Friday, June 18, 2010

Go Volunteers!

Hello, My name is Calypso! And yes, I am an orange and white cat. This only seems natural, as I was born in Knoxville Tn 8 years ago, and they are the home of the Volunteers! However, today's blog is not about sports, it is about Volunteer plants. What is a volunteer plant? It is any plant in the yard or garden, that was not placed there by Teresa intentionally. So, wouldn't that be a weed? Nope, volunteer plants can bring great joy if left to grow with a little love and attention!
This is one determined little tomato. I am not sure what type of tomato it is, but I am hoping to find out. It is growing on the edge of the pavement, and next to the piggie pen where their dinner bowls are. I feared the piggies would eat the plant as they often do when opportunity knocks, so I wrapped it in chicken wire, and will hope for it's survival.

The first picture here is of a tomatillo plant. Tomatillo is very similar to a tomato in appearance. It grows with this cool husk cradeling the fruit. I planted some last year in this same spot, and this year being the thoughtful gardener I am, I was rotating my crops and had decided to grow lettuces here. Apparently, the Tomatillos decided they liked this location, and came back for a visit. I am happy to have them, and forsee some salsa verde in their future!

I am not sure about this sunflower, I would guess some cardinals decided to deposit it here. A deer chewed off it's lower leaves, but it seems determined to survive, so I let it.

This is my third year of volunteer cherry tomatoes in this location outside the piggy pen. These plants get so huge I can hardly stake them on the fence. But, they bring tons of fruit, and the piggies love their snacks when some of the tomatoes decide to jump into their pen!

I love borage! It is an herb that is also a beautiful plant with these blue star like flowers. The leaves are fuzzy, and have a cucumber like taste to them. However, this volunteer, is growing, and growing, and growing, and growing. I have about 4 of them and another 6 babies showing up. They are taking up quite a bit of space and crowding out my garlic. So, guess I need to harvest the garlic?? :)

Primrose, I have tried to grow these from seeds, transplants etc, and now they are growing in the crack of my walkway. I love it!

Fennel, I have tons of fennel, and it is not where I would have placed it. I love fennel, so I will let them grow. I actually had to dig up fennel and dill from my gravel walkway, as people were trampling them down daily. Now I have fennel in pots, and fennel amongst my herbs. I think I will harvest prior to seeding this year though!

I think this may be spaghetti squash! The leaves are about 18 inches in diameter, and the plant is now about 12 feet across the compost pile. I notice a few squash like plants in my compost a few months ago, and let them grow. So I will not have much of a compost pile this year, but yummy squashes!

This is the other squash growing in my compost pile. I believe it is butternut squash from last year's harvest. I had to put up some fencing in my compost pile to support this climbing freak! There are three of these vines wandering amuck and bring me lots of joy and happiness!

Now I also have noticed that since I harvested my cilantro and arugula, I have lots of babies coming up in their place. This baby decided to wonder out of the garden and into the pathway through the garden. I imagine I will be walking around this escapee for a month or so.

And last but not least wild blackberries. The fields are full of them this year. I even have a few that have wondered into my garden, so I let them grow just because they volunteered to be there. I see cobblers, jams and perhaps some wine in their future.
So, I appear to be a lazy gardener? Actually, I work very hard to grow all kinds of things in the garden, and really love seeing these determined little plants popping up in such odd places. I even discovered a tomato growing in between my deck boards, and my deck is 8 feet above the ground! I have a feeling that one won't make it. I really have a hard time pulling up my seedlings to make room for them to produce, so how could I possibly pluck a volunteer plant from it's chosen home? GO VOLS!
Enjoy the weekend, and watch out for those vols!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hallooo to you! My name is Papilio polyxenes, or most likely known to you as Black Swallowtail Caterpillar. I have been hanging out in Teresa's parsley patch happily munching away all day on curled and italian parsley. Now I am ready to make my cocoon to rest a bit while I transform into a butterfly and leave this earthbound existance. Then I will have a bird's eye view of Teresa's lovely parsley patch! I love that this patch is on a two year cycle, as I may decide to lay eggs for next year!

So today was unreasonably hot, 92 degrees it felt like 97 with the humidity throw in. Working in the garden is necessary, but tedious. Here I have my scarlet runner beans eagerly climbing their teepee to the sky. They have beautiful blooms, but I wonder what the beans will taste and look like. Guess I will just have to wait and see. They seem to be doing well after a rough start with a cut worm war. Along the Wattle fence is Bantam corn, and zucchini and yellow squashes. The onions that I planted on the outer side have all been harvested and eaten, and were quite yummy!

Last blog, I posted about this volunteer squash, and boy is it an impresive monster now. I have no idea what it is, but it has oblong fruit, and is very happy living in the compost pile. The leaves are about 15 to 18 inches across. Any ideas? I will keep you posted.

Coming soon, wait, I picked these today. What? Blackberries in mid June? The fields are full this year, so I look forward to many gallons of wild blackberries, which will be transformed into wine, ice cream, and cobblers for summer yumminess. I am working on a few recipes to post real soon. Stay cool and happy harvesting!