Monday, February 26, 2018

Harvest Monday - Feb 26th, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday!

I did a bad thing.

Compost food - Chard and Favas

Compost food - Favas and Chard

So much chard.
So many fava greens.
So much shame.

Technically, I did harvest them. But then I composted them. I'm sure there are at least twenty calories wasted in that pile there. There are starving kids in Africa, Day. How dare you.

-- that's what my brain's been yelling at me since the Wednesday chop.

Michelle told me in a different conversation that I lack the ruthless gardener gene. I think she's right. Though on a GOOD NOTE I did finally rip out the chard!

no i didn't
Oh jeepers, don't look...

Trimmed Chard looking derp.

I grow cinder block pineapples now, in case you were wondering. AKA: shaved cat chard.

Either way, they look ridiculous.

Yeah yeah, I'm sure they look perfectly normal to you, but you don't understand. Did you not see how many chard leaves were on that table? These weren't plants, these were shrubbery. Topiaries. I could have trimmed them into fawns, or built tree houses in them. It was a psychedelic LSD jungle of elephant ears. I'd forgotten there were cinderblocks under there.

Now they're all just glaring at me like...

Personified Chard.

...yikes. Sorry.

The second picture at the top was supposed to highlight the fava devastation, but honestly... it wasn't that devastating. On the plants, at least. All those clipped above were from just from jaywalkers, non-bloomers, or weak spindly side shoots trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame.

And I know I complained I wouldn't be getting any beans this year, but after thinning out the herd I found about 1/4 of the stalks had at least one pod near the base. Which is great, except now these suckers also get a reprieve from rip out. Because I want those beans. Dried, please, for seed. Because I've decided I will always grow favas from now on -- and you should too. (Something I'll discuss in a future post.)

For now, back to Harvest Monday -- and on to some harvests I actually did eat!

Mixed lettuce

just kidding.

Mixed lettuce, one plant

Looks good though, right? Everyone loves a galactic black hole of lettuce fresh from the garden.

Ants farming aphids on lettuce

Aphids included.

This came from the second, smaller patch of  accidentally dry-farmed lettuce. Sure, it's gotten copious water since I returned in January.... buuut I was still impressed by it's survival for five weeks with no water, yaddda yadda, you know the story.

Up until last week, it's also been completely pest free. Famous last words.

I was sorta hoping that our crazy fluctuating temperatures lately would cause it to bolt (I know, what gardener begs their lettuce to bolt?) because I'd love to replant more of this miracle seed across the garden in patches, to act as a living mulch. Annnnd because I need the bed it's currently in... so the sooner it bolted, the better.

This lettuce doesn't want to bolt.
And then the ants found it, which means the aphids own it now.

...but I ain't even mad

Ladybug eggs on lettuce leaf -- gardener's gold.

because Ladybug eggs! Yellow blop = eggs.
My phone's camera won't focus any closer than this, so this is as macro as it gets I'm afraid.

It seems my summon horny ladybugs spell from a few weeks ago has proved fruitful. Though the dandy red buggers were spending so much time of the favas I figured that's where they'd be hiding their eggs. Wrong. They've picked the favas clean of aphids (which is awesome) and have now located the smorgasbord of food hiding in the 'lettuce forest.'

Leggy lettuce
Un-thinned lettuce forest, inside look.
So ultimately, even if I had the energy to wash off the aphids and reclaim my lettuce, I certainly don't have the desire to lose these golden beauties and their promise of a spider mite free (ha!) tomato season.

And since they need food when they hatch, well... I guess the lettuce dodges the compost noose once again.


So: Did I eat a damn thing from my harvests this week?! 

