Thursday, July 30, 2009

Going native

First, just want to mention how sneaky vegetables can be. This green on green thing: green beans on green vines/leaves surprises, non-observant me sometimes and I had a bunch of beans earlier this week to harvest because I totally missed them.

Also hidden was this cucumber:

Camouflaged amidst all the leaves as well (and all the way in the back of the trellis. Easily a one pound cucumber! Pickles... or cucumber salad...? Cucumber salad for lunch today!

(another quick update: I was able to get the asparagus that popped up randomly in time and was it sweet and delicious. Hurray for fresh asparagus in July! Literally 2 minutes from garden to my plate)

Anyways, on to my story:

As I was walking out of the place I volunteer at earlier this week, I walked to my car, hopped in, and stared out the window in slight disbelief. Approximately 6 feet away, hanging by vines in a little past the cut grass of the parking lot into the wooded area were these green egg shaped things swinging in the wind.

Wild/native kiwi? I first thought initially, except I was pretty sure kiwi weren't native. I couldn't remember what kiwi leaves looked like and then I saw this flower (bad pic, sorry):

I started nearly jumping for joy when I realized that I had discovered a native maypop, aka passionflower vine growing on the property!!! I nearly ripped the entire vine from the ground until I thought better and grabbed a flower and fruit first so that I could show the administrative staff at my volunteering place.

They were nonplussed, and sort of thought, "Wha---?" and when I asked them if I could dig up the passionflower vine they said it was ok as long as I didn't get eaten by coyotes in the woods.

Easy enough.

Being too impatient to drive the 10-15 minutes home to grab the proper tools, I decided to give the vine a yank at the bottom since it had been raining and the ground was soft. Hmm... I got some (broke off) tap root and bent up the vine a little near the base in the process. That might not be good for the vine and so I found another vine and attempted to pull that up and same thing, some tap root, but no full rootiness.

Well, just to try to have more chances of success as these becoming established I took both vines, each over 6 feet in length, with fruit and flowers on them (not smart to take the entire thing probably, lots of plant to sustain with a lot less root now) and wrapped them into my car.

I popped them straight into a bucket of water and the weather has been cool out so I am hoping that I may see some roots developing that I might find a nice place to let the maypop carry on with regular growing activity and give me delicious fruit. If not this year, maybe the next!

(UPDATE: 3 days in and there be new roots growing! Also, I'd like to note that I have been trying to grow maypops prior to this discovery, receiving little seedlings from a local gardener lady, but the damn things always get eaten by squirrels/placed in poor areas by me/I break them >_<)

Passionflowers are a fascinating looking flower with a lot of symbolism/backstory to the Passion of Christ. The parts supposedly signify:
(Thanks wikipedia!)

Pretty cool eh?

Passionflowers are commonly called Maypops in the southeastern part of the U.S where they are native because in May they seemingly pop out of nowhere. I have also heard from locals that they are named this because the fruits are ripe sometimes trailing on the ground, when stepped upon they "may pop." Ah, local lore.

They are a deciduous vine as compared to its South American tropical companion vine you might find in grocery stores. The tropical ones in grocery stores have an orange flesh with little black seeds and purple-black skin when ripe. Maypop fruit however have greyish-white flesh with black seeds and orange skin when ripe. This orange skin gives it is other name, apricot vine.

Interestingly enough, the parts of the plant, leaves, stem, flowers, when eaten together apparently produce a combination of chemicals, that can help with sleep and are anxiety reducer. Use of passionflower as a medicinal is unusual in the States, but popular in Europe.

Though the fruits of the maypop I have now are green and still unripe, I took one and cut it open curious to see what it looked like. Pretty drab white spongy flesh. When it ripens up I've seen pictures where the entire fruit case is filled with big cells of the fruit, like a pomegranate's, with the black seeds within each cell.

Taking pictures of the unripe fruit though was still a lovely experience as the light of my camera would allow the green skin to show through from the inside.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grow my pretties, grow!

My first year gardening I built 2 large-ish trellises using branch trimmings borrowed from neighbor's yards. They've been holding up well enough for their shoddy construction, a little rotted twine here, a broken branch there. I just attach a new branch/stick with more twine in an empty or fragile looking place and pray for the best. This year I attempted to plant Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake beans by each of the trellises, but for some reason, be it sun or a pest issue, only one trellis got covered with vines. It seems that the other trellis was not going to get covered with beans despite a second attempt on my part, so I figured I'd try the next best fast growing vine I could think of: cucumbers!

