The Garden Experiment: week 8

In garden news this week, I resorted to getting ant spray. That's right, my garden is no longer organic, if it ever really was. It seems to have worked somewhat, though I think I need to do another treatment, because one of the eggplant plants has ants going into its stem now, and I think they're taking refuge in there. Nasty business, the whole thing. If they were just crawling around on the plant, I wouldn't really care, but they can destroy the roots and eat the plant from the inside out, and I'm feeling very defensive about my first gardening foray here.

Anyway, photos:

The coleus in our side yard is really shooting toward the sky now. Most of the plants have a long stem of flowers between 4 and 6 inches long, and they look really cool with all the different colors of foliage, and the pink and white dianthus in the background. Such a fun little garden patch.

The so-called bell pepper is doing great, but now I'm starting to wonder if it's a different kind of pepper because of this shape. Maybe it really is a bell pepper and it'll fill out and get rounder soon. Anyone have experience with these?

I've realized that even though the nice plant people at the farmer's market *said* they were selling me two Japanese eggplants, they actually gave me one Japanese and one of a different variety. I think. Here's the Japanese one, which is obviously long and skinny just like Japanese eggplant ought to be,

and here's the other eggplant, much squattier and bigger around, with green stems instead of reddish-purple (sorry for the lack of focus). There's nothing wrong with having two kinds of eggplant; I'm just surprised that they're turning out to be different.

The dwarf okra has produced one vegetable that looks like I could eat it soon. I think they stay red, and I read that they're supposed to be about 3 inches long when you pick them, so I might pick this one today or tomorrow and cook it up. It's kind of funny to just have one okra, but I only have the one small plant. It's like how the cherry tomato plant produces about one tomato every 2 days that we can eat, so we never quite get enough to make anything, just enough for a little snack. But man, those cherry tomatoes are delicious, so I don't mind.

I finally have Brandywines! There are several small and medium tomatoes on the plant at this point. I can't WAIT to eat them.

The Superfantastic has several big clusters that are on the verge of ripening. It's taking a great deal of restraint not to pick these and make fried green tomatoes, but I feel like I need to wait for the first one to ripen all the way just to make it official, and then I'll start picking some of the others when they're green.

Overall, the raised bed is starting to look like a jungle. The tomato plants are engulfing their cages, but they seem to be doing fine, so I'm not too worried. I know the plants grow better if they're not resting on the ground, but this is what I have at this point, so I'm just going with it. I think I'll have Jack build a shorter bed next year for the tomatoes and the sunflowers and whatever other plants are supposed to get ginormous, so that I'll be able to get bigger cages and let them grow higher while still being able to reach them. The sunflower is almost completely out of reach at this point (it's at the right of this picture, and is so tall it's out of the frame), but I still tip it downward each morning so that Kent can look at it. He'll be pretty surprised when it opens up and he realizes there's been a bright yellow flower in there the whole time.

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A mixture of Tabasco sauce, peppermint soap and mostly water sprayed around should get rid of the ants and maintain organic standards. You can google it for a few recommendations on on ratio for mixing. I haven't tried this yet, (it's on my list) but it's supposed to really work.
Travis was sent home with pepper plant sproutlets. They gave instructions for sun hours and watering, but didn't specify what kind of pepper it is. It'll be a surprise!
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