Fava tops, volunteer basil, skeptical cat
I ate the cat.
Wait no --  Fava tops. I ate fava tops. 

oh and that there wee laddie of basil, on top.

fava tops

Unlike the ones in the first two pictures, these fava greens came from prime, healthy, un-tripped-over-and-stepped-on stalks. I only took the top two inches or so, and here were the parameters:
  1. They'd already set beans lower on the stalk, however small. Apparently cutting off the growing tips encourages them to ripen what they have, instead of focus on putting out more flowers. And we need to hurry this along.
  2. They'd put out lots of flowers in the past, but had never set any of them into beans. Time's ticking - no slackers allowed. Ain't got time for just a pretty face.
  3. They hadn't started putting out flowers yet. So i definitely wouldn't have gotten pods from them before those beds need to be cleared for 'summer' stuff.
So I topped maybe a dozen plants, with infinitely more to go. I'm trying to do it in small batches, as the favas flowers are the only bee food in my garden right now, and I'd really like to keep the pollinators aware of my little urban oasis.

The recent cold snap we had (my zone 9b garden hit mid thirties at night -- yet across town, Jane's zone 10 birdbath was frozen - go figure) has made all the hot loving crops I planted in January go bug eyed and cross. They're not dying, but not growing either. Just staring at me accusingly and shivering. So I'm unsure what my next 'bee bloom' vegetable will be now... as a result, I'll try to keep at least some of the blooming favas around as long as possible.


Now, normally I'm not a big 'food photo' poster, but I did use up some of my 'stores' from last year's harvest:

Mayflower, Calima, and Purple Teepee dry beans -- mixed with store bought great northern

I cooked up some extra Mayflower and Calima seed stock that I had surplus of, and what remained of  the Purple Teepee beans which were useless and I'm not growing again. I thought I already got rid of the Purple Teepee beans, but then found another little bag of seed I'd saved from last summer. Apparently, leaving seed in baggies to randomly discover later is a trend with me.

All together, that gave me only a cup of beans... wow. So I had to combine them with a cup of store bought white northern whatever beans. Boo. People always comment on how many plants it takes to harvest a decent amount of dry beans, but yeah... nothing puts that into perspective quite like a measuring cup.

Which is the opposite of corn, I swear. I'm pretty sure dry corn multiplies when you're not looking. I've been eating from my corn stores for weeks now. The volume of the bowl has gone down, hm, maybe a centimeter.


Here's a tiny bowl of the end result of the slow cooker bean corn meat onion baked bean soup shlop thing.
I've made it before, and I love it.

Buuuuuut I screwed up this time... I forgot to soak the corn overnight with the beans. Oops. Suffice it to say, the above bowl was a bit... chewy. But luckily, good shlop gets better and better than longer you cook it, ad infinitum.

And the quickest way to my food heart is through quick cooking leftovers that get better with age.

So I put it all back in the slow cooker the next day and did my run, chores, yadda yadda, then in the afternoon I cooked up half of the fava greens from above with some store bought mushrooms and whatever random spices I was craving... (I think turmeric? I've been on a turmeric kick lately. That, or I've been feeling masochistic and enjoy trying to scrub clean my once white spatula again and again).

Anyway, when the favas and shrooms were ten seconds from being done, I added a couple ladles of shlop to the pan, mixed, bowled, whallah -- food. The rest stayed in the slow cooker, getting more and more tender in time for dinner.

And tomorrow's breakfast...

And tomorrow's dinner.... 

and overmorrow's breakfast...


Golden Sage cuttings sending out roots
It's aliiivee...

So the first cutting of golden sage (one of the jars I've been using fresh) has recently grown skeleton legs and now wishes to rise from the dead. Normally my necromantic powers pale in comparison to my other forms of garden magic, but it seems this week I had a mind to reincarnation. Perhaps after killing all that chard. Hm.

Suffice it to say, I definitely don't need more sage in the garden. But they are lovely. Tasty and decorative. So I think I'll stick a few of these herb zombies into solo cups and see how they do. If they live, great -- they'll get gifted to the neighbors who wouldn't take my chard >_>

On the contrary, the second cutting of sage is staying dead, as it's supposed to, and drying nicely on its perch above the back of the fridge.