I grew cucumbers last year and was aghast as to how fast the vines grew and smothered everything in its path. This year I figured I'd have it covered, plant fewer seeds and thin, thin, thin. Yeah... that thinning thing is hard for me... it always seemed like such a waste... so once again, the cucumber is taking over. This is not a bad thing per say either; I know plenty of people who like/want cucumber and my husband and I are interested in trying to make kosher dill pickles again (he hates vinegar and the first time we made them it was failure, the jar wasn't big enough and the scum reached the pickles, ick).

It's just that... sometimes the cucumbers... they frighten me. I'll be looking one way and then I turn around and it's though it's grown a foot in front of me! One minute there's a flower and then the next, fruiting.

It's sort of good that I let the cucumbers go to town because I've been noticing some squash vine borer moths flying around the cucumber/strawberry/okra bed, and so I think they've gotten desperate and are going to make their move on the cukes. Fudge muffins. Well, this is why I've got more plant than I need... *sigh*

The irony of me being up to my chin in cucumbers is that my husband doesn't even like them with the exception of an occasional kosher dill pickle. I've found recipes that involving cooking them and he tolerates them a lot more, but it's definitely something he isn't fond of. He also doesn't like melons (cantelopes, watermelons, honeydew... he's a nut!) So, I wonder if his taste buds sense a similar distaste with cucumber as he does with those as they are all in the same family.

As you might have noticed, these cucumbers come armed. Not sure what's up with the black spikies, but my understanding is that the pickling types (this is a cheap seed pack I picked up) tend to be short, stubby and spiky fruited. The spikes come off fairly easily when they are mature enough to pick. A little more prickly when young.
Perhaps I'll go a more exotic route next year in cucumbers, if I do grow them. Maybe something like the Armenian cucumbers that are fuzzy. Gotta love a fuzzy cucumber ;)

My butternut squash seems to still be holding on, though I do note nasty fracas near the base of one of the vines, and the usual suspect is a vine borer. I've allowed another main vine to grow alongside the ground as I noticed it had started producing small white roots. If it roots up well the squash will probably survive as it has alternate routes to get water/nutrients. It's sort of a crap shoot when growing the squash up a trellis too as it might survive the borers better if it was growing fully on the ground to produce more roots where the stem touched, but ground is precious space and if you saw my husband with the spin trimmer, well...
Lookin' good though! I think it needs to turn more yellow and the stem becomes more dry and woody when it's mature enough to eat/cure for storage. Mmmm, butternut squash soup. Vegetable gardening seems sort of morbid in the sense that you grow your "babies" only in anticipation to eat them!

All this cool rainy weather has apparently confused the heck out of the asparagus and it thinks its spring again because 2 lovely looking stalks were poking out of the soil this morning. I jumped at the thought of eating some of it for dinner and reminded myself to grab it before dinner but of course forgot to. I have hopes that it might be there still tomorrow, but as the asparagus is as frightening in its speedy growth as cucumber is (potentially 7 inches in one day), I won't be surprised to see some frondy, unappetizing stalks tomorrow. *Cry* Proscuitto wrapped asparagus, thou hast thwarted my tummy!
I keep becoming paranoid about my asparagus because these were moved after their first year in one bed to another as we realized that the bed was in an unfortunate spot. While they appear to be doing well, I couldn't accurately gauge if they seemed to have suffered greatly because well, we had moved them. Upcoming spring should give me a more accurate picture. I understand too that asparagus really like to stay established too. Able to produce for 20-30, and maybe 50 years, their roots can reach as deep as 40 feet! So, when I plan on moving, as I don't think I'll be in this house that long I don't know if the asparagus will be willing to move with me.

Honestly though, I am probably more paranoid by the thought that someone might not want an asparagus bed for free when I move. Fresh asparagus with the house! That ought to be a selling point hm?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Brief garden updates

As I promised, grilled cheese tomato sandwiches with tomatoes from the garden, featuring Nebraska Wedding (an orange tomato) and Green Striped Zebra:

I've spoken about the Green Zebra striped flavor and now I have to give an opinion on the Nebraska Wedding. Meaty, balance of acid and sweet, not mind blowing, but still, better than your average tomater that you can buy at the store.

