Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wedding bling = Eco-bling!

Today we made our first official purchase with our wedding booty:

Woo-hoo!!!!! You're looking at the All American Pressure Cooker/Canner, 25 quart, which doubles as a moon probe (it looks sturdy as hell)! (Technically we allocated some cash to join the Oklahoma Food Co-op, but that wasn't an actual hold-it-in-my-hands purchase, so I'm calling this the official!)

To accompany it, I got this book:

Now hopefully the tomatoes will cooperate (and then there are the beans and carrots and peppers and salsa and spaghetti sauce and soups...)! So far the Green Zebra, Amish paste, Paul Robesons, Golden Queens, and Ananas look great - covered in medium-sized green fruit and no more BER to speak of. But alas, the Opalkas, the paste tomatoes I am so excited about, aren't making! I have 8 of them, too! I've found one or two thumbnail-sized fruit on each of the plants, but that's it. The plants are all good sized but have serious blossom drop and now the tops of the tomato plants are getting frilly (which I've researched and suspect is tied to too much water or 24D herbicide drift damage but nothing conclusive yet). They're a Polish breed so maybe the Oklahoma spring/summer is squashing them (Others who've grown it here, please give me hope!)

So that's one big giant bummer. Maybe I can get the six in the back garden through August - they get a lot of shade back there - and have fall tomatoes? Maybe that's wishful thinking, but that's okay with me. I really want a tomato that looks like this and they're supposed to taste out of this world:

In other news, the garden is producing well! Today I went over to my co-workers office to show off my completely-backyard-grown-salad (except for the cheese!). It consisted of buttercrunch lettuce (which is almost done and starting to bolt), dragon carrots, kohlrabi, cilantro, and broccoli. Yes, I wanted to brag a bit. But my lovely co-worker is no newbie to homegrown produce and she also has a heart of gold (three weeks ago she rescued a baby bunny that had been abandoned by its mother and took it to a wildlife animal shelter). So she let me brag in good cheer! :)

Notes to self regarding future pest control: floating row covers are a must for brassicas! And I need to watch the eggplants for flea beetles - the three I have now have been riddled by those little bastards. Other than that I've found a few cucumber beetles, some sort of unidentified bugger, and of course, aphids. Not too much out of control with those...

How do you other organic gardeners cope with pests? What's your favorite remedy or stand-by prevention method? Would love to hear it!

Until we meet again!


Jenny said...

Hi Heidi! Your blog is very extensive. I feel awfully silly giving you the address for mine now, because I haven't updated in a long time. I should though. There are pictures from the John Muir Trail and Boundary Waters on it though, which are kind of entertaining.

Hausfrau said...

I have really only used soap/olive oil spray before. Seemed to work on the tomatoes.

Otherwise I just have my insectary going.

I too am bothered by eggplant flea beetles, my zucchini was destroyed by squash borers a few years ago, and I didn't even TRY brassicas this spring because I didn't have my row cover ready to go. I am really, truly going to plant brassicas this fall though.

Hausfrau said...

My Black Krim tomato is not doing well at all, either. My other 3 are going gangbusters, but the BK is all wilty looking, even though it is a good size, and only 1 or 2 tomatoes on it. Maybe it has the same problem your Opalkas have.

anajz said...

You have been busy!
I am having a bit of insect trouble lately. I cannot decide if they little buggers are baby grasshoppers or what. My herbs are full of holes, and my cucumbers are spotted. It is driving me nuts.
Bought a sprayer yesterday and am now looking for a homemade concoction to spray on my darlings.


Bee said...

Hi there. I don't really have any ideas for organic pest controls as I'm gardening for the first time this year...but I wanted to say I'm jealous about your pressure cooker and book. Both of which are in my wish list right now. I'm going to keep watching to see how you do with your canning. I'm hoping that my first time gardening leads to first time canning as well. =)