Sunday, July 31, 2011


The zinnias in the garden have really taken off and I have plenty of fresh cut flowers now.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wilting Squash

This past week I ripped out all of our zucchini and a summer squash plant, we only have one remaining.  Between powdery mildew, vine borers, the heat and most likely bacterial wilt the squashes gave up and wilted away.  I was disappointed because we were hoping to be inundated with squash, but our plants did much better this year than they did last year.  

At the hardware store I was able to pick up a zucchini and summer squash for 99 cents each and thought I would give it a whirl to see how well the starts would do this late in the season. I didn't have anywhere else to put them other than the spots I ripped out the old plants so I might be feeding them to the wolves if the vine borers and other pests haven't moved on yet but I figured its better than not trying.

 wilted away squash

new starts with the one surviving squash plant

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomato Hornworm

Friday I went to go hook up the soaker hoses in the garden and as I was doing so it was then that I noticed the telltale dropping from a tomato hornworm.  My stomach sunk because these suckers have a big appetite, can do significant damage and I don't particularly enjoying trying to pick up large squishy bugs.  So I searched the plant where the droppings were and low and behold I found this guy.  He was holding on for dear life and I was too squeamish to properly pluck him so I just cut the little branch he was on.  You can even see the half eaten tomato he was working on.  I wrapped him up in that newspaper and swiftly ended his life hoping this would be the only one of the Summer.


Then yesterday I went out and was looking at my Brandywine plant realizing that something had eaten all the small newly forming tomatoes.  I was prepared to chalk it up to the deer nibbling on the plants except that as I was surveying the damage I saw this . . . 

Another tomato hornworm only this one is covered in parasitic wasp eggs that are feeding on it.  The eggs and larvae should take care of this guy for me and create more predators to hunt down any other unwanted pests.  It's gross and a bit national geographic but I'm happy to see Mother Nature taking care of her own unruly children.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Over the weekend we went back to the same place we got the blueberries but this time the blackberries were ripe.  In order to get blackberries you have to get there right when they open because they get picked out within a half hour.  We ended up with somewhere between 6-7 pounds.  All weekend we have been snacking on them but there is no way we will be able to make it through them before they spoil so I either need to cook them into something or freeze them.  I am leaning towards a cobbler, yum.

Blackberries and a few blueberries in the bag.

Monday, July 25, 2011


This week the Summer harvest really started coming in.  Along with the first tomato I also harvested eggplant, carrots and all the onions.  There are a bunch of things that I just forgot to take pictures of such as all the cucumbers and more squash.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Honey Extraction

It seems I wrote this last week but forgot to post it so here we go:

Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to observe some fellow beekeepers pull honey filled frames and extract the honey.  I don't anticipate having to do this myself this year.  But just in case I thought it was important to start to learn how. 

Pulling frames off the hive and removing the bees.

 Using a warm electrical knife the cappings were cut off to expose the honey.

This bucket system is used to collect cappings.  The frame is rested on the board to cut off the cappings.  They fall into the top bucket which has screens in the bottom to drain any honey that was cut off with the wax into the bucket below.

Uncapped frames are stored in this container to collect any honey that drips off while waiting to go into the extraction equipment on the right.  The frames go inside and are spun to remove the honey.  The honey falls to the bottom of the cylinder and drains out the yellow spigot into the filter that removes any remaining wax and makes its way into the storage bucket.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Powdery Mildew

This year and last I have struggled with powdery mildew on all the squashes.  I use soaker hoses to water at the ground level and made sure to give them proper spacing but still the mildew is an issue.  I am constantly cutting off coated and yellowing leaves.  I have tried using organic copper sprays to no avail.  My Dad suggested a diluted bleach solution sprayed on the plants.  I was afraid it would burn the leaves but it seems to be helping.  Hopefully it does the trick otherwise we are going to lose the plants and my dreams of zucchini bread, soup and freezer bags full just won't be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The First Tomato

The first tomato, a Black Krim, was picked Monday night.  Tuesday we enjoyed it tossed with other veggies and basil from the garden with a bit of olive oil and salt.


This year I tried watermelon and spaghetti squash for the first time.  This week I have seen fruit being set which is exciting, I can't wait for both to become full size.

 A baby watermelon and even a teeny tiny one.

