Friday, August 17, 2012

Deck Garden and Pests

Eclectic Deck Garden

My deck garden is changing and growing and evolving every day.  Along with a place where we hang out laundry (I have two 40-foot clotheslines that are accessed via my 2nd story deck), and grill the hamburgers, and occasionally shoot targets, and watch for deer and coyotes, and look at the night sky, and . . . I am starting seeds and growing tomatoes, peppers, and weeds.

Yes, I am growing weeds.

Cultivating Weeds

One of my recent interests, among many others, is foraging for wild edibles.  I am a neophyte for sure.  A few months ago I knew that dandelions were edible.  That's it.

Today I know that lambs quarters, wild strawberries, purslane, milkweed, Japanese knotweed, plantain (the kind that grows in my lawn, not the banana lookalike), cattails, autumn olive, and many more are all edible and grow on my property (except for the cattails which I hope to remedy soon).

I used my goat house compost for potting soil in all of my deck garden containers.  I have pulled many weeds out of those containers.  One weed I have allowed to grow in my bell pepper plant's container: purslane.

Purslane can be used in salads, soups, and pestos, and is reputed to have a spicy flavor. 

The picture to the left shows a leaf miner larva chowing down on my purslane.  I picked off each of the leaves that was damaged and threw them away.  These pests can do a lot of damage.  I will need to check each day for new damage.

Leaf miners are larva of flies, moths, even beetles that eat the fleshy part of leaves.  This protects them from predators, giving them a safe place to chow down.  After taking this picture I noticed that my purslane is forming buds.  I will collect some seeds to sow next spring, or maybe even this winter indoors.

Fall Seedlings

In pot number 1 I have from top and going clockwise Snow Pea (2 o'clock), bell pepper (4 o'clock), and the rest Calabrese Broccoli.  I planted a couple more Snow Pea seeds yesterday so that I have at least 4 and hoping for 6 plants going into the cooler weather.

The broccoli seedlings are ready to be replanted in larger pots.

I suspect the bell pepper plant will not have time to do much of anything before it gets too cold but I might bring it inside and provide a grow light for some of my plants; my real wish is for a small greenhouse on my deck.  Oh, if only.

In pot number 2 from the top we have two Snow Peas (11 and 2 o'clock), three Jalapeno pepper plants (5, 7 and 8 o'clock), and in the center Bok Choi seedlings.

My 19yo son and I went shopping on Wednesday and treated ourselves to a Chinese buffet.  Of course, I had to taste every vegetable in that buffet.  I was so excited to find steamed Bok Choi leaves with the crunchy bottom part and green leafy part intact.  So now I am really excited about my Bok Choi.  I will make this crop succeed somehow.

The Jalapeno pepper plants are for my boys.  I prefer sweet peppers but they really like that heat.  Again, started way too late most likely but I will do what I can.  Still want that greenhouse.  There must be a way!

Bell peppers and purslane
Baby bell peppers growing
Bell peppers and purslane
I believe these are Moskovich tomatoes

San Marzano plum tomato

Moskovich tomato, I believe
 Although my garden tomatoes are all still going strong I think I will be able to extend my tomato harvest with these container-grown tomatoes.  I was hoping one of them would be the yellow pear cherry tomato but alas, not to be.  Those turned out to be the most delicious, sweetest cherry tomatoes out of all the varieties I grew this year.

Now to find some giveaway pots from someplace so I can replant my Bok Choi and Calabrese Broccoli seedlings.  Wish me luck!

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