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Generally Recognized As True: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ripening self-seeded tomatoes

The self-seeded tomatoes that grew from the fallen tomatoes from last year are just starting to ripen.

I planted quite a few varieties last year and many of them failed due to disease (it was a cool and damp summer last year), so it's interesting to see what is sprouting up. It's all a mystery until they ripen.

The yellow ones are a yellow variety and not under-ripe, although I might have been fooled into picking the elongated ones (at top-left) too early. I think they are meant to be red!

First pumpkin of the year

Well, here is my first ripened pumpkin of the year. It is a pie pumpkin, about 1.5kg. Two more are about to ripen, at which point I'll have enough to make something of them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cedar growth progress in 4 months

I wasn't sure how well my cedars had been growing until I came across a picture I'd taken earlier in the year when they were first planted. I didn't notice that they had actually grown quite substantially, as you can see in the "before" and "after" photos below.

The main reason I am posting these is that I couldn't find any such "progress" information when I was planning to plant this hedge, and there wasn't much out there to correlate planting technique with results.

And, first of all, I should say that when I first planted these cedars I was worried that they wouldn't make it. The spring heated up very quickly and we had some midsummer-like days within weeks of my planting. The trees looked visibly stressed and were flagging. I watered them deeply every 2-3 days during that period (I watered them 5 or 6 times in total since planting). Luckily, it was followed by a few weeks of cooler weather with regular rain. I have not watered them since.

Of course, there is still a winter to get through and still some uncertainty there.

But, here was what I did:
  1. Dug a trench 4 feet wide and 1 foot deep, about 25 feet long. The existing ground was a mix of sand and limestone that was originally a base for an above-ground pool that I removed a number of years ago (it came with the house). So, I dug down to the soil underneath and also loosened that soil up with a garden fork.
  2. Re-filled the trench with about 50% original "soil" and 50% new soil. The original soil was, as above, a mixture of sand and limestone chips. The new soil was a mixture of black garden soil, peat moss, and relatively small amounts of manure compost. My reasoning was that it would be very difficult to get rid of the sand/lime elsewhere in the garden, and that the black soil was very dense so could do with some loosening up via the sand/lime.
  3. Added bone meal to the soil. Supposed to be good for root growth. I scattered it on the surface from a container that claimed to cover the area I needed and mixed it in with a garden fork.
  4. Raked the surface flat. Not much to say about this.
  5. Planted the cedars. I dug holes big enough for the potted cedars, with their centres about 2 feet apart. I tapped the soil away from the outer roots on each rootball before planting to loosen them up a bit (not sure if this is good or bad, to be honest), planted the trees, and filled the holes back in.
  6. Starter fertilizer. I used a large watering can (9L) to apply water-soluble starter fertilizer. I used one full watering can per 2 trees.
  7. Applied cedar mulch to the surface. I covered the soil surface with cedar mulch and distributed it evenly.
So, that's about it. We have had rain now and again (approx. twice every 3 weeks) and I haven't watered them other than what I mentioned above.

Today, I fertilized them with evergreen fertilizer for the first time since planting. "Advice" says I should have done it two months ago, but I don't like fertilizing things that aren't healthy because it can send them over the edge.

They seem to be doing well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ontario chili peppers: the evil of the season

It's that time of year again. Georgetown is too white and vanilla to have much variety in this regard, so these are from further afield:

I've also now got a backlog of Mennonite summer sausage. It looks like overkill, but it's actually quite rational. The small piece at the front is the last of the old sausage. The medium-sized sausage in the middle is the aged sausage that is a few months old. The sausage at the back is the new sausage -- it's dated at the end of July -- and needs a month for the flavour to mature and for the sausage to firm up a bit.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From Ban Ki-Moon

I was surprised to see that I'd received an official sounding e-mail to my Hotmail account from Ban Ki-Moon this morning. For some reason, my e-mail client filtered it as junk.

It even has an attachment! I wonder what it says.

Seriously, though: would anyone plausibly stupid enough to open this even know who Ban Ki-Moon is? I don't think they know their Western audiences very well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Garden update : August 2010

Well, it's the time of year when the garden is in full bloom. Since I normally post a garden update every year, why should this year be any different?

First, the bean and tomato jungle:

What happened here was that I planted beans in some of my garden beds and a bunch of tomatoes self-seeded from last year's terrible tomato season (when a lot of tomatoes fell to the ground prematurely) and the tomato plants grew in between the bean plants. It'll be a challenge to pick, but they seem to complement each other nicely:

Next is corn. This was an experiment, since I've never planted it before. Some stalks are doing better than others and I'm not sure if any of them will produce large corn cobs. I didn't use any fertilizer, but it was good weather for corn -- hot and humid all summer -- if not for people:

And here we have a cucumber growing in a tree. Of course, cucumbers don't grow on trees. But the cucumber vine climbed the tree and it definitely looks that way!

Although the red tomatoes indicate to the contrary, the health of the plants doesn't. My tomatoes did poorly this year. It looks like an infection of some kind, but some of the smaller plants were eaten through by insects. I don't really have any excuses because I don't think it was a bad year for tomatoes:

The hardest work of the year was planting this hedge row of cedars, which are doing very well as far as I can tell:

Oregano interspersed with weeds:

The patio, which I also finished off this year -- surrounded with cedars, planted annuals, and mulched around the edges:

One of three or four pumpkins I've spotted in the undergrowth so far:

Pumpkins 2 and 3:

Raspberry (a new plant this year):

And a zucchini or squash -- not sure yet. I've only found one so far, but most of my squash plants were eaten by something when they were very young. Only one survived. Since I had planted both squash and pumpkin and they look very similar, I wasn't sure whether the squash or pumpkin had survived. It turned out to be the pumpkins.

Well, that's it for another year!