Monday, August 25, 2008

Garden Photos August 25

I'm sorry. I feel as though I've been neglecting this blog. We're still gardening along. Pictures from today.

I suppose I could have taken the pictures after mowing the grass, but I didn't. I took the pictures, first! Haha!

How about we start with the green beans:
These are growing vertically up a twine trellis. As you can see, the leaves have been nibbled some (and sometimes the beans too.) I've never had bean beetles before this year. I don't know what my luck had been, but when I finally noticed them I had quite a few. I picked about 20 off my 8 plants in this bed and another two or three from the bean tee pee. This bed has been stressed since the beginning of the season. The soil is not right for this bed and will be changed next year. Because the plants in this bed have been stressed all year, they're more prone to insect attacks. I not only found Mexican Bean Beetles chomping these bean leaves, I found cucumber beetles on them too (but not on the cucumbers!) Go figure. My treatment: handpick them and drown them in soapy water. Haven't seen any eggs on the undersides of the leaves, so that's a good sign.

The bush beans in the same bed are much less stressed than the others, but they germinated very poorly. About 1 out of 10 germinated. Had all of them germinated, I would have enough to freeze for the rest of the year. As it stands, we've got enough for fresh eating and maybe a few more meals after the growing season. These beans are strong producers. I like to pick them on the day we'll eat them, so these are staying until tomorrow. Both the beans above are tender, stringless beans that cook up in just a couple minutes. They're great for stir-fries as they cook so quickly. Quite tasty and very light!
The bean tee pee filled in quite nicely. It's very full of rattlesnake beans. They're quite yummy! They have the traditional bean flavour but require a little more cooking time than the French Fillet beans above. Just a little, though. Later in the season, they'll probably require a much longer cooking time. I do cook them shortly after picking them, though.

It's taken the bell peppers (California Wonder) a lot longer to produce fruit than the others. They're coming along, though as you can see.

These Super Chili Peppers are VERY PRODIGIOUS PRODUCERS. I outlined all the visible peppers so you could get an idea of how many are in there. There are far more on the lower branches, and as you can see, many many blossoms still. We have three of these plants and I'd say that's two too many for us. I'll donate some to the local food banks and freecycle others. Those we keep I will dry and store for use in stir-fries. We like 'em hot!

Our sunflowers this year are ginormous! The landing on my porch is 5 feet from ground level. That's just below the height of the Canna Lilly's bloom. That center sunflower is about 14 feet high! It has numerous blossoms on it that haven't yet opened. I think my sunflowers cross-pollinated last year as these are all from my own seed stock. I had a volunteer Kong sunflower show up in my memorial bed last year -- a gift from a visiting bird. It was about 8 feet tall and had more than 30 blossoms on it. I had also planted Russian Giants which got 6-8 feet tall and had one very large central blossom, nearly a foot across. This year I've got 10 foot sunflowers with multiple blooms, some of them very large, others much smaller. Very interesting. And as you can see, one of my Cannas bloomed! Yay!

These are "only" about eight feet tall. The birds love them. To the right is a giant blossom that has been a favourite haunt of the neighborhood birds lately.

Check out the sunflowers growing through the porch rails. These ones do have pale petals. I don't know why. The birds still think they're good eating. Anyone placing bets on how many volunteer sunflowers I'll have next year? Next year I won't plant them here. I will, if I'm allowed, surround that telephone pole out at the curb with them. That'll make the birds happy! No, I don't harvest the seeds for myself, though I love sunflower seeds. It's just so much darned work! I buy my sunflower seeds already hulled, thank you! I do harvest heads for seed saving, though. Anyone want some?

I'm always amazed by cucumber growth spurts that happen overnight. This thing was about 4 inches long yesterday morning. Then we had some rains in the afternoon and today it's 8 inches long. Amazing! I'll pick it and another will take its place in no time!

Hubby's old work boots recycled into hen & chick planters. These were just planted this year, too. Man, those things reproduce fast! I'll have another pair on a lower step next year!

Check out the beautiful Chinese Lanterns! Wow! They're nice sized, too. I planted these last year and the lanterns averaged about an inch long, one and a half inches around. They're triple that this year! And what great colour! I'll be harvesting these soon. (Trim the stalks, trim away the leaves. Spray the lanterns with hairspray, and hang to dry. They'll retain their colour and make a lovely holiday decoration.)

A closeup of some of the lanterns. With my hand there, you can get an idea of how big those lanterns are. Chinese lanterns are invasive and will take over a garden. We planted them in a whiskey barrel to keep them in check. SO far so good. I think it helps that we harvest the lanterns (there is an edible berry inside the lantern, which also contains numerous seeds. The berries are like tiny tomatoes with hundreds of seeds in each.) I don't eat the berries. They taste yucky.


Kim said...

You have a lovely garden! That's really cute with the plants in the work boots :) We keep trying to grow sunflowers and fail - poor DS really wants them in our garden.

CannedAm said...

Thank you, Kim! I think sunflowers work better if you do plant them directly in the garden. It does take them a while to germinate, so you just have to keep the ground moist until they burst through. Wait till the soil's warm and things will happen more quickly. Most of mine were volunteers from seeds dropped by the birds. Sunflowers don't like to be transplanted, but I did move these as they were all at the fronts of beds and they survived (looked a little rough for several days.) I don't have a lot of luck with starting them indoors as they are really prone to damping off. I've found though that coir fiber planters are better than peat ones to prevent the damping off. I'll send you some seeds this year if you'd like :)

Gill - That British Woman said...

wow those sunflowers are high. We didn't get rain yesterday and on Sunday we had a few drops that was it............the garden is looking dry,

Great garden,


Momtosweeties said...

lol I guess I didn't read far enough down on your blog and posted about the chinese lanterns being invasive.
I have to ask you about your peppers, are they second year plants? I never seem to have much luck with mine. My Father inlaw kept his going two years. He would bring them out of the green house (planted in big pots) in the summer. He always had tons on his. I don't have a green house, or room for one unfortunately.
Your sun flowers are tremendous. Such a happy friendly plant.

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