Garden Spoils


Although I am still lamenting my squash (maybe it’ll come back??) I’m so excited to report lots of tomatoes and peppers!!

A juicy burger with stuff from your own personal garden tastes THE BEST!

I now have about 10 tomatoes reddening up on my counter. Any good canning recipes?




My squash plant is blooming again!! I think it is trying very hard to stay alive after what appeared to be sure death.

Any ideas for how to keep it healthy? Still unsure what happened to it – not enough support or some kind of pest?

As a newbie, your suggestions are greatly appreciated!

garden, travel

Garden Woes (Bound to happen, right?)

So, it’s the middle of summer, and here I was thinking I had totally converted my black thumb to green.  I was dreaming of sauce and salsa recipes for canning and feeding my family with fresh vegetables from the, er, driveway.  I mean didn’t you see the cute little tomatoes and peppers on my plants?  And the big green leaves?  Weeelll…………

I mean, it was bound to happen, right?  It was only a matter of time.  Must be because my garden missed me to much to live on without me while I was away.  (We were in the gorgeous Upper Peninsula of Michigan this past week.  Oh, you’ve never heard of it either?)

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

So, several things happened while we were gone.  Hopefully some of you will have some expertise that you can share, and the rest of you can learn right along with me.

So my cute little green tomatoes are turning into bigger red ones.  (Shocking, I know.)  And then they just went rotten on the bottom.  See?

Blossom End Rot Tomato
Apparently, you can still eat these. Um, no.

After some interneting, I realized that it must be blossom-end rot.  Apparently from moisture issues, usually too much.  Not sure if it rained a lot while we were gone, or if I was watering them too much.  (They were wilty though, promise!)  Luckily, this has happened to only a few tomatoes so far.  Are they all already doomed, or can I save the still green ones?  Has anyone suffered with this same issue?

In unrelated tomato news, my friends and I were out for drinks last night.  She was warning me about tomato worms, and telling me how awful they were and how they’ll completely ruin your plant, and to look out for black seed looking poop.  Sure enough I had SEEN this already and thought it was just dirt.  (Like what do I know?)  She even forced me to look at pictures of the ugly buggers (!) and I about had a panic attack.  I somehow convinced my husband to find and subsequently kill these things before I got home.  I’m not sure how I did that, but I’m NOT complaining.  I shudder to think of finding one still.  Do I have to continue to look for these all the time or do we think they’re completely eradicated and I can stop having nightmares?

Crookneck Squash
So I have two really healthy looking squash on here that I’m planning on picking real soon.  I have read that the more you pick the more they grow – cool!  (Yes, yes, this is all new to me.)  But will you just look at the stem of this plant!

Broken Squash
Yeah, yeah, I have weeding to do. What else is new?

WTF?!  My original idea was to blame the deer, but I think they have enough hostas to eat in my backyard.  Did it just fall over and break?  Is it infected with something?  Can they grow back still or are they totally done forever?

Help me, Garden Guru Friends!


Driveway Garden Update

My friend recently told me that my garden was so “city girl” because of the orange buckets.  I had to laugh at this because I thought the orange buckets were so ugly, but my husband insisted on them because they were cheap.  My garden is “city girl” for a variety of other reasons, not the least of which is the weeds.  (Have I mentioned I hate pulling weeds?)

I am continually amazed that the garden does continue to grow despite my lack of skills, ability or positive attitude.  One of my tomatoes is actually RED, too.  It looks like a legitimate tomato that I might eat.  I know this shouldn’t surprise me, but it still does.

Tomatoes are Red | Jersey Up!
Tomatoes are red, violets are blue…

I also have a few other budding veggies – a few peppers have sprouted, as well as some crookneck squash and my roma tomatoes are getting bigger.  My basil plant has gone to seed (this is a gardening lingo thing I picked up), and so I’m unsure if it’s still edible…thoughts?

Driveway Garden | Jersey Up!
Green roma tomatoes and blurry bell peppers.

Crookneck Squash | Jersey Up!

My husband also built a pretty utilitarian trellis for my cucumbers out of wood scraps we had in the garage.  We were supposed to stake the peonies in the spring, but forgot.  Oops.  Handy though, right?

Upcycled Cucumber Trellis | Jersey Up!
I’m thinking it’ll look a little less Buffy once there’s cucumbers all over it.

I’m looking forward to eating these vegetables freshly picked.  And trying some canning recipes, though I’m still uncertain if I’ll have enough, even though my husband promises me I’ll have more than I can eat.

I’m already thinking about what I’m going to do next year, and if I can convince my husband to make me a permanent garden so we can find another use for the hideous buckets.


City Girl Gardening Woes

OMFG!!!!!!!! What the hell?!? Seriously. I thought I was super cool today as I was cutting fresh basil for my pasta salad. And then this happened.


I cut off its branch to try and get it to fall down so I could kill it. (I’ve gotten really good at/comfortable with this since Mosquito Invasion 2013). I was totally afraid this thing could fly or jump or something. They can do that right?!

Snip branch. Fling branch. Scream. Gather myself and look for spidey to kill it. WTF?! Where did it go?!

I think I have enough basil actually.


Black Thumb, Your Days Are Numbered

I was recently hit with the notion that I wanted to start a vegetable garden.  I get this idea in January when it’s cold and snowy and I’m dreaming of summer and fresh tomatoes.  I started pinning stuff to a “Gardening” board on Pinterest, which is what every great farmer does, I’m sure.  Then in March, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle, which really sealed the deal.  It called out to the hippie in me that wanted to go back to the land and live off of it or something (glossing over the hard work and dirty parts, of course).  I also caught myself wondering what would we do if the zombie apocalypse happened?!  Shouldn’t I know how to grow tomatoes and make cheese??  Obviously when the world is ending, these will be my two primary concerns.  My husband tells me I would most assuredly not make it.

My husband grew up on a farm.  They raised cattle for awhile, but also had what they call a small vegetable garden.  The chores I was complaining about as a kid pale in comparison.  He is now nostalgic for this life, which I for one think he had his memory cleaned out somewhere around 18.  Now that we have a daughter I find myself wanting her to understand where her food comes from.  It’s important to me that she eats healthy, and moreover enjoys it.

Okay, so you have to understand something about me.  I’m a city girl.  I don’t do dirt.  Or bugs.  (I have Pinterest nightmares of tomato plant beetles and slugs.)  I think food comes from a store.  I’m that girl that kills cacti.  This was made for me:


Anyway, you get the picture.  But, I am committed to this goal, no matter how outside my comfort zone I am headed.  I’m going to do it, damnit, and it’s going to be successful!  (I say this now inside the air conditioning in front of a computer.)

My husband agrees to lend his expertise and after quite a bit of procrastination, more than a few panic attacks, and some borrowed horse shit/dirt (technical term), we are, sigh, moving forward.  There are now seven hideously orange buckets on my front lawn.  Why the front yard, you ask?  Vegetables need full sun, didn’t you know?  And apparently orange buckets are cheapest (?!) and this is a “temporary” container garden so as to not ruin the lawn, you know, in case you aren’t committed it doesn’t work out.

Container Vegetable Garden | Jersey Up!
Dear neighbors, don’t judge me.

And so, we wait.  Wait for death (more likely) or vegetables (hopefully).  At least the automatic lawn sprinklers will give me an edge.  And I’m not even going to talk about the manure issue/benefit.  I will be sure to keep you posted on all my gardening pitfalls.  Friends, there is nothing a little self-deprication can’t fix!