a tree come down on the house.  It took out a third of the garage, the greenhouse, and tried it best to take down the back of the house, which fortunately it was unsuccessful at doing.  Although it left several holes in the roof ruining floors, furniture, etc.  Still, having seen the destruction hurricanes can do here in the coastal regions we felt fortunate.

Hey, I got off track.   Back to the garden.  Well, its too hot to even go look.  I'll reserve that till the early even hours just before dark.  I may even snap a picture or two.

Friday, June 11, 2010

No Garden Work Today, Friday is House Cleaning Night

Long weeks, long days with work then outside work, but things change on Friday.   When I get home for work on Friday I don't venture outside, it's house cleaning time to set the proper stage for the weekend.  If I finish early enough, I get a few minutes outside, but most Fridays I don't.   But that's OK, really.   I enjoy a break from the heat one day a week, like today.   I am done, and there is at least another hour of daylight out there, but I think I'll watch it fade through the window with a cool beverage in my hand.

I always like to include a photo, I think a I took a few a couple of days ago, let's see.

Here we go, how about a pretty little mushroom growing in tall grass, both provided by recent rains.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am Star Struck, Well Maybe Star Fruit Struck

My Star Fruit tree, which was 2 years old was really not meant for this climate.  So when our past colder than normal winter killed it, I wasn't surprised.   But what did surprise me this week is that it appears to be coming back from the roots.   We'll see what happens as time passes, but for now it is a very pleasant surprise.

It was hot and hard work, but I got the last 2 acres mowed today, so now I am a day ahead of schedule.  All I have left now is 3 to 4 hours of weed whacking and I'll have this place back under management.   The beginning of the rainy season was not the time to skip 3 weeks of maintenance.  I felt more like I was making hay, rather than mowing.   At any rate, if I have some energy after work tomorrow, and get that weed whacking done, I'll have a relaxing birthday weekend ahead.  Yeah!

I even got in a little extra work.  The old potato/spinach/onion bed that I till a couple of week ago, already had weeds 4 inches high with all of the recent rain, so I whipped out the Mantis and whipped it up again.  An 8 foot by 10 foot bed takes about 5 minutes with this little beast.  Yes, I know I am supposed to be working my way to no-till, and I am, but in between nothing is as sweet as fresh tilled earth.

I also tilled up the compost bin(pot).  I make compost a little differently than most folks.   One day while going down the road I noticed this humongous plastic pot.  I am guessing it is 150 to 200 gallons.  I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with it, but it was free, so I threw it in the back of the truck.  Over the months I throw in everything, leftovers, used paper towels and their cardboard tube center, the cardboard center for toilet tissue rolls, old potted plants, cardboard boxes, paper, just about anything that will rot.  Once it is full, I stop and let it rot down, but occasionally I stick the Mantis in, mix it up and rip anything resisting rot to shreds.   After a few rounds like that it finished up pretty quick and I get 2 batches of approx 75 to 100 gallons of compost a year.   And let me tell you, it is fine stuff.   My best tasting and best producing tomatoes are in the bed that I tilled a batch into in early spring.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Adapting is Sometimes Necessary

Plans last weekend and again this coming weekend, along with frequent rains are causing some variation from the normal Saturday morning yard routines.   So, today I mowed the front acre.  Tomorrow will be the middle and Friday the rear.   And sometime over the weekend I will have to find time for the once a mount weed whacking.

For today's image, I'll leave you with this funny little Bell Pepper.   It is oddly shaped, but coloring up in a quite beautiful fashion.  It may just find it's way into an omelet in the morning.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today Was a Better Day

Felt a little better today.  Did some work out in the chicken coop freshening things up.   I planted the last few straggling seedlings.  Pick the Tomatoes for the day, and then started a new batch of compost tea.  Then I finally picked up the mess that had accumulated on the boat over the last month.  The most popular use of a boat is to catch things, I think.   Hmm, I tossed out some dead potted things into the compost bin, and pulled a few weeds that had popped up in the compost.   I bagged the potatoes that were recently dug from the garden, and hung the onions to dry as well.  A few photos were taken along the way, too, just to document the day.

Might Be My First Merlitons, Ever

I tried two Merliton vines this year.  One petered out, but the other has a foothold on St. Joe's Tower.   Here it is reaching the 10 foot mark.  No sign of fruit yet, but the summer is still early.   I remember these growing across the top of my Grandparents chicken coup, so growing my own would be super.  Passing on the legacy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today Was Pretty Much a Nothing Day

Didn't feel well, and didn't venture outside other than to feed the chickens.   I did stumble upon this one mushroom.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Beauty is Everywhere, and Sometimes Just Slaps You in the Face

I was out of town earlier today.  I pulled in a parking, with an overgrown edge, and there they were, staring, begging for me to capture their beauty before they fade.   The Trumpet Vine is not in favor today, being a bit invasive in certain circumstances, but it is a beauty, non-the-less.   One can hardly blame today's gardeners, with life being so busy, but it is a shame to see so many beautiful plants fading away being labeled invasive, weedy, messy, etc.   But indeed, it is their very nature that will keep them alive and with us, not needy of our help at all.  Perhaps, that is why indeed many gardeners don't like them.  They plant themselves where they choose, expand where they choose.  They give us the impression that they own us and not the other way around.  What gardener would like that?  God for sure.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Rains Awaken Much Beauty

These rains are bringing one beauty after another.  As is typical, Louisiana is a rainforest existing between droughts.   It was a very dry spring, but summer can the rains, and the awakening of many things that struggled through a very tough winter.

Darth Maul Visited My Garden Today

I went out in the garden this morning, and God was not there. But Darth Maul was, all 3 inches of him, and he was ready to take me on. Good thing I misplaced my Light Saber or he would be in a thousand tiny pieces.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Here is one more for the evening. This Althea was blown over by Hurricane Gustav and Ike, and then went over again during this super wet winter, but is making a fine recovery. Althea are pretty tough plants. I love its whiter than white flower with a dash of scarlet.

Great Harvest of Tomatoes Today, In Spite of the Stinkers, But They Got Their Share

Really nice harvest from the Tomatoes today.  And half again as many went to the Stinkbugs.  The DE I put on yesterday really seemed to have knocked them back from the numbers I saw yesterday, but there were still more than a few around.  I hit the plants with DE again this afternoon, only to have a rainshower pop up an hour later, so I just went out and hit them again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Heirloom Don't Only Come in Vegetable Form

Our old heirloom daylilies finally popped open. We got a start from a long ago abandoned homesite.  Nothing fancy in the daylilly world, but nice to look at, and tough as nails.  I am sure these will outlast me on this planet.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stinky Little Pest They Are

I was just saying a day or two ago, that I was having a light pest year on the Tomatoes, and how I was wondering it was the organic program.  Past years have been nightmarish with Stinkbugs here laying waste to many a great Tomato.

I thought this year would be different, but today it appeared as if they arrived overnight like a plague.  There were 5 or more stinkbugs on literally every fruit.  I pulled out my Dust Mizer and hit them with DE.  Hopefully that will put a dent in them.  If not, there are more powerful organic pesticides, but judging by their numbers, I need to be very observant and progress fast. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fig Crop is On The Way

With a few rains, finally, the fig crop is developing.  This is LSU Purple.  Until I tasted them, the Texas Brown Turkey was my favorite, but LSU Purple just may be the finest tasting of all figs.  And the size is good too.