Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gardening and confession

So the weeding is coming along...slowly but surely. We had wicked T-storms and wind last night but I didnt think much about it outside of it was raining. We didnt do our normal garden walk this morning and when we did get out there we found many of our plants had been knocked around or down. One of my jalepenos that was NOT blown around looks like it is just up and dying. Not sure what is going on there..It looks like it's drying up or something. Everyone else in the row was doing good. Forgot to get a picture. I will remedy it tomorrow.

We have lots of things finally flowering and actually have the beginnings of edibles!!! The herb patch is going well. I harvested a lot of basil and some thyme and they are in the dehydrator as we speak. I have some actual watermelons thats getting bigger and round. The cantaloup and honeydew have massive flowers. The spaghetti squash is massive too. I have picked a few jalepenos...no worries about salmonella here lemme tell ya! And I found out that the cayenne peppers aren't cayenne...which sucks. The peppers seem to be coming along very nicely besides that little snafu. The corn is coming along as well as the pole beans...though I need bigger poles next year. The cukes are doing great and Bill harvested a small turnip and declared it divine. The bush green beans seem to be struggling. I think thats due to the beetle attack. The tomatoes are massive flowering but not much fruit. I am going to go through and pinch some of the flowers off so the plant can focus on bigger fruits. Only one type of lettuce came up. A few carrots have survived and sprouted. The gourd patch is growing but not flowering.

I do have a confession. We used Sevin dust this year. Im not comfortable with that at all but a decision had to be made and Bill kind of made it for me. He has promised that if I can find something else that actually works against the japanese beetles that tried to invade then we will do that next year. He felt his hands were a bit tied as well. We haven't used any pesticides on the garden til now. Haven't even used fertilizer. Quite honestly I feel like a fraud and am disappointed. People I've talked to round here don't seem to get why Im a bit upset about it. With the exception of two people, they saw it as completely normal. Those two thankfully didnt try to stone me or anything, they said that I should just focus on next year and plan, plan, plan.

Im a little wired tonight so I will probably post later but I need to get a shower. So to wrap it up I do have some questions for you guys. Dill - How do you usually harvest yours? Also, what all can you use Texas Tarragon for?


Kathie said...

Hey, don't feel like a fraud - it happened. Let it go and try some diatomaceous earth instead next year.

Wendy said...

Dill - I cut the stalks near the bottom. Then, I tie string around the stalks and hang it upside down someplace that's relatively cool, dry and out of direct sunlight. It is recommended that you tie a bag around the flower heads, or you'll end up with seeds all over the place ;). After a couple of weeks, when it's all crumbly, take it down, separate the leaves part and the seeds parts and store them in separate airtight containers.

Or you can use the fresh flower heads in your jars of homemade dilly pickles ;).

Tarragon is my favorite herb. It's great in just about everything. I use French Tarragon, though, not Texas Tarragon, and so I don't know if there is a difference. French tarragon has a very licoricy flavor, which makes it ideal for egg dishes (like quiche) and on fish.

Birds work really well against the Japanese beetles, but that takes a long time. We have a lot of Japanese beetles around, and whenever I dig, I find their larvae, but they have, yet, to decimate any of my crops, because we also have a lot of other beneficials, and I think they keep each other in check. If using pesticides bothers you and you have the time to allow your property to balance itself, you might just let them go. Having them there will invite the things that eat them ;). You might also try companion planting, wherein you plant something they love next to something they hate, and the plant they hate will serve to keep them away from the plant they'll destroy.

But I'm lazy, and cheap, and I tend to just let things happen as they will. That's not always the smartest way to do things ;).