Saturday, August 21, 2010

Enthusiastic Tomatoes!

As you can see, my tomatoes are getting out of hand! They love the heat that we have now, instead of July's 100'+ temperatures. Mid-week this week we are suppose to get back into the 104' range for a couple of days, but I don't think it will hamper the tomatoes. As long as they have enough water they should do fine. I think the cooler nighttime temperatures (65') help, too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My basil has started to flower. That means the plant is focused more on producing seeds instead of producing flavorful leaves. The leaves will become somewhat bitter; and that goes for all herbs.

It is very easy to keep herb plants producing great-tasting leaves--pinch out the flower buds when they begin to form. It is easy. You don't need scissors or pruners, just pinch the seed stem with your thumb and finger. The plants will start producing side branches and make more leaves. Be watchful, though, as the plant is determined (that's it's purpose) to make seeds! I ignored my basil for one week (or was it two?) and you can see what happened in the top picture!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Here is one of my two young squash plants--it is producing very well. The other squash plant is just getting production going, which is fine with me, because I don't use a lot of squash at a time. I harvest the squash when they are small--yes, I brought in these beauties!

Since about the first of August, my garden has just exploded! The tomato plants that were just going along suddenly are over the top of their cages and reaching through the wires. Picking is still going strong, but there aren't too many tomatoes left. If I let my tomato plants continue, then I could get another crop of tomatoes before our first frost (usually around Halloween). The flowers drop off when the temperatures get over 95', which is typical June/July weather here, so in the fall we have a couple of months where there are no tomatoes to harvest.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I picked a nice batch of tomatoes this morning, about half are Romas and half are Juane Flamme (the golden ones). How do you know how many tomato plants you should plant in the spring? When, at the end of the season, you can say you have just enough! When you have enjoyed enough fresh tomatoes with your daily meals; and when you have enough for salsa, sauces, and stewed, as fresh, frozen and/or canned. Then the trick is to remember how many plants were just enough, the next year. I have a friend that bought a six-pack of tomato plants this spring and saw that there were several seeds that had sprouted in each cell. He separated the seedlings and they all are thriving--all 36 of them! He takes buckets of tomatoes wherever he goes and gives them away! I think he enjoys it, otherwise he would give the extra tomato plants away, instead of the extra tomatoes! His wife says he does this every year. I don't want to take the extra time to care for that many plants (I really don't have enough room for that many, either), or to pick tomatoes from that many plants. Everyone is different, and it is easy to figure out how many tomato plants are just "enough!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Almonds Are For The Birds!

Can you see it? In my almond tree is a crow! It's just to the right of center--you might need to click on the picture to really see him. This is the first year that I have had crows after my almonds (which are nearly ready to harvest). Several crows get in the top of the tree at a time and make quite a racket as they eat the almonds. I'm not able to harvest the almonds that high, so it is easy to share with the birds. Usually, it's the blue jays that take the nuts. The blue jays generally store the nuts anywhere they think they can--in the ground (where they grow the next spring), under shingles, under rocks, and where ever they think it's safe. Sprouted almonds are easy to pull out, unlike the pecans the jays plant! Pecans have a terrific tap root that, even new sprouts with only two leaves, can't be pulled out.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I was pulling weeds out of a very weedy flower garden, when I looked up and saw this mass of seeds right in front of me. I realized they were seeds of carrots that I let go to seed last year! So, I harvested the seeds and will plant a bunch in my vegetable garden tomorrow. In preparation for planting, I need to get a couple of bales of compost for two of my garden boxes. I have the soaker hoses and just need to lay them out in the boxes. Then I will be ready to plant! Besides carrots, I will plant peas, Sugar Ann peas (edible podded), Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and a few other vegetables. You can see from my pea seeds from last week, and my carrot seeds this week, that seeds increase exponentially--you get back much more than you plant!

The weatherman said it should get back up to 100' by Friday--I'm ready for fall!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Top 10 Shade Plants

I get P. Allen Smith's Garden Home newsletter every week. The last newsletter had his 10 favorite shade plants, and they are beautiful. If you think you can't have color in your shade garden, think again! See for yourself, go to P. Allen Smith's website. The picture above is of Colorblaze Sedona Coleus. This plant alone would brighten any shady area!

He also has a great-sounding Roasted Tomato Soup recipe that has only 4 ingredients--here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Emily's Garden

This is a picture of Emily's garden. She has a great website for gardening with the square-foot method.

Would you like to know what and when to plant as you go into fall or spring? Here's a very easy way to get the info sent to your email! Just go to Emily's My Square Foot Garden! You pick the color that coordinates with your early (fall) and late (spring) frosts, and sign up for the free weekly email that tells you what is ready to plant for that week. Emily takes the guess-work out of your planting season, all you have to do is plant your seeds! She has information on how to build and grow a square-foot garden, and recipes to use your fresh vegetables, if you are interested.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I picked this tomato a couple of days ago. I've seen strange growths on tomatoes in pictures, but this one was different. The extension was held on by just a tiny bit of flesh. It reminded me of the pictures of American Indians, where they had a feather in their headband. This is one of my June Flamme tomatoes.