Garden 2012 – Week Eighteen

  Week Eighteen starts off with some rather sad news.  It seems that Bernie the Praying Mantis has left us for us, apparently for good.  Bro and I have been keeping a close eye on his tomatillo plant, but we’ve seen no sign of him since last week.  To be fair, he had nearly outgrown the leaves he was living amongst.  Considering that his entire method of hunting relies heavily on blending in with surrounding foliage, he wouldn’t have had much luck once he got bigger, as he would no doubt stick out like a sore thumb.  It is sad to see him go, though.  He was such a fascinating little fella.  We’ve kept one or two eyes on some of the surrounding plants, hoping he’d simply moved to a bigger home, but so far we’ve had no sign of him.  Alas, it would seem that when he waved farewell at the end of last week’s post, he was saying goodbye for good.  =wipes a tear=

  We’ve had some other temporary residents we were far less upset about losing.  It would appear that the dreaded caterpillar season has started up.  Bro found a few wormies on one of the mustard plants and promptly sprayed it, and I’ve been keeping a spray bottle next to the patio door so that whenever I see moths hovering spastically over my precious plants, I can shoo them away with a stream of water.   Grrr.  Go away, moths!  Plant your babies on plants not intended for human consumption!

  In spite of the threat of infestation, our little garden isn’t so little anymore.  Everything seems to have bolted in recent weeks, now that the heat of summer has set in.  It’s been a challenge to keep some of the more unruly plants in line.  They all want to stretch out and mingle with each other, and a few have threatened to encroach on the walkway to other apartments in our building.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased as punch they’re all so sociable, but I’d like to maintain at least a semblance of order (and not tick off our neighbors!).   With that in mind, we turned Sam Jackson back on itself to keep it from vining its way to the outer fence.

  We tied up Mystery ‘Mater, which has, frankly gone insane.  And yes, “Mystery ‘Mater” has become its official name, in spite of the fact that Bro and I agree it has to be some kind of cherry tomato.  So not much mystery left there.

  It’s so freaking tall now!  I had trouble getting the yarn around it in order to get it to stand up.   I know that it’s natural for tomatoes to want to fall over (which is one of the reasons they work so well in topsy turvy planters), but ours is a civilized patio garden.  We can’t have them lying about all over the place! 

  That is a picture of that darn Mystery ‘Mater towering over me and my camera. 

  In spite of my best efforts, things still look a little tangled.  It’s getting tougher and tougher to get pics of just one thing at a time.  Witness below, the mess that is trying to get a clear shot of Mystery ‘Mater’s fruit as it hides behind a yellow pear tomato and a tomatillo.  

  Also difficult to photograph these days are the half dozen or so tiny cucumbers that have sprouted.  Here’s the best one I could get.

  Our first Abe Lincoln tomatoes are coming along.  Bro and I are debating when we should pull the first ones off.  I want to wait until they get a little red, and I hope that won’t be for a little while longer.  I’m concerned that they’re not going to grow much bigger than they already have.  At the moment, they are slightly smaller than a short, squat golf ball, but they’re supposed to be beefsteaks!

  We still have just to one newer Abe Lincoln.  I hope more will start to pop up!

  Bro and I are wondering if the small tomato size is because it’s the plants’ first season.  Thanks to those pesky caterpillars, none of our tomatoes from years past lasted long enough to test that theory.   What brought the idea to mind for me was our Fresno pepper plant, which is in its second year. 

  This is what its peppers have always looked like before:


  Even with our first batch this year, every pepper was short and plump.  Now, all of a sudden a second round of Fresnos is growing, and look!

   They’re all long and thin and pointy!  They’re beginning to look like the kind of pepper you’d find in a grocery store.  This makes me very excited, and even more determined to keep this garden growing for more than just a season.

I wonder what the new batch of Hungarian Sweets will be like, if they’ll be any different than their predecessors.

  As for the rest of the garden, things are chugging along.  The mint is thriving.

  The quinoa has developed a very light purple hue in places

  Legz is just pumping out tomatoes. 

  And the Malabar spinach looks strong and healthy.

  That’s all I have for you this week.  I’ll be back with more in about seven days.  :D


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