Archive for July, 2010

Bloom Day July Sunflowers

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Close Up Sunflower

One might not be able to tell from this photo, but I was standing on a ladder to get the shot. The tallest of the Mammoth Sunflowers that I got from Renee’s Garden Seeds finally opened up at a height of ten feet six inches.

Looking Down on Sunflower

Here is the perspective from below.

Sunflower from Below

The plant reached well above the edge of the roof.

Leaf Damage from Caterpillars

Last week I had to take action to save these sunflowers. Hundreds of caterpillars devoured every bit of leaf in their path. For the first two days I thought to just leave the caterpillars be, but I soon realized that within another two or three days they would have completely wiped out all of the sunflowers.

I turned a spray bottle with orange oil and water into a caterpillar gun and knocked most of them off of the leaves. While I was out there I discovered that I had some helpers. More than once I saw spined soldier bugs dragging the caterpillars to their doom.

Spined Soldier Bug and Caterpillar

Carol's Gravatar That’s a tall sunflower. Mine have been devoured nearly to the ground by rabbits.
# Posted By Carol | 7/15/10 5:28 PM

Chinese Red Noodle Beans

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Austin can be a tough place to grow vegetables. But little by little I have been picking up on techniques that led to this past year being my most productive vegetable garden in Texas yet.

Of course, the first thing that I had to learn about is Austin’s split garden season, with most crops grown either in the fall or the early spring. This is pretty much the only way to grow crops like brassicas and sugar snap peas. And honestly, it’s pretty awesome to still be harvesting the fall garden in January as I am planting the early crops of the spring garden.

But does that really mean that I have to take the hot summers off from gardening and just assume that everything planted will wilt under the intense central Texas sun and 100 degree days? No, in fact there are a variety of crops that can prosper even in the heat.

Chinese Red Noodle Beans (Vigna Unguiculata) are one of these crops. It’s July 9 and I have enjoyed multiple harvests of these tasty treats. Admittedly we haven’t hit the 100 degree days yet this year (only upper 90s) but often more typically grown green beans have already finished producing by this time of year.

Chinese Red Noodle Beans

I got my Noodle Bean seeds, also known as Yard Long Beans from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds . My sister, Anneliese, got me a funky piece of copper wire garden art a few years back. I really didn’t know what to do with it. I found a small patch of an already planted bed that had opened up after I yanked out some broccoli raab that just wasn’t tolerating Austin’s late spring heat. In went the art and the beans.

I find that the beans do not need to be cooked long at all. Even when they are starting to bulge from the formation of the bean seed within the pod I still find them not only edible, but tasty. I typically eat them for breakfast sautéed with some eggs, but they also work well stir fried with garlic.

Alan's Gravatar I just live Chinese Red Noodle Beans. Thanks for a wonderful post.
# Posted By Alan | 7/11/10 4:44 AM

Bountiful Bouquets

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’ve chosen a roommate who will occasionally create things like this:

A few days later this one showed up.

It’s nice to know that the blooms in my terribly overgrown garden aren’t going to waste.