Monday, August 14, 2017

Disease resistance

It doesn't take long gardening to encounter pests and disease.  One of the attributes plant breeders and gardeners take into account in selecting plants is disease resistance.  Now, I will note, resistance doesn't mean absolute immunity.  It does mean the plant is less likely to get that disease than a plant that is not resistant.  Specifically, in tomato plants, you will find abbreviations following the plant variety name; these abbreviations stand for what pests and diseases the tomato is resistant to.  My 'Early Girl' tomatoes have F and V which means they are resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilt.
Unfortunately, if the disease pressure is high enough, even resistant varieties can succumb to a disease.  That's what happened here.  I came out one day in mid-July and noticed a lot of leaves on the tomato plant that had turned yellow almost overnight.  This is what fusarium wilt looks like on a tomato plant. 
Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungus in the soil.  It is common and long lived.  The plus side is that we've enjoyed tomatoes for almost 2 months.  There are still some tomatoes on the other 2 vines, though those vines seem to be declining as well.  I've pulled up the first diseased vine and put it on the burn pile.  I hope to plant a few fall carrots where that tomato vine was.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Improvised dehydrator

In some situations, it makes sense to simply use what is available.  I don't do much dehydrating of fruits or veggies, so I don't own a dehydrator.  I could buy one new or look for one at a thrift store, but I could just use my car as a dehydrator.  I once read in a magazine that someone used their old pickup, with the windows rolled down a little, to dry apples.  I liked the idea and have used it for figs.  I did also put a little netting over the windows to keep out the insects.  I think this netting is probably some I've had for ages (as in leftover from my wedding veil).  I secured it with magnets that have collected on the fridge.
Here are three trays of figs as seen through the back window of the car.
 Here is the netting and a couple of magnets holding the netting over the partially open window.
Here is the final product, combined onto one tray.  (The trays are those little rattan paper plate holders that I had been given, and I used one sheet of paper towel over the rattan.) 
I will keep the dried figs in the freezer, so it is not crucial how much moisture is left.  If they were to be stored at room temperature, they would have to be dry enough not to mold.  I did test a few figs by eating them at various stages of the process.  It actually probably got too warm in the car, but a partially dried, partially cooked fig, still warm, is quite delicious!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Monarch on butterfly weed

The butterfly weed (milkweed family) was living up to its name today, and I caught a picture of a monarch and a pearl crescent butterfly on it.  I think it has had more blooms on the places I cut for a bouquet a month or so ago.

This has been a great year for this native perennial.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

French marigolds

It took about 80 days from the time I planted them to get a bloom, but the French marigolds that I planted back in late April are finally blooming.  These are from seeds I got from Mom.  She has probably been saving the seeds herself each year for a long time.  Now that they are finally blooming, they will probably provide carefree cheerful blooms right up until frost.
(Caleb's pic)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Potato harvest

I dug the last of my potatoes this morning.  They could have been dug a week or two ago perhaps. 
Here is the Yukon Gold harvest.  (Caleb's pic.)
Here is the Kennebec harvest.

I have misplaced the receipt for the seed potatoes, but I think I bought about 2 lbs. of Yukon Gold and about 3 lbs. of Kennebec seed potatoes.  The harvest was about 8 lbs. Yukon Gold and about 24 lbs. Kennebec.  That's not precise on the Yukon Gold.  There are about 6 lbs. in the bucket, but I'm estimating the new potatoes I cooked on Memorial Day and the potato hill I dug for one night's supper might add a couple of pounds.  Of course, if I had let the new potatoes grow to full size, the harvest would have been a little bigger.
That was a good return on the Kennebec.
It was a lot of work, though, when you consider how cheaply one can buy potatoes at the grocery store.  On the other hand, these were grown without chemical pesticides and haven't been sprayed with sprout inhibitors.
Also, the garden bed is practically ready for a fall crop of kale or cauliflower or something.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Like a boss

Someone took some good pictures of darling son when he and darling husband played at the local coffee shop a couple of weeks ago.  As the saying goes, "it's a poor frog that won't brag on his own pond," so just let me say darling son plays the mandolin like a boss.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Have you ever seen a green butterfly?

I have a little patch of mountain mint that is in bloom.  The patch I have was started by a sprig given to me by the late Allen DeHart.  I'm always fascinated by how many different kinds of insects find their way to these blooms.  I've noticed a green butterfly enjoying the nectar.  I could never get my autofocus camera to focus on the green butterfly, so I imposed upon darling son to take a picture for me. 
Here is the juniper hairstreak butterfly.