I still have yet a potential 2-3 other mystery varieties to try from my growing vines, one of which I am sure if Brandywine, so with luck I'll have something to really rave about this summer.

Either way, here's a pic of a nifty squash tendril I found in my garden:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pepper Present

Garden log -314563.48 (For you trekkie fans out there)
Experimentation of the ornamental pepper, tricolore garda, proves in the first cream-purple phase of its 4 color phase growth that the pepper is indeed quite hot. Investigation must be done as to why there is no apparent heat for the first 5 seconds of chewing and then sudden "face slap" of heat immediately thereafter.

Jelly was deemed the appropriate fate for these peppers.

I had one lone ripened red bell pepper, a couple of jalapenos and MANY ornamental peppers (the purple-black calico and tricolor ones) available, so in the name of Tasty, I decided to make pepper jelly.

I didn't even know pepper jelly existed until about 2 years ago, when my husband and his mother introduced me to the stuff (with cream cheese!) Ever since then I have been obsessed, though not the point I need a jar in the house at all times, I just savor it when it is around.

I had never made jelly/jam before and while my husband and I had talked about canning last year (buying all the lids and tongs and such), we sort of got intimidated by all the steps and worries of contamination that we ended up washing all the one-time-use lids and used the jars instead for storage.

Yesterday I went out and bought some more canning jars (wide mouth ones, baby!) and powder pectin and noticed freezer jam pectin. I decided to grab some of that as well as I heard good things about it on various websites I frequent.

When I got home I did a trial run of freezer jam using some leftover cherries that I boiled in carmenere grape wine we had from our recent foray into French desserts (FLAMING CHERRY TART!) to use for acidity versus lemon juice and dumped in half the pectin because it was a small batch.

Sat around for half an hour while it set, cutting up hot peppers and such for the pepper jelly. After the half hour set time was up I tested the jelly. 'Ce magnifique! Cherries, wine, ya!

I then contemplated for 5 minutes about doing real canning with the other pectin and reread the directions for true canning on the box before I decided that this was a little too much for a small test batch of pepper jelly and decided to use the other half of the freezer pectin instead.

Boiled all the peppers in vinegar, some sugar and decided to add a dash of the carmenere for a bit o'colore and then tossed in the pectin, before pouring the entirety of simmering liquid into my shiny new Bell canning jar. Half hour of cool time, and a little tasting...
Mwahahaha! This was the best pepper jelly ever! The ornamental peppers give a great pungent spicy bite and awesome color and it isn't too sweet. I am proud of the natural additional color that the splash of wine gave.

Dang, I could make jelly all day. I still want to learn how to can For Real so that things are stable at room temperature and I don't take up additional fridge/freezer space, but for now, I am happy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First of tomato harvest. It ain't pretty

The recent rainy weather has been a blessing and aggravation.

No having to get up early in the sweltering heat to water, but then again, potential fungal and bacterial issues cropping up (no pun intended, ok, maybe).

The jalapeno plant is in its second year but I'm not sure if it'll make it to a third because it's sort of getting blotchy and yellow, as are the other pepper plants surrounding it. Fudge nuggets. Thinking maybe in the future it would just be prudent to leave all the peppers in pots in the future so I won't have to dig them up for the winter anyway.

I knew the rain would be trouble too for my developing and soon ripening tomatoes and yesterday when I went outside to check on them, whaddayaknow! Crrrrrack'd! Lots of ugly scarred up tomatos, please, if the image of NOT immaculate tomatoes is too graphic for you, avert your eyes:

And that's with me turning the larger nasty gashes away from the camera. Above is a Nebraska Wedding tomato and 5 Green Zebra Striped tomatoes, all heirlooms. This batch comes from the Gurney's Rainbow Heirloom Tomato pack, or what I call the, "Oops, someone probably dropped 5 jars of tomato seed and now we don't know which is which," because when I bought this seed pack I assumed that the different varieties would be separately labeled but uh, no, they were all mixed together and up with the package saying, "you may get 3-5 different varieties in this pack" with no explanation as to which ones they might be.

This was a little problematic as some of the listed varieties were determinate and others indeterminate.

For the uninitiated, determinate tomatoes are bushier, grow to a specific height and have all their crop at once. The indeterminate varieties, like their names imply, grow, and grow and grow until something kills them off (frost, disease, pests, pets, inept gardeners). They're viney and keep producing fruit all season.

