Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This isn't my garden, but its a nice one.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Just another dog-in-the-garden picture today. This picture is from yesterday. Today is wet. A driving rain and lots of wind. Dark. It seems like the sun never came up. But nice and warm - in the 60's.

more pictures of skip

Friday, October 27, 2006

marigolds: what's not to like

Tagetes erecta (African marigold) and Tagetes patula (French marigold) - they may be one of my favorite flowers (one of about 8,000). I just love the smell of them. To me it is very strong. A bitter, pungent, distinctive smell. It goes great with the smell of tomato plants. The only thing I dislike is too many of them in one place.

still growing

No frost last night. We went down to 35 degree F.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

vegetable garden view

I took this picture at dusk after I'd covered everything for a cold night.

aerial views of my home vegetable garden

still more pole beans

I went to take down these pole beans yesterday and found many beans still on the vine. New small ones coming along too. I picked enough for a good meal and we ate them last night. So I left the vines up. It seems like a very late season to me. I don't have any gardening records, so I can't really compare. But I hear about snow and cold weather elsewhere in the US. It seems late for Boston to be still growing beans with no frost yet. Our forecast is for cold tonight and the next several days. So our frost is probably just around the corner. I'll cover-up the lettuce tonight.


planting garlic

I've never planted garlic before, but noticed others with on-line garden journals were doing this now. I found a site with real simple instructions. All I had was my cooking garlic, so I will see how this works. I picked out about 30 big cloves. Maybe the variety will not be right for my area. I put it where my squash was and where I planted lettuce seeds a few weeks ago - only one or two lettuce seedlings came up.

Allium sativum

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

soil sample and winter rye

I mailed out a soil sample from my vegetable garden today for pH, nutrient, heavy metal and organic matter testing. I'm really interested to see how far off the nutrients are. Too much phoshate and low pH, I'm guessing. I also have a photo here of my winter rye sprouts. They're coming up fast.

topic: soil test

Monday, October 23, 2006

belmont victory gardens

I was surprised to find this community garden today. Some still growing their last crops of the year. Some with dried old tomato stalks and rotted fruit on the ground. Some with freshly tilled soil ready for next year. Some with weeds and debris. Many birds were gathering seeds: chickadees, bluejays, blackbirds, a phoebe. It's amazing what people use for edging and plant supports. Skippy and I enjoyed wandering through the maze of paths.

Belmont Victory Garden

Saturday, October 21, 2006

october lettuce

My lettuce is happy. I have little patches of it here and there in the garden. We had some rain yesterday and the droplets looked pretty on the leaves. I have been planting lettuce seeds every few weeks all summer. The mid-summer seedings did nothing - not even any sprouts. Now it is growing. I guess it likes the cool weather. So far we haven't even had a frost in my yard. When we do, I'll do my best to cover the lettuce and see if it will last a while yet.

Lactuca sativa

Friday, October 20, 2006

the green tomatoes are ripening

It seems like the tomatoes are ripening really fast. I brought them upstairs today to take out the red ones. Lots of them. The green ones are going back to the basement.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

tucked in for a frost

I found some gardening fabric in my garage from some previous project, so I went ahead and covered all of my plants last night. I pulled apart some thin wire edging fences and used them as hoops. Scattered frost was predicted for the Boston area, but as it turned out, my garden did not frost. The lowest I saw on my thermometer (7 am) was 37 degrees F.

Friday, October 13, 2006

the end of tomato season

We have a frost warning in our area for tonight, so I harvested all of the tomatoes and pulled up the vines. I picked all of the tomatoes: green, pinkish and red. There were quite a lot of them hidden under the leaves out there. Its a chilly day here, in the 50s, with no breeze. The cold air that left the midwest under a lot of snow is moving our way. No snow for us, thank goodness! The Boston area may or may not frost tonight, but the tomatoes aren't growing any more anyway, so I'm taking them down today. I'll put the tomatoes in the basement to ripen. I'll put them in smaller containers, so they don't squish each other as they ripen. And I'll put a paper bag over them. Then I have to remember to check them regularly as I in past years I have forgotten them and ended up with a mess. I expect about half will eventually ripen - all of the ones with a tiny bit of pink showing. The rest I will probably compost.

Solanum lycopersicum

happy squirrel

This squirrel thought it was really nice of me to scatter winter rye seed for him. He digs little holes all through the garden to get at the big juicy seeds. He doesn't seem to mind that big metal thing there either. "Scarecrow? I'm not a crow!" When he's done the sparrows take over the feast. This happens every year. Usually I get a good winter rye cover crop to come up even with all the critters.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Late autumn garden

I've started picking things up in preparation of winter. I pulled up the cucumber vines and put away their trellis. I pulled up the basil roots and removed the old bean plants and old lettuce. Not much is left. Mostly just the tomatoes and pole beans to remove when we get a frost warning. In the bed that is empty, I scattered winter rye as a cover crop for the winter. This will add nutrients and will look nice over the winter. I also put up my rusty old metal scarecrow. The little gnome is still out there. I moved him into a patch of red and yellow chard and young lettuce that I planted in early September, in hopes it will keep growing for a while yet.

pumpkins in the field

This picture is from the website of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. It was taken at Malinowski Farm in Hatfield, Massachusetts. A great picture. Yesterday I bought a few pumpkins for my front steps. Wish I had grown them myself, but I didn't get any pumpkins this year from the little plant I put in a pot on my driveway.

