Attacked!

I worked and worked at getting all my plants this far only to come home one day and find them all beaten and abused. My Da Barrao tomato plant in the cage was brutally assaulted by a pair of thugs whom I found napping at the base of the plant after their Roman-like gorging.  The assailants hollowed-out the vine until it separated completely from the plant.

My Habanero plant and my Grandpa’s Home Pepper pepper plants were also attacked by the same type of caterpillar. The peppers were feet away –one is at least 12 feet away. All plants may recover. I hope.

The tip of the tomato plant, separated from the plant

Hollowed-out

The Perpetrators

FLOWER REPORT

The Geum is about to bloom. I don’t remember what the flower looks like so I am excited. The rest of the perennial flowers I planted look very sad. I hope that this is a temporary condition as they settle into their new surroundings.

RAIN BARRELS

I found a really good video on YouTube that shows you how to build a rain barrel using a trash can and some pvc pipe and pvc fittings.  I got some of the stuff at Lowe’s but not everything. I want to have all I need ready when the 55 gallon drums are available at the car wash.

Over and out.

It’s a deep subject

I have a well and for the past three years I have not used it. This well was dug by the original owner of this house. The well was dug solely for watering the lawn. I know this because the sprinkler system was connected to the well and the well was capped. Three years ago the pump of the sprinkler system went out and I could not get a single sprinkler company to fix it. I suppose there is no money on replacing pumps. I suppose if I called them to install a new sprinkler system they would come. I suppose I could just replace my lawn with something else. Last year I began searching for an inexpensive hand pump system to pump water from this well. It is just sitting there going to waste.

Free water for the taking

MORE FREE WATER

My 50 gallon rain barrel is full. I need more rain barrels! Joe’s Car Wash here in town sells 55 gallon plastic drums for $20 dollars. They were out for the moment but I left my name and number and they will call me when they have some available.

50 gallons ready to go!

BAGGED FRUIT

I bagged some fruit on the trees to see what happens. The idea is to protect the fruit from bugs and birds. This has been done for a long time in Asia and for a while in the U.S. I used cheap zip-lock bags acquired at the dollar store. Cut holes at the bottom corners and zip around the stem of the fruit. Staple on both sides of the stem. This is easier if you zip the bag half-way and put one staple on before you insert the fruit in the bag. I am excited to see the results in late Summer.

It's in the bag

TOMATOES PLUS

The Amateur’s Dream tomatoes are growing nicely. My cabbage and broccoli are doing well. The peas are beginning to plump and just about every tomato plant in the garden has blooms. The potato plants are lush. I found a caterpillar in one of the tomato plants and some aphids in one of the apple trees. Other than that, the bugs are elsewhere.

Looking good!

This little guy was having lunch.

Hey! I am eating here!

Over and out.

Wind-blown Sunday

It rained yesterday. Around 4:30 pm or so we even got tiny hail briefly. Today it was sunny most of the day but very windy. Still, it was a good day to work outside.

First I set up my 35 gallon rain barrel. I bought this rain barrel some years ago before I knew better. It was terribly expensive but it has held up well. My dog ate the hose on it several times and even began chewing on the spout. I bought a second rain barrel last year but it broke due to my negligence. By the way, Lexie ate the hose on that one too. A couple of months ago I bought a 50 gallon rain barrel at Sam’s. It was reasonably priced at about $80 American dollars. We have a rain barrel maker here in the city. I keep thinking I am going to buy a rain barrel from him but it hasn’t happened yet. I still have a spot for a third barrel so maybe later this season I will buy one from him.

Expensive 35 gallon barrel at the ready

After getting the barrel set up, I prepared a new area for plants in my yard. I planted 10 tomato plants and put a home-made sub-irrigated container for some peppers. I planted Ancho Magnifico, Jalapeno M, Sunbright, and Mini Bell. I planted 6 plants total in the container. I normally would not have planted more than 4 in a container this size but the instruction booklet that came with my upside down pepper planter claims that if you crowd pepper plants, they produce more peppers. I don’t believe that but I will try it here. By the way, all the plants in the Upsy Turvey pepper planter were killed by the high winds.

Growing room

AMATEUR’S DREAM

My Amateur’s Dream tomato plant in the cage has blooms already. It’s not even May and this plant is ready to go.  We are expecting a few nights in the low 40’s Fahrenheit (approx. 5 C) so even if the flowers are pollinated the plant may not set fruit. Again, this plant is proving to be my earliest performer.

Amateur's Dream ready to go!

BLACK BERRY…no not the phone; the plant.

While mowing, I found that the Black Berry plant has began spreading. In the blurry photo below, you are looking at a shoot from the plant about 4 feet away. I accidentally mowed another shoot that was growing about 6 feet away. My 4 year old son stepped on yet another shoot growing about 3 feet away. My neighbor’s yard is only about 10 feet away from this plant. I can see I will have to manage this!

World Conquest and Domination!

THE PILE

I’ve read in a couple of other blogs about their Piles. The Pile is basically a place where all manner of dead vegetation goes. I dug a hole and promptly filled it with dead plant matter. I have a composter but I am managing that differently and more carefully than the pile. We’ll see what comes of this.

The Pile. Where dead plants go to....mmmm...die?

POTATOES

My potatoes in bags and such are growing fast. I unfolded the bags completely and filled dirt again. I will pour dirt into them one more time in a few days and then I will wait for the harvest. My early potatoes may be ready to go by the end of May. My Kennebec potatoes will take longer.

Potatoes in the bag

TOMATO PROFILE

I began attempting to grow Brandywine tomatoes after reading the book The 64 Dollar Tomato by William Alexander. I successfully grew them last season. Although they are a bit too sweet for me I liked them well enough to grow them again. You can find black, red, and pink varieties of Brandywine tomatoes. I am growing red ones here. The plant is Indeterminate and will grow to over 6 feet tall.  It is a potato-leaf tomato and its flowers are the type that will allow for cross breeding so if you want to save seeds from this plant you may want to isolate it to make sure you get the same tomato next season. The tomatoes are large and the plant produces well.

Brandywine before it reaches for the sky