Hola, amigos! Bienvanidos a Week Nine!
We’ve had the usual collection of successes and failures this week. The sugar snap peas that had turned yellow eventually needed to be pulled. But then we have also started seeing teeny, tiny Hungarian Sweets starting to develop, like so:
The rosemary developed a white, powdery fungus (ew!), and after much research we decided to take the “wait and see” approach. We stopped watering it quite so frequently, as fungus is generally an indication that the environment is too damp. Sure enough, that eventually seemed to cure it. Our last little thyme plant didn’t fare so well, and in spite of everything we tried, it finally gave up the ghost. Bro has pretty much given up on attempting thyme again, which is a shame. It’s one of my favorite and most frequently used herbs. I may be able to talk him into giving it one more go, but we’ll see.
Back to the plus side, we have at least ten itsy Fresno peppers.
Heck, we even have a tiny cucumber! See if you can spot it. (Hint: it’s in the middle.)
The tomato plants on the patio were getting so tall that they were no longer getting the full benefit of the shade that Bro made for them a few weeks back, so he bent them down. Bending plants down or topping them (cutting those tops right off) are similar in spirit to pruning. By squeezing the point where you want the stems to bend, and then pushing the tops over, being careful not to actually break the stem, the plant will then send out more branches horizontally, and presumably more fruit.
Speaking of tomatoes and pruning (or failure to do so), Legz’s vertical growth has appeared to slow significantly. We assume that’s because it finally got tall enough to get some good sun, and so it’s stopped its mad dash for the sky. Now that it gets the light it needs, it’s happy to grow horizontally for a while. Go (horizontally) Legz!
The latest pests we’ve had to deal with have been aphids. Little bastards. They love to munch on our poor peppers. We got some organic spray which seems to be helping, but we are still finding them everywhere. Bro and I were talking about the spray, and we came to an interesting realization. If you have used commercial sprays on your garden, you may recall that the directions often tell you to spray at night, but have you ever wondered why? Well, it turns out that most sprays, organic or not, employ oils to help them adhere to the leaves of the plant. What happens to greens when you apply oil and heat (in this case supplied by the sun instead of your stovetop)? That’s right, they sauté. Soooooo…unless you want to cook your poor plants alive, remember to spray them after the sun goes down!
Our garden peas are looking lovely.
The bigger of the basil plants is one we bought at the nursery a couple of months back, but the rest were grown from seed. When I first started gardening, I read over and again how difficult it is to grow from seed, and had all kinds of fancy potting soil and sprouting kits and so forth pitched to me. I don’t know if it’s the climate we’ve got in SoCal, if it’s great soil and fertilizer, or if Bro leaves trays of cream out for the Fair Folk, but all he seems to do is scatter a handful of seeds around a patch of dirt, and a few days later we’ve got sprouts.
We’ve got quite a few plants that began their journey with us in a seed packet:
Arugula Going back to that lovely cilantro, I finally mowed the stuff. I just grabbed a handful and cut straight across, making sure to cut above the first set of leaves so that they could grow back. I did the same thing with the chives, which now look about ready to join the armed forces.
I’ve been pruning the sage, which I seem to have to do every few days lately. It’s crazy how quickly it grows. Cut one sprig off, and two more pop up seemingly instantly. It’s like trying to fight the Hydra from the labors of Hercules!
I can’t possibly use all of these herbs at once, so I either give them away to friends or I store them. I’ve dried some of them, but there is really nothing quite as fun as using them fresh. I like to keep mine in little glass jars, with about half an inch of water in the bottom, and put them in the door of my refrigerator. I’ve found by doing that, I can keep them for weeks and weeks on end, providing I remember to change the water every few days, just as one would do with cut flowers. It’s not the best space-saver, but I think they look so pretty in their glass jars that I try to always make room in the fridge.
That’s it for this week, folks. See you again in Week Ten! (Hey, that rhymed!)