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Blooms Around the Garden

July 24th, 2009

We’ve been having a lot of rainy days lately, which we actually need here at Chiot’s Run, unlike most of the country. It’s been really cool, in the low 70’s during the day and down into the 50’s at night. I’m not complaining about the weather, it’s actually very nice, but it does inhibit the ripening of the crops. I suppose it’s good for the cabbage and broccoli. The cats have the right idea on these rainy cold dreary days.
Since I’ve been inside for the past couple days, I haven’t been doing much in the garden. I did run out yesterday during a break in the rain to snap a few photos of some of the things that are blooming around the garden. I only got a few photos in before it started raining again.
I’ve noticed that the hummingbirds are loving the nicotiana and the lantana that I have in the front and the bees & butterflies love the liatris and the hyssop.

What’s blooming in your garden right now?

Bring on the Tomatoes

July 23rd, 2009

My tomatoes are starting to ripen. Yesterday I picked some Tumbling Toms, Principe Borghese, Sub-Arctic and Azoycha tomatoes. I’m up to 3 pounds of tomatoes from the garden already!
The yellow one is Azoychka – A very productive Russian heirloom found at the Bird Market in Moscow. (”Azoychka” is a woman’s name.) Produce indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that produce an abundant crop of smooth, 3-inch round, slightly flattened, yellow/orange tomatoes with a sweet citrusy flavor. This is a delightful small yellow beefsteak tomato that matures so early it will be one of the first varieties to ripen in your garden. Beautifully smooth, lemon yellow fruit weighs about 8 ozs. and is very flavorful, rich but pleasantly sweet with a delicious hint of citrus.
We enjoyed it yesterday sliced with some salt, pepper & drizzled with a little olive oil. It is the perfect eating tomato. Mr Chiot’s loves it because it’s not too acidic. This one’s definitely a winner in our garden, which is good. I grew this instead of Lemon Boy, which is Mr Chiot’s favorite eating tomato, so I’m glad it’s so delicious!

How do you like to eat your sun-ripened garden tomatoes?

That’s Why They Call it an Eggplant

July 22nd, 2009

There’s no mistaking why they’re called eggplants when you see the baby ‘Thai Yellow’ Eggplants. The name eggplant developed in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada because the fruits of some 18th century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs.
I must admit, I’m not particularly fond of eggplant. I have tried eating it in so many different ways and the texture just isn’t quite something I like. But I still grow them and eat them (last year I grew the purple ones). I find that if I chop them up small and put them in lasagna I don’t notice them too much.

Are you an eggplant lover? Any great recommendations for eating eggplant for those of us non-eggplant lovers?

Deadheading Perennials

July 21st, 2009

This week I’ve been busy deadheading my perennials that bloomed early in the season. I don’t deadhead all of my plants, just specific ones that I know will bloom again, like catmint, ‘Stella de Oro’ lillies, sage and salvia. I also deadhead my daylillies as they’re blooming to keep them blooming longer.
Other plants I cut off the seed heads because they’re rather aggressive reseeders and I don’t want them taking over my flowerbeds. These include: chives, balloon flowers, wild geraniums and a few others.
I only deadhead plants until about the end of July, after that I leave them be (except for seed heads of invasives) so that they can store up energy for overwintering. Some plants get sheared off completely (catmint & lillies), others just get the dead flower heads cut off of them to tidy them up a big (sages, daylillies and balloon flowers).
I didn’t always deadhead, but I started to have trouble with some aggressive plants taking over and nudging out some of the plants that I wanted, so I started deadheading. I also like how it cleans up the garden and gets rid of the some of the brown, it just makes everything look a little nicer. Surprisingly it’s a garden chore that really doesn’t take that long, and it provides some compost fodder, so it does have it’s rewards.

Do you deadhead your plants or do you let nature run it’s course?

Big Big Wolf Spider

July 20th, 2009

While moving everything out of the basement for our big project, our friend Shaun was startled by a HUGE wolf spider on the wall of our bilco. It happened to be right by his face when we have making a trip back down into the basement. As you can see, she was a pretty big spider, she was carrying her egg sac with her (that’s how we know she’s a she).
They collected her in a pint jar and saved her for me to see when I got home. This is a big spider for here in NE Ohio, but since I grew up in South America with tarantulas she really doesn’t seem all that big. We let her go in the in the woods, where she’ll be right at home. I don’t mind seeing spiders around the gardens, I know they’re beneficial insects. If I see them in the house and they’re little jumping spiders they get to stay. If they’re big wolf spiders like her I usually catch them and put them outside.

What about you, do spiders freak you out or do you not mind them?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.