Friday, July 8, 2011

Gardening Rants and Raves

If you look closely you may notice the brown foliage on some of the tomatoes.  I'm not sure if we have "wilt", "blight" or maybe both!  What I do know is that for the second year, the quality of tomatoes is not what it should be. 

The angel wing begonias had recuperated nicely from their winter slump, which included being eaten as "salad" by Charlie cat and his tribe.
Gina and I put them on the front porch which faces east.  J. moved them near the edge while sweeping the porch and I thought they would be fine. An early morning rain was followed by sun and the leaves, where still
damp, were scalded.

Matt bellowed from the porch for me to look at this thing: a tomato horn worm with strange 'growths" covering it.
An internet search provided the following:
Timothy J. Gibb, Insect Diagnostician, Dept. of Entomology, Purdue University

Finding a large green tomato hornworm caterpillar on your tomato plant is never a good sign – unless, that is, it has small white capsules attached all over its back. The white capsules on its back, frequently mistaken for "hornworm eggs" are actually the pupal stage of a tiny wasp called a Braconid. As Braconid larvae, these wasps fed on the insides of this hornworm and have now completed that feeding and are preparing to emerge as tiny wasps. Under such circumstances, the hornworm caterpillar might be capable of slow sluggish movement but is incapable of further feeding and will die very shortly. In the meantime it serves a very valuable function as a nursery for these wasps. When they emerge, the adult wasps will fly off to hunt for other hornworms to parasitize. So, if you leave the parasitized hornworm in place and allow the parasites to emerge, you are in effect killing many other hornworms in the vicinity.

The Charles Albanel rugosa is still not as thrifty as it should be, but it is alive and flowering.
The roses must be enjoyed early in the day--by noon the Japanese beetles have renewed their attacks.

Earlier, tiny green caterpillars damaged the leaves of the hibiscus.  J. sprayed the shrub with Sevin which left it looking a bit mottled and ragged.
The first of the pink blooms opened this week--lovely in spite of the less than handsome foliage.

The first of the sunflowers in bud.  That center has such a design appeal.

The magnolia is blooming. The scent floats on the heavy humid air.

A gaudy zinnia, self-sown from last season.

The cucumbers are doing too well!
We eat them, we give them away.
I have made 11 1/2 quarts of pickles using my friend Claire's recipe.
There are more cukes cooling in the fridge. more on the kitchen counter.
And I am too tired to start another batch of pickles!

The green beans needed picking yesterday.  I stood at the sink, rinsing, then snipping tails and stem ends.
I sat at the diningroom table to break the beans [as they say in Kentucky!]
then into the pressure canner, 7 quarts.
The ktichen was steamy and cluttered.
I think about next winter when the beans will be appreciated.
I pulled up zuchinni plants which had been invaded by vine borers--nasty creatures, and invisible til the damage is done.
I admired the fat stripey watermelons ripening on the strong green runners.
Just now, for these hot weeks of high summer, the garden, with its triumphs and failures, rules the household.


  1. My goodness, loads of produce! Wish I were brave enough to can, but thoughts of botulism always run through my head.

  2. Sorry ....missed this one ...too intregued by 2nd kitten. That is a lot of produce ...looks like a heavey crop of tomatoes ...even though the foliage has died a bit. That bug is weird ...very interesing about the wasps though.