Golden Sage - drying

 Oh, and just in case you were wondering...

wee man the pea man and his toothpick
Wee man the pea man still going strong.


That's it for this week at the Shandy Dandy! Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave @ Our Happy Acres: make sure to swing by and see what's he's harvested, and link up if you have harvests of your own.

Happy Planting!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Harvest Monday - Feb 19th, 2018

Hope you like Chard...

...because my stomach doesn't. I've been trying to eat down my dozen plants so I can tear them out. Did I honestly think I could eat a dozen swiss chard plants? By myself? Because that... well, that was some ridiculously optimistic thinking Day.

Monster Swiss Chard

I mean, cripes, this is one of the plants I have to tackle. See that center leaf, the one facing us looking all pretty?

Monster Swiss Chard, small leaf
This is for scale. The leaf behind it is an elephant ear. You could make a burrito the size of a baby with it.

So this Harvest Monday post is also me coming to terms with the fact that most of this chard is going to end up in the compost pile in the near future. I'm genuinely ashamed of that. It's true I need more green layers in the compost right now, seeing as it's full of dry leaves, but I prefer to use inedible sources for my nitrogen kick.

But I can't help it --  my body just can't do anymore chard and nobody else wants to take it.  
("Swiss... what?" they say, peeking cautiously over the fence and staring dubiously at the green stuff.)

And when I say my body can't do anymore chard... I don't mean it's a taste bud thing or a lack of inspiration on how to prepare it. What I mean is -- my GI tract is in full rebellion, torches and pitchforks, marching down main street level unhappy. It does not like chard. At all. Beets, cool, no problem. But chard? Burn the witch to the ground.

Fava greens - growing tips

I'll save you the details, suffice it to say I thought it was the fava greens (above) so I stopped eating those for most of the week, and doubled up on chard instead. That... was a mistake.

Swiss Chard and Pea shoot
Awkward 'on the trellis' photo. I need a potting bench.

I only took harvest photos of the endless chard when I also had something else to show, however small. See that pea shoot on top of the pile?

It attacked me.

I was just checking on the favas, minding me own business, and wham! punched right in the earlobe. Now, I didn't mean to break his arm off entirely, but c'mon... if something's poking around in my earhole, you can be damn sure I'm gunna go full ninja about it.

Anyway, the offending shoot was supposed to get cooked with the chard, but he got lost during meal prep. When I eventually found him while doing dishes, he was collapsed by the sink, wilty and sad. Aw.

Oh heartstrings, you pluck for the strangest reasons...

my new kitchen helper

So he got a teeny vase. And a toothpick to hold. For whatever reason, I feel much better now.

Golden Sage

Apart from chard, my biggest harvest this week was Golden Sage.

I mentioned a while back that I had two plants that needed to be lopped back. Cutting the first one gave me two jar vases of fresh sage that I'm still trying to use up. But I couldn't stand staring at the second, leggy, scraggly sage anymore. So I sheared him too, and I decided this batch was going to be dried straight off.

Golden Sage bundles for drying

After a wash (evicted: 1 cabbage looper, 1 startled moth, and lots of dust) the sage made three hefty bundles that are now hanging to dry above the fridge.

Up until planting sage, I didn't cook much with it. I associated it with 'meat cooking,' and though I eat meat, I don't cook with it all that frequently. And while I do bake with eggs a lot, I don't prefer them alone. I've never been an eggs for breakfast person, bleh.

Last week however, I got distracted with life and didn't make it to the grocery store when I needed to. The cupboards were bare. Boo. I did have eggs, though, so I scrambled some up. Fine. I threw in some sage. Why not.  

Oh my. It's strange how some things smother sage's flavor, and other's highlight it. The eggs definitely highlighted it, in a very good way. And while I'm still not a convert to scrambled eggs, I'll remember the sage next time I'm forced to eat them alone.

