GTS 12-28-08

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Wow, I can't believe that I haven't posted since the middle of November! Things got a little stressful then, making Christmas presents, dealing with a death in the family and a few other things that didn't go quite the way my family expected.
Hopefully I haven't been kicked off the GTS blogroll. Today's my birthday, and look what my family got f'or me!

I still have a few belated gifts to finish, but once those are done I plan to start blogging twice a week. If you get tired of waiting, feel free to wander over to my other blog and see the Christmas presents I've made and recieved.


GTS 11-16-08

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

My Mom's Christmas Cactus has decided to bloom for Thanksgiving!

Happy GTS~


Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Some old(er) pictures this week. The first two are of my Cypress vine. The orange flower in the close-up is a black-eyed susan vine. The pictures were taken 9-7-08.

The second two are of the cypress vines at Montecello. We stopped there on our way back from vacation. Eventually I will get around to a long post on Montecello and the gardens, but not today.


Happy GTS~


Autumn Harvest GTS 10-26-08

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

There was supposed to be a hard frost about a week ago so I decided to work at putting the garden to bed. I picked all the tomatoes, and now have two paper bags of green tomatoes ripening in the basement.

The bag on the right has 'saladette' tomatoes. They are slightly larger than grape tomatoes, taste good, and produce prolifically. I was amazed at how much the plant had grown over the summer. The variety is Juliet. I will be looking for this plant next summer.

The sweet peppers were pretty much done, so I picked all the fruit. The hot peppers were still growing pretty well, so I picked the ripe ones and covered the plants with a grow tunnel.

All three varieties of hot pepper are pictured to the right. The long one on the left and the curled up one are Sweet Cayenne peppers. They are the mildest of the three, and I will try to grow them again next year. The middle bottom is a Santiago Hybrid. They are the hottest, and I'm the only one who enjoys them in my food in large quantities. The pepper on the far right is a Hot Portugal. It is also very hot, and the plant did not grow very well. The plant only produced one pepper - I don't know if it was too shaded by other plants, or if it just got a poor start. These were the peppers from my Ferry-Morse mini greenhouse kit.

Happy GTS~


Helpful Links

You may or may not find these links interesting. I've been going through the email I ignored while knitting hats, and found these links.

Thymes: This site sells bath, body, and home, products. I've looked at some of the ingredient lists, and although the products are not 100% natural, they are much better than some other things I've seen. For some reason the I can't view the ingredient lists right now -I think it's a site bug. I may give some of their stuff a try, and will blog about it if I do.

Call 811: If you are going to be doing any digging in your yard, call 811. Their website says that your underground utility lines will be marked for free. 'Nuff said.

Mother Earth News: This is a search engine specifically for finding mail-order garden resources. I haven't been very successful with it, but maybe you will enter the magic search term that finds exactly what you want.

Great Big Plants: I did not have the opportunity to try this on my gardens this year, but I was very pleased witht the way it perked up the houseplants. I did use it on my seedlings, and was very pleased with the results. I would recomend this to anyone looking for an organic fertilizer, or anyone just looking for a fertilizer.

I hope that some of these links will help with your gardening adventures.


GTS 10-12-08

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

I thought I'd share one of the few plants that really took off this year. This is my Mom's Black Eyed Susan Vine. Mine didn't do so well, although I got a couple of blooms. Either it hated my trellis, or it got too much sun. Anyway, these pictures were taken 9-7 and 9-14.


Oak Island Lighthouse Pictures

* Warning: This is a picture heavy post*
I have finally gotten around to looking at my Oak Island Lighthouse pictures. The fine print on the sign says "The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, donated this land to the Town of Caswell Beach for public recreation use through the Federal Lands to Parks Program.

Some trivia:
  • The Oak Island Lighthouse is the second-newest lighthouse on the East Coast, and the last lighthouse built in North Carolina
  • Instead of stairs, this lighthouse has ship's ladders.
  • The lighthouse is made entirely of concrete. Concrete was poured continuously for seven days to ensure that there would not be any weak joints.
  • The colors of the lighthouse were mixed into the cement; it will never need painting.
  • The tower is designed not to sway in 100 mph wind.

We went on Saturday, and were taken up the first set of ladders. My sister and I were able to sign up for a tour that was going all the way to the top on Monday.

