Category Archives: Vegetables

Winter is a-coomen in…

I shouldn't complain. After a brief cool spell in late August that left me gnashing my teeth (were we really going to be cheated of autumn this year, after having had practically no spring and only half a summer?) temperatures rose again and we had a long, warm Indian summer straight through October and into November. There was frost several mornings a week, and temperatures in the twenties some nights—after all, this is Montana—but during the day, we'd see fifties, even sixties.

Given that we had a wringing wet spring that culminated with the wettest June on record, punctuated by frequent hail, this long, warm autumn was especially welcome. I was still picking not only lettuce, broccoli, and of course kale, but even tomatoes right into November.

Of course, it couldn't last. Two weekends ago, on an almost balmy Sunday afternoon, my husband and I washed windows and got the storm windows up. The next day it snowed.

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Calling all tomato experts: help!

What is up with this tomato leaf?

C's tomatoes patio bronze leaf 1

This is one of the two potted plants on my friend Catherine's deck in Minnesota, and while the plants appear to be generally healthy, they're nowhere near the size of the monsters I wrote about a few days ago, which were all in the garden proper. Only one of the potted plants shows this curious purple-bronze discoloration.

Want to see it again? Closer up?

C's tomatoes patio tomatoes bronze leaf 2

Does anyone out there recognize this bronze color? I've been through about every diagnostic site I can find, checked out numerous forums, and nothing matches. There's a lot of stuff on the web about phosphorus deficiency causing purple leaves, but that's primarily the undersides and veins, and this is exactly the opposite: the upper side of the leaf, and everything but the veins. Furthermore, this is a very bronze purple. I've considered sun scald and cold damage, nutrient deficiency and fertilizer burn, and just to be thorough, alien invasions.

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We’re going to need a bigger harvest basket.


Harvest 2

That's spinach on the left, and a major chard leaf on the right.  I hadn't set out to make a major harvest, but when I lifted the cover off the greens patch next door, I found the spinach pushing the row-cover ceiling. So I got out the scissors.

I needed this. I've been digging for days, prepping plots that should have been planted two months ago. So I'm looking at all this bare dirt, wondering if I'm ever going to get on top of things, and at the end of the day, I actually get to bring this in.

What a relief.

It’s found sculpture—it’s a 3-D Rorschach test—no, it’s soil blocks!

I had to look up (i.e., Google) how to spell Rorschach, of course, and amongst the results saw one claiming that most people have never actually seen a Rorschach inkblot. Well, I have. Not that I've taken the test myself; no, that might be dangerous. (Who know what might be revealed?) Instead, I bethought me of Dave Barry's caution regarding a potentially explosive procedure, which I will summarize** thusly: “Do not do this yourself. Instead, send one of your children.”* Yes, when our older son was just six years old, we let a young psych student who lived next door give him a complete Rorschach test. And that has made all the difference.

But truly, this is a post about soil blocks, and these (or those, by now) are indeed soil blocks being protected from cats.

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Living off the garden

Well, the blogging pause lasted longer than expected, even by me. I posted my intention to go dark at the end of June, and here it is mid-August. It’s hardly the same garden. In fact, it’s hardly the same as it was two weeks ago, when I left for my second trip to Toronto this summer. At that point, most of this plot was bare dirt.

Squash square, mid-July

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