the pink pigeon

looking for the extraordinary in the everyday


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Rip it good

In anticipation of a business trip and family vacation, we ripped out most of the garden today.  Because we have such a wonderfully long growing season in South Texas, we will begin planting our Fall garden in late August and have most of our brassicas and cool weather veggies on the way to the table by the time Halloween rolls around.  We started with these six foot high tomato bushes.

This is a “Juliet” which is my favorite Roma variety for canning and sauces.  They are incredibly prolific and seemed to be able to shake off both the horrible stink bug plague and the blight which hit the other varieties much harder.  The others were a cherry whose name I can’t recall, “Cherokee, Green Zebra, Lemon Boy and Celebrity.”  Usually I spend the summer putting up most of the fruit but have been waylaid this year by a broken wrist – oh the guilt over wasted tomatoes!

Luckily some of our foodie friends were able to take and use a lot of them.  We then put our chief bug patrol to work.  About time they earned their keep around here anyhow!  The girls LOVE nothing better than a freshly turned garden bed.  They de-pest, fertilize, till and take care of the weed seeds all in one go.  Plus there is the added bonus of a nice, damp, dirt bath in the hundred degree afternoons.  They don’t bother the herbs much which is just about all that’s left until the Fall crops go in.  We threw it all in the pick-up and headed out to Recycling.

The city of San Antonio has a wonderful facility in place for DIY brush recycling.  You weigh in your full truck and weigh out your empty.  They do ask for verification of residency with a utility bill or some such but our tab for the entire truck full of greenery was only $2.35.  The added bonus is that you can take away as much free mulch as you want.  Since they make no claims that any of it is organic, I don’t think I would recommend it for garden beds but you can’t beat it for young ornamental trees or flowers.

Happy Gardening!


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Little Suckers

Each of the four years we’ve lived here, we’ve had stellar crops of tomatoes.  Like the proverbial zucchini of New England, they were everywhere!  We would do drive-bys and leave bags on the neighbors’ porches.  I canned until my fingers were green!  We ate tomato sauce all winter off of those summer harvests.  Until this year when we wound up with blight, blossom end rot, weird water issues and lots of crazy mockingbirds pecking one bite and leaving the wounded fruit and now these little monsters have moved in:

Meet our friends the leaf footed stink bugs.  We garden organically and very rarely do I meet something that makes all the experts just shake their heads.  Sorry!  Nothing to be done about them.  Such a bummer.  The only help is to shake them off one by one into a bucket of soapy water.  Um, yeah, we have five huge(six feet tall) tomato plants groaning with fruit.  So don’t have the time to comb them for bug.  What do they do?  Stick their obnoxious little noses(proboscis) into each and every fruit until there are speckled, hard places on each one!

Some of this is undoubtedly blight related also, but still annoying to feed most of your hard work to the chickens!