Artificially inseminating a pumpkin

Or whatever it’s called.  An interspecies menage a trois?

What you do is wait until you’ve got a female flower.  They’re easy to spot because they have a little pumpkin underneath.  You then find a male flower and strip the petals away leaving the stamen.  You can probably figure out the rest yourself.  Just make sure you supply the appropriate music.

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Spent a week in PEI

Had a great time.  I love PEI.  It has to be the most manicured place I’ve ever seen.  People could live in dilapidated trailers but they still have great looking lawns. 

A week is a long time to leave a garden alone in July.  I was kind of worried about my broccoli before we left.  A week of 25 C temps every day.  And I come home to this.  They bolted.  Argghhh!! 

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Transferring half of the compost to an old garbage can.  3 months since I first started and it’s pretty well composted. I think I have the maggots to thank for most of this.

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Beans are coming along.

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I don’t know much about Roma tomatoes but I’ve got 9 Roma plants and they’ve all got tomatoes that look like the above.  These aren’t Roma tomatoes.  They look like some sort of beefsteak.  I hate beefsteak tomatoes.  How could this happen????  Oh wait, I know…  Halifax Seed has screwed me again!!!!!  When they’re not selling me old seeds that won’t germinate they’re selling me seeds from the wrong plant.  I wouldn’t believe this if it wasn’t happening to me.  Let’s go through our checklist…

  • 50 peas – about 6 or 7 germinated.
  • 6 types of herbs – 0% germination
  • a whole row of beans – 0% germination
  • pickling cucumbers – 0% germination
  • purple carrots – about enough seeds to make a 4 foot row
  • roma tomatoes that aren’t
  • mint for my flowerboxes – 0% germination
  • lettuce was about 20% germination, which is fine because I heavily seeded, but I wouldn’t want to be relying on their seeds if I had a lettuce farm

The garden so far

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25C + all week

Spent $21 on 20 kg of 10-10-10 fertilizer yesterday.  I have no idea if that’s a good price. I’m all for compost and green gardening, but I’m a fan of chemicals.  If it works, it works.  Spread about 2-3 kg around the garden yesterday.

Let’s take stock of the garden so far.  Tomatoes are looking awesome

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The second patch.  Doesn’t get nearly enough sunlight.  I built that shed last year – it used to get evening light.  Not anymore.  We’ll see – last year was a bumper crop.Image

Hot peppers.  I ate a slug damaged one the other day that had fallen off.  Damn hot.

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Beans.  Coming along nicely.  Glass of white wine – New Zealand.  Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush.  It does the trick.

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Peas.  The big ones are the Halifax Seed.  The smaller ones are about a month later – Sutton seeds.  Halifax Seed – less than 10% germination.  Sutton Seed >90%. 

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Halifax Seed pea pod coming up.  Have I mentioned that the germination rate of Halifax Seed seeds has been subpar.  Less than average.  Terrible even.  Awful.  Halifax Seed.  Awful germination rates. 

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Some of the cabbages.  A bit of damage from bugs.  Slugs I presume. 

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The beets.  Coming along nicely.  Detroit Red and some other kind.  Ruby something.  Maybe. 

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Carrots.  No complaints.  Carrots are carrots.  Easy to grow.  Never had any problems. 

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First year attempting eggplant.  Probably the last year too.

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Thinned one of the pumpkin hills.  I’m not getting any female flowers.  Saw something on The Nature of Things on CBC about how plants won’t compete with each other if the seeds are from the same plant.  I assume that pumpkin seeds in the same package have a good likelihood of coming from the same pumpkin.  Apparently plants send out chemical signals to each other in the soil.  They won’t be aggressive growers if they’re near their siblings.  So I did away with 2 of them to see how it turns out.  The other hill still has 3 pumpkin plants on it.  We’ll see.

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The lettuce.  We’re going to be eating lots of salads this summer. 

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Aside

Why hello there…

Why hello there?  Do you have anything to eat for me?

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Birds, birds, birds.  It’s like we’re living in a rainforest at 5am.  Crows, bluejays, woodpeckers, northern flickers that sound like monkeys, every sort of chikadee, swallow and warbler yapping away.  They’ve all got young and they’re hungry.  And the squirrels. 

Part of the murder

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The garden, pea holding on, first San Marzano flower and some broccolis.