So, this becomes a problem if I say, I decide to plant close a bunch of unknown type varieties together, and a line of them is indeterminate, determinate, indeterminate or etc. Because not only is the question of size an issue, but if a determinate varietygets wedged between a variety that's indeterminate I will have to dig around and figure out how to safely remove the dead and done for determinate from between the still lively indeterminates.

It seems that the Green Zebra Striped seed jar at Gurney's must have been huge or the seed is really vigorous because some how I ended up accidently planting quite a few right next to each other without being able to determine their type as seedlings.

There were actually 6 GZS 'maters, but I ate one before I took the picture above. I can tell you that it's got a pretty spiffy acidic taste, acid green like it looks. But I like that. More news on the Nebraska yellow possibly tonight. I have designs to turn it into a cheddar grilled cheese sammie!

This is my first year growing heirloom tomatoes and its been a good experience thus far. I don't feel as though I've had disease issues thus far, but I keep watching. One plant was getting a little bumpy and twisty, but some new growth appeared at near the base where some stems had died off, so I'm thinking it's doing, alright, giggity.

I've never been a huge Disney World/Land fan, but here is reason for me to want to go now:

Tomatoes are actually perennial... in the right zone (like Orlando obviously...) and apparently this ONE VINE has produced more than 32,000 tomatoes. *blink blink* I um, may need to go to Disneyland for some "research" and take some "samples" home. Oh, to have a green house....

Anyways, I leave you with a parting farewell from my one vigorous squash vine:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Well, that was a little weird....

Randomly, I finally found the time to thoroughly read the edibleMemphis that came in the mail a while ago (ignoring my article because dude, I wrote it, and as usual I felt could have done more with it. AUGH perfectionism, 'tis a CURSE!)

Anyways, it was just interesting to see Adrian Miller of the "Eau Sucre Begets Red Drink" write about the hibiscus sabdariffa when I mentioned it in my blog recently after the magazine publication... that Jonathon Devin mentioned ornamental peppers... with same weird coincidence as above... and that Ben Smith of Tsunami wrote about Asian greens and talked a bit about Malabar spinach... continuing odd coincidences.

Granted this is a food/garden magazine... but specific things like the hibiscus and spinach were a little odd.

Am I developing some sort of telepathy? If so, what other powers might manifest? Adamantium claws? ...or mutant healing...?

Fer chrissakes people, MUTANT HEALING.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garden pics

Egyptian Walking Onion
Aforementioned Sea of Shiso

Unusual grasshopper on shiso leaf, love the colors!

Another angle of the grasshopper. Click on the photos, they look a lot better blown up!

Twisty vine Diane gave me and random "borrowed" crepe myrtle branches being used to support self seeded vines.

On a random note, I am needing to steal more grass clippings from the neighbors after I dig up the garden bed paths so I keep the weeds down. I realized that I want to devote all "borrowed" grass clippings from neighbors to use in the paths and keep out of the actual garden because I obviously don't know all the crazy things they might be using on their lawns.

I can then devote all the weed seed ridden, non-treated with anything clippings from my house in compost pile for use.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I thought I could beat them. I thought that I knew I had what it took to overcome vine borers without having to resort to chemical pesticides like Malathion. Floating row covers, pantyhose wrapped stems, aluminum foil, neem oil.... all were supposed to defeat, nay, intimidate and thwart the squash vine borers but it seems that I cannot win against this foe.

All summer I have been on the lookout for the vine borers and all summer I continued to find marks of the borers, white nasty grubs in cut, slit vines and I've been planting new seeds, new seedlings every few weeks only to find more tiny red eggs and fracas on them eventually.

I was under the impression that my zone/area only had one season of borers/a few weeks period of time that they were really laying, but it's been over a month of fighting and I had troubles last year and this year is a mess too.

I keep finding empty cocoon cases too near the squash area and I can only believe them to be those of the matured borer larvae turning into moths.

I have been lucky that it seems a butternut squash vine (much less susceptible I learned from borer attack) has seemed to be surviving, even sort of thriving and climbing, but I am not holding my breath in expectation of fruit making it to maturity.

I'm slightly bitter as I was growing such beautiful zucchinis and acorn squash 2 years ago, which started the whole squash growing interest in me, but I am just exhausted having to fight these nasties. Attempting to save numerous plants by investigating each stem, leaf, base and bud for eggs, holes/fracas, slitting open vines to extract borers, then having to bury and water saved vines and destroy the bad ones just takes too much time and I am an entirely too impatient person to deal with this.