Mitoyo Eggplant, tiny Paul Robeson Tomato, Swiss Chard
Mitoyo Eggplant, tiny Paul Robeson Tomato, Swiss Chard
And while I'm on the topic of food conversion, I decided to try eggplant again.

Last summer I grew half a dozen eggplant plants (plant plants?) of two varieties: Mitoyo and Casper. Well, the spider mites had a fucking holiday on them, and at the end of a long and bloody war only one stood victorious: a single Mitoyo plant, since named Moriarty. But victorious is a very generous word... he lived. Barely.

During the battle I ate a lot of small and tender eggplant  from both varieties. I didn't find them insipid, but I couldn't fathom why people got excited about them. The plants were difficult to germinate, grew slowly, attracted every pest on the planet, and for all the care they required, they returned the favor by producing lots of flavorless oil sponges.

I didn't get it. I tried cooking it a lot of different ways, and the appeal alluded me.

But it's been half a year since my last bite, so I decided to try again. I'll save you the cook&prep hoohah and get to the point: nope, not converted. I did nibble on some of the raw flesh while cooking, and it reminded me of a grocery apple when it gets spongy and dry and old. Still, it was very faintly sweet. Not the worst thing I've ever tasted, but not something I'd snack on. Though I did prefer the raw to the cooked, to be perfectly honest. 

I wanted to like it, guys, I really did. But bleh, pass. Oh well -- you win some, you lose some.

Lacewing on Mitoyo Eggplant
Moriarty and his new best friend.
Moriarty will, however, get a reprieve from the compost pile and continue to live and grow purple sponge grenades despite my taste preferences. Eggplant make a perfect gift to give my neighbor-who-cuts-my-hair. So while I'm not eating them, at least someone is.

And the lacewings love Moriarty, as you can see. Though that's only because he's overwhelmed by spider mites... again. But that's enough about spider mites for now. It's only Monday.

Also, I nearly forgot, in the above above photo, you can see an itty bitty teeny weeny Paul Robeson tomatey.

Ok, it was mealy and tough skinned, but with decent flavor. I don't blame the plant. It's had a rough life. It made better fruit, once upon a time. The fact that it's even attempting to make tomatoes right now makes me happy. So I took my small victory and ate it during meal prep.

Fibrous Snap Pea ambush

I guess you could call this a harvest... though it wasn't a happy one. And there were many more where this came from, unfortunately.

This year I'm growing four types of peas: Sugar Snap, Cascadia (snap), Golden Snow, and Sugar Magnolia Tendril (snap). As it turns out, my Cascadia gene pool is a disaster. They are supposed to be bush snap peas with white flowers. Well --

Golly gee willikers, I have tall plants, short plants, purple flowers, white flowers, snow pea shapes, shelling pea shapes, snap pea shapes  and way, way, way too many fibrous, inedible pods.
That one you see above is the first I discovered, as I innocently bit into it. In this particular one, the peas themselves were also super bitter. The shock and horror of it all had me gracelessly spitting the whole thing out onto the path.  No shame.

Typical Cascadia PeaCrossed/Rogue Cascadia Pea

Above left: what a cascadia pea is supposed to look like. Above right: one of the many rogues, likely due to accidental crossing resulting from poor isolation practices.

So lot of my un-photographed 'harvests' this week were pea taste tests. When I found a fibrous one, I played the super confusing game called follow that stem! down to the root line so I could pull out the whole plant. And since the peas were growing in a wild mix of bush and pole, it was chaotic pea tumbleweed labyrinth to navigate. I was as delicate as I could be... but one of the patches still looked like this after I was done:

Jumbled pea bed after culling the fibrous plants

What a mess.

To add insult to injury, when I made my pea crosses last month I may have used pollen from some of these fibrous plants. I tag the females so I can find the pods I've crossed, but I don't tag the males. So despite the best laid plans of mice and Day, I may be culling the fibrous gene out of my pea crosses for years to come.

Once again: you win some, you lose some!

