7/14/12

Muggy


Looking for my Red, White, & Blue block and my Blogiversary Giveaway?  Click right here.

I've spent the morning out in the greenhouse where it's hot and muggy.  It's less hot, but still muggy outside the greenhouse too. Surprisingly, humidity isn't generally a problem in Portland.  We get plenty of rain, but when the weather is warm, it's also dry.  On the other hand, if there were enough moisture to make it humid, it's too chilly.  If the days turn muggy, however, this is definitely the time of year for that to happen.  I can recall very well being quite pregnant this time of the year, and how uncomfortable I was because of the muggy weather.

Here's what's happening in the greenhouse:  Tomatoes!  Oh my goodness, the tomatoes are doing great!  This has been something of an experiment.  As I've said several times, my outdoor garden was a complete failure this year.  The only thing growing are the two cherry tomatoes I planted outside (although they aren't much taller than they were when I planted them), a little bit of lettuce, enough beets for about one meal, and that is it.  Very disappointing, because a failed garden is as much work to plant as a garden that thrives.  

In any case, we had already decided to grow the tomatoes in the greenhouse this year in the hope of actually getting something other than green tomatoes rotting on the vine.  We grew some greenhouse varieties last year that were moderately successful. This year, we decided to try planting the same tomatoes that we would grow in the outdoor garden, and look at these babies go!


We've been leaving the door and window open during warm weather to allow the wind to blow through and invite the bugs inside to crawl around and pollinate things.  Also, we've been lightly brushing the flowers with a very soft-bristled brush, and lookie here:


Tomatoes!  The one above is the brand new indigo rose variety. Erik gave it to me as a gift.  When it ripens, it should look like this one. (I took this image off the internet.  None of mine are this color yet.)


Pretty, huh?  And speaking of pretty, look at these Big Beef tomatoes:


These next ones are the darlings of the greenhouse, the San Marzano sauce tomatoes.  They're hard to see when you're trying to find them.  I don't see as many as I would like yet, but I'm hoping for lots, and lots, and lots of these so that I can make lots, and lots, and lots of pasta sauce.  Yum.


These next ones are called Celebrity.


And this next one is a tasty Brandywine.  This is the largest tomato in the greenhouse.  I can't wait for it to ripen.  There are quite a few more of these and they are so yummy just for eating with a little balsamic vinaigrette on them.


This last one is called Willamette, and it's doing very well too.


Can you tell I'm proud of my tomato babies?  Maybe I should make a baby quilt for them.  Whaddaya think?  

This is the basil I potted from the remains of one of those living basil plants you find in the produce section of the grocery store. After I picked all the leaves off of it, I took the remaining root ball and stems and potted them, and it grew into this lovely basil plant. I have two of them.  One of them is cut back because I made pesto out of it.  I think I see more pesto in my future.  Pesto, yum. (Yum is my favorite word in the English language.)


And since rosemary always dies in the winter at our elevation, I'm going to try growing it in a pot.  In the winter, I'll bring it inside and keep it alive, and then move it back outside when the weather warms up next year.  I didn't have a large enough pot, and so this one will probably need to be repotted fairly soon.  Poor thing.  I could have washed its pot off a little better, couldn't I?


I bought two more of these pots that are intended to be used as window box planters.  They work well for growing lettuce in the greenhouse.  We've grown a crop of green leaf and red leaf lettuce already this year, and it's pretty much finished.  You can see the remains where I cut off the heads to the left.  I'm going to plant another crop once we start picking the leaves off this new planting so that we can have good lettuce throughout the season.  For now, we can harvest the small amount that's growing in the outside garden.  


I cover the newly planted lettuce seeds with plastic wrap so that the soil stays wet.  Lettuce seeds are planted right on the surface of the soil, and they need to stay wet to germinate.  By covering these with plastic wrap, they form their own little terrarium of sorts. I keep the sticks over the top because the plastic wrap accumulates moisture and falls down into the soil.

Also, I planted a new dill crop in these next little pots.  We've had a lot of dill already this summer and the dill has gone to seed.  It's too bad I don't have anything to pickle, because I have some beautiful dill heads.


