Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pulping


My favorite heirloom Roma (speckled Roman, above), have been pulped in the sloppy strainer contraption I bought several years ago. It's been a terrible year for tomatoes, so humid and damp that blight set in well over a month ago. It's been a very good year for green beans and potatoes, broccoli and basil. The fall cauliflower and Brussels are floating giant leaves but no sign of anything edible yet. 

Soon we leave for a weekend in Milwaukee to hang an exhibit. I'll be showing photographs, a first. I'll post the information when it's all set up. In the meantime, check out my Instagram feed (you can find it here), from which I've harvested, maybe even pulped, the exhibit's images. 


Saturday, August 6, 2016

When Fruit Flies

Did you bring fruit flies home with those grocery store peaches? Have they multiplied in your compost bin or on other fruit? To get rid of them, place a day or two worth of fruit cuttings in a stainless steel bowl with a large paper towel over the top, leaving about a half-inch or so uncovered on one side. That will be the entryway. Even if you left an 1/8th-inch uncovered with paper towel, they would find their way in. Leave the bowl on the counter top over night. Do not disturb it in any way. The next morning, the earlier the better, grab a ceramic plate with a smooth bottom (so it makes a tight seal against the bowl's rim) and ever-so-gently place it on the paper towel covered bowl. Take the bowl outside, preferably away from the door you exited, and dump the fruit scraps into the compost pile.

Shake your other fruit. Did any more flies appear? If so, eat, can, or freeze fruit those that are over-ripe and repeat the process. Your kitchen should be clear -for awhile. Fruit flies will find fruit no matter where it is, lay eggs, and rapidly a few flies will become a fog of them. If the flies are not laying eggs in rotting fruit, they'll try the counter top compost bin, and lastly the kitchen sink drain. See this link for ten more traps and a way to deal with the drain.

Fruit flies are one of the most studied insects and have been used heavily in biological research. Click on the fruit fly link to read up on them (and their uncanny sex life). Below, one of the more unusual sex life of insects photos I have ever seen, thanks in part to the photographer's insert.






Saturday, July 16, 2016

Garden Report

Potatoes are waning but they're still impinging on the herb bed. As the sun lowers and the potatoes die down, the herbs should reclaim their full sun. In the back left, really tall milkweed.



As the garlic comes out over the last few weeks, the fall brassicas have been filling in. These are brussel sprouts, the first planted, into the space previously occupied by garlic 'Xian.' I've never grown these before, but have planned it for years. Notable this season is a lack of cabbage moths -not complaining!


Eggplant fruit coming on now.


Green beans, from purple to roma, prolific and easy as ever.


All peppers are fruiting, some large. Only difficulty is that the plants can hardly hold their large fruit and that I shouldn't be so lazy as to try to break a pepper off the plant instead of going for the pruner. What happens? Well, I break the whole pepper plant in half.



In complete opposite of last year, all our tomatoes are suffering blight. Could have come in on our purchased compost, or maybe because we planted in last years potato and eggplant beds. Hard to avoid poor rotation in a compact garden. Next year I think these beds will be garlic and the garlic beds will be tomatoes. All that can be done now is watch the tomatoes try to outgrow the blight.


More brassica as the Porcelain garlic 'Music' has come out. As two more varieties of garlic are harvested over the weekend, even more brassica will go in. Above is kale started from seed in the greenhouse.


These giant pompoms, hydrangea actually, were moved from the south side of the house last year. We planted them in a great arc around the curving lawn-driveway. They are quite garish, but they keep the plow truck and other skiddish drivers from driving over the lawn and garden in summer and winter (thanks to the long lasting dried flower sepals), and maybe they keep the deer at bay. Maybe.


And we've finally started digging into the soil for new potatoes. Above: Kennebec russet, Pontiac, and Yukon Gold. Thanks to the quantity of compost and straw they came out with little soil and easy to clean.

I've been very busy with many things, from door and sill replacement, old deck removal, job searching and applications, studio building projects, contractors and everything I can't stand about some of them, photographing, studio painting, my class Landscape into Art which runs on the twenty third of July, a bit of socializing, gallery going, and even a music festival in a corn field last weekend. Blogging has had to take a back seat to all this (as well as taking quality photos for them), but rest assured -I was able to plant half of my milkweed over the septic drain field and beyond yesterday. Progress.