Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Potting Bench

As I was driving back from the farmer's market this morning ( unfortunately, I still need some supplemental veggies) I saw a beat up desk/hutch with two big "FREE" signs on it. It looked like the perfect potting bench. My husband has volunteered to help me paint it. Here's the before pics. There are also two additional shelves not pictured.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bloom Day 10/15

Marigolds (in my tomato beds)


Zinnias w/ Purple Heart in the background

Knockout Roses - wanted to show scale

Mums - one of two that survived the summer

Knockout Rose closeup

Batface Cuphea w/ Cosmos in the background

Trailing White Lantana - just planted

Black and Blue Salvia w/ Gold Lantana in the background

Black-Foot Daisies

Thai Basil - I don't like the flavor as much as the standard,
but the flowers are awesome

Not technically a bloom, but the color of the
"Bright Lights" Swiss Chard is worth a photo

Lamb's Ear w/ Penta (and a cute little friend)

Horseherb - With all the talk of this ground cover lately,
I thought I'd post mine. I am a big fan.

"Fruit Cocktail" Shrimp Plant

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Asp / Puss Caterpillar

I found this crazy guy on the knockout roses yesterday. I knew I had seen it in the "Texas Bug Book" and luckily didn't touch him before finding out what he was. He has sharp spines hiding under the soft fluffy fur that are apparently pretty painful and full of poison.

I found another one stuck to the front door this morning.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Soldier Bug Update

Today I looked closer at what I thought were "Spined Solder Bugs", which are beneficial insects. I found three of them sucking from a tomato. Well, I was thinking that it didn't seem like a very beneficial thing to do so I took another look at the Texas Bug Book and found that they are stink bugs. So I now have the trifecta on my cherry tomato plants, Tomato Horn Worms, Leaf-Footed Bugs and Stink Bugs. I will try and get a picture tomorrow while I am removing them.

I like the Texas Bug Book but wish it was organized a little differently. It would be nice if there was an index that was organized by the type of plant the bug was found on. I find that I usually have to look through the entire book a few times before narrowing down the culprit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One of those Days

Today I got home from work early enough to spend a few minutes in the garden. I wandered around only to find two new pests. It's one of those days where you wonder why you even bother. Why don't I just leave it to the professionals?

Here is where the cutworm laughed at my attempts to block him. I caught him in the act, stretching as far as possible to bite just above the straws I put in yesterday. I found a second one, but destroyed them both before taking pictures.

Here are the next culprits. I don't know what they are, but would appreciate any help. I couldn't find them in the Texas Bug Book. These little critters eat through the stems on the tomato plants. You can see the droopy end, completely cut off from nutrients. I may have to resort to some organic pesticides on these guys.

Why do I bother? Well ... I just finished eating some sauteed okra. Simple olive oil, salt, pepper and whole okra. I also mixed in some zucchini and mushrooms. Mmmm! I agree with a friend of mine that plain old sauteed okra is just as good as fried, as long as you can handle a little slime.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Garden Update in Pictures

New Lantanas (white trailing, yellow mounding) and Black and Blue Salvia. Since I took this picture I have added two more Black and Blue Salvias to balance it out.
Here's a picture of the rest of the plants I still need to put in. They include, more Lantanas, Pink Skullcap and Russian Sage. This morning I put in one Lantana and Two Skullcaps. I hope to finish the rest throughout the week, one or two a day after work.
Black and Blue Salvia.

Butter Beans and Green Beans

Okra. Yes, they really are as tall as the house

"Crimson Giant" Radish

Romas, round two

Winter Garden Beds

First Winter Harvest

Today I picked the first of my "winter" veggies, radishes! No, I didn't leave them in the ground too long, these are called "Crimson Giants" and are meant to be the size of a small apple. I'm going to make a salad tonight and decide how I like this variety. I also picked some serranos, cherry tomatoes and okra. The okra is still hanging in there, but the cool weather severely stunts the production.

Tomato Pests

I've been so busy with my new veggies and flowers that I've been neglecting the tomatoes. This weekend I gave them a little attention and found that both leaf-footed bugs and tomato horn worms. Argh!

I found both the adults and nymphs of the leaf-footed bugs. I killed about 20, but at least that many escaped. I'm worried it's only a matter of time before I have to rip out the plants. There are some really nice looking cherries that should be ripening soon, so I'm hoping to fight them off long enough to get a few.

I found two tomato horned worms. I looked them up in the Texas Bug Book and found that the adults only lay a few eggs, since a single larvae can do so much damage. Last year there were four of five on the plants, so I'm hoping there aren't too many more. Also last year I only found these guys in the fall. Has anyone found them in their spring/summer crop?

These guys can be hard to spot, but I've discovered another way to detect them. Their droppings seem to be pretty distinct, especially with the relatively large size.

Green droppings, after he's been eating leaves

Orange droppings, after he's been eating my precious tomatoes

I did find a few friends in the garden today, which was nice after fighting off the others all morning. Here is an Anole I found in the Basil. I didn't get a picture, but I did find some Soldier Bugs too.