Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Tomatos

We have started picking our first peppers and tomatoes of the season.  We have several varieties of each planted, all of which we raised from seed.  (See March 17 blog)

I am particularly excited about our first fresh tomatoes.  Once a person has tasted a fresh tomato from the garden, they will never be happy with store-bought tomatoes again. 

As I said we have several varieties.  Early Girl, Rutgers, Cherokee Purple, Roma, Juliet, Large Red Cherry and Sweet 100s to name some of them.  I can't say that I have a favorite.  They all taste wonderful!

Here is a picture of some that Tom harvested today.

And there are more where these came from.  Here's a picture of some tomato vines we planted in our cold frame after we pulled all the lettuce out of it:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sad News

My sage plant died.  Not sure what happened unless it drowned.  We've had so much rain this spring.  It looked so good earlier in the spring.  In fact, on May 23, I posted this picture:

Now it looks like this!

This is an example of one of the frustrations that goes along with gardening . . . . plants die.   And, we just have to move on and try again.  In fact, that is one of the things I like about gardening . . . . you can always try again.   It kinda reminds me of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind when she says "Tomorrow is another day!"

Okay, I guess that is a bit melodramatic.  But, gardening really is a "work in progress" and if you don't like something you tried this year, then you can always do it different next year.  You have successes and failures.  It's all part of the process.

Another aspect of gardening is there is always SOMETHING that needs doing.  So, you have to learn to pace yourself.  When we moved out here to the farm last year, I was used to tending my little backyard garden.  So, needless to say, I was overwhelmed when we suddenly had 5 acres to take care of. 

I would work outside until I was exhausted and never seemed to have time to just sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.  Since then, I'm glad to report that I've learned all those chores will still be there tomorrow and I can take time to sit and drink a glass of tea on the patio while watching the hummingbirds at the feeder.  Tomorrow is another day! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tomato Cans

I've gotten a little behind on the blog after having company the week of June 7th and celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on June 14th!!

So, this is a couple of weeks old, but still of some relevance never the less.  When we set out our tomato plants, we've found it is very helpful to protect them from the Oklahoma wind until they get established.   We do this by cutting the top and bottom out of gallon size cans and putting these around the plants. 

You are probably wondering where we got all these cans!  Some of them are large coffee cans that we have saved.   But, most of them were given to us by Dick Ortez.  Dick used to run the Boarding House Cafe near the OSU campus.   Since then, he has been canning salsa, pickled beets, saurkraut and other things made from the vegetables he grows on his farm east of Stillwater.  He supplements his home-grown vegetables with canned tomatoes that he buys in these gallon sized cans.  Thanks to Dick these cans get recycled for a good purpose and our tomato plants don't blow away in the wind!

Dick used to sell most of his canned goods through the Farmers Market.  But, he has recently started to sell his products through our local IGA store at the corner of 6th and Washington. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The potatoes are ready to dig.  They started blooming a couple of weeks ago and you can begin to dig "new" potatoes when that happens.  We are fortunate to have our daughter and her two little girls here for a few days.   Tom thought it would be fun for the granddaughters to get to dig potatoes.  So, this evening after it cooled off we all trooped down to the potato patch and got busy digging.  The ones we dug are called "Red Lasota".  Here we are working hard.
Here are some of the potatoes that we harvested:

The girls grew tired of potatoes after a while and decided that playing on our sand pile was much more interesting:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Milkweed and Butterflies

I've identified the following plant as a variety of milkweed.

There is quite a bit of it around here and there.  Before it bloomed, I thought it was rather ugly and started to pull it up everywhere I found it.  But, I noticed white, milky fluid oozing out of stems that I broke in the process.  So, I got curious about it and looked it up on the internet.  Turns out that Monarch butterflies love it and lay their eggs on it.  In fact, milkweed is the only kind of plant the larvae will eat.  So, it is a very important plant in the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly.

I have not seen any Monarchs yet this year.  But am leaving all the milkweed for them and will be checking to see if I can find any Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed leaves.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reusable Shopping Bag

My daughter-in-law (middle son's wife) gave me this reusable shopping bag that I really like.  It folds up to go in my purse.  I have several of the big reusable bags that I keep in the car, but I always forget to take them into the store with me.  This one is always in my purse and I can just pull it out and give it to the cashier.  Here are 2 pictures of it.  One folded and one unfolded.  It is made of polyester and is very strong.  There is a tag inside that says gives a web site:  http://www.envirosax.com/