Archive for gardening

Just in time for the season to become seasonal…

…I bring you more gardening pictures! I have been spending even more emotional energy on the babies than during finals, as I am still unemployed and frankly, don’t have much to do that is more productive – unless you count my frustrating progress on the Arghigan sweater.

The tomato plants are clearly becoming as impatient as me for the weather to warm up and settle down into seasonal 15-and-above – the Brandywines are about five feet tall and suddenly flowering like crazy! There are dozens of new buds, which I have been diligently pollinating using the buzz-pollinator method (read: with an electric toothbrush). This is a stopgap, of course, until it’s warm enough to put them outside. Hopefully that will be this week.
Just in time!
Just in time!
Just in time!

Also waiting for the weather to warm up: the eggplant seedlings, which aren’t really seedlings anymore. And yes, their pots are far too small – but I didn’t want to re-pot them when I was just going to put them in the ground. Hopefully it will be warm enough this week to do that, too.
Baby eggplant!

Spinach! Which evidently couldn’t care less about the container-versus-ground debate.
Balcony spinach

Peas! I always find peas both awesome and creepy – look at them reaching with their little green fingers!

We seem to be reaching the proper seasonal temperatures for May now, which is good news as I’m not sure how much longer everybody was going to last in too-small pots waiting for spring to finally arrive. Now I get to switch over my anxieties to the garden-bound plants. Job-hunting sucks, guys.

Garden winter-proofing, and The Outrage

First, a story I forgot to tell last week, because I was Outraged.

Some of you may recall that after the Great Mildew Blight, I had but one surviving pumpkin on my massive, world-destroying pumpkin vine. I nurtured it, petted it and talked to it, and was SUPER EXCITED about bringing it home this weekend so that it could fulfill its destiny as a Jack-o-Lantern, and later, a pie.

Wednesday I went to water the garden and discovered this:

Scene of the crime

Yes, that’s right. SOMEBODY STOLE MY PUMPKIN. Not a pumpkin, you’ll note – THE pumpkin, for there was only one. In a garden full of squashes and a couple of other pumpkin patches, they chose to steal the lone and lonely smooth, lovely orange pumpkin from MY garden.

WHO DOES THIS? What kind of entitled jerk do you have to be to wander up to the community garden, which by the way has signs outside the gate telling people that no, this is not a public garden, because we pay for our plots every year, so no, none of these veggies are for you, and steal somebody else’s vegetables? Especially when you’re free to take from the public border on the other side, where you can find currants, raspberries, herbs, and a variety of other lovely things.


People do this, of course. We’re constantly warning off people who just walk in and help themselves to tomatoes or a handful of lettuce leaves or zucchini. I’ve been losing zucchini a few at a time all summer, and recently, too. I was willing to let it go because a) I can’t spend all my time staking out the garden for vegetable thieves and b) it’s not like I didn’t have more.


I could understand taking one pumpkin. If there were others. It still makes you a jerk, of course. I do not understand taking the only pumpkin from someone’s garden, a pumpkin that is clearly being cared for with obsessive attention, all alone on a brick in the middle of someone’s otherwise somewhat devastated plot. Unless of course you are a terrible person. >:(

Clearly I am taking this somewhat personally.


Today Mum came out and we did garden… things. First and foremost was the first harvest of my balcony worm bin, which went rather well even if the compost had gotten a little too soggy.

Sifting compost


Then we tromped through the mud over to my community garden plot where we proceeded to winter-proof the garden. This involved mainly ripping out everything that wasn’t going to survive winter and also planting garlic cloves. I also came home with two pots of vagrant herbs (mint and parsley) which had apparently wandered into my plot from the next plot over. We got very muddy, but it was pretty satisfying, especially when we carried four armfuls of pumpkin and squash vines and two buckets of weeds across the garden and dumped them in the compost. Mum also took home some of Corene‘s flowers that I planned to pull up to make room for veggies next year.

Some of the rescues

The winter-ready plot

And then we came home and had tea and crackers and ate some of the delicious apples I got at the UBC Apple Festival last weekend. And guys, holy crap, these are delicious apples. They are sweet and tart and crunchy and I was going to put them in a pie but I think they may actually be too delicious for pie. And I am usually pretty ambivalent towards apples. I have never heard of Topaz apples, and now I am sad that I can’t seem to find them in a grocery store. Clearly I must hurry up and retire and buy a house so that I may plant two of these in my front yard.


And then I re-potted six tomato plants. Hopefully they will not all die. Pictures of those tomorrow, perhaps, when it’s light again. I’ve learned my lesson about photographing plants at night. Now all I need is a light for the tomato plants and a cheap electric toothbrush (no, seriously, this is apparently how you pollinate indoors), and we’re all set for winter.

Click for whole photo set!

Gardening update!

Yes, it’s all still alive. Well, mostly. Just after I dug up all the potatoes a while back, my plot was beset by a mildew infestation – one of the neighbouring plots had it, left it untreated, and then it spread to the entire garden. Before going to Florida, I hadn’t had time to do much beyond cut out dead leaves from the affected squash and zucchini plants, and when I got back, I found it had attacked the pumpkin vines. So tonight I finally had time to march down there with a pair of clippers and gloves to protect me from the spiky squash vines and do something about it.

