Sunday, August 16, 2009

Apples, Cucumber, and Naked Ladies

Naked Ladies -
This cardoon is on the third growing season
Not one of the bigger cardoons that I have grown but I would call it hardy
Kong Sunflower
St. Edmond's Russett
Sops of Wine
Much More Cucumber
A great little snak
The mystery plant of the week -

Although the weather person hinted that rain and scattered showers were in the area, little rain fell on the garden this week. I was at an art fair three days this week and on Friday we had good rain for over two hours at the fair. But at home, less than 15 miles away, the garden got no rain - now that's scattered.
The tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are a daily harvest with the Much More variety making a good show of nice salad sized slicers with very tender skin. The Volcano peppers, which were a free trial seed, are really good and hot. We have had them as snacks with pretzels and Trader Joe's Chipolte Pepper Humus ( see the picture). The Kong sunflowers are blooming. I like this sunflower because after the terminal flower forms and blooms, side branches form at leaf nodes and the plant continues to bloom for a long time. The cardoon has many flowers, so I hope the seed crop will be good. Cardoons can get really big. My blog pictures is me with a single huge cardoon, and the blooming plant this year is from last years plant that wintered over. Cardoon's are classified as biennial but I can't explain this years growth and the second flowering of this plant. There is a row of 5 or 6 plants in the garden for eating in the fall after the centers are blanched. Several other peppers are near to harvest. We have had Frank's Pepper a couple of times and found it to be thin skinned and an OK pepper flavor, so it might hold up well in cooking. The apple crop is growing nicely, at last, and we have had the branch of Sops Of Wine present us with two mature apples - great flavor and wonderful aroma. The St Edmond's Russets will be the next apple to ripen and they are one of my russet types that are grafted on one tree. I picked crab apples and made apple juice for rose petal jelly that I hope to make next week.
The Naked Ladies (Lycoris squamigera) are blooming. I have several large clumps that I want to move before the new vegetable garden is made, so I have let them bloom and will try to move the complete clumps after the flowers fade. Massed together they make a great surprise show. The mystery plant this week is one I recently bought that will have to winter in the house but if I lived in Chicago I could have the plant outdoors and still get fruit - or so the name implies.
With three days at an art fair selling my lampwork beads not much was accomplished in the garden and after checking tonight the weeds are really needing attention. This next week we will deal with the onion harvest which is curing in the little house and see about planting fall leaf crops - especially celery cabbage.
Happy Gardening


  1. It's a fig! Chicago Hardy, would be my guess. I just planted two in pots last week and have one little fig fruit developing.

  2. Greetings sowbug,
    And right you are! We are planning to winter it over in the house, as I am sure it will not survive outside, but we are a little concerned about the odor the plant gives off. Oh well, for fresh figs in the summer it will be worth it. Figs are great trees in nature and there is a wonderful PBS NATURE film on a life cycle of a fig tree that if you can find a copy of you should watch.
    Happy Gardening

  3. Hi David...
    Great article in the paper! If a person has room for 5-7 apple trees, dwarf or semi-dwarf, which varieties would you suggest? The article states you have three multi-grafted ones but I'd like to know what you suggest for a novice as just a 'straight tree'? I know they need overlapping bloom times. I'm curious.
    The Cat Lady

  4. Hi Cat Lady,
    My suggestion is that you go to the UW Extension web site "The Learning Store" and check out the suggested rootstock that the apple publication recommend. Then I would, if you live here in Green Bay, call the Extension office and sign up to attend the apple tasting classes this fall and make your choice for the things you taste there. The guy giving the classes can also supply you with trees, next spring, of the apples that you like. Buying trees at a local nursery seldom gets you a good dwarf root stock but there are apple suppliers and mail order nursery's that will provide bare root trees that might also work. I grafted my trees because grafting is really easy and we wanted certain types of apples that we could not readily buy at farmers market.
    Happy Gardening

  5. Hi David. Saw the article in the paper on Saturday and checked out your blog. Very interesting and I plan to check back. I live in Manitowoc 2 blocks from the lake and my tomatoes are not ripe yet. I think I went a little crazy with the miracle grow as they are over 4 feet tall. Lots of fruit but all still green. Could the slow ripening be from the cooler summer we've had here? Are you going to be at the Green Bay Art Street this coming weekend? Thanks, Donna

  6. Hi Donna,
    I seldom fertilize my tomatoes because they tend to do just that make too many greens. I am guessing that you have them in cages and did not limit the stems in the cages. Cage growing is fine if you limit the plant, say 2 growing/fruiting stems and take out the suckers. That would allow more light into your plants and maybe give you quicker ripening. But I agree being by the lake does moderate your climate. Also the variety of tomatoes makes a difference in when they get ripe. Check your seed packet or variety to see just how long they are supposed to take to make mature fruits.
    Happy Gardening