Sunday, October 14, 2012

First Snow Pea!

I did it! I successfully planted a fall planting of snow peas in time for them to actually produce peas! I am at a bit of an advantage due to my summer garden withdrawal I was dealing with, but I did it nevertheless. Usually, by the time I'm ready to start thinking about planting again, it's about a month late.

I'm pretty sure this is what it's going to be like to have kids. Always sharing your treasures. Heidi ran into the screen door, wanting to join me on my pea harvest. I'm not sure if she could smell them, or what. She LOVES peas. I split this one with her.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cotton Aphids and Ladybugs

Cotton Aphids have made their way to my balcony garden. We moved a watermelon plant with us (which also brought some squash bugs) but later got a huge infestation of cotton aphids. I decided at that point, to get go ahead and get rid of the plant. I planted two zucchini plants afterwards in nearby planters, and the cotton aphids have found a new home. 

I was spraying the plants with a dish soap mixture, when I discovered a ladybug taking residence.

Even better than the single lady bug helping me out, she laid several different patches of eggs. 

I'm now getting to watch the life cycle of these ladybugs. I have quick spraying the zucchini plants, knowing that ladybugs can eat up to 50 aphids a day. I'm looking forward to getting to watch this process even more than I'm looking forward to the one, maybe two zucchini I'll get from these plants before frost.

Ladybug larvae:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Balcony Garden and the Move

Our move to D.C. started back in June, where I ventured alone to start my new job. I got an amazing job as a mother/baby nurse, but they wanted a June start date. We had not anticipated moving until August, and our house needed to be dealt with before we both were able to move. 

I spent the first six weeks of my time here in Woodbridge, VA with my husband's cousin and her roommate, who graciously offered me a bedroom and allowed Heidi to join me. I got to try about five ripened cherry tomatoes before our move, and had to leave the rest of my fully planted summer garden. 

July marked our 5th wedding anniversary, and my husband surprised me with a grocery bag full of tomatoes. He brought anything that looked like is was about to ripen. I was able to share some delicious tomatoes with my new housemates, and couldn't have gotten a more appreciated gift.

I brought along a sucker from one of my last Cherokee Purple seeds from Jeff at Our Engineered Garden. It went through a lot (including over 100 degree heat by being left in a car in PA during my move here). My husband also later brought our watermelon plants in a container, and my dwarf tophat blueberry plant. 

Planting my balcony garden was a pretty high priority with the move, and I had it seeded within the first week of our moving into our apartment in Alexandria. 

Here are some recent pictures of the garden:

So far, I've got my Cherokee Purple tomato plant, Zucchini, cilantro, radishes, green onions, garlic chives, blueberry plant, snow peas, spinach, and several types of lettuce.

Peas, lettuce, and spinach

I recently removed the watermelon plants from this bucket, and replanted with lettuce and spinach seedling which are making their appearance.

First pea blossom! (Strange to see a CAR in the background below the plants)

Romaine lettuce

Red Sails lettuce seedling growing on the left from Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions, radish seedlings on the right

The radishes (and hidden spinach and lettuce) in white planter near the railing had originally been in the other over-the-rail hanger, but with watering, it was bending the wires which had me too nervous to put it back. So until Spring, when Dollar Tree carries the other planters again, that side is going to be an empty eyesore. 

This is the first (and only) Cherokee Purple tomato to pollinate on my plant. I didn't think it'd happen after all that it has been through, but I'm excited to see it even though it probably won't have time to ripen before frost.

And here is the second salad we're going to enjoy from the balcony garden!