All the photos in this blog were taken by me. The information is taken from friends, books, magazines, conversations at nurseries, the internet and a few of my own amateur-gardener thoughts. Please feel free to share your own knowledge and experiences in the comment section that follows each posting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flying Through Life

It's August and the vegetables are peaking. I picked my first harvest of tomatoes and even made a batch of Gazpacho, which symbolizes summer garden success, in my opinion. The peppers and eggplant are producing in bulk. The zucchini is tapering off. One plant seems to be just enough. The cucumbers are a bit tricky. I planted Fanfare imagining that I would like the longer version, but they are bitter. I haven't quite mastered just when to harvest them to get an optimal taste. Perhaps my largest accomplishment is the Yellow Watermelon. I picked one yesterday and everyone was impressed at breakfast. I have three more and I am going to leave them on the vine a bit longer hoping for an even sweeter treat.

Remember my last post I mentioned that one of my tomato plants turned brown and I had to pull it out? Well, Love Apple Farm's Website features an explanation, the Tomato Russet Mite.  I haven't purchased a 3x Loop to examine the leaves, but its quite possible that my tomato plant was infested with it. Its also interesting to note that it was the only plant I purchased from Love Apple Farm.  If your tomatoes are showing signs of browning and fatigue, read Cynthia's web page and act NOW! 

According to Pam Peirce from Golden Gate Gardening (my bible), "When you pick a tomato, try to break the stem at the natural separation point about 1/2 inch above the fruit, leaving the stem and little green cap attached." Also, store fruit out of direct sunlight at room temperature. Refrigeration ruins the flavor. I keep mine in a large bowl on the counter and admire the strong blast of red. Speaking of red... if you have to pick some tomatoes before they are fully ripened, you can force the ripening by putting them in a brown paper bag and rolling the top down pretty close to the bundle of fruit. In other words, don't leave a lot of space in the bag. You can't leave them in the bag for too long for obvious reasons, but they will ripen quicker than leaving them on the counter. Tomatoes give off ethylene gas, which is needed for ripening. The bag holds the gas near the fruit. Pam suggests wrapping each tomato with newspaper. That's too much of a process for me. Plus, the one, weekly newspaper I get, I feed to my worms. Did I just say worms? 

It never occurred to me that you may be worrying about my worms. Well, they're fine. They are enjoying the shredded newspaper, food scraps and a sprinkle of water,  I add to the box each week. There is a fair amount of worm castings, which will be my compost, already accumulating in the box. I haven't quite figured out how to completely separate them from the compost, but I will. So far, I would deem it a successful science experiment. 

Don't forget to fertilize your flower pots. The soil loses its nutrients quickly from all the watering during these hot summer days. I add a couple tablespoons of fish emulsion to my gallon jug of water (when I remember) and I believe it makes a difference. I also add new flowers to the pots occasionally to keep things colorful and fresh looking. Yet another reason to move towards replacing everything with succulents! 

I usually don't post other peoples' photographs, but I couldn't resist this one.  Russ, a high school friend of mine is an artist, gardener, nature-admirer and all-around great guy. He often goes on hikes around his property in Ohio with his dog, Butchie and sends pictures and fabulous stories.  He sent me this picture, titled Thirsty Butterflys.

If you've been following this blog, you know that I had baby Mockingbirds who left their nest the day of my son, Jeffrey's graduation party. We've had another significant flight happen in our house although this time it wasn't created by Mother Nature. This surprise was carefully crafted by Mother Whitney. 

Happy Birthday to my darling, daring daughter! She Soared in her Sweet Sixteen at iFly, an indoor skydiving experience. Another flight...through life.

There was a quote on a sky-blue colored wall at iFly that caught my attention:

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always be."
- Leonardo Da Vinci

Perhaps it makes me think about Jeffrey tasting his flight as he goes off to college next week. 
I better go back to the garden and find comfort from Mother Nature and ... my Buddha, who reminds me to slow down when I glance at her standing tall against the Phormium. 

P.S. Did you like the music? 


  1. Whitney,
    Keep writing. I love your blog. Your gardens are amazing and your photography is inspirational. I just bought a digital SLR. I've always loved to find the composition in things around me. Part of the journey we share as our children head out the door. All the best as you drop off Jeffrey.

  2. Hi Whitney, I've been a What's Diggin' "lurker" for the past few months and wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoy your musings about your garden. It's a nice escape to spend time catching up on what's happening in Whitney's garden.

  3. WOW! Katie Dunmire? Reading my blog? Fantastic. I've had so much fun with this and I get a thrill every time someone tells me they're a reader and they enjoy it. Thanks for letting me know!!
    And then there's Kristin... (the first comment on this posting) who I've never even met, but she's a reader. Amazing. Who would have thought? Well, I'll keep at it with a large smile...


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