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November 2010

July Garden Update

With the increased heat of summer I haven't been out in the garden as much as I was in June...it's fecking hot out there! That being said, I have been giving my share of garden tours, as we've been doing quite a bit of entertaining these past few weeks.

I can see the garden beginning to wain all around me. The cucumber plants have almost succumbed to some sort of wilt or virus, but I'm alright with that because I am about sick of cucumbers!

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The progression of the wilt starts with little yellow spots forming on the leaves, which spread until the whole thing wilts and dies, then turns brown. I tried cutting away the infected leaves, but it didn't seem to slow down the process. :(

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My pepper plants have been producing some lovely peppers, although some of the bell peppers are getting rotten spots before they are fully developed. The peppers are small, too, but then so are the plants themselves.

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The best pepper plants are ones that I can't identify, because I lost the labels for them. I know that one of them is mild and popular in Korean cooking, and the other one is small, shiny and hot as hell.

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My tomatoes have been really dismal this year. So far, in my admittedly limited experience, I find tomatoes to be one of the hardest plants to grow. This year I have two productive plants, but one of them seems to be diseased, and both are producing a pitiful crop.

I don't even know what the disease is, but this is what happens to most of the tomatoes it produces:

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Perhaps it would be best to just pull them out and try again next year.

One of the biggest problems I have with growing tomatoes is the evil, nasty, vile hornworm, as you probably know if you've read this post.

Last week I discovered two more of the buggers - really big ones. I look for them a couple of times a week, but I just never see them until they get ginormous and scary.

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Okay, so maybe they are pretty. But only in the safety of a photograph! Face to face, I tell you that was a scary monster!

Luckily my friend Miranda was visiting, and was willing to slay (smush) them for me. She got oooged out too, but she bravely carried on. She actually picked them off the plant with her fingers. She got green slime on her and everything. **ewngah**

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I stood by (at a safe distance) and took photos of the extraction.

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Unfortunately it wasn't a clean extraction. Part of the ick factor with these guys is that they hang on tightly, and the process of pulling them off the branch makes them leak (or squirt?) a nasty dark green fluid. Miranda got it on her hands and clothes.

I don't think I can ever again ask her to do this favor for me, as she was pretty freaked out by the end. We were both squeaking and ewwwwing by the time she stomped on the second hornworm and kicked it off the edge of the porch. **shudder**

She's my hero.

Down don't get me wrong, it hasn't all been doom and gloom in the garden. My sunflowers finally bloomed and were glorious! The bees were happily pollinating, and afforded me some great photo ops.

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Now that the sunflowers have pretty much fulfilled their cycle, the heads are drying out and making seeds. I've noticed one beautiful and sweet little pair of goldfinches harvesting the seeds, and I suspect that they have a nest somewhere nearby.

This is the best photo I could capture, since I can't get closer than the kitchen window, or they fly away. They are both in the photo below, but the female is hiding behind the top center leaf with the hole in it. Every time I see the male it makes me smile and revel in the beauty of his bright yellow plumage. I hope to get a better shot of him before he flies off for good.

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Also, my bush beans are producing...I harvest them when they get about 4 inches long, and I never get more than 10 or so at a time, just enough to saute in butter as an occasional side dish.

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 I love their color! My pole beans are still in the flowering phase, and I can't wait to see how their beans look...the flowers are such a pretty crimson!

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Well, I was going to spend some time today writing about some of my other endeavors, such as recent sewing projects, but I think that will have to wait for another day. Supper (actually Breakfast) is in the oven and there are plenty of other tasks that are calling for my attention.