I love spaghetti squash and just can't wait!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

North Carolina

I mentioned we were out of town for 4 days.  Andy had a work trip in Charlotte that I tagged along on.  He does marketing for his company, he has a couple of roles but his main role is all of their videos for external and internal purposes.  On the way home we stopped in Asheville because that is where we honeymooned and Sunday was our anniversary.


This week I didn't harvest as much because we were gone for four days.  I did however finally get broccoli from the one plant we left.  After harvesting I promptly pulled the plant because the little green caterpillars are starting to multiply in numbers.  We also pulled pickling cucumbers for the first time.  Since we were going out of town and I didn't have much time I sliced them and made refrigerator pickles that were ready when we got back.  Lastly a few cherry tomatoes, the red ones never made it to the picture because the deer ate most and the few we had were eaten in the garden.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


We live in an urban area.  Despite that we have deer, yes deer.  Whenever I tell people that we struggle with deer that constantly eat my roses, tulips, and worry about the damage they will do to the garden they look at me quizzically.  You can tell they think I must be mistaken.  Often people ask me how could I possibly have deer in my neighborhood.  Well, we live close enough to suburban neighborhoods with woods that deer visit us regularly. 

Here is my proof that we have deer and I am not crazy.  Tuesday I woke up and when I went into the kitchen to make my morning coffee I saw this deer resting in my neighbor's mulch bed about 6 feet away from my garden.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Earlier this week the ladybugs finally arrived!  I first spied them in the asparagus and then later in the day on a tomato plant.  I believe I also even saw some eggs which means soon there will be hungry larva and even more adults to eat away the aphids and other pests.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bush Beans

This year we planted 4 types of bush beans: Tendergreen, Royal Burgundy, Keanerly Yellow, and Jacob's Cattle.  The first two are fresh snap beans the second two are dried beans for soup and stews.  They are planted in the order listed from left to right.  So as you can tell from the picture the fresh snap beans are thriving and the drying beans aren't.  All of them have been planted at the same time and treated exactly the same.

I am not really sure what the issue is with the two types on the right but the leaves have had plenty of disease and they just haven't grown as much.  I am wondering if I can pull them to dry instead of waiting for the plants to dry in the ground and then plant new seeds to maybe get a better crop.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby Veg

Here are the small or "baby" Eggplant and Cucumber that have taken off and are growing in the garden.  For awhile there I wasn't sure if we were going to get any pickling cucumbers at all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


We got to spend the weekend in Indy with my sister and her husband this past weekend.  Indy is only 2 hours away but with schedules we haven't been in a year which was way too long.  I miss having her around but it does provide us the ability to get out of town.  Knowing how granola I have become in the past 2 years Tiffany and Tom took us to 2 of their local farmers markets.  The market I go to is only about half the size of their markets so I was really impressed, I'm hoping our markets continue to gain momentum and grow.

We also went to a local winery and brewery for tastings.  We had a blast at the winery, Easley Winery.

We had a great time continuing to explore the local Indianapolis life and had a wonderful time visiting!  The next time will hopefully be in less than a  year.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Martha Stewart Was Wrong

Over a month ago I wrapped up my peony buds via the method I watched Martha Stewart do on her show so that I could take them out at a later date to enjoy them.  I thought it was odd that they were packed dry but I figured Martha knew best.  I even shared this tip with all of you.  I decided to take out some of the flowers to put in a vase and when I opened up the package they had all dried out.  So even the almighty Martha sometimes gets it wrong.  Lesson learned always store unopened flower buds in the fridge with water.

New Veggies in the Harvest!

The work horse of the garden right now continues to be the beans.  The zucchini are starting to take off, hopefully the summer squash will follow soon.  However did you notice what was in the corner of the basket?  That's right the first couple of tomatoes!  They are cherry varieties, yellow pear and super sweet 100.  However the yellow pear don't have a pear shape, they are more oval.  I get jealous of the pretty pear shaped tomatoes at the store because this is the second year running that my pear shaped tomatoes aren't pear shaped.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Capped Honey

Recently I did an entire hive inspection since we now have 4 boxes.  Each time we add a box we have checked the box below but we haven't checked the entire hive yet and I just wanted to make sure everything is going well.  As hoped everything in the hive looks great!  In the lower boxes around the brood there is capped honey which was very exciting to see.  It means that the bees are doing well and progressing as hoped.  They haven't done much with the new box we added but hopefully over the next month they will get cooking on that too!