Found this little guy (along with about 8 of his cousins) munching on the leaves of my tomato plants. A gorgeous little destructive creature. We've been moving them to a near by tree, hoping they'll leave the garden alone.
This year I volunteered to grow flowers for the Flower Tower--a community art project that was part of a local art/party festival. A friend and co-worker was overseeing the growing, someone sewed bags (made from recycled billboard material - if I remember correctly), and a bunch of us grew flowers for them. At the event, attendees planted individual flowers in the bags, and when it was all over, the flowers were mostly broken down and given to schools and retirement communities. (To see the flower tower up: here) I grew wildflowers and nasturtium and transplanted them into the bags just before the event. (Note: The bags have holes punched into the bottom for drainage).While in my care, I noticed the bags hung well on my deck (with bungie chords)--so well, that I asked to buy an empty bag when the event was over. >Instead, my friend gave me a bag full of flowers (below). The bag takes up no floor space on my small deck garden (and so, is a great use of space), and the flowers seem to love it. This is definitely one of cooler containers in the garden - and will be a permanent fixture for sure.
Our friends Elizabeth & Taylor invited us down to Little Compton to a vacay home they'd been borrowing for a few days. The lake was gorgeous and incredibly quiet. Being the experts we are at canoeing these days, we jumped right into a row boat. I don't think we successfully traveled more than 200 feet away from the shore, because we couldn't stop going in circles. We even had to be towed in by our friends in the canoe. It was shameful and terribly hilarious. Thus all the smiles. A highlight of the summer.
I'm sure that most local farms have harvested their beets by this point in the summer...but since our first attempt at pulling them up revealed tiny beets, we're leaving 'em in. Aren't they pretty? Unexpected color for the deck garden.
My co-worker used to work at Smoke & Pickles in Westport, MA, and raves about all the things you can pickle. And for some reason, 1/2 the staff where I work says pickled green beans in a bloody mary is to die for (mental note: check that out some time soon). Since the extra zucchinis from our CSA have been piling up, I thought maybe I'd try pickling them.
Cukes from our CSA, 8/8/10.
So when my friend at work sent me a pickled zucchini recipe, I gave it a go. Except I didn't have zucchinis. I had CUCUMBERS. You'd think I would be able to tell the difference... These pickled cucumbers (yes, just pickles) are wonderfully spicy and sweet, and deserving of a higher status than that of the lowly condiment.
Zucchini Pickles (or my version: Cucumber Pickles) Cooking Light August 2010
Combine 4 cups 1/8-inch zucchini slices, 1 cup slivered sweet onion, and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves in a glass bowl. Bring 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 sugar, 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil; pour over zucchini mixture. Cover and chill 24 hours.
I still know so little about gardening. Barely a year ago, I had no idea how many fruits/veggies flower before fruiting. I've now watched tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash/lemon cukes....all flower, presumably get fertilized by bees & things, then the flower dries up (sometimes falls off), and where the flower was, the plant starts to fruit. The eggplant plant was a nice surprise this year: it had lots of lavender flowers, though only one produced an eggplant that survived. Did you know that sometimes the flowers close later in the day? Early Wed. morning (7/20), I snapped this eggplant flower (above).
When I came home that afternoon, the sky was dark and it was about to storm. Here's the same flower, around 5:45 pm on Wed., probably gearing up for the storm. This particular flower dried up, dropped off, and disappeared.
Phone pic, 7/26/10.
And for a while I had two fruits making a go for it, but squirrels ate the little one. In the end, one survived....
And it appears that I'm growing a "Casper" variety of eggplant -- white/ivory eggplants that grow to 6-8" long. I didn't even know there were white eggplants. Lemon cukes, white eggplant, green striped tomatoes, orange carrot jalapenos, last year's red basil, and a chocolate flavored mint plant? These varieties are so easy to find in seed packs, and so often missing from stores. Next year...purple carrots (pics).
I love Nasturtium leaves--they're like lily-pads, or little frog feet, reaching out. Great flowers too, but my little nasturiums aren't growing. They like this size and they're stubbornly sticking with it. A nasturtium plant in E's garden: