Category Archives: Remedy

Convincing the Cucumbers and Other Feats of Wonder

Convincing the Cucumbers and Other Feats of Wonder

Today I had to spend the day convincing cucumbers that they are happy in their own neighborhood.

My cucumbers have decided that the manure is better on the other side of the trellis. I pretty much had to take them in hand and convince them that it was all the same poop no matter the side. Some of those boogers actually required twine and a few well placed knots that would not have been sanctioned by the Boy Scouts. Stubborn, to say the least.

Have you ever done this? Today, I’m rockin’ along, minding my own business, pulling grass from around naughty cucumber vines trying to persuade them that they really will be happy in their own little corner of the universe that I have so carefully prepared for them, and whoops, up comes a whole cucumber plant.

Then I spend the next twenty minutes trying to 1) decide if I could possibly re-root it and 2) convince myself that they probably could use a little more room anyway so it’s absolutely fine that I did that horrible thing.

In the end, I composted it, (in not a very cheerful manner). Acknowledge and move on..

Now, to the success of the day. I was getting all my darlings where they needed to be and Jonathan was bringing me one of many, many cups of ice water (15 in all today) he noticed baby cucumbers on the White Wonder plants. I said, “Next week we’ll be awash in cukes, yay!” After he left, I moved a leaf and found this…

White Wonder Cuke on a bed of basil

 

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Making Hay

Making Hay

The title of this article is deceiving as I am not going to talk about making hay. This is what you would want to do when the sun is shining.

Instead, I want to talk to you about what to do when it’s raining, especially if it hasn’t been raining enough.

When we moved to Tyler, almost exactly one year ago, we were told that the area was having the most severe drought in a hundred years. But, it really didn’t seem that “droughty”.  There were trees that seemed fine, the grass was a little frayed but not dead, and it wasn’t until August that we were officially issued a “burn ban” in our county.

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A Day For Chores

A Day For Chores

Last week I barely stepped in the garden. This week,  it shows. Today is a day for chores. Usually I don’t mind garden chores. Weeding is just part of things. Trellis training is a must. Sometimes it can be a bit tedious, but it’s so essential, I just keep my eye on the prize. The prize it seems is a beautiful, luscious, glorious, bountiful harvest!

Radish Harvest 2012

I have to weed Patrick’s Green Garden, with some help from the little guy of course.

I saw about 20 ladybugs in the radish bed today. I'm glad 'cause this is where I'll be putting tomatoes this week.

I have to finish harvesting radishes, all except those I’m waiting for seed from.

I have to train some wayward cucumbers that would really like to migrate to the neighboring bed (the manure is always richer on the other side of the trellis, it would seem), and I need to manage some melons that would really like to just meander in the yard instead of on the trellis.

I have tomatoes almost ready to pick! Yay! And, the Raveena eggplants are all in flower. Oh, I just remembered, I’m picking Pattypan squash babies this week for pickles. I have enough for about 2 quarts at the moment. I’ll be making UFO pickles Wednesday.

Ready to harvest! Tom Thumb Lettuce

Little Gem Lettuce has become my favorite lettuce. They are adorable!

It’s a little hard to tell from the pictures, but each head of the Little Gems are four inches across. They are adorable, and have become my favorite lettuce over all.

Patrick’s Green Garden has Mexican Sour Gherkins that are ready to pick as well. I’ll toss some of them in some brine as well at some point this week!

Green Zebra Tomatoes almost ready!

Paddy wanted me to put a picture of his Zinnias blooming. This is "Envy"

Paddy's Green Garden Green Doctors Cherry Tomatoes

In the big cucumber bed in back, the White Wonder is the first to fruit this year. So, dills and garlic dills will be the first to get put up. Oh, and I’m trying a new (for me) recipe of Olive Oil Dills this year. If any of you have made these, holler at me, I’d love to know what to expect.

That’s paisleycarrot@gmail.com or you can leave a comment here.

Chores await, and I have a new book to listen to. Have a paisley day!~KeriAnne

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Parasitic Wasps (and other beneficial insects)

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Parasitic Wasps (and other beneficial insects)

I’ve barely been in the garden this week, but today is cool and gorgeous; so this may be a short post.

A reader wrote me to ask what a parasitic wasp was and how, as I had suggested, they could make them their friends? What a great question to answer on Botany day!

These little guys are very small, sometimes 1/100th to 3/4’s of an inch long. That’s small. So small, in fact that they often go unnoticed, to humans.

Trichogramma Wasp, Not a Mosquito

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Stuff You Missed in Botany: Plant Nutrition

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Plant Nutrition

It was time to feed the melons. They said, “Thank You!” They’re so obedient and respectful when they’re little. They have rewarded me with loads of beautiful flowers that will blossom into a protrusions of melon sweetness. So, I’m more than happy to give them a springtime snack with they’re drink.

Plants get nutrients from the soil, but they also get some goodies from the rain and some plants, like legumes, get nutrients like nitrogen, from the atmosphere. Plants also change the energy the get from the sun into nutrients using the green pigment called chlorophyll in the process of photosynthesis.

So, what are the nutrients that plants need?

Plant nutrients are broken in to two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.

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Please, Fence Me In

Please, Fence Me In

Last week, and now again this week, has been all about the fences.

Here are a couple of trellis solutions for cucumbers, melons and tomatoes.

Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time fixing the pvc with netting that was my shoestring cucumber trellis from last summer. I contemplated replacing it with the new, easy, but much more expensive fencing I’ve adopted for the melon beds (and everything else it seems) but opted to keep it in place. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?

Pvc and twine, time consuming but costs less than $5

I’m pretty glad now that I didn’t because I was able to plant some marigolds, tansy and borage in the center, on the ends.

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A Mystery on Monday

A Mystery on Monday

A dear friend from church gave me a plant I need a little help identifying. She told me it thrives in any soil but prefers morning sun, then a more shady afternoon. I’m thinking it’s a Caladium culitivar? Can you identify this plant? If so, please drop me a line!

Caladium?

Oh, and my neighbor across the way gave me some Four O’Clocks a couple of months ago, this morning I see they are beginning to bloom. They’re pretty. Ours is a symbiotic relationship, I give Billy fresh baked Rosemary bread, he gives me flower tubers. Win-win!

Four O'clocks in bloom! Thanks Billy

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Stuff You Missed in Botany: Experiment With Organic Pest Control

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Experiment With Organic Pest Control

No, I’m not telling you what an experiment is as such. I’m telling you about a Botany experiment I’m going to be doing with my son, Jonathan.

Last week while searching for various and sundry things, I came across an interesting article about Myrosinase. This has sparked much curiosity, scientific probing,  and even a bit of the entrepreneur spirit around the Gunz household.

Myrosinase is an enzyme that is released when radish leaves are stressed. (It’s not only radish leaves, but most of the brassicas family, the largest quantity comes from rapeseed) The enzyme acts as a repellent to insects, and other foragers.

DNA of Myrosinase~it looks like confetti...so pretty and paisley!

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Kids At Play, Digging For Their Health

Kids At Play, Digging For Their Health

Scientists are beginning to echo what gardeners have been saying for years: it’s not only fun but healthy to play in the dirt, and today’s children (especially girls) need it more than ever before!

Over the past half-century, allergies have dramatically increased in children, while time spent outdoors has decreased. And while there may not be a direct correlation, many experts believe that children who are exposed to soil-borne bacteria from an early age may develop stronger resistance to infection, and be less susceptible to autoimmune disorders.

Girls are still less likely than boys to play in the mud and scrabble in the dirt, perhaps due to lingering stereotypes about ladylike behavior — or practical issues such as not wanting to “ruin” nice clothes. And certain autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus, are present in women at a much higher rate than in men. One conclusion? Growing up “too clean” may be unhealthy.

Planting more than seeds.

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Free Range…Tomatoes?

Free Range…Tomatoes?

I’m not a fan of tomato cages. While they are quite effective at reining your sprawling queens in, they also make the tasks of picking off pests, wilted leaves or sometimes even fruit, laborious. I know I’m in the minority on this matter.

Everyone I know cages their tomatoes. They are perfectly happy with their arrangement. I am perfectly content with mine. It’s just a personal preference on my part.

I’ve taken to using the same fence method that I use for melons, and I’m quite satisfied with it. It is simply straight rows of stakes with chicken wire, hog wire, or whatever wire I have handy at the time, tied to the stakes.

 

 

I plant my tomatoes on both sides of the fence and tie them to the fencing as they grow. In this way I am able to get to the middle of my plants at any given time. I don’t have to wonder if there is fruit somewhere in the middle of that mass of leaves and flowers because I can see clearly to the main stem. Read the rest of this entry