Kalyn's Kitchen

Garden Update #10 and Five Days to Blogher Conference!

Another Sunday garden udate, and one thing I’ve learned about the new camera, when there isn’t much light yet, you can ‘t really get a good shot with a macro lens, at least not with my limited knowledge of what all the dials and buttons on the camera do. When fall comes I’m looking forward to maybe taking a photography class. For now, I’m learning by doing, and I have learned a lot. I’ve been having fun doing my food shots with an early Christmas present my brother sent me, called Photo Studio in a Box, (more coming later about this, since I’m so taken with it.)

This is a holiday weekend in Utah, since Monday is the day Mormons first arrived to settle the Salt Lake Valley and everything pretty much closes down on July 24 every year for major festivities. I’ve got Olivia, age 11, Emma, age 8, and Ethan, age 5, visiting me until Tuesday. They’re three of the eight children of my youngest sister and live in central Utah. Last night we went out for a very un-South Beach dinner at their favorite hamburger joint, so tomorrow I’ll show you how cute they are when I report about that.

Along the north side of my garden is a row of flowers, most of which are early summer bloomers. However, the snapdragons are still looking wonderful. If you haven’t grown snapdragons, you can neglect them and they will drop seeds and come up year after year in the same spot. I have about 8 colors in various spots in my yard.

A crop I’m unintentionally growing is purslane, an edible weed that Isil from Veggie Way made into a purslane salad last weekend for Weekend Herb Blogging. At the rate I’m going with neglecting my weeding, I figure I should be able to try eating some purslane by the time I come back from Blogher next weekend.

Although I don’t have a wide-angle lens, I tried to do a panoramic shot of some of my garden to show you the lovely vines that grow over the fence from my neighbor’s yard. No grapes though.

The first Lemon Boy tomato is ripe and will be getting picked soon. This a great tasting yellow tomato, and doesn’t have the tough skins that some yellow tomatoes do.

I hope I won’t be required to forfeit my foodie credentials when I confess I haven’t eaten or cooked zucchini flowers, but they do look pretty in the garden.

The spagetti squash vines are really overgrowing the space I have them in, and every day I have to coax some wandering vines to stay in their own neighborhood.

I thought this was great production with seven large tomatoes in the same location on this celebrity tomato plant. No plants were harmed in the making of this photo, although I did snip off a few leaves so you could see all seven tomatoes.

Something is still eating the basil, even after I resorted to poisoning the snails, and I saw this bug on the parsley. Anyone know what this is, and whether it might be the culprit? (It’s not a great photo, but the head was quite bright red.)

Last, but so not least, this huge Brandywine tomato is nearly seven inches across. Brandywines are so big you can make a tomato sandwich with one slice. My brandywines are still green, but a few are turning kind of yellow-green so it won’t be long now.

That’s the garden update for this week. Here are my other garden updates if you want to compare the progress:

first garden update
Garden Update #2
Garden Update #3
Garden Update #4
Garden Update #5
Garden Update #6
Garden Update #7
Garden Update #8 (Rand’s Garden)
Garden Update #9

It’s not too late to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging. Last week we announced Rules for Weekend Herb Blogging, so read that if you’d like to participate. This weekend, WHB will be hosted by the fabulous Paz from The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz. Send her your entry by mid-afternoon on Sunday (New York Time) to pazcooks AT yahoo DOT com. Then check back on Monday for the Recap of herb blogging fun.

In five more days, over 400 women bloggers will be gathering at the Blogher Conference in San Jose, California. I’m thrilled to be a contributing editor for Blogher Food and Drink, along with Alanna of A Veggie Venture, Sam of Becks and Posh, and Elise of Simply Recipes. Elise and I will be attending the conference,and I’m excited to see what other food bloggers we might meet. Blogher is a fun site, and foodies can read just the food and drink entries by clicking on Food and Drink in the left sidebar. For the next five days I’m going to spotlight some of the food and drink posts that have appeared on Blogher, surfing guides designed to point Blogher readers to great food blog writing we’ve discovered on the food blogs we’re reading.

I’m starting with the earliest writings that appeared when Blogher launched:

Sam explained why you need tea with fried rice. Alanna wrote about two food bloghers who outed their moms on their blogs. Elise pointed us to a great post about How to Make Buttermilk Dinner Rolls. I wrote about choosing a diet based on your food preferences. Sam finds a blogher who posts about Girls Night Out in L.A. Not surprisingly, I spotlight some Weekend Herb Bloghers. Elise points out bloghers making lemon curd. Alanna writes about bloghers cooking cauliflower.
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    10 Comments on “Garden Update #10 and Five Days to Blogher Conference!”

  1. Kalyn,
    I’ve learnt so much from your posts, plus everyone’s input in this comment colume! Kalyn, I also want to thank you for advising me on growing bean sprouts quite a while ago, I just made another batch which is much more better!