As both treatment and preventative measure, I sprayed the leaves of the beleaguered plants with a milk/water solution that the other gardeners have had a lot of luck with. This actually seemed to work almost immediately, so hopefully the bits and pieces left of zucchini and squash plants will revive enough to give me a few more edibles before it gets too cold.

I forgot to photograph my only surviving pumpkin of meaningful size – the two that had made it to fist-size before I went on vacation succumbed to rot while I was gone, despite ‘s no-doubt heroic efforts. But I’ve got at least one, and it’s not rotting! It’s big! It’s orange! I perched it on a brick to keep it from the damp and watered all the squashes very, very carefully, not wanting to wash off the milk solution. I hope I get at least one pumpkin out of the plot, or I shall be very disappointed.

And I forgot to check the garlic. Damn. Need to do that very soon, I think, since their leaves have by now been entirely shaded to death by the rhubarb and pumpkin leaves.

Beets and rhubarb

Speaking of the rhubarb, its time finally came, and I pulled it all up tonight. I put about six armfuls of various gigantic rhubarb and squash leaves into the compost tonight – the worms should be very happy. I also pulled up most of the beets, which are of substantial size, I think; most about the size of my fist, which I admit isn’t very big, but isn’t bad for vegetables I planted out of boredom and largely ignored all summer.

I feel much better and less neglectful, though there’s still some dead flowers and a lot of weeding I didn’t get done tonight, and I need to transplant my indoor tomato seedlings to bigger pots (I only have pots for about half of them – have to figure out where I’m going to get more!), and I need to find someplace indoors for the big healthy ones currently fruiting on the balcony. But there’s always next weekend, I guess.

Results of the button venture

Went to the Gastown button shop (which is more or less the cutest button shop ever) and acquired buttons for the sundress I started a week or so ago from a discarded unfinished skirt and the bits left over. I have been calling it the Random Sundress in my head, since I more or less pinned the skirt to Mum’s dressform and then sort of pinned bits into experimental positions until I got them to stick. And then sewed them together. Tonight I will sew on all remaining notion-y bits and you can see the whole thing.

Yes, I bought 100 buttons. They were $5 for a bag. What I’m going to do with 100 buttons, I have no idea, but apparently if I buy four more bags, I get one free. (Anybody need 400 buttons?)

Also went to Dressew to pick up a replacement zipper for an entirely unrelated project, and ended up with Whim Fabric. Those among you who sew know of the unwise nature of Whim Fabric. And yet.

At least this time I actually bought a pattern, which is unusually responsible of me. Often I buy fabric and then it sits there for months until I forget about it. Or I make Random Sundresses out of it.

I’m making the middle one, more or less. Minus the piping. Because I hate doing piping.

Actually I blame Kim, who is a terrible influence. But we did make Corene buy Whim Fabric and a pattern as well, as she has decided she is going to learn to sew. This will be interesting.

Tonight, Random Sundress. Tomorrow, more plant pictures! No, they’re still not all dead!

Plant rambling time!

I finally got some proper work done in the garden a couple of weeks ago, and the day before yesterday I planted about twelve cloves of garlic. I suspect I planted them upside-down. I’m not sure why I think that, but hopefully it will grow even if I’m right?

I’ll do a post with actual In The Garden pictures soon, I swear.

Back on the home front, I’ve done some more furniture re-arranging with two new sets of shelves got from Mum. One went indoors to give me more space for the baby plants too little to go outside yet and also give them more sunlight, as before they were on top of a bookcase and probably not getting enough.

The top shelf is for the problem children who are only struggling along – if you end up here there’s a 50/50 chance you’re going to end up in the compost.

This shelf is where the whiny, delicate lettuce (it wants to be planted, but until now it’s been too cold) and the BLOODY PARSLEY WHICH STILL HASN’T BLOODY SPROUTED go. And miscellaneous pots that wouldn’t fit on the other shelves or I thought needed more light.

The third shelf is where most of the tall plants live.

You can see my sunflowers are doing well, though somehow two came up in a pot where I was sure I planted only one seed.

And the broccoli is… well, I don’t know what the broccoli is doing, honestly. It’s either doing not much of anything or wandering out of its pot. I thought broccoli was supposed to grow up. I’m not sure if I should stake it or…?

The tomato plant I caved and bought at the garden centre (half-hoping it could shame the home-grown ones into growing faster) a couple of weeks ago, though? Growing like gangbusters. It’s grown almost an inch and a half since I bought it. I’m about to have to re-pot it for the second time. Is that normal?

Down here is everybody left over, including most of the tomato plants and the eggplants. I freely admit that at this stage I’m not one hundred percent certain which are the tomatoes and which are eggplant, but they both look pretty healthy. Look! The possibly-tomatoes are getting their second set of leaves! And the I’m-pretty-sure-this-is-eggplant are, too!

The second set of shelves went out on the balcony, which required some rearranging of the existing set of shelves, which was relocated to the other side. The chives now live on top. On the second shelf you can see the leeks, green onions, and cauliflower (cauliflower!) waiting to be planted in the garden.

And I leave you with Pekoe, sleeping contentedly in the sun.