Dear Diary: today this happened


Picking the naughty pumpkin has always been my super power

It’s getting kind of spooky around here

The final pumpkin baby verdict. Quads!

The Destroyers Birthday is coming very soon.  He will be 6 and he has always loved spooky things.  When he was a toddler he would turn all the lights out during dinner and proclaim that we  were playing  “dark spaces” .  His favorite shirts to wear each year are his Halloween Spooky shirts.  He starts wearing as soon as he can in the Fall and stops when the weather changes and he has no choice.   Thank goodness fashion has skulls in right now because he is completely outfitted in skull/spooky shirts for his wardrobe.   I’ve had these Dept 56 Halloween Houses for years, and each year he begs for them to be put up as soon as possible.  I usually do it inside before or over Labor Day weekend and then pretend we are really a normal family until October 1 when the outside stuff goes up.   This year it’s all up now. Instead of the big Fall tree I did  last year I put a a little Spooky Tree on the porch.    There is more Fall decor for me to get up, but I’m done for now I think.  I’ll switch it out to Fall only after Halloween because I finally get to have Thanksgiving wherever the hell I please this year and will be doing it at my house.   It’s by no means a decorator show house job but I’m pretty pleased with it and I love sharing ideas for decor.    If you do something really cool for fall please share!!

Wanted: Bees to come frolic on my blossoms.

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I have been hesitant to show you my veggies, mostly because they are a pretty sorry lot of plants.

This is my fourth summer trying to grow vegetables. I have always  had a garden in my life, even when I lived in apartments  I tried  to have a patio with some dirt on it somewhere so I could grow flowers.    Once we built this house I quickly decided I would have an actual garden patch for veggies and try my luck.  How hard can it be right?  My parents did it for years and years.   I have numerous friends who are on their 2nd+ years of doing Square Foot Gardening and I  got the book for Christmas last year from one of my MIL ( I have two) .   After  the three previous summers of mediocre to nothing yields I was determined that THIS  gardening season would be different. I would plan ahead like I always do, but THIS year I would plan better, I would plan smarter, I would vow to get my seed started in time, to nurture them lovingly ( keep the cats and kids from killing them)  until it was planting time, to get them in the ground not too early and not too late.  This year I would make the garden pretty and functional.

In spite of all of that, this year the veggies have still been a comedy of  “errors”.

I painstakingly planned and organized, on index cards all of my seeds and space.  I planned for 7 kinds of peppers, 3 kinds of tomatoes,  2 kinds of peas, 1 kind of beets,  2 kinds of spinach and one lettuce. 3 kinds of pumpkins and 1 kind of watermelon.

Some of these are cold crops, which I did not get in this year, oops.  I blame the weather and  the mini marathon training.

I started two+ trays of seeds, I got most of them to grow. and then I got confused about which plant is what hen it was time to place them in the garden.  Veggie wise I’m not good at marking each little seed and then keeping the chaos out of planting time.   So what I ended up with is a garden with some tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins in it.

I had no idea which tomato  plants were what until they finally set fruit.    all but one is fruiting, and almost all of them have some kind of curled leaf funk going on.  It’s hard to know how much to water in a heat wave drought.   I tend to over water, but I haven’t killed them yet and some of my fruit is even ripening. Which helped solve the mystery of the which plants are which.   They appear to be as good as they are going to get.

I still have only a small idea of which pepper plants are what. I keep getting blossoms but not a single pepper fruit.  I am so bummed because I have plans for all those exotic peppers.  we cook a lot of recipes with peppers, I greedily wanted to use them to make  my  green tomatillo adobo sauce, and to roast and freeze for other uses.

The pumpkins are doing a great job of growing up the vertical trellis we made for them.   I only had one pumpkin actually growing  and I was getting a LOT of blossoms.   They just seemed to bloom, then die and fall off in a really ugly pumpkin herpes like fashion. Plus the ants in that bed have decided to just make my pumpkin vines their own playground. They  are either laying eggs on the plants or stealing and eating the eggs other bugs are laying on the blossoms and vines.    This was really perplexing me. I haven’t grown pumpkins before. and I know tomatoes can get blossom rot.  If there is a plant disease or plague in existence I’ve gotten it on my vegetables at some point or another during my numerous attempts to finally be a veggie grower.

Undaunted by my looming failure I turned to the internet.   Only to discover that pumpkins have girl blossoms and boy blossoms. And if a bee or other such creature does not take boy pollen and put in on the girl  stamen then I’m not getting nay pumpkin babies.   You can go out very early in the morning and hand pollinate your blossoms, assuming you have boys open when girls are open and in need of pollinating.  I am NOT into this.  I closed my womb with an ablation  almost 2 yeas ago, I’m not taking on pumpkin  sexing as a hobby…so far.    The  girl blossoms have a teeny tiny pumpkin looking nodule on the stem below where the bloom will form.  The boys are just straight stems.   So I have 2.5 vines chock FULL of boy blooms, with  very few girl blooms to be found.  I lost a full half a vine with 2 babies in waiting on it to either a. some kind of nasty vine rot or b. the  trimmer got too close and hacked off part of the base and killed the  “best” part of the vine. So my 4 pumpkin hopeful harvest has been knocked back to just 2 that are growing.

Yes, I’m telling you my pumpkins aren’t getting enough plant sex=bee pollination.  Turns out that maybe our issue in the pepper front as well.  Sigh… Really?  I have Russian Sage, Oregano, Zinnias,  Sunflowers.  I have not one but TWO bird feeders. My flower garden is a veritable bee , bird and hummingbird pleasure palace. NONE of them can get their parts over there and root around on some  pepper and pumpkin blossoms?   These are some good looking plants? They have nice open blossoms, the blossoms seem to last awhile.    How besides planting things that bees like does one combat a lack of bee issue?    Maybe I should take out a personal add for my  poor pumpkins.