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May 11, 2009

Grow, grow ... faster!

It's Monday, which means Garden Update. I am sure it is scintillating, what with everything being two weeks in the ground and me photographing their every new leaf.

But look... the pumpkin LOVES the miniature raised bed garden! It's now twice the size it was last week!


The brilliant blue jay-like bird which I call a Blue Jay and 37 readers emailed to let me know it is a Western Scrub Jay stopped by to say hey. He loves hanging out with his friends in the yard and harassing the squirrel. I have decided to clear up the naming confusion and call him Gomez. He just looks like a Gomez. Except there are many many Gomez birds in my yard now that they have trained me to fetch them peanuts and birdseed. I have a fleet of Gomez birds.


Now for the Topsy-Turvy update. Ya'll, it is WEIRD. See, in the pictures on the Topsy-Turvy box the plants grow lush and happy in a downward cascade of leaves and fruit. But in my yard, the little tomato seedlings are struggling to grow upward, like they are really not loving being upside down and their genetic memory is reaching for the world of normalcy where tomatoes grow upright and roots are at the bottom. I don't know, it seems wrong somehow!

Cherry tomato:

Roma tomato:

You can see in that picture how some of the leaves that get the most direct sunlight crisped right up last week. It's the valley. It was 100 degrees a few days in a row. Which also means I had my first garden fatality:


It was just too damn hot for the cucumber in the Back 40. I'll replant that spot with a crookneck squash or something that likes heat. What's most fascinating in my garden of eatin' this year is that the only cucumber that seems even remotely happy is the one hanging upside down!

This is the best result I've had with a cucumber plant maybe ever, so I am sticking with it. It's all for science!

The "Heatwave" variety of tomato seeding is still living out in the raised bed garden and it hasn't been even close to hot weather here yet (two measly 100-degree days is just a little foreshadowing) so only time will tell if he can withstand the infernal valley summers.

One plant that has shocked me is the little chili pepper plant in my kitchen garden. This is one of the heirloom chili peppers my dad brought me and planted from a seedling. I've had it for two years or so now and this winter I cut it all the way back to the roots. It started leafing out a month or two ago, but once I added some richer material to the soil and mulched it went CRAZY:


It's taking over the herbs. Funny!

Speaking of herbs ... last night my mom and I were on the phone talking about happy little things. She was telling me about this pretty ceramic planter she and my dad had found a few days ago and how she'd filled it with a gorgeous red geranium and every time she looked at it she felt happy. Just a little happy thing.

So I told her my little happy thing: Yesterday I was making my own salad dressing -- squeeze and zest a few lemons, add olive oil, salt and pepper and stir -- and usually I would add some spices from my cabinet. But I remembered I have this awesome fresh herb garden outside and I went out to the patio with my kitchen scissors and snipped a little French tarragon, a sprig of marjoram and several stems of fragrant thyme. It made me ridiculously happy to chop them up and add them to my vinaigrette.

It's the little things!

Posted by laurie at May 11, 2009 1:48 AM