Then we walked down the boardwalk that led to the beach - it gives a great view of the lighthouse, and you can see Old Baldy - just barely.

Old Baldy

The lighthouse has a total of 131 steps, with landings every so often for people to rest on. Although I'd been
exercising for a few weeks before the trip, I was out of breath by the time we got to the top. It was very windy on top, as you might expect, being 150-some-odd feet above the water. We were on the lower balcony in the picture to the left.

This is the view that greeted us when we first stepped outside. The ocean is on the left and to the right is part of the International Waterway.

 When I looked down, I noticed some gardens, and took a few pictures. (See this post is garden-related - a little)

I like the way this one is shaped - it makes a gorgeous setting for sitting and talking, or even a dinner. I also liked how the purple plants offset the Yucca in the center.

This was at the entrance to a driveway. It's not overly flashy, but it definately makes a statement.

Since purple is my favorite color, I had to photograph this one!
This picture looks down at the boardwalk in front of the lighthouse. The compass rose in the center could not be seen from the ground.
Me and my sis getting new hairdos from the wind.

Before going back down, I got to take a picture of the light. It runs 24/7, so I was able to see the lights turning and flashing.

This picture is looking straight down into an elevator shaft that is used to move supplies (but not people) up and down the lighthouse.
I got most of the facts about the lighthouse from its official site, here, and from a brochure about the lighthouse.


Damage From Ike

By the time Ike reached Rochester, NY, it's force was greatly diminished. It still manged to do plenty of damage, though.
Our flowering pear tree snapped in two. Apparently an insect burrowed into the trunk and made a ring around the inside, so the tree would have died anyway. I would love another flowering pear - and it would match our other tree that survived the storm. My sister wants a fast-growing tree. My parents are open to suggestion. So, can anyone suggest anything to replace it with?
The tomatoes didn't suffer too much, and I was able to rescue the ones that fell before the slugs got to them.
The peppers weren't so fortunate.
The garden swing took a beating. There wasn't really any damage so I put it back together, and it's good as new. 

Coming up: Some pictures from vacation.


I Don't Like Ike

The hurricane, that is. Ike is currently buffeting our house, yard, gardens, neighborhood, and city with winds up to 60 mph. My flowers are probably going to drop all the seeds I didn't collect today. The veggies- well I'd rather not think about that. I suspect that all most of my tomatoes will have fallen to the ground, stems will be broken off, and I'll have to race the slugs for the fallen tomatoes.

Thanks Ike.


On a brighter note, I got 3 columns back on my blog, and am using a background from The Cutest Blog on the Block. For some reason the three column backgrounds are too wide, so I'm just using a regular background.



GTS Four o' Clocks

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.
These are my Four o' Clocks. I purchased the seeds from Park's; the Mirabilis Broken Colors. The first one wasn't being very photogenic, but it is white with pink stripes.  
Happy GTS~


Peppers; Hot & Sweet

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

It's been a while since I've had anything for GTS.  Today the peppers are the best looking plants in my garden.
This is a Sweet Cayenne pepper. It came in the hot pepper kit.
Santiago Hot Pepper. Also from the hot pepper kit.
Sweet Bell Peppers. Bought from Gro-Moore farm market. 


On Vacation

I'm on vacation for a couple weeks, and when I get back I will try to get back to posting regularly.


Quick Update

My vegetable garden has not been very exciting, so I haven't posted much. My flower garden did mange to perk up a bit, however I've not taken any pictures. I've also been busy planning for my vacation next week and amassing a huge To-Do list.
Anyway, I harvested my first tomatoes last week. If grape tomatoes count. Actually, they're more the size of a small roma tomato. The variety is Juliet. I did pick one mostly-ripe Brandywine and one Mrs. Benson had fallen off a plant. The Mrs. Benson tomatoes are doing very poorly. They either have early blight or alternaria canker. I'm not sure that anything can be done other than trying different varieties net year. It is starting to spread to the Brandywines, as well. I had it last year, as well, but this year it is starting much earlier.

The melons and cucumbers are dying - at least the foliage is. I'm rather disappointed that for all the flowers, there are only 2 melons and 3 cucumbers. I'm still not sure when to harvest the Asian melon, and the internet seems especially vague on the topic. The cucumbers can probably be harvested anytime.

