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Gloom and Bloom Day Autumn, 2014

Cosmos

Why are there cosmos in my kitchen garden? Someone once told me that cosmos growing with sweet corn keep away corn ear worms. I still don’t know whether it works, but I’ve yet to find ear worms in my corn. This year, the corn didn’t do well, but the cosmos plants are about ten feet tall and bursting with blossoms.

There had been a power outage by the time I woke up this morning. It was raining. For a few minutes during the day, the rain stopped, but when I had a chance to get out to the garden and make photos, I got wet.

Lighting was horrible… my super-sophisticated camera struggles in low light, and cloud cover certainly kept the light low. Still, some nice things happened in the rain. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day corresponds this month with our average first frost date so it’s great to find blossoms pretty much everywhere in my kitchen garden. Photos tell the story.

Pepper blossom

My pepper plants have done well. I’ve canned a lot of pepper relish, chili sauce, and salsa. Also, we’ve eaten peppers throughout the summer. It’s sad to see blossoms and buds on virtually every plant and know that they all will be frozen off before they can produce fruit.

Tomato blossom

This may be the most raggedy tomato blossom ever to grace my blog. It is absolutely the last tomato blossom of the season. Amazingly, late blight had arrived by mid summer, but unseasonably cool, dry weather somehow held it in check. I harvested lots and lots of tomatoes before the blight came back to life and reduced my plants to blackened, shriveled masses. There’s almost nothing left.

Zucchini blossom

The zucchini seeds I planted in early spring got smothered by leaf mulch that wouldn’t hold its position around young sprouts. So, I planted more zucchini seeds and they grew up into enormous, sprawling winter squash plants. Apparently, I mixed up my seed packets. So, in late summer, I made a final attempt to rear zucchini plants. They have done well, and I’ve already harvested enough zukes to make me happy… but there are several more ready or on their way. Is that enough? Not for zucchini plants! This flower really wanted to open today, but realized its load of pollen would go to waste; I expect it to be in full bloom tomorrow.

Neck Pumpkin blossom

My winter squash—exclusively neck pumpkin this year—has been prolific. From two hills there must be close to a dozen fruits, and I have not been diligent about hand-pollinating. I’ve harvested a few, and more are ready, but I’m keeping special eye on a monster that hangs from the trellis and rests on the ground. When I stand next to it, the top of the squash reaches about six inches above my knee. That’s about 30 inches of squash and I’m guessing it’ll weigh in close to 20 pounds. I’ll post about it when I harvest in the next week or so. The photo shows one of about four winter squash blossoms that opened today.

Pea blossom in the rain

I planted pea seeds close to August 15th, figuring 65 days to maturity would bring them home just about today. They started blooming only two days ago, so I’m hoping for two or three weeks of seasonably warm weather; perhaps I’ll get a small harvest before snow falls.

Marjoram in bloom

Marjoram has been my favorite plant in this year’s kitchen garden. It has been in bloom continually since mid July… that’s three months of color and food for pollinators. I’m seriously considering propagating my marjoram to plant a larger corner of the yard.

Hydrangea blossoms

In the winter of 2012-2013, critters chewed my recently-planted hydrangeas back to the soil. In 2013, the plants bounced back only to be eaten to the ground in winter of 2013-2014. Despite the abuse the plants have gotten, one managed to put out a single cluster of blossoms very late in the season. I think they’re gorgeous and would love to see the plants grow up so they can spew flower clusters everywhere. No, hydrangeas have nothing to do with kitchen gardening. This winter, I’m putting a fence around them.

Gaillardia blossom

When I look over the fence from inside my kitchen garden, I can see an ornamental bed my wife has managed for many years. This was her breakout year: new perennials got established quickly, and annuals exploded, putting on quite a show. For the first time in many attempts, gaillardia looks permanent. I hope it survives the winter.

 

6 Responses to “Gloom and Bloom Day Autumn, 2014”

  • The photos of the flowers that you post are so wonderful :)

  • I think your camera did quite well considering. :) I also grew a lot of peppers this summer. They performed better than anything else in the vegetable garden except perhaps, the tomatoes. I now need to get out there and clean up. I tried growing squash, but the squash bugs killed everything I tried. What they didn’t get, the borers did. Oh well, there’s always next year. ~~Dee

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Mike: You’re very kind. Thanks for having a look!

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Dee: Nice to see you here! I know your pain. I’ve had much luck beating squash bugs and SVB by setting winter squash seedlings in my garden in early July. Don’t know what the right date would be out your way, but I understand the bugs more-or-less finish reproducing at some point, and there’s still enough time for squash to mature if your wait out the bugs. In any case, good luck next year. I hate it when I loose a crop, but it tends to motivate me to learn more and try to do better on my second and third attempts.

  • Anna:

    You made a rainy day colorful and vibrant! Truly, you see the beauty in it all. We had a very rainy spring where I live this year, but I have to brag- the summer and now this fall have been a real treat. The summer was warm but not too much so, and this fall has been fairly dry but warm, extending some of my garden a bit which is very welcome- given that we usually have about 5 months of snow on the ground a year here. :) I loved your raggedy tomato bloom.

  • Valery Guptill:

    Hello, so sorry I did not leave my physical address, I would love to receive some of your seeds. My address is 28921 Crosby Dr, Menifee, CA 92586.rnrnThank you,rnrnValery

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