Swiss Chard, baby beans, and a nosy cat

These beans were itty bitty things, grown mostly as a nitrogen ground cover. Most are Purple Teepee, which was a bean that grew poorly for me, set poorly, and produced tiny, scythe like beans.

I tried growing them twice last season, at different times of the year and in different places. Same results. So the few beans I had left in the packet were sown haphazardly before my five week disappearance. This week I pulled all the plants as they were getting powdery mildew.

The bitty baby beans were thrown into a stew. The few green ones are Calima, which is actually a great bean, but the plants were shaded out by lettuce so grew much slower.

The bowl is actually quite full, though not like you could tell: photo bomb courtesy of Greynoodle Noseypants who had to take a quick 'niff in case they were meats and I was holding out on him.


That's it for this week at the Shandy Dandy -- Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave @ Our Happy Acres: make sure to swing by and see what's he's harvested, and link up if you have harvests of your own.

Happy Planting!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Garden Spellcraft: episode 1

This week, I channeled my inner wizard and pulled off two magical garden spells. 

If you're unfamiliar with garden magic, check with your local magical extension office for educational opportunities in your area. On occasion, they even offer ancient tomes and spell-scrolls at discounted rates to members of the community.

All set? Let's begin!

How to Make Squirrels Compost for You

This first spell is beginner level. It should be easy to cast for anyone already tapped into the arcane powers of physics and mental manipulation. The applications of this spell are many. For my uses, I trained the local squirrels to compost.

Spell Recipe:
PHASE 1: locate source origin.
PHASE 1: locate source origin.
My source origin is my neighbor's orange tree. The oranges will be the object, or source, I will use magical physics and mental manipulation of agents to control. Up against the fence, just out of the photo to the right, is the compost pile - that is my source destination.

PHASE 2: determine source path, and agents.
PHASE 2: determine source path, and agents.

My source path will be from the my neighbor's orange tree (bottom of picture) to my ash tree (top of picture). My agents will be any squirrels entering this demarcated region. I will use physics magic to contain this region, and set the rules within it. I will use mental manipulation to control the actions of my agents once they enter this zone.

Unfortunately, magic is resistant to photography, so getting a picture of PHASE 3 (my agent (squirrel) in action) is impossible. However, here you can see the end result:

PHASE 4: the end result of the completed spell.
PHASE 4: the end result of the completed spell.
To recap -- combining the above steps, I've created a zone between my neighbor's orange tree and my ash tree where I can manipulate the behavior of any agents entering that zone. My result is that squirrels dining on my neighbor's oranges get an irresistible urge to carry their prize over to my ash tree and do their dining on the branch right above my compost pile.

1/5 of the way through their dinner, they are then overcome with the irresistible urge to get a new orange -- abandoning the one they are currently dining on. Thus, they drop the orange, and it falls directly onto the top of my compost.

This is simple, self replicating magic folks, so apart from minor tweaking to adjust for branch growth or magic resistant squirrels, it requires very little upkeep. Though I would advise anyone adding oranges to their compost to also consider adding a worm compatibility filter. Typically, worms that occupy compost piles greatly dislike citrus. This can be overcome by adding a worm compatibility filter directly after phase 3. A well focused filter should last 4 - 6 months.

IMPORTANT NOTES: the magical aura of this spell is simple yet powerful; a little goes a long way! I used just enough to subliminally encourage the squirrels to use the ash tree as their perch, and to help aim the falling oranges so they kerplunk within the exact walls of the compost, even if it's windy.

Don't overdue it. You don't want squirrels launching oranges at your neighbor's windows, or oranges catapulting out of the tree and hitting the squirrels (well, unless you do). Keep your phases in the right order, and practice magical moderation, and everything will go swimmingly.

SIDE EFFECTS: mostly minor, physical realm consequences like juicy bonks on the head from falling  oranges, should you fail to calibrate the spell's trajectory correctly. Consequently, we do advise a wizard's hat or, in a pinch, a construction helmet, be worn at all times while working within the magical boundaries of this spell, just as a precaution.


