Got mean yellow jackets?

on Friday, September 23, 2011

Here's how to make them docile. Let them stuff themselves stupid because you got a few days behind on picking the raspberries. At this point you can pick the berries right next to the ones they're eating, and they just ignore you.

Or they fall off the berry they're ruining, and still ignore the fact you just knocked them off because they're in a sugar high.

I think it's like humans eating turkey!

The only problem is that they've trashed a ton of the berries, and now I have to wait for those berries to be eaten or fall off. The next few days could get ugly while we duke it out for the newly ripening berries and then I can keep ahead of the yellow jackets again.
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on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

These were collected from various brassicas (like broccoli and Brussels sprouts) and greens (which, I don't know, might include brassicas).

Yes, they're "cute caterpillars."

Unless you're a gardener, and then they're the larval form of the cabbage white moth. Do you know what that is? It's those pretty white "butterflies" fluttering all around.

They quickly land on a victim plant and drop off a tiiiiiny egg. You can see them if you look close enough. About the size of a period in the newspaper, but creamy yellow.

Once those hatch the tiny caterpillars grow up fast, devouring the leaves of the plants they were born on, and pooping "frass" all over the place.

For some reason, I don't seem to have any predators that like these caterpillars, so I hand pick them and toss them in the pond. You have no idea how satisfying it is to watch a fish jump up and gulp one down!

I have also been treating with a combination of Garden Dust (organic pesticide powder) and diatomacious earth (ground up dead diatoms from the ocean if I remember correctly)... These two powders DO help leave some caterpillar carcasses on the plants, but rain washes the powders away.

The best thing to do, which worked great on the spring broccoli, but I was lazy/crowded for space and didn't do for the late summer planting of broccoli, is to cover the young plants with floating row cover, a sheer fabric that lets through light and water but not insects. Stops the critters from ever getting laid!
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on Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's supposed to drop down to 41 tomorrow night? You can pretty much expect that's going to shut down most of the garden for the season!
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Just peachy!

on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Do these tomatoes look familiar to you guys?

I have to be honest - I didn't take that picture (although I did swipe it!).

That's the Wapsipinicon Peach tomato I provided for a few weeks - I think some of you got more than others, but you all got to try them.  It's the tomato name I could never pronounce, and the tomato you almost didn't get just because I didn't think they were good.  After the tomato plants got blown over (and ripped from the ground) by midsummer storms, these little guys started to appear but didn't look right.  They didn't have the usual "gloss" that you expect on tomatoes, and they were an odd size and not a perfectly round shape.  I seriously thought they were duds on a stressed plant!

Good thing my neighbor said he was going to try one, even though I was saying "no no, don't put that in your mouth - I think they're bad!"  And here The Kitchn blog is spotlighting them as a great tomato experience from this summer!

I'd seen the seeds listed for at least a few years now, but never had the nerve to take up garden space by ordering them.  This year I wanted something new, and ordered them from Totally Tomatoes, where I get a lot of my tomato seeds.  They have a surprisingly fresh and juicy taste to them, and according to Totally Tomatoes, they're "Named after the Wapsipinicon River in northeast Iowa. Heavy yielding."  That "heavy yielding" part would seem true - in a year where some of my plants didn't produce a single fruit that made it all the way through to ripening, this plant was a trooper.

Now that the weather's cooling off, the hours of daylight are shortening, and the annual tomato-plant diseases are wrecking havoc, these Wapsipinicon Peach tomatoes are fizzling out.  I doubt we'll have any more to harvest this season.  So what do you think - would they be worth growing again next year!?

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Playing things a little different this time!

on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hey folks - because things have been so rushed since getting back from Kansas Sunday evening, and because I've been hearing more "I'm really not into such-and-such" comments, I'm doing things a little differently with my portion of your shares this week. As you can see here, there were a lot of super-sized veggies when we got home from Kansas:

Because I was short on time for sorting out individual boxes, I've sort of grouped a bunch of the items together into a pool (cukes, squash, eggplants, okra, large tomatoes, etc), got the grand total, and found that each person can have 14 "things" - that could include "a bundle of yardlong beans" (there's only one), raspberries (yes, it's true! there's three containers!), a large tomato or three small green zebra tomatoes, a cucumber, a squash, etc... It's first come, first serve, so the early bird gets best pick. (As you can see in the picture, there's plenty to choose from)

Each person is also getting a small container of cherry tomatoes (I don't think anyone's passed on those), a mix of herbs, and if interested, sunflowers! (You can pretend you were in Kansas this week as well!)

 Hope to see you out in the parking lot at 9am!
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New tool for the backyard garden

on Thursday, September 1, 2011

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Out on the farm

Visiting family in Kansas.
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