So much for the extra squash seed I still have on hand...

So, as you might guess, at this point, I am throwing in the towel for a year or maybe two working on eradicating all borers as well as I can on my property (though I know they can still fly in any time) and will be focusing on other vegetables, preferably Methuselah ones in place of the squashes.

Anyways, RIP my squash growing days, until another time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Hibiscus and Malabar spinach, as well as various herbs being my choice for ornamental gardening (all edible, please note), I find the most satisfaction in ornamental peppers. They are not only are fantastic looking, but edible and can be brought indoors to continuously flower and fruit throughout the winter!

Current varieties I have are:

Tricolore Garda (I grew by seed)

This beauty will grow upward pointing peppers that turn purple, cream, orange and finally red (so much for tri-colors...) Obviously they are still in their early stages, but I am so excited to see all the colors (....Duke!,


Calico (bought from a nursery)

This is a green-white-lavender variegated leaf dark purple-black tiny pepper packs a punch. It's so unusual I had to have it!

I really want to grow Black Pearl (
(Thanks OSU for pic)

Black leaves and red/black pearl round peppers! I had ordered seed from Park seed, but after going out of town at one point, the peppers seedlings kicked it from the heat.

Ornamental peppers are edible, though considered to be extremely hot and somewhat pungent; vinegary is the best way to describe it.

My tricolore is just starting to fruit and I am excited by how the fruits seem to stand straight up. More on their heat when they get big enough. I will probably take a stab at trying them at their various color stages to see if it makes a difference in heat level.

When my husband and I tried the calico pepper fruits, when they were a deep purple black, it was a simple *chewchewchew,* "Man, these aren't that hot..." to "HOOO, okay, they've got some heat!" to "OHWHERE'STHEBATHROOM?"

Needless to say, you can't have a sensitive stomach for these lovelies.

For the longest time I was under the impression that you shouldn't grow peppers by seed and that the plants were the only way to go. I had heard that their heat got killed when you grew them by seed or they needed to be grafted or something odd like that, so I didn't bother. When I saw that the seed was advertised though, I figured they must retain that heat... the ad says so! So I am happy to find that it's working out just fine.

I (un)fortunately found that Park seed has a plethora of ornamental pepper seed and while I don't need so many... maybe I'll give the extras away to friends/family or sell some, who knows?

Park seed ornamental pepper links:



Explosive Ember:

Sangria Hybrid: (MILD though)


Thai Hot:

Purple Flash:

Malabar Spinach, should be renamed Spinach Steak

I have NEVER been able to get real spinach to grow here and discovered this little beauty:
MALABAR SPINACH. More like, Spinach Steak, more like Great Wall of Spinach here:

I was seduced into getting 2 packets of these seeds from Park Seed (, and was saddened when I saw the 50 seeds to look very little, needing about 3-5 seeds per hill it stated on the packet and that germination was "lower" when seeded outside. Hmmm... I needn't have worried.

I am impressed by the reddish color of the stems (it is often grown as an ornamental), and it's vigor... looks wilty in the heat, but perks right back up at night and in the morning. It seems a little upset by the space I've given it and is invading the area I devoted to scarlet runner which I thought was vigorous. Oh woe Scarlet Runner, you may have met thy match!

It's oddly pest resistant, possibly due to its muciliginous nature (good for thickening soups like okra), but the leaves, OMG, the leaves are so juicy and have gotten as big as the size of my head(!) and hold so much water that when you bite into the leaves, or bend the main leaf stem you can SEE water MOVING through the veins/cells!

EVEN MORE EXCITEMENT abounds on my part to find out that this lovely vine can be propagated by cuttings, and I can overwinter it/let-it-overtake-my-home-over-the-winter-instead-and-become-eaten-by-its-sheer-enormousness!

I understand that if mulched well it might return, so... maybe I won't take cuttings...?

For $1.75/packet, I think I've made it back pretty easily. I may need to call in the neighbors though to keep it in check!

(Also, as my husband says, why the hell does anyone eat real spinach if we have this??? It grows vertically thus takes up less space, is relatively carefree, healthy for you, handles heat well, has few pest problems... duh?)