They haven't sprouted yet.  Do you think I'm being overly optimistic expecting dill five minutes after planting the seeds?

So with that I was about sweated out of the greenhouse.  I took the parsley I had in pots and planted it in the outdoor culinary herb garden.  It's looking pretty smart with its neighbors, the oregano, the lavender, and one of the dahlia bulbs that hasn't been eaten by squirrels.


Speaking of my culinary herb garden, it's bursting at the seams.  My next garden task is to come in here and do some ripping and snorting.  We've reached that place in our landscaping where we're trying to keep things from overgrowing the house.  We call it "slash and burn" gardening.


After that I took a little walk around the yard.  I sure missed my walking-around-the-yard companion today.

The raccoons have eaten the lion's share of the cherries, but they were kind enough to leave us a few.  For now.


Just yesterday I looked at the raspberries and they were all green. Today they are red.  How do they do that?


And check out these plums!


I am intensely excited about the plums.  These are Italian prune plums.  They are so good that I'll stand under the tree and eat them until I'm sick.  In fact, there isn't a fruit alive that I won't eat until I'm sick.  But I'm especially excited about the plums because I have a recipe for plum chutney that I've been hanging onto for decades.  We had a plum tree at our other house.  When we moved into that house, the previous owner told us that they'd planted the tree seven years earlier and that it had never borne fruit.  That very year it was covered in fruit, and it bore fruit every year after that.  At some point, I found a recipe for plum chutney, but never got a chance to try it.  (Being a graduate student got in the way.)

Then we moved up to this house and planted quite a few fruit trees, this plum tree among them.  It has never borne fruit (aside from a plum or two) until this year! Seven years after planting it! It seems there's a pattern here that is more than coincidental.  Now if it will just hang onto all its fruit and not shed it while it's still green, this just might be my plum chutney year.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, although it's difficult to type that way.

The hydrangeas are starting to bloom.  For some reason, they bloomed not a single flower last year.  No idea why. They always bloom in profusion, but last year, not.  Some day I will trek to the top of the Mountain of Gardening and ask the wizard why.


These are the foxgloves.  I've been trying to get foxgloves to grow here for years.  I finally planted some seeds a few years back that eventually bloomed and produced this mass of seedlings.  Then Mike went in and sprayed them with weed spray.  He realized his error almost immediately and washed them off as quickly as humanly possible.  Fortunately, a lot survived.  Being biannuals, these will most likely bloom next year.  I'm so excited about this.


The butterfly bushes are starting to bloom.  These are hard to photograph.  Someone told me that butterfly bushes are considered a noxious weed and are no longer available in Oregon nurseries. Noxious weed or not, I like them.  And they do attract butterflies. And hummingbirds.  And me.


And the day lilies are blooming now.  


I was thinking how much the colors resemble the Sunshine on my Shoulders quilt.


Hm.  I could have called it Day Lily Dreamer, but it's too late now. Now it's Matt's quilt, and the name cannot be changed.  I'm sure that's written in the rule book somewhere.  Now where did I put that rule book?

And speaking of quilts, I did a little bit of sewing the past couple of days.  I made the back for the Daisies and Dots quilt out of this fabric.  I think it's going to be pretty quilted with red thread.  It goes to the quilter on Tuesday.


Also, I made the next block for my Plain and Simple Amish sampler quilt.  This block is called square in a square.  It's a large block at 17 inches square.


I have just one block left on this quilt.  It is a paper-pieced basket block, and there are seven of them.  That will be for next month.

I've been working on my flannel Salt Water Taffy quilt, and I'll show you pictures of what I've done on that next time around.  For now, I'm going to hit the shower and wash off the glow.  Then I'm going to spend the rest of the day in the coolness of my basement sewing room.

Tomorrow we're going to the Oregon Lavender Festival being held this weekend.  I'm pretty excited about that.  I LOVE lavender. How's your day going so far?


14 comments from clever and witty friends:

Jennifer Gail said...

