Isolate the cause

Green peppers are ripe in the garden! Oh, the possibilities — pepper pizza, fajitas, stuffed peppers, and any number of dishes with these tasty green fruits as a flavoring.

I brought in the first two bell peppers from the garden yesterday. One was perfect! The other was a terrible disappointment, after cutting into it and finding brown spots on the inside. I needed to know how to prevent the rest of my pepper crop from succumbing to such an unappetizing problem. Continue reading “Isolate the cause”

Garbage as food

The ultimate recycling technique consists of using your own kitchen vegetable waste to feed the soil in the garden where you grow more vegetables. Our family also adds the weeds that come out of that garden.

This week we enjoyed some sweet corn, although we didn’t grow it.

Corn husks are not the best thing for the compost bin, but they go there anyway. We wouldn’t think of eating them. If I were a better international cook, I would save them for tamales, although they STILL wouldn’t get eaten even after they were used to hold together all that delicious corn and beef goodness. Continue reading “Garbage as food”

Faith of our fathers

June is the month for garden tours featuring daylilies in Tennessee, as they are usually at their peak. Today was no exception. With two friends as “enablers,” I went shopping at another friend’s beautiful garden for a few more daylilies to add to my burgeoning collection.

Some new varieties will now grace the garden, with features such as ruffled edges, petaloid segments, and vivid eye zones.

Of course the garden still contains a few “heirloom” daylilies, in stark contrast to some of today’s fancy new additions. I like the old, but also love the new. Continue reading “Faith of our fathers”

Stone of stumbling

It was no surprise to me to hear the nickname our son’s friends gave him — “Pyro.” From an early age, he was fascinated by fire.

His passion for fire has now matured into expert welding skills and the ability to make the best smoked pork shoulder on the planet. He must have gotten his firebug trait from his Dad, my own dear Yard Boy, who will take any opportunity to burn things in the yard. Continue reading “Stone of stumbling”

Garden first, house second

The tomato seeds are still sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be planted. Here it is, way past the last expected frost date, and all the genetic material for juicy deliciousness is still in the form of tiny round, dry discs in paper packets.

This has been a busy spring for — it seems — everything BUT gardening. The delays in planting were begun in February, when a bad case of bronchitis set in. Given the choice of scrumptious heirloom tomatoes and continuing the privilege of breathing, I chose the latter. Continue reading “Garden first, house second”

Honor to whom honor is due

It was with happy thoughts of a yellow climbing rose that I planted something on the west side of the old white trellis. The lady who traded plants with me wasn’t sure it was really the old-fashioned “Jude the Obscure,” because her tag had only been labeled “Rose by the trellis.” She has four trellises! She gave me the names of all the possibilities, and most of them were climbers.

The weeks plodded by as I anxiously awaited the blossom that would reveal the variety of my new acquisition. Being behind a three-foot wall, the first bloom came and went, unheralded and unseen! Imagine my disappointment when I saw the spent rose hip instead of a bloom. More weeks dragged by. At last, Jude opened in all his fragrant wonder! Continue reading “Honor to whom honor is due”

Leave it be!

It’s that time of the year again; garden and yard cleanup! The chore of getting all the old debris and fallen leaves out of the flower beds should really be put off until after the last frost, but most of us just can’t help ourselves.

We see new life sprouting up from the ground; and as a way of greeting our favorite perennial plants, we prematurely pull away the leaves that might have protected them against a cold snap. Leaves and plant debris around the soil can act to insulate against frosty temperatures. Continue reading “Leave it be!”

Brighten the corner where you are

In the few garden notes that I manage to keep, it is understood that the “corner garden” refers to a small patch of ground bordered on three sides, and having three corners.

It started out as the pointy space where the driveway meets the sidewalk going up to the front steps, and eventually was extended to include the whole triangle bordered by the sidewalk, driveway, and the west wall of the house. In it is buried our first pet, Muffin the cat, beneath the aging crape myrtle tree.

This was the first flower garden that we planted after we moved in, Continue reading “Brighten the corner where you are”

Calling evil good, and good evil

Shakespeare put the question, “What’s in a name?”

I choose my flower varieties on their own merits — appearance, ease of culture, hardiness, taste, etcetera. However, while putting together a design for a renovated flower bed, it became apparent that some of the gorgeous members of the new color collection had some very questionable names. Continue reading “Calling evil good, and good evil”