Archives for the month of: June, 2012

If you enjoy photography, and gardening, life can be endlessly interesting. A plant you photograph one day may look different the next. There’s always something to photograph. This came up suddenly overnight. Powdery mildew? But, it’s on backs and fronts of leaves, so I’m not sure. I trimmed off the affected leaves.

We ate this grand cabbage last night. I was too tired to make slaw, so I steamed it.

I started with eight, now I’m down to two. This is the next to last one. I better get some more started!

I’ve had a lot of trouble getting berries. I covered some plants with netting. Here’s the only ripe one this morning.

I have let my purple basil seed tops grow. I couldn’t bear to pinch off anything so pretty.

My sunflowers are particularly glorious this sunny morning.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day! – Kaye

I was gone for about 36 hours to San Mateo County, CA, but since I got back late last night, that translates to two garden days. It’s amazing what can happen in such a short time in the garden. A couple of my starters popped. There had been no sign Sunday morning before I left.

This purple bean is a very strange looking sprout. Looks like a white worm, but when I touched it, it didn’t move.

This is either a Japanese melon or cucumber. I somehow labeled the stick with both names.

This succulent’s blooms are opening.

My potatoes are getting huge. There are white potatoes and sweet potatoes growing in this pot. The long pointy leaves are the sweet potato.

You can’t even see my little orange tree in the middle of this photo, dwarfed by zucchini, tomatoes and a tall lettuce spire. The empty bed bottom right is my third failed attempt at carrots.

What happened to this new bean plant? Not enough water? Too much?

The new sweet peas are looking healthy and growing fast.

As is the new zucchini planted on Memorial Day.

My second round of sunflowers exploded since Sunday. This is the plant I was staking in the current “Sunny Sunflowers” episode of “Late Bloomer.”

The amaranth is finally taking off after a rough start. It’s only got about six feet to go.

Some of the radishes are looking like all the energy is going into the leaves and the vegetable looks like this.

I guess this cucumber is going to fill out at the end? Or since the end is yellow, maybe I should cut it now.

This new cucumber plant is looking pretty good.

And this may be the last yellow zucchini. I’m thinking about yanking out the plant to give the cherry tomato a chance. I thought it had powdery mildew all this time, but, it may have been white spotty mold. Since I’ve chopped off so many leaves, it’s hardly producing, so I think it will have to go.

I learned so much on my trip to Woodside, CA. I met a number of master gardeners and I am eager to act on and share their advice. Thanks for reading! – Kaye

I made a return trip up to One Gun Ranch (see Episode 6 of “Late Bloomer”) this week to get a better look at the making of biodynamic compost. Ranch manager, Balta, had his sons hard at work with him.

I saw Farmer Jack there guiding Balta on preparing the compost. He explained it’s layers of hay, compost, bacteria, manure, alfalfa, and that rests for a time, then it is turned till it breaks down.

One Gun grows it’s own alfalfa. Balta’s young sons are learning to cut it.

The alfalfa they are growing at One Gun Ranch is like “gold,” Jack said.

Vet bills have plummeted since the ranch animals have been eating it.

Balta works outside the fence to gather alfalfa that has escaped the pasture and his older son works inside.

I feel very fortunate to visit. And the view isn’t bad either.
Thanks for reading! – Kaye

Please watch the latest episode of “Late Bloomer,” “Growing Sunflowers!” Watch here, or click on youtube for better quality. Kaye grows Lemon Queen Sunflowers from seed, and has some surprise guests! With neighbors Mona, Sophia, MIchael and Dennis. Thanks for watching! – Kaye

I am growing corn in my parkway (the strip between the sidewalk and the street), and the yard near the sidewalk. Everyone who walks by tells me they had trouble growing corn. I thought I was going to be the exception.

Yesterday, a couple went by and said they grew corn, but the ears were tiny.  When I took a closer look (hey, there’s a lot to take care of out there, and I hadn’t noticed), there were these ungainly small ears on the tops of the stalks. They also said you were supposed to shake the plants every day to make sure they pollinated. I didn’t do that.

Because the husk is split open to reveal kernels, I am assuming these are no good. I thought I might dry these kernels for seeds. I read about corn the other day (I thought it was about time), and it said when the silks turn brown they are about ready to harvest. Almost all my silks are brown on the ends.

Another thing, my plants are not all that tall, and there’s corn growing just a few inches from the ground. The book said a single plant produces one to two ears! Mine are loaded. There’s a dozen ears growing on this double standard.

I’m thinking I could harvest all these. Should I give it a try? I plan to eat them raw.

Now, here’s a funny one. This is the only double plant of a different variety, and one set of tassels was rose colored, and the other, taller one was white like the rest.

This is the bottom of that plant, ears close to the ground, and silks are rose and white, like the tassels.

Neighbors Courtney and Ashley bought some ladybugs and distributed them in my garden. I told them to put some on the corn, but, this couple are more interested in fraternizing than eating bugs.

