Wednesday, July 21, 2010

where my sunflower wishes to go

lots of garden excitement in the last two days! my first sunflower opened yesterday...

second sunflower really, but the first one was tiny and never fully opened. this one is medium-sized and has two more buds on the stalk waiting to open.

i found a site that may or may not offer free sunflower seeds. it’s part of an urban bee population study--they ask that you plant a certain variety of sunflower (“lemon queen” annual) and record data about the bees that visit. i can’t find any sort of order form where you request the seeds, so i think maybe they’re done sending them out this season (it is pretty late) but maybe they’ll offer them again next spring. also, i saw one page that mentioned something about collecting data from other plants, like bee balm and lavender. i’ll participate in the study without the sunflowers if i can figure out how.

first tigridia (or mexican shell flower) opened this morning.

it looks so exotic and tropical, like it doesn’t even belong here in boise. and really it doesn’t. (there are so many native flower gardeners around here who probably consider this an abomination...sorry.)

tiger lilies are bursting with flowers, and still so many buds to go.

first eggplant flower bud. i’m still not sure if these are going to produce at all.

the bell pepper flowers are looking promising, though. there’s one very healthy plant that has over a dozen buds, two open flowers and one tiny pepper. i wonder how many peppers one plant can produce/support at a time.

most of the corn stalks have the makings of tassels just starting to poke out.

gonzo bean pods are forming, despite the heat.

i waded around in the creek today and peeked under the fence...the neighbors' raspberries are ripe, which means i should expect ripe fruit on the volunteers around this time next year.

i found what i thought was a ripe tomato--a white currant, the first plant that flowered and one of the first to set fruit. in the bright sunlight i swear it looked ripe, but in the photos it’s obviously still mostly green...anyway, i ate it, and it tasted a bit bitter. nice texture, though.

i also ate a prickly caterpillar today. the taste was mild and reminiscent of grass, and the chewing on toothbrush bristles.

at the start of the season i had every intention of weighing every morsel my garden produced this year, recording it all meticulously...this is the first time i’ve bothered. a pound of zucchini...

and a third of a pound of beans. this was dinner yesterday.

i cooked them the same way i cooked the others, olive oil/S&P sauté, only this time i cooked the beans a few minutes before adding the squash. the squash turned out the same and the beans really benefitted from the extra cooking time.

another handful of peas yesterday, too. i thought i planted all edible-pod types, but the pods are a little tough, so i shelled them, munching as i went.

i’ve had good luck with asexual propagation this year. the chocolate mint runners i potted have developed into plants that look even healthier than their parent. that experiment inspired me to try growing basil from cuttings:

after about two weeks they have sizeable root balls.

i accidentally knocked a branch off of one of my cherry tomato plants, so i stuck it in some water. not only are roots forming along the stem, it’s even growing baby tomatoes thanks to the liquid kelp i added. at first i had it in plain water and the blossoms dropped, but when i added kelp it set fruit.


Vetsy said...

Hi! Emily..I just found you on my blog today..Thank you for stopping by.
your sunflowers are so yellow and pretty the birds planted your too" Isn't that a fun surprise.. Let me know if you find those Lemon queen sunflower seeds"...

The Mexican shell flower is a pretty dainty little thing..I like it and enjoyed all of your flower and garden photos...

P.S.. I see no harm in having just a small few non-natives that are really unique in the garden, I plan to have mostly natives in the future but will place a couple of those Non-natives I find in containers...

``` Vetsy

GoneferalinID said...

I love the last photo, great composition. My sunflowers seem so behind this year, maybe it was the long spring. I'm gonna try the basil propagation, we can never have enough basil around the house.

Emily said...

thanks, vetsy! i'll keep trying on the free sunflower seeds. i bet they'll start offering them again at the end of the season.

confining non-natives to containers is a great idea. i really admire gardeners who choose to plant all (or nearly all) native species.

goneferal--i don't think your sunflowers are far behind. i planted mine too early and almost lost them a few times, especially when that freak snowstorm hit in late may, they looked like goners. it would've been smarter to wait. i'm glad you're trying the basil propagation, let me know how it goes!

Bumble Lush said...

Hi Emily, thanks for stopping by my blog! Your pictures are beautiful! I love the sunflowers. I'm growing some myself, and I was able to get pictures before the heat and squirrels got to them.

I love your purple pole beans! Been trying to grow some too, but the plants haven't produced much. :(

Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog...

Jessica said...

My one sunflower looks like it's about to bloom! I hope it blooms before my two-week trip home to the East coast. I'm so excited for all that you're harvesting and enjoying from your garden!

Emily said...

bumble lush--thank you! good job getting to your sunflowers before the critters. mine are probably doomed, they're planted right next to the birdfeeder. so far so good, though.

jessica--i hope you get to see the bloom! last summer my first sunflower bloomed right before i left for belize for two weeks, i was so happy i didn't miss it. happy travels!