August 28, 2012


written by Yvonne

The tomatoes have been coming in steady.  This year, we stayed ahead of the worms and have enjoyed quite the harvest. Time for canning!  I also made a batch of homemade tomato soup and put it in the freezer for the fall.

While we managed to stay ahead of tomato pests, but these fury, yellow critters got our Borlotto and Burgundy beans. They aren't in focus but you can see the one on the stem and two on the leaves below him.

So the beans had to be pulled up to make way for some fall crops.

We had our fingers crossed that this round of beans would do better.  There are three different beans here: cowpeas, Borlotto, and burgundy. The yellow critters got all the burgundy beans AGAIN in this planting too so we yanked them out, leaving the cowpeas and Borlottos.

Into the compost bin with kale, beans and parsley.

Okra is a comin' although pretty late in the season.

A few new critters have come around.  I almost brushed this off the out building because I thought it was a dirt clod. He didn't do a very good job of camouflaging himself, did he?

It appears that the lady bugs are finding TYs Veggie Patch a great place to start a family.

And this bumble bee has been living in our basil the ENTIRE summer.  It certainly may be more than one bee, but EVER time we head to the garden, a bumble bee is hanging out on the basil.

On the other side of the out building, I saw this guy one day.  Including his legs, he's probably as big as my hand!

August 16, 2012

Summer Goodness

written by Yvonne

Tom (and Olive) decided to take a look and see if the potatoes he planted produced anything.

Yes and no.

There are some potatoes but they're very small. Nonetheless, he pulled them up and I threw them into a pot of green beans and they were delicious.

Bye bye cucumbers.  Cucus are done for this year so I pulled them up.  I'm always sad to see them go, just as Tom is sad to see okra go.  But it's OK 'cause we'll grow more next year.  I think we finally found a balance of how many cucumbers to plant.  The first year where we got 12 - not nearly enough, and last year when we got 171 - maybe just a few too many.  (We have stopped logging how much harvest we're getting from TYs VeggiePatch. Seemed like an unnecessary step when we can simply look back at this blog for comparison.)  Anyway, my estimate is that we probably got a good 50 or so cucumbers this year.  That was just about right to make several quarts of refrigerator pickles, cold cucumber soup, many many cucumber salads, and quite a few straight up sliced cucumbers.

In the foreground is another round of cow peas, Borllotto beans, and burgundy beans. We had mixed results with the first round of each of these (see below).  The large, darker green leaves in the background is okra. I must have planted the dwarf variety because they plants are MUCH shorter than last year.  They should be flowering any minute now.

These are the Borlotto beans. Last year, they did great but we harvested them a bit too early.  This year, we decided to keep the pods on the vine longer so they'd dry for use this winter. That sort of worked except it didn't produce nearly as many beans as last year. I think it had something to do with the critters that are eatin' up the leaves.  The burgundy beans were very disappointing as well.  You can see the bare green stakes where they should have been growing, but didn't.  The same critters that feasted on the Borlotto leaves ate the burgundy bean leaves too.

The cow peas, on the other hand, have been doing GREAT.  We go out about every other day and pull of a hand full of dried pods...

bring them inside and shell them. We've now filled a 1 quart Mason jar and we're still going!  I can't wait to make some of these on a cool Sunday while watching a Panthers game on TV.

Tomatoes are doing fine, fine, fine!  We planted five varieties and they're all doing great.  These are from seeds that a friend gave to me. They're called Black Cherry.  They're ripening slower than the Black Giants and they are a little smaller, but visually they are the most perfect looking tomato.

This is a Black Giant.

We've been pulling the tomatoes off before they are actually ready so we can stay ahead of any bugs.  The widow sill in the laundry room and kitchen have been filled with ripening tomatoes.

You can see here the difference between the ones with some green left on them and others that are finishing the ripening process.  These are a mixture of Black Giants and Black Cherries.

Salsa anyone?

Mmmmm.... freshly sliced tomato with a little blue cheese dressing drizzled over the top.

We cut back a TON of herbs for drying.  This is all oregano.

Tom discovered that lemon and oregano go together well in tea and other beverages. So I made some lemonade oregano ice cubes.  Yum.

August 4, 2012

Gardening Is Good

written by Yvonne

These were taken about a week ago with my brand new camera bought by Tom. Still need to figure out how to get the date stamp show up.  Why, you might ask, did Tom buy me a new camera?  Because Tom broke my old one when trying to clean it after getting sticky bee stuff all over it.

Basil, and tomatoes are doing well.  On the far right end are the remains of a small squash plant (that didn't produce anything) and the zucchini plant.  The reason it looks like there's white dust all over the tomatoes is because there is.

Tom spread a layer of DiPel to help ward off bugs who might attack our tomatoes.  DiPel is a combination of 5 bacterial proteins that get ingested by insects and they die.  We didn't use any last year, but we felt we might need it this year because it was such an early season. We don't mind using it since it's not a chemical.

The aforementioned small squash and zucchini. They'll be getting pulled out in the next few days.

Barlotto beans.

The beans are getting long and plentiful.  We're letting hang out on the vine until they start to dry out - then we'll harvest them.

Cucumbers.  They look a little sad, but that's what happens when they start producing. No, we're not watering them with beer.

The parsley hedge seems to be dying off. I figured out it was because we'd gotten so much rain in a short amount of time.  You can see the leaves are turning bright yellow; an indication of too much water.  I'll cut this way back and see if I can't revive it.

Chamomile still flowering.

A couple of late blooming okra plants.  This is a second plating since the first ones didn't take hold.

August 1, 2012

On into July

written by Yvonne

Again; been busy. Not been in the garden too much lately. Pictures are pretty old at this point.  Blah, blah, blah... you've heard this before.

We've been so proud to be able to grow carrots. Tom isn't one for eating carrots raw, but he makes an exception for home grown. Their flavor is something else.

Flowers on the tops of the thyme.  (We keep growing it, but we don't seem to get any more done in a week.  Get it?  Trying to grow more 'thyme'?)

Cucumbers producing like crazy - as they should.

I've made cold cucumber soup (which is DELICIOUS), several salads, and 6 quarts of refrigerator pickles.  Usually on the weekend I cut one or two up and leave them on the dining room table for us to eat every time we walk by.

Cow peas are producing a lot.

Chamomile flowers growing like crazy.

We cut the flowers off and let them dry.  Eventually, we'll steep them for a soothing, night-time tea.

Tom took this picture of a wasp on our parsley. Although it looks like he used a blur lens or some kind of filter, he didn't. He had just wiped a drop of water off the lens of his camera and this is how it came out.  Completely unplanned.