Pumpkin -- Cucurbitaceae spp.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Eggplant parmasan

I finally made eggplant parmigiana tonight. It was fantastic! I like a recipe from "The Romagnoli's Table", with my modifications.

Fried Eggplant: 3 medium eggplant, salt, flour, olive oil

Sauce: 4 halved garlic cloves, 1 small chopped onion, 1 24 oz can chopped tomatoes, 6-8 big basil leaves, some salt, 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmasan cheese

Topping: 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs, 1 sliced fresh tomato

Preheat oven to 350. Slice eggplant into long 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Salt liberally. Let stand 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make sauce: Saute onion and garlic until golden. Add canned tomatoes, basil and salt. Simmer 15 minutes. Scrape salt off eggplant, then rinse, lightly squeeze and pat dry. Dredge in flour and fry oil intil golden. Drain on paper towels. In baking dish, layer tomato sauce, fried eggplant, some mozzarella and parmasan cheese. Repeat these layers until everything is used up ending with sauce. Layer on tomato slices then top with bread crumbs and a little cheese. Bake for 15-30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

My eggplant variety this year is called "Classic". Its just what they had at my local nursery this spring. Its described as a midseason hybrid with deep purple-black fruit, elongated teardrop shape and vigorous plants that stand up well to stress.

I just noticed that a Cornell site has a great list of varities of vegetables with ratings and sources. "Classic" is one of the 99 varieties of eggplants they list! It is rated 4 of 5 points. I think I'll check out this site more when I'm thinking about seeds in mid-winter.

topic: eggplant

Skippy's vegetable recipes

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another basil harvest

Well, it sure was a good year for basil. I have always thought a second harvest was possible, but have never actually gotten one. This year we have had two big batches of basil. The first was in late August when I cut the plants down leaving about 5 inches of stem and a few leaves. During September, the plants regrew to their original height. This weekend I cut the entire plant off and cleared out the beds. I think we'll get a frost in a week or two anyway. We'll be able to eat pesto every day all winter now!

Ocimum basilicum

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Big orange dahlia

My dad gave me the tubers for this dahlia. It is at least 12 feet tall this year. And the brownish-orange flowers are about 8 inches across. This year I planted them in the perennial border next to my vegetable garden. They are blooming beautifully now. Probably 10 flowers on the plants blossoms today and many buds yet to open. Dahlias are great for the final garden show of the year.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Planting lettuce

I can't believe I planted a bed of lettuce today. Very foolish. I am ignoring the rapidly approaching end of the gardening season. Well, maybe we'll have a very late frost this year. After all, we made it past the October full moon. And I did have a couple packages of seeds left. (How long do they last anyway?) I may try to cover the bed with hoops and cloth later on if I am ambitious. Its always nice to have fresh lettuce. I'm not sure how much cold lettuce seedlings can stand. I guess I'll see what happens. So here is my lettuce bed, planted on October 5th. I planted it where my squash were, as they all gave up earlier this week.

Note added February 7: This planting failed (of course). I think maybe Sept 20 is the last planting date that would be useful. Even this may is probably too late, unless the fall weather is unusually warm.

Lactuca sativa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Harvest Moon

The moon looked very big and almost full tonight. It'll be full in two days - on Friday. The full Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. Its late this year, as it is usually happens in September. Often, we get our first frost at the first October full moon. I figure, if we make it past this moon maybe we'll have a late frost and an extended growing season this year. We'll see.

Harvest day!

A big harvest today! It was such a beautiful warm and sunny day, I really enjoyed my few minutes of "work" in the garden. Lots of beans - both bush and pole beans. A few tomatoes, several hot peppers, a lot of cukes and several baby yellow summer squash. The best - three big eggplants. I've been looking forward to picking these. Tomorrow I'll make eggplant parmagiano.

topic: eggplant

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kentucky Wonder

My pole beans have not done very well this year. These look pretty, but I've only had a couple of meals of beans from 3 seed packages. I guess I need to stop rotating the location of my legumes. Last year they did well, but I had them in another location. As a fellow gardener/blogger commented on earlier in the year on my poor pea crop, I probably don't have much innoculant in the soil of this bed. I guess what I should do is to grow then here again next year.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Skippy's garden photo show

I have a new toy. I put some pictures at Flickr. You can view a slide show of my garden growing at: Skippy's slideshow. Its just 7 views of the garden from above that I've taken over this past season.

I'm also trying to learn HTML by the trial-and-error method, so please excuse the odd blog formats. Hopefully I'll figure things out soon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

fading cukes

I think this is about it for my cucumbers. They were a good crop this year. A few left, but they don't taste as good as the mid-summer cukes.