I'll say this, you sure know how to grow pretty maters:)

Kathleen said...

we have a beautiful hydrangea bush and I use to tell my husband to trim it down to 1/3 of the size in the fall...I thought I knew what I was doing....LOL...no flowers the next year...then someone told me not to trim it at all..Oh my, now the bush is full of flowers..all I do in the spring is pull out the dead limbs from the year before, they just pull out so easily...not sure if you trimmed yours or not but that is my experience with hydrangeas...love your beautiful yard..you certainly have a green thumb...

Becky said...

Wow! Fun trip around your greenhouse and yard. We will have to replant our tomato plants. They didn't make it. Only our cherry tomatoes are producing. Have a great time at the Lavender Festival. Can't wait to see your photos and report from the festival!

Colleen said...

Loved the plant tour! I had to laugh about Mike and the weed killer. I spent years giving my mother different varieties of columbine for Mother's Day. She had a beautiful garden until dad spraying chick weed sprayed the columbine. Everything but the hardiest local variety died. I had to start all over. Dad once sprayed around a holly tree with out realizing he was close to a robins nest and killed the mother sitting on her eggs. He is much more careful with the weed killer now.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

The garden looks amazing! I can't wait for you to cut open some purple tomatoes!

Teresa in Music City said...

Lovely gardening post! I have a black thumb and nothing I try to plant grows into anything edible, or even alive for that matter. Except African Violets, I can grow those and they'll bloom like crazy. You make gardening look like so much fun :*)

I love your Amish block! It is amazing how solids are really growing on me. I'm planning a solids quilt for one of my NewFO's sometime this year.

Dana Gaffney said...

Everything looks great, you may need a bigger greenhouse next year. I'm looking forward to pictures of lavender, it's one of my favorites.

Diane Wild said...

Thanks for the greenhouse tour. My tomatoes are looking like yours except mine are outside. I've never had tomato plants this beautiful. However, our weather has been so hot (and muggy) that I'm fearful of blossom-end rot.

Junebug613 said...

Where do you find the time? I'm not a gardener, but I can appreciate the work. I love the Amish block. Your lines are perfectly straight and square! The colors are great too.

kc said...

Goodness! Your tour of the greenhouse & gardens was amazing! You certainly have a lot growing on! Our tomatoes are finally beginning to end (boohoo!), our butterfly bush is up over the roof again (after being cut back almost to the ground in the spring) and in full bloom. We've had 18 inches of rain so far this year, making it much easier to care for than last year, when we'd had less than an inch by this time.

I can relate to the weed spray - when we had a "real" garden, I'd planted onions & forgot....and pulled them all up, cursing the doggone weeds the whole time (I hate onions - they were for hubby). And I'd nurtured the sweet potatoes along till they were yummy looking vines, and hubby (for whom I'd planted them!) thought they were weedy morning glories taking over & tilled 'em all under. Chopping up all the sweet potato babies.

And my dear, darling daughter, following behind me, pulling up all my hard-earned, sweated over corn seedlings, and wondering why all the weeds were growing in a row??

And, to top it all off, I kept losing my bleeding hearts that I kept planting at the corner of the house. Seems if the tractor didn't chop 'em off, the weed whacker got 'em. So I put a big rock there. Oh, you should have heard the ruckus when hubby found that rock with the tractor. Boy, was he hot. Such colorful language! And it didn't save my new bleeding heart either. He just got down, moved the rock & cut. Ah well...some things just aren't meant to be!

But it looks like your plums (yes, I think 7 years to fruition is about right) are surely meant to be!

Snoodles said...

Wowsers! You certainly packed a lot into one post! Love the maters...mine are not doing that well, but I am still hopeful! Maybe I need to ask the hubster for a greenhouse! LOL
I didn't know basil would do that - I'm going to try it!

Sharon Dawn said...

You must have a mighty green thumb! Some day I hope to make it to that Lavender Festival! I have had some success growing it and love the smell.

greelyrita said...

That block: the blue just makes it pop!! Lovely!!

Great plants too - goodness!!

Kate said...

Your Simple Amish block looks great, love the color combo. You've been a busy gardener, it all looks great. I'm green with envy, especially of your tomatoes.