Garden Update and…SQUIRRELS!

The rain has slowed down and things are getting crispy. My plants have lots of greenery but not too much to show for it. In my vegetable garden, the lima beans are growing like mad. I think there are some beans in there, but it’s really hard to find them in the mass. The cucumbers are also spreading like mad but with few results. They all started out so sweetly, too:


getting bigger

little cuke

lots of green

Meanwhile, it’s been a strange year for tomatoes in my garden. I decided to move them to a new spot, although in my garden there’s not much distance between the old and new spots. This year, my tomatoes have been going badly since the seed starts. The timing was bad and I didn’t get them in a greenhouse for the usual boost. After the transplant to my garden they grew slowly.

The best producing tomato is actually a variety that originated here in Evansville with one of the great Evansville founding families. The variety was contributed to Seed Savers as an exemplary specimen and was chosen from over a thousand new seed varieties as one to highlight in this year’s seed catalog. I thought it was a nice connection, so I got a packet. The tomato clearly knows it is home, because it’s growing and producing very well. It has nice, little, yellow grape tomatoes.

My other tomato plants have not. I got a couple big green-when-ripe tomatoes off one plant earlier this summer. I always enjoy trying new varieties, but unfortunately this one will not be a new favorite. I’ve gotten a couple smaller, pink tomatoes off of a volunteer plant from last year, and that’s been about it.

tomato crop

tomatoes and basil

A couple other plants have green tomatoes on them that are taking forever to ripen. They’re new ones with exotic names that I’ve been curious to taste: Dragon’s Eye, Cosmic Eclipse, and Lucky Tiger.

Dragon's Eye

Yesterday evening, I noticed that one Dragon’s Eye tomato was starting to change color. At last! Soon I would behold the tomato billed as, “Very pretty pink-rose colored with green stripes that turn gold.  They look shiny and almost fake.”

It crossed my mind: should I pick it so it could safely ripen inside? No, I thought. Vine ripened is the best. After all, what could happen?

Someone just the other day had asked me whether the squirrels were messing up my tomatoes. I’d responded that I haven’t really had any problems with them for a long time. So long, in fact, that I’d considered changing the name of my blog from “Squirrels and Tomatoes” to “Raccoons are Sneaky Jerks”.

Well. This noon I went outside to pick some basil for my lunch and I realized that that marginally ripe tomato was gone. Was it hidden by a leaf? NO. Had it fallen onto the ground under the plant? NO. IT WAS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN! Had I dreamed it?

I went back inside and was fixing my lunch when John said, “Hey, there’s a bunny right over here in the lawn! It’s right next to the house.”

“Weird,” I thought. I looked out the window and there was a big, adorable rabbit right next to the house…strangely close to the house. What was that thing it was hopping toward?


I ran out to view the carnage.


I know that bunny didn’t climb up into the tomato cage to pull this down.

Stupid squirrels. [Grumble. Grumble.] It wasn’t even ripe.


garlic pile

Right now I’m attempting to ferment garlic in honey. It is the first use of this year’s garlic from my garden. I read about fermenting it on a gardening blog that I follow and it sounded intriguing. I found the instructions here. The honey takes on some of the garlic flavor. John eats raw garlic medicinally to ward off colds, so this sounds like it will be even better.

There was a whole lot of peeling involved which was time consuming, but the finished product looks really neat in the jar. It’s supposed to be ready in about a month.

lots of peeling

fermenting garlic

One final plant happening to note: I got a bloom from the third and final orchid that I own that I’d never seen bloom before. All three mystery orchids came from plant sales without any indication of what the bloom would be like. All three have been gorgeous. This one is miltassia Dark Star ‘Darth Vader’.

Darth Vader