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Ants

Bloody lot of ants in the garden.  I’ve got 2 different kinds going.  A wee species – about 2 mm.  And a big one – half black, half red, big, powerful looking ants.  Them and the little guys gets along fine.  But I’m thinking they could be the same species – the bigger guys are the special forces, bred for combat. 

I don’t mind ants a bit.  They aerate the garden soil.  They’re awesome. 

We’ve got a bumper crop of earwigs this year.  I hate earwigs.  This is the 6th summer we’ve been here.  Every year has seen a different dominant bug species in the garden. 

Taking a walk 3 years ago and see a war going on in the middle of the street between 2 ant species.  There had to be 10,000 dead ants on the road.  And streaming in from each side of the street were reinforcements in a steady line.  It was like a National Geographic episode. 

My goal in life is to win the lottery and do a complete biomass survey of my property.  Get it published in Nature.

I had enough of the squirrels eating

from the birdfeeders.  So I slicked up the pole with vaseline.

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10 minutes later and a squirrel hops over.  Stands there for a couple minutes looking at the pole.  Hmmm???  Something’s different…  Finally takes a go and slides right off.  hahahaha

Spent an hour weeding the garden today.  I got through about 40% of it.  There’s a lot of weeds.  Halfway through weeding one of the boxes of tomatoes.  Just started getting flowers…

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The broccoli.  I’m excited.  The boy was twice as excited.  He loves eating the trees.  I’m blown away at how well these are coming up. 

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The stem on the broccoli.  All of them got this same type of curve going on.  I’m sure it serves some sort of purpose.

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Slug damage on the cabbage.  I laid down half a bag of slug poison last week.  It seems to be working.  They seem to be just eating the outside leaves anyway, not the actual “cabbage” part that we eat. 

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Twice in a week

 

I’ve saved an animal’s life.  Go out to the garage on Monday and there’s a chipmunk rummaging around in a 20 kilo bag of bird seed.  Sees me and dives to the bottom.  So I can either let it die and fish out its dead body or I make a mess.  It didn’t even chirp a thank you.  It took me 20 minutes to clean up the bird seed.

Come home today and there’s a sparrow completely entangled in the netting around my strawberries.  That’ll teach him.  Put on some gloves and went to work with some scissors.  I had to make about 15 cuts to the netting.  It was pretty calm about the whole thing.  Stood on my hand for about 5 seconds when done, then hopped away before it took flight.  Well, good day to you.

Speaking of strawberries.  The harvest has begun. A bit tart, but still pretty awesome knowing that you can get fresh strawberries 12 seconds from your back door. 

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My peppers are starting to look hot.

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My broccolis are starting to form heads.  I’m excited.  I had no expectations for these.  These are definitely going into the rotation in future years.

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Spider hanging out on a pumpkin flower.  My pumpkins have been a bust for the past 3 years, but these are looking ok.  A little on the yellow side and still a bit small, but we’ve got 3+ months still….

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I finally got around to thinning the lettuce.  About 3 weeks too late.  Oh well, it’ll give us a few salads this weekend.

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The mint growing on the patio box.  Oh wait.  There is no mint.  None of my herbs germinated.  Not to beat a dead horse, but even my wife with her black thumb is bad mouthing Halifax Seed.  Completely unacceptable.  The amount of non-germination I’ve had this year from Halifax Seed has been astounding.  I’ll be drafting a letter. 

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The play structure out back.  The fence is to keep the kids in and the coyotes and raccoons out.  The coyotes would like to eat the kids and the raccoons would like to use that sandbox as a toilet.

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The enchanted forest out the side of the house.  The neighbours are on the far side of the trees.  We had them over for a drunk last weekend.  It’s good that the foliage gets in the way.  I usually garden naked.

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The garden boxes from the back deck.  It’s been hit and miss this year.  The Sutton peas are coming up great but I have to wonder if it’s too late in the season.  Tomatoes look awesome.  Everything else could die and I would be ok with that as long as the tomatoes kept on going.  I don’t think the cauliflower is going to amount to much. 

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I’ve been meaning to put a fence around this for about the last 6 weeks, but nothing yet.  Lazy man’s garden.  I’m more reactive than proactive.  I’ll wait until the rabbits eat all the cabbage before I do anything. 

Bloody squirrels

Eating my strawberries.  I had netting over them to keep the birds out, but the squirrels got underneath.  So I had to put rocks down along the edge of the netting every 3 inches to keep them out.  We’ll see how that goes…

My Sutton peas are coming up great.  Take note Halifax Seed.  Peas are supposed to germinate and turn into pea plants. 

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