How to Summon Horny Ladybugs

This spell is NOT for beginners! Though I discovered it by accident, I got lucky in its execution. If used incorrectly, this spell could have extreme consequences. So please pay attention:

This spell is a psychic conjuration spell of reversed intent, one that bridges the realms of the physical world and the blog-o-sphere. I know, cool right... but dangerous if abused. My application of this spell resulted in the arrival and copulation of a half dozen lady bugs, their official magical name being ladybirdicus aphid'eaticus.

Spell Recipe:

1. spark the spell with a language prompt from the non-physical realm, such as the internet {"Because I just had a much better idea for the prime real estate space they're occupying." - from my recent Harvest Monday blogpost} mixed with strong psychic feeling, either positive or negative ("man, I genuinely can't wait to rip out that stupid cinder block bed I made that has the dying favas and swiss chard so I can plant something better. I'm going to do that this weekend, for sure.")

2. Allow 24 hrs for the arcane magic to percolate, locate, and interpret your prompt and psychic feeling.

3. Return to the specified location or object (ie: the cinderblock bed) and observe the reversal --

Copulating Ladybugs

Bachelor/ette Ladybug

More Copulating Ladybugs

-- ladybugs copulating on the plants I need to rip out in order to remove the cinderblock bed. So now, I will no longer be able to remove the cinderblock bed (reversal) because of the forthcoming lady bug larvae that will be living on the plants there.

IMPORTANT NOTES: Though my discovery was accidental, this spell should ideally involve much careful planning --This is a realm bridging spell y'all, and a reversed intent spell no less -- plan accordingly! Only conjure in the physical realm! Do not conjure from, or into, the internet realm! Accidentally summoning unsuspecting members of the blog-o-sphere into your vegetable garden and inducing their copulation will not be appreciated!

Similarly, sending a hoard of digital, copulating bugs into the internet will be met with equal displeasure, and probably a visit from the NSA. Precision of language is key! Use official magical names whenever possible. Remember, Ladybirdicus aphid'eaticus and glitchicus interneticus are very different things, even though they are both bugs!

SIDE EFFECTS: Frustration/Elation, and any ramifications derived from the above two paragraphs.


That's it for this week! Hopefully you enjoyed this first episode of Garden Spellcraft. If you attempt any of the above spells, let me know how they turn out! I love to see how others tweak the recipes to best suit their garden needs.

Happy Casting Planting!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I had a baby! Wait, no.

This post is long overdue -- and not what it sounds like.

This is the story of how my phone turned me into a squash. How I lived in a bucket, had a virgin birth, was left for dead, then reborn, and now watch my baby grow up beside me. Proudly. From my bucket.

Let me explain: remember when I found the mystery seed in a baggie? Of course you don't. I hardly remember it. Well, this is that story -- in fast forward:

STEP 1: find seed in baggy. Ponder.
 Find seed in baggy while cleaning out a storage tub. Go "Hmmm..."

STEP 2: plant it. Use bucket because that's all the garden space you have left.
 Plant seed. Use a bucket, because that's all the garden space you have left this late in the season.

STEP 3: go full Dr. Frankenstein and throw hands up in air and shout 'it's aliiiive!'
Throw out your hands like Dr. Frankenstein and shout 'it's aliiiive!'

STEP 4: get sobered by how fast the plant is growing... and how small the bucket is.
STEP 4: 
Get sobered by how fast the plant is growing... and how small the bucket is.

STEP 5: Oh my.
 Oh my.

STEP 6: sing that "boys are back in town" song on loop, mumble-humming the lyrics you forget.
Sing "the boys are back in town" song, mumble-humming the bits you don't know.

STEP 7: step 3, followed by step 6 - but singing the 'I gotta dollar' song from little rascals, substituting squash for dollar.
Repeat STEP 3. Then repeat STEP 6 with 'I gotta dollar' from Little Rascals, substituting squash for dollar.