On another note, it is time to once again due battle with the cucumber monster plant:
The base has strawberry plants and between the cucumber and strawberries are okra plants... I hope they are not eaten by cucumber, vegetable cannibalism can be so cruel.

Mini rant on Lawns and possible solutions

So it's been raining gloriously all day, a day without having to water the garden (yes!), a day where the rain barrels get filled (YES!) (and remind me that I really need to get that 3rd barrel up), a day where I have to walk a stupid scared bitch (dog, really) in rain, amidst thunder and a leetle lightning and get my flip floppy toes ankle deep in what I am sure is chemical awashed puddles.

Man, suburbia. Land where all the lawns must be tidy and trimmed, green and lush, pumped up with fake goodness. I got a beef with pretty lawns, just like I got a beef with plastic surgery, it's faaaaaaaaaaake.

Unless you happen to use one of those lawn care services that states and you can attest to researching their practices that they are eco-friendly, most likely you are creating a desert like ecosystem with your lawn.

I don't know if it bothers you, like it bothers me, but those little yellow and white balls that go 'crunch-crunch' underneath your shoes/the dog's feet when you walk REALLY lose their charm especially as the PAVEMENT does not need any fertilization. It's all just going down the drain and polluting the water, y'know? I shudder to think as to what my dog must be picking up as she marches over those things or through the puddles and lush grass she does her biz in.

Lovely lawns also mean chemicals to kill weeds--- and grubs. No weeds, while less to deal with means fewer flowers for bees to survive on. As I overheard somewhere once, immaculate lawns look like deserts to bees, no flowers mean no food. Bad for survival, and aren't we lacking in bees already? (

Also, many of these same chemicals adversely affect the larva of lightning bugs! CAN YOU IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT LIGHTNING BUGS?

To quote what many a politician have invoked:
Think of the children!!! (!!!)

Ahem. Not only are lightning bugs helpful little critters in producing some lovely natural mood lighting (joke), and are entertaining reminders of youth, the larvae are predators of snails and slugs, the bane of many a gardener everywhere.

So, if you see a lil' guy like this:

And you start to raise your hand, HEAR MY VOICE IN YOUR HEAD, "DO NOT SQUISH!"

Here's a helpful site about the buggers:

So, despite my husband and I letting the lawn go to hell, I will NOT say that you must too. I provide (yes, I am a provider!) some helpful links and a helpful summary as to how to keep you lawn in good organic condition DESPITE being a vegetable gardener and not caring in general a squirrel's behind for lawns (and your mother smells like elderberry!)


1) Weeds- don't like them? Hand pull! This is the most effective method of getting rid of weeds. You get some great some exercise (work them abs!) and learning about the deliciousness of dandelion wine, dandelion leaf greens, lambs quarters and more.

(Lambsquarters! Steam like spinach!)If you REALLY don't want the exercise, you can spot treat specific weeds by using this concotion: 5 parts white vinegar, 2 parts water, 1 part dish soap (, or some people reccomend straight vinegar or boiling water, choose your poison.

Further prevention of weeds can be done using corn gluten meal which can easily be bought in some feed stores to be used as a weed pre-emergent preventer. Sadly this is not CORNMEAL, the stuff that your mama makes her famous bread and stuffing with, but that stuff from the store can coincidently be used as an anti-fungicide, good for gardens and lawns too actually. The stats on cornmeal gluten are fascinating too (see prior link)

Also, if you thought Roundup was a safe method, please reconsider:

Yeah, let's stop being a society of simple convenience. It's not always worth it.

2) Grubs- We all hate those Japanese beetles and their nasty grub babies, but an awesome way to prevent for a VERY LONG TIME their existence on your lawn (and from munching on your veggies) is milky spore. This is a natural bacterium that affects only Japanese beetles and after a few treatments is known to last for potentially decades in your soil speciding (word?) the critters for years!
When a grub is infected by the bacterium and dies in the soil, it's a gift that keeps on giving to the other grubs! It's SELF SUSTAINING, whoo!

3) Fertilization- As mentioned before, cornmeal is good, though a super easy method to refertilize your lawn is to leave the grass clippings on the lawn. Remarkable eh? No bagging needed! All that work the grass went into to get tall goes back into the lawn to replenish again, oh Nature, you are brilliant!
Clover is not the enemy. Please repeat that. It's nitrogen fixing, like beans and peas, and that means it self fertilizes and those around it. (It also makes a snazzy green manure for you vegetable gardeners out there).
(thanks to Bruce Lynn, lovely pic)
Those are a few tips, but obviously there is more to learn in the wide world of the internets.

