Aug 28, 2011

The Battle of the Fruit Flies

Oh yeah.  It's EPIC.  Almost 1 year of composting with worms, and I haven't had any problems.  However, we eat a lot of bananas.  And apparently bananas are one of the things most commonly covered in fruit fly eggs.  (Invisible to the naked eye.)  So, it was just a matter of time before I suffered an outbreak.

Because our worm bin is in the basement, they are mostly flying around down there.  But they have been spotted in other areas of the house by my informant, Penny, who is doing her part to kill those flies.

My informant and I have now jointly declared war on the fruit flies.  The key, according to online sources, is to cover the bin with fresh bedding.  I have done that.  They also recommend traps. I have made some with apple cider vinegar and saran wrap covered bowls.  Finally, one lady online suggested sucking them up with a vacuum.  Each female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs.  500 EGGS!!!  So, I am not below sucking them up with a vacuum.

Armed with these deadly weapons (apple cider vinegar traps, a vacuum hose, and newspaper) I hope this battle is over soon.  I don't have a picture of me with my gear, since it's a top secret war plan.  I also don't have a picture of the enemy.  (Any time one lands I try to kill it.)  But you should know I will not rest until every fly is eradicated. 

Okay, I'll probably sleep.  =)  Wish me luck!

Aug 21, 2011

In the Ghetto

Things are progressing, albeit slowly in my little garden.  My living wall of green has taken over the PVC trellis my wonderful husband built.  Now, I must admit to you all that when it came to building my trellis, I showed my WH the design I wanted, and let him take over.  I know he often enjoys projects, and I was recovering from surgery, so he took the idea and ran with it.  =)  You can see the original post here.   And the trellis has worked well, up to this point.

My how things have changed.  Now, the poor trellis has taken to leaning a little under the weight of all the plants.  There are 2 cucumbers, 3 tomatoes, and one melon all reaching for space on this trellis. So, I thought it was normal.

See the melon vine reaching for space?  Well, I asked my husband to loop it around so it could climb back down.  And he looked at the trellis and said, "Hmm...  the book said not to use PVC, and now I can see why."  Then my WH decided to "fix" the problem.  Here is his cough*ghetto solution.

It's kind of hard to see, but my trellis is now staked with twine and pavers.  Someone, please help me.

"People don't you understand, this child needs a helping hand... In the Ghetto." =)

Aug 17, 2011

Prune those suckers!!

Has anyone else ever heard of tomatoes being called "love apples?"  I am only going to refer to my tomatoes as love apples from now on.  I must have read that term somewhere and it stuck with me.  However, I haven't found anyone who knows what I am talking about when I start to go on about love apples.

For the record, I did a google search, and it comes from the literal French translation.  Who knew? From, "... [T]here were those who believed this enticing, bright red fruit had aphrodisiac powers, as did the French, who called it pomme d'amour or love apple..." 

I digress, as usual.  The point of this post (yes, there is a point) is to show you what to prune when you grow your own tomatoes, ahem, I mean love apples. =) Mine are currently forming a living green wall, but I can still get in there to prune. 

It is looking so crazy! Aside: If you care WHY you should prune them, you can read the following two paragraphs.  If you want to follow my advice blindly... Well, enter at your own risk.  Or something.

Pruning suckers from your plants is a good thing to do because it helps just one main branch grow.  The suckers will develop into other fruit bearing branches.

This sounds like a good thing, but all the different branches will be competing for nutrients, and THAT could result in smaller fruit.  They literally suck the life out of the plant.  So, what does a sucker look like?

In the above photo, my index finger is on the sucker.  (Ha!)  It is a stem that grows in the crook in-between the stem and a branch.  So, take your pruners and just cut that bad boy off.  When they are smaller, you can just pinch them in between your fingers, but as they get bigger it is safer for the plant if you use pruners.  

Lesson of the day: Prune those suckers!!  =)  Thank you.  You may now return to your previously scheduled programming.

Aug 11, 2011

Not-so-big ones

I have the TV on right now, and Regis and Kelly are talking about produce.  Kelly is saying that the show's producer was talking about his big zucchini, and that they have never seen his big zucchini.  I'm sorry, I can't continue.  I'm laughing too hard.  (Growing in New York, I think it must be partly a radioactive zucchini or something.)  =)

I have talked to a lot of people around here who have a garden or know someone who does...  The lack of rain and blistering temps, which are unusual for Kansas, have made everyone suffer.  Most of all, the plants!  =)  Some people have given up the good fight.  Others, like me, have a well-established garden that just isn't producing much.  We are all wishing and hoping that cooler temps will bring more produce. Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying....

This picture is taken from my bedroom window, because the rain arrived!!   Along with the rain, the mosquitoes arrived (they LOVE me and I am trying not to scratch right now), and cooler temps are just around the corner.  What a tough year to start my first garden! There were a few surprises out in my garden, and while they do not include a giant zucchini, I'm pretty happy with what I have!

Time for a salad, I think! 

Aug 7, 2011

Vegetables of my labor

Why doesn't anyone ever say that?  Fruits of my labor, sure.  But never vegetables!  Poor underrated vegetables. 

I recently made pesto from the fresh basil in my garden.  It was a thing of beauty and joy forever. Well, at least until I ate it all. =)  Considering the slow production of the rest of my garden, I'll take it.  This pesto was so beautiful and delicious I forgot to take a picture before I used it.  Whoops.   However, I made a version of Pioneer Woman's pesto vegetable pizza, and it was fabulous. 

Oh, I could eat this every night!  Delicious.  I grilled my veggies (portabello mushrooms, zucchini, squash, tri-color bell peppers) after drizzing them with a mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar, and I only used fresh mozzarella for my cheese. Here's the original recipe if you want to check it out for yourselves.