Monday, September 15, 2008

And meanwhile, back on the farm in "Susanville"...

How could I not plant a garlic that is named "Susanville?"

Well, my little adventures with L-4 and L-5 are behind me (no pun intended), and things are finally drying out from last week's rain, so it was fall planting time on the prairie homestead farm. On Sunday I put in four kinds of garlic in a raised bed (the aforementioned Susanville, Inchillium Red, Red Toch, and Silver Rose), probably enough to keep us in garlic for a year, as well as have a few heads to give away as gifts. I wanted to try out some different varieties this year to see if I can taste the difference. My palate is only so-so on most food subtleties, having been stunned and numbed by so many years of unabated salty fried fats, I'm sure. Here is a full view of the "garlik box", with mulch and drip irrigation (not seen) in place. If you look closely, you can also see the little tufts of BG/BG that are taking hold in the otherwise bare spaces of the garden:

I also planted an heirloom carrot, Amarillo, in what is going to be a cold frame. This whole business of fall planting/cold frames is new to me--well, frankly, growing and eating vegetables in general is new to me--so I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing or how it will all turn out. Still, there is no adventure that starts without a little bit of fear of the unknown.

Amarillo is a yellow carrot (hence the name), and is supposed to be very sweet. Maybe these two attributes will encourage me actually to eat them.

In other veggie garden news, I've been disappointed all summer by the tomato crop. The Sweet 100's kept putting forth all these sparse, tiny, pea-sized fruits, and the yellow grape tomatos tasted odd--kind of buttery and neither sweet nor acid. I was never able to wrap my head around what my eyes saw (tomato) and what my mouth tasted (butter), and as a result found them to be vaguely unsettling and unpalatable.

And then, yesterday, when I went out to check on them after the uncommonly heavy rains, I found all the fruits split wide open and in the beginning stages of rot. In a mild fit of pique, I pulled the plants up and tossed them in the compost bin. Time to give up on throwing good time and water after bad. Not sure what went wrong this year, but I've other reports in the 'hood of under-performing tomato crops. Still, one of the things I've learned from ornamental gardening is that there is a time to cut losses and move on. Non, je ne regrette rien.

I'm also concerned about my squash crops. I have one (count it--one) butternut squash, seen here:

I'm thinking of putting up an armed guard...

And while I have quite a few small calabasas squashes, the leaves are starting to show some signs of what I suspect might be powdery mildew. Here is a shot of a healthy leaf (those spots are apparently part of the color variegation of the leaf, and are on all of them from the beginning--the non-variegated leaf in the picture is a butternut leaf), followed by one of the mildewy-looking ones:

This phenomenon is found only only the leaves of the calabasas squash. Thoughts, anyone?


  1. It looks like Powdery mildew disease. It could be treated with a concoction of baking soda and soap - here's the recipe

  2. I don't think it's powdery mildew. It's probably aphids doing their job underneath the leaves. Soapy water is the key. Spray it under the leaves.


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