  2. Ok Steven, I promise that as soon as I come back from Blogher next weekend I will cut way back on the watering time for the garden station in my sprinkling system and water the other plants with the hose. When I get rich (soon, I hope) I’ll redesign my garden with raised beds and separate watering sections so I can water tomatoes less than the other plants. You are right though that you have to water more in Utah than in lots of other places. I just got a $93 water bill, so the other day when it rained, I thought to myself, “Free water!”

  3. Oh the tomatoes… I bow to the totally superior wisdom of my cousin’s husband’s Grandmother who’s about 90 and came from a tiny village in Abruzzi after WWII. (you’ll just have to imagine the accent since I’m not going to try to type in dialect).

    “When the tomatoes get big, you don’t water no more unless it looks like the plant is going to die.”

    And she has a point.. when the tomatoes are getting ready to turn red (or ripe depending on the variety) and you water them it encourages the fruit to grow bigger and then the skin cracks.

    It’s taken me years to break the habit of watering everything, everyday. I imagine if I were in Utah, I’d be a little more regular in my watering habits, but I’ve only watered twice since the middle of June.(apart from all the water I recycled onto the garden when I did the beets last weekend.) By the way, if I water, it’s a sure bet that it will rain the next day!

  4. Steven, you can take over my blog any day on the gardening tips! I bow to your superior knowledge. Good tip about the epsom salts. I didn’t know that about watering during the day, so I will quit it. It’s so hard to keep the garden watered enough without overwatering the tomatoes at this time of the year. I try to water the squash, cucumbers, and herbs with the hose so sprinklers don’t have to water very often. How often do you water your tomatoes at this point in the growing season when there are a lot of tomatoes starting to ripen (but it’s over 100 outside for days at a time)?

  5. Everything looks great in the garden, I’m going to chime in on the support a bit here;I don’t think hard squashes need any support unless you’re trying to grow perfect pumpkins, but I do put handfuls of dry straw or pieces of waxed cardboard (from broccoli boxes at the grocery store) under all my hard squashes to minimise rot.

    Supporting tomatoes is a good idea as well, especially if you have slugs or snails.

    Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency and is easily corrected by an application of dolomitic lime or one of the foliar calcium/potassium sprays. You can also prevent it by putting a teaspoon of epsom salts in the hole when you’re transplanting your seedlings.

    Now that I’ve taken over your blog, one last suggestion and then I’ll go. Resist the impulse to water in the middle of the day because things lokk dry or the plants are drooping. Plants droop as a defense mechanism to protect their leaves from the full sun and heat of the day, if you water, the leaves will plump back up and they will be exposed to burning and worse.

  6. Genie, I think the main reasons to stake plants like cucumbers and squash is to save space, and make it easier to get to the plants. For tomatoes, keeping them up off the ground can prevent blossom end rot, or so I’ve hard, since I haven’t ever grown them on the ground before this year. I’ll see how they do. Of course, Utah is so dry that the ground doesn’t stay wet at all, in fact today I noticed that my garden all looked so dry I went out in the middle of the day and watered with a hose.

    Joe, I’m glad you like the updates. You’re too sweet about the photos. I think some of these pictures are pretty bad, but I do have some food shots saved as drafts that I think are coming along. I really don’t understand anything about the numbers aspect of photography, that’s the part I want to learn.

  7. Kalyn – you are doing a great job with that camera! I love these weekly updates!

  8. Kalyn, that’s good information. I guess the main reason to stake stuff up is to keep it up from critters and disease? I just staked up the cantaloupe and newer cucumber plant, but our caging/staking job on the big zucchini plant is so ineffective, really, that I’m not so keen to try it again with these other two squash plants. Thanks for the response! I think I’ll just leave the two squashes on the ground and see how they do. If they produce, terrific. If not, so be it. I’m somehow less emotionally involved in my squash production than in my tomato production (or lack thereof!).

    The Inadvertent Gardener

  9. Genie, I don’t think yellow squash or zucchini need to be staked up at all. I doubt if spagetti squash would do well with supports, because the squash can get so heavy. I’m experimenting with just letting my brandywine tomatoes spread out on the ground, and so far they seem ok that way too. I do use tomato cages for most of my tomatoe, and most years I use something to support the cucumbers, although they can grow well just crawling on the ground too.

  10. Kalyn, I’m enjoying your weekly updates, and I loved getting to see your panoramic shot! You have so much space — it’s truly lovely.

    Do you let your spaghetti squash just rest on the ground? I’ve got two yellow squash plants going (added earlier in July), and I’m trying to decide whether to boost them up or not. I know it’s a different kind of squash, but what are your thoughts?

    The Inadvertent Gardener