Yesterday I was checking the garden and discovered that slugs had discovered the sweet peppers. For some reason they've ignored the hot peppers. So, I picked the peppers with holes in them and spread some slug pellets around. After cleaning the peppers and cutting out bad spots, I was able to salvage one cup of chopped pepper, and about a cup and a half of pepper strips. The chopped ones went into the freezer, and I used the strips in tonights dinner - I made Ratatouille.

After one harvest of pitifully thin beans, the rest were eaten by something. The second planting looks just as poor. The zucchini died from a hail storm, and took the lettuce with it. (The huge leaves were keeping the lettuce from bolting.)

The hot peppers seem to be doing well, although one plant turned out to be a tomato. I pulled it out, and Mom persuaded me to plant it instead of composting it. It seems very happy and is starting to produce fruit.

So, that's pretty much the sad story of my veggies. The prime suspect for such dismal failure is the excess rain over the past two months and the chilly frigid temperatures at night. (They have been in the low 50's to upper 60's for nearly two months.) I plan on posting some pictures over the next week, but don't hold me to it!


Happy Thyme

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

It been a while since my last GTS post. This is one of my 'happy plants'. It hasn't been eaten by bugs, damaged by the hailstorm 2 weeks ago, or gotten any diseases. I'm pretty sure it's Thyme, although it does not have a strong flavor.

I'm still debating about what to do about my blog template. Right now I'm playing around with creating my own.

Hopefully I can get a full veggie garden update done this week. Briefly, most things are doing well. The zucchini was hardest hit by the hail storm, and is still recovering. Something is eating my green beans, and the Mrs. Benson tomatoes appear to have early blight. I may try a different variety next year, or plant all Brandywines, as my Mom thinks she likes them better than Mrs. Benson tomatoes. My cucumbers are very happy - they've grown across the path and up the fence. One of the melon vines has a melon about the size of a baseball - can anyone tell when to harvest it? It's an heirloom Asian melon from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.



Blog Trouble

After publishing my last post, I discovered that my background is missing. I'm going to change my template for now, so please be patient during my construction.

Veggies and Zucchini

*I started this post on Monday but due to a series of (mostly) uncontrollable events, I'm finishing it tonight.* I was just about to go outside and get some pictures for this post when it started raining. Now that I'm writing the post, the rain has stopped and the sun is coming out. Oh well. On to the veggies!

The current Zucchini count is 5 with more on the way. Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen posted her 10 favorite Zucchini recipes - the one with Spinach and Basil Pesto sounds really good. I'd also like to try making ratatouille.
The Cucumbers and Melons are doing surprisingly well. Cucumbers never grew very well at the old house, and we never tried melons. (These were the free seeds from Baker Creek) I had to put up some chicken wire to keep them out of the peppers, and now they've grown across the path and are growing up the fence. They have a lot of blossoms, so I'm expecting a large harvest.

The tomatoes are growing s-l-o-w-l-y. The current average size is between a golf ball and a softball. The grape tomato has several fruits and is also growing slowly.

Peppers- the sweet peppers are starting to set tiny fruits. The hot peppers are not very happy. The Sweet Cayenne are doing well and each plant has one 5-7" pepper on it. The Santiago are trying to set fruit, but not working very hard. The Hot Portugal just look droopy. Maybe the rain will help them.

The first planting of beans has flowered, I planted another square, but the seeds aren't germinating very fast. I also had to replant more than half my carrots, and I think a bird took a dust bath where most of the seeds were planted.

For some reason I planted my garlic too deep. I have smaller bulbs than I expected, but they will probably turn out just fine for cooking. (Picture soon!)

The Sugar Snap Peas are pretty much done. We got enough to have them with dinner twice. They are good plain, but saute them in some homemade Italian dressing, and prepare to be amazed! I use the mix here and then mix it up with Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar.
That's all for now!


GTS Herbs

Green Thumb Sunday

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday; visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

I currently have 3 pots with herbs and will start another this week.  The pot below has Cilantro, Basil, and Oregano in it. The Basil and Cilantro were part of my wintersowing experiment. The Cilantro has bolted, and setting seed. Once the seed matures, I will save it and start more plants.
 The pot on the left has Lovage and Thyme, I think. The plant that I think is Thyme was wintersown and the label washed off. The rest of the plants played musical labels.
The pot on the right has Pineapple Sage that wintered over inside, Parsley, and Lovage.
Happy GTS-