TOMATO-ESQUE- a differently shaped fruit

I wanted to name this post 'strange fruit' - but uhm, that's not really a happy song.  So tomato-esque works just fine!

I kept this one for as long as I could - I just loved staring at it.


I was pruning some dead leaves and ran into these two goin at it.  At least I think that's what was happening.  They were on that leaf for a LONG time.  Maybe the one on top was eating the other one?

(click the picture for a closer view)



It's late in the season and these little guys aren't going to mature before the first frost.  As another practice in being okay with pruning off healthy, luscious, beautiful, living growth - I removed these little guys from the plant so the larger veggies would ripen quicker.  Here they are immortalized for your viewing pleasure.


UPDATE:  just talked with an old-timer and it is transpiration.  can be stressful to the plant.  still looks cool.

Over the summer I grew my first heads of cabbage!

(bottom right is the cabbage)
As I frequently do, one night I was out gardening by headlamp and noticed something quite curious.  The cabbage leaves appeared to be sweating.

I did some research at the time, trying to find out why they did that.  The temp wasn't super warm at night and I had given them the 'prescribed' amount of water.  I couldn't find any info on the subject so didn't know if this was a stressful situation to the plants or just part of how they are.  In any case, the plants seemed super healthy otherwise, so I didn't worry about it.  It looks pretty cool yeah!?!

So when I planted my fall broccoli, imagine my thrill when I noticed the same curiosity.  Again, I was night gardening and my broccoli leaves were sweating.

I assume now that it's a cole crop characteristic.  I still can't find any info on this.  I think what they are doing is called transpiration (fancy word I learned in Master Gardener class), but I'm not sure though cuz transpiration is a cooling mechanism and  I've only seen this curiosity happen at night.  I wonder if they are getting abundant water and need to release it this way?  The plants are thriving so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.  If anyone has some insight I'd love to here it!


(when i moved in october of 2008, this was all a big grassy yard)

This picture is SO exciting to me!  One of the great things about gardening is that I am continually being taught or reminded things about myself.   Latest on the list is that I love potential!  It's what pulls me to work with young children, build community and create my visions from those sparks I get!

I think that's why this picture is so appealing to me.  Empty and just transplanted beds hold so much potential.  Will the beds grow and give me food through the fall, winter and spring?  Will slugs destroy my little babies?  What happens is kind of in my control, but kinda the illusion of control.  How these plants survive is due in large part to what mama earth offers up this season.


  • build cold frames - have most of the materials already.  shouldn't take too long.
  • plant cabbage starts - i'm pushing this one.  need to do it this week or forget about it.
  • put in garlic and bulbing onions - have a good month on this one.
hey, i wanna plant tulips this year!  i heart them with all my heart!
  • keep harvesting tomatoes and peppers - been getting 2 big bowls of tomatoes every couple of days since mid-august.  my goal is to freeze 10 bags of tomato sauce for the winter.
  • build the bottom trim of my bedroom window - long overdue and so satisfying to do all by myself.  i've learned so much about carpentry since buying my house!
  • seal and paint the house - at least part of the house. my, oh my. there's a lot to do when you own a previously neglected home.
  • get my porch back!
the abundance of summer has turned into fall harvest.  gardening has given me a really great way to connect with the seasons.  heading into fall and winter grey, i will need to remember that every season has it's purpose.


It's as easy as 
1.  make sure you have a wide enough space for the truck-and have them dump as close to where the soil will end up as possible.

2.  have good quality soil delivered
3. now the real work begins


...clearly new to this whole blog thing.  i just realized if you click on a photo it opens up a window with a close-up!  ~cool~  check out the detail in some of my pics.  ps. my phone took these!  i remember when you took film rolls to be developed.  i heart getting older!!!


Shouldn't be a big deal right!?!  Sunflowers grow like weeds in some places.  I see them in gardens all the time.  They're a quite popular flower to grow with young kids.  So it's been really interesting to me that I have never been able to grow one until now.  Truthfully, this one had a rough start, hence it's not fully grown in almost mid-September.  I started with 8 seeds in June.  Only 4 germinated and I quickly killed 3 of them.

I thought I had killed this one too. I weeded out some plants around it and it laid flat on the ground in protest.  It was 6" at the time and had appeared pretty hardy.  Apparently, though, it is VERY sensitive to having it's roots disturbed.  Now I know.

I hope this one actually flowers.  It's been raining so much this week that I have my doubts.  It will be glorious if it does.  My very first sunflower!
(can you spot the spider near the bud?)



The fact that the plants sat for four days without slug damage makes me curious.  Was the slug population actually down in the area?  Was I then calling the slugs to this new bed with the tantalizing smell of tender new broccoli starts?  Were they drawn in, as I am, when I smell chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven?  Or were they always there and just didn't want to climb the walls of the plastic tray my starts were sitting in?  Whatever the case is, it's time for me to take action.  One slug could wipe out all my starts in the mater of a couple of nights.  And I know it isn't just one slug...

Last night I went out by headlamp.  It mortifies me, but "handpicking" is one of the best controls for slugs when you have tender new starts.  Sure enough I found a 2.5" slug feasting on one of my plants.  OMG.
Now, I've done A LOT of work to be more comfortable with slugs.  After all, I am a gardener in the Pacific Northwest.  I know that if I'm going to have any sort of longevity growing food, I'll have to develop at least a civil relationship with the little creatures.  And again, my highest self says my mortification comes from a deep connection to the little guys.  (kind of similar to how the most outspoken homophobes are usually big 'ole queers).
Anyway, so I've built up some techniques to keep my cool when having to deal directly with slugs: (these tips are totally helpful when dealing with other kinds of pests life sends you!)
  • Breath deep - There's no use being a complete mess.  I can't be efficient when I'm messy like that. An efficiency is the name of the game.  There's a finite amount of time that I can stay calm when slugs are involved.
  • Use tools - Handpicking is misleading.  Anytime my hand actually touches a slug I lose the ability to be calm and am definitely done in the garden for awhile.
  • Talk to them - It's a little easier to stay calm if we have a little conversation.
  • Try and love the creature - They are here to teach me something!
All this is a good reminder as we're going into slug season.  I know my methods will evolve as I garden larger and larger areas.  Right now I use the hand picking method, I put out slug bait and I'm also considering using diatomaceous earth.  To use DE you put a little ring around each start.  It's kind of hardcore in that it kills the little creatures almost on contact.  It washes away when it rains so it's a high maintenance, yet effective control.

I'll keep this blog posted on my slug adventures.  What an interesting totem to have.  Oh yeah, over the years I have done intermittent searches about the medicine slug brings.   It's no wonder I have the relationship that I do.  I love when life comes together and makes some sense.  Here's a link to some very interesting writing about slug totems.   Favorite quote from this page: Slug has a great deal to teach us about gender and sexuality. Slug may be considered to be a combination of both male and female, or an independant gender


Tomorrow I get soil delivered!  I'm going to put in cabbage, shallots, more broccoli, onions, beets and winter greens.  I am so in love with urban food production!  When I was prepping my beds for broccoli I had a moment of really wanting to get down on the ground and roll around in the soil.  Just really go for it and bury myself with the precious earth.  If I had a fence around my yard I probably would have, but I'm a little too self-conscious to go at it in full view of my neighbors.  Maybe next year!