Thanks for reading! Corn advice welcome! – Kaye

Kaye gets a lot done in the garden over Memorial Day weekend, with help from Sophia and Rene! Please share with your gardening friends! Thanks for watching! – Kaye

The neighbors’ gardeners trimmed their row of Eugenias that back up our properties two days ago, and I filled a green can with all that fell on my side. (FYI, wear a mask if you are messing with Eugenias as you will be blowing allergens out of your nose for awhile. I know.) This big guy was injured or dying when I was cleaning up. I found a mate nearby that was already dead.

Gee, is it big enough?

What about this?

Yep. This one was ready!

By the way, thanks to Anna at, I finally got a Follow My Blog by Email widget on my blog, so please Follow! And Like Late Bloomer on Facebook! Thanks for reading! – Kaye

About this time every year, I start glancing out the upstairs bathroom window to see if the plums on the plum tree are getting ripe.

When Mr. Gerber’s little one-story house was next door, our plum tree, just our side of the property line, spread way over his picket fence and bore a hundred or more plums a year. When they tore the house down in 2005, and put up the big two-story house next door, I begged the contractor to cut a notch of the 7′ fence to accommodate the tree, but he refused. Several limbs had to go, but, squeezed between the two houses (there is 10′ feet from wall to wall), the tree is a survivor and struggles high to reach the light.

It doesn’t bear much fruit now, so I want to make sure I don’t lose any. Today I saw a few, so I thought I better get those down before they fall. Once they drop 10′-15′ and hit the gravel below, they are bug-free for about ten seconds. I went out to get the fruit picker, but, I guess we got a new one last year and I had to put it together. Next, I removed the window screen, and tried to reach the ripe ones on top, but it was the wrong angle.

I had to finish the job from ground level.

This, minus about five that fell on their side of the fence, was the total take. So lovely!

There’s maybe that many more unripe ones left on the tree. I’ll leave these on the counter for a couple of days to soften up.

Then, we’ll savor them. Now that I am a gardener, I will attempt to prune the tree correctly and give it some nutrition for a bountiful harvest next year. Thanks for reading! – Kaye

Once you join the gardening life, it’s a whole new world that opens up to you. Neighbors walking by might never have stopped to say hello, but, an edible garden in your front yard is like a magnet. Yesterday, Nancy, just such a neighbor, who lives about five blocks from me, gave me two of her seedlings of Japanese melons (we don’t know which is which).

She also offered her seed packets for me to plant a few seeds, which, she says, are not easy to find. (See the address on the packet!)

Such a generous gesture, but the kind of thing that happens all the time in the gardening world. I had been reading another gardening blog (sorry, I’m following so many, I forgot which one!) recently about Borage, and it sounded so cool, I just went a little crazy and ordered seeds online and my shipment came today.

I saw this idea on another site, reusing TP rolls (mine are already recycled cardboard from Seventh Generation) for seed starters.

But, since it’s already June 8, and all the herb packets say seeds can be direct sown at this point, I think I will throw them in the ground. Or, am I better off to start in these?

The big problem though, is, my urban garden is FULL. I saw this great post on another blog (you know who you are!) about reusing old file cabinet drawers with holes drilled in them to plant in and I may try something like that along the driveway, cause there’s entirely TOO much concrete there. Oh, I want to rip out my driveway so badly and and put in a narrow drive of permeable pavers, and reclaim some topsoil, but that costs a bundle. I’ll have to be patient. Thanks for reading! – Kaye

Lovely, tender buckwheat blooms! When I sprinkled a packet of buckwheat seeds onto my 6.5’x14′ flower island a month ago,

I had there a transplanted Iceberg Rose,

a purple daisy and 2 Mexican Feather Grass,

Cosmos planted from seed in January springing up,

and one dill plant emerging, which is now 5′ tall!

Now, my buckwheat is mature and mixed into all of that, and so pretty, but it’s life cycle is short. Just like the packet said, buckwheat germinates and grows fast and within a month, is ready to turn over into green manure to enrich the soil.

It’s just now that I have all these other pretty flowers growing, I’m not quite sure how to “turn it over” and not disrupt everything else. And I have 6 shoots of Amaranth coming up on this back end, which is hidden in the buckwheat.

Since I had a beautiful Princess Flower tree in this section of my parkway, and didn’t think there would be enough sun for vegetables under it, I surrounded my Princess with flowers.

Just after I had taken these photos, and sprayed the emerging sunflowers on the opposite parkway with Captain Jack’s (I’m determined not to lose all the leaves to pests this time), and babied the new 1″ shoots right next to the driveway, I went in to wash my hands and was inside for no more than two minutes. I went back out, and a driver had attempted to use my driveway to turn around, and had plowed into the wire wicket fence, mangled it and knocked the bamboo stakes and the very shoots I was watering and tending to from the ground! One of the hazards of curbside gardening! I put them back in, but who knows if they’ll take. When you grow something from seed, and get so excited to see it pop up from the earth, you don’t want anything to happen to it. Thanks for reading! – Kaye

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