STEP 8: Fondle lovingly.
STEP 8: 
Fondle lovingly.
STEP 9:  Bisect mercilessly.
STEP 9: 
 Bisect mercilessly.

STEP 13&14 : Give haircut after forgetting photos of step 10 (eating of squash), step 11 (aphid infestation), step 12 (powdery mildew plague). Then leave untended for 5 weeks.
STEP 13&14:
Give haircut after forgetting to photograph STEP 10 (eating of baby squash), STEP 11 (aphid infestation), STEP 12 (powdery mildew plague). Bemoan pathetic looking vine, surely close to death -- make things worse by abandoning for 5 weeks.

STEP 16&17&18&19&20: Repeat step 3; Handle surviving vine gently; Accidentally break surviving vine gently; mummy wrap vine tie tape; water and wait.
STEP 16 - 20:
Return from 5 week absence, finding above. Repeat STEP 3;
 Handle surviving vine gently; accidentally break surviving vine, gently; mummy wrap broken bit with tie tape;
water obsessively; check every five to seven minutes to see if it's grown.

STEP 21&22&23: coil vine in bucket; bury non leafing parts; water and wait.
STEP 21 - 23:
Water more; wait more. Coil what remains of the vine in the bucket, burying the vine and fluffing up the new growth proudly.

STEP 23: repeat step 6
STEP 23 + 24:
Check on stupid bug damage... find forming buds;  Repeat STEP 6.

There you have it!

Silly though it may be, the story of myself is close to my heart.

When she first sprouted, I asked for guesses as to what type of squash she would be. I guessed Pepo. Ennnk, wrong. Dave guessed Moschata. Bingo! Nice one, Dave. From what I can see and taste, she looks like your standard Waltham Butternut. Of course, there's nothing standard about Myself,  I assure you. She's special.

Which brings me (her? us?) to our (mine?) special announcement....

Myself'D, selfed daughter of Myself

Myself'D, selfed daughter of Myself

.... we had a baby!

Or rather... Myself did. With... herself. Whatever.

Since Myself was the only Moschata I grew last year it's pretty likely that Myself is both the Mamma and the Papa of this little cutie. And while I enjoy a good Waltham butternut as much as the next person, this season I'm growing several different Moschata varieties. I want to ensure Myself'D's babies don't end up in a blackhole of inbreeding depression.

Of course, I could just cross Myself'D to herself, or possibly back to Myself ( Myself3 ?) and continue this insanity and naming mayhem... but I think that's deeper into levels of Squash-ception than I'm willing to go. Because though I may not have much of it, I do value what little of my sanity remains!

This year (using no levelheadedness on my part what so ever) I have absolutely packed by yard/garden/cement plot with more vining squash than can ever feasibly fit. And by that, I don't mean "I have seeds for them and hope to grow them the year, oh bother, where ever will they fit?" No no no...  what I mean is "Well shit, I planted them all. They're growing, this is happening. But they're so small and cute right now... we're all going to die."

So! It's going to be the summer of squash here at the Shandy Dandy. Or, more specifically, the summer of smothering vines. If I can find Myself'D amid the chaos, I'll promise to give you update a few months from now. That's pending I can also find my front door and the computer...

Until then,
Happy Planting!


P.S. - if you're wondering about the swiss chard leaves surrounding the sprout, here's the scoop -- I added very rough compost to these beds recently, because I had no more of the good stuff. It was full of pill bugs and cutworms. So I gave them something else to nom on, in the hopes they'll leave Myself'D alone. I'm in a chard glut anyway, so they get the bug nibbled ones. Pill bugs definitely like it, and chew little holes in the leaves, and hide under them during the day. It's easy to grab the whole leaf, scooping up the topsoil underneath, and return dozens of these buggers back to the compost where they can do some good. Cutworms, on the other hand, just get sqweeshed. Rip.