Some interesting articles:
About the background of herbicides:

On fertilizers and Michael Pollan (author of "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food"):

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Just wanted to plug this site that I have discovered:

ALL ABOUT EDIBLE PLANTS (columbines, who'd have thought?)

The database is like candy for me!


Forgot to note, and post pics of the bunny situation.

Some time ago I set up a super lousy plastic wire and bamboo pole fence to keep the bunny from decimating new bush bean plants I was attempting again. Unfortunately the asparagus that was interplanted with got mighty tall and bushy and has blocked out so much light that I think the beans are suffering (though I do see some bean flowers still!) Anyways, my fence was SO lousy (geez, that has a Holden Caulfield-esque feel to it doesn't it?) that I went out one day to find a bunny stuck INSIDE the fenced area. As it turns out, the Lousy Fence, curls under and as I didn't secure it well, bunny can get in, but bunny cannot get out. MWAHAHAHAHAHA. *clears throat* So naturally I wanted to humanely rid myself of it.


Luckily my mother in law was in town and helped me distract the critter because it was one fast fuzz muffin. Not wanting to experience a bun-bite I donned a pair of leather work gloves AND got a pair of cushy silicone covered tongs to pick up the bugger. (Yes, it was a little ironic to be picking up a bunny with a food utensil with the intention to release it, rather than eat it.) Alas, no pictures of the tong-age as I was in a hurry to get it in a bucket.

I gave it huge carrot in case it was hungry, and out of some remorse (and for the photo opportunity to show how TINY the thing was).

Later we took the bunny to the park where it was released in a patch of poison ivy that I didn't realize I had stepped in until my mother in law point it out to me. Ah, that finally helped my poison ivy recognition skills, always a little weak there.

(Mom in law releasing bucketed bunny)

You'd think the bunny would flee, but noooo... it decided to be scared for a full twenty minutes as crowds of children marched past tempted to poke and prod at it unless MIL and I politely asked them not too (and under threats of poison ivy).

After thinking that I had seriously caused mental trauma on its hare-brain (sorry, can't help it), I attempted to pick the bunny up when it said, "Screw this," and loped off. Bunnies, grr.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Pardon the lag in posts, it's been crazy as hell around here and I have been behind in all things in life as of late. Crazy in a good way of course, involving the visiting of friends and family, but it all throws a bit of wrench in my daily routine and it takes me a while to get back on track.

Here is a little thing I've had for a while, enjoy!

I went to the library some time long ago to attempt to be productive in my writing and could not help but stop by the used bookstore within. It’s always interesting to see what’s in the gardening section and I came across this gem:

Even better, it was a gift of the town’s library commission, and EVEN MORE BETTER it’s filed as a YA book. A book about psychoactive flowering plants for YOUNG ADULTS to read. (and it’s called Magic in Bloom!) Good job library commission! This was just too funny. (A friend of mine later asked, "Was it coincidence that the author's name is 'Mello?'")

The cover it shows morning glory flowers, which I have heard are hallucinogens (if you get a packet of morning glory seeds it usually will say something about not for consumption, which is what prompted me to look up and thus find out about morning glory properties). Paging through the book I also noticed they spoke of nutmeg, which I was also aware to have psychoactive properties.

Will be an interesting read.

I felt a little weird just getting this book on psychoactive plants, so I looked desperately around for something else suitable to purchase and luckily found Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” which I have heard is fantastic and after having read Oryx and Crake I have determined that I enjoy Atwood’s style.


It is actually a quite interesting and objective book (I suppose it has to be, being a part of the Encyclopedia of Psychoactive drugs), with lots of explanations about ancient cultures and religious use of drugs that elders would use to initiate children into adulthood (unfortunately including beatings until nausea... or unconciousness I imagine) so that it forced the children to learn the consequences of these drugs and their potential circumstances from use (nowadays, adult initiaiting children into drugs means jail time).

I also noted that the psychoactive plants they have listed thus far come from the potato/nightshade family (morning glories, tobacco, potatoes of course and etc), nutmeg and cannabis/hemp family. Green potatoes are green due to a chemical called solanacae, which I have always been told is poisonous, aka hallucinogenic is seems.

Anyways, interesting stuff, noting cultural differences and plants being controversial and all.