Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sugar snap peas for the weekend


Here’s today’s pick of sugar snap peas, resting in ice water to pull the field heat off them quickly. This is about 1.75 pounds of big, round pods.

The fruit is staying ahead of the inevitable powdery mildew that visits most leafy plants here. I think these pea plants will finish up before the mildew slows them down.

First cucumbers of the summer

Here are the first 2 Japanese Soya cucumbers of the summer.

They were growing longer and fatter faster than they were losing their deep ribs, so I decided to pick them.

The squirrels never got to these. (I’ve trapped and relocated about 15 squirrels this season. It’s a good thing they like apples and peanut butter more than my plants!)

The longer one weighs 1.5 pounds, the smaller is 1.25 pounds.

Taste? I’ll let you know soon!



Birds like dry water boxes

A few months ago, I noticed a bird chirping around one of my dormant GrowBoxes. While I was working in the garden early one morning, I noticed the bird perch on the water port of the box, and then disappear into the waterbox itself. A few seconds later, it emerged, and a minute later, it returned, with a twig in its mouth. I looked inside and saw a bunch of twigs. This little bird had been busy for a long time getting all that stuff into the waterbox.  I set up my iPhone on a tripod and shot this:

I figured that box was lost to me, at least for the spring. I wasn’t about to destroy an active nest. However, I noticed that the birds stopped coming around. I waited a couple of weeks, and after seeing no activity, I disassembled the GrowBox to clean out the twigs, so I could use it. Inside, I found the abandoned nest, with a few eggs in it, as you see below. Mom must have met up with one of our many red-tailed hawks, or perhaps an owl.

Twigs and nest in GrowBox

Close-up of nest in GrowBox reservoir

Nest in GrowBox

Let us have lettuce! In fact, four kinds!

Since my lettuces are doing well, and are big enough to look like smaller versions of mature plants, I thought I’d publish some portraits!

I raise all these in shallow “windowboxes” set atop a folding table, to keep them out of reach of the cottontail rabbits that visit. I wish the squirrels were as easy to thwart. That’s why I have four live traps in the garden — to help me relocate the salad-bar-loving squirrels who visit from the canyon behind my yard.

Here’s the leaf lettuce, both a red and a green variety:

Red and green leaf lettuce

I also planted a couple of “butterhead” lettuces. This category forms a loosely-organized head, sort of halfway between a leaf lettuce and a true head lettuce.

First, we have Buttercrunch Lettuce, still pretty young. This variety germinates and grows pretty slowly:

Baby buttercrunch lettuce

My second butterhead variety is called Mantilia. It’s chartreuse, an unusual lettuce color. Pretty! Hope it’s as tasty as it is pretty, but I’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.

Mantilia butterhead lettuce