Thursday, July 13, 2006

What's Growin' On: 7/13/06

Realization Of The Day:
This is the weirdest looking strawberry plant I have ever seen. And it's growing in my garden. It's one of the ones I bought at the Garden Club plant sale last year that I wrote about in this post. It's sort of starting to scare me. Not a lot. Just a little bit.

Minding The Moonsigns:
Friday & Saturday July 14th & 15th are fertile days in the 3rd quarter--great days to transplant seedlings into individual plugs, potted plants into bigger living quarters, and of course seedlings into the garden. If you have no idea what this is about but wish you did, click here.

Out Of My Inbox: Tomato Loving Squirrels!
Okay, the squirrels didn't actually jump out of my inbox, but I like the image. And I'm sure the urban gardening friend who sent me an email complaining that "the *blanking* squirrels keep eating my tomatoes--green no less!" wished he could have emailed the squirrels to me. Instead he is "trying pepper spray and metal wire fencing." He didn't say if he intended to spray the squirrels directly with the pepper spray or not. (Another interesting image.)

I had never heard of tomato eating squirrels until last year, and now I've heard from three people who are at war with them. And I guess they don't just steal one or two tomatoes (as would seem to be plenty considering their tiny size) and then go away. Apparently given the chance they'll devour your entire crop!

Anybody have any helpful advice?

--When I wrote about how I can't live without my scuffle hoe back in June, I mentioned that while researching for the article, I had discovered a very interesting company called Rogue Hoes and asked if anybody owned one of their hoes (secretly hoping that they weren't any good so I wouldn't have to start lusting after one or two of three of their many different varieties).

Well, that pretty much backfired. Tabitha said she recently received one as a Mother's Day present from her husband, Karl, and admitted that she is in "deep, undying love." (With Karl, too, I'm sure, but in this case she was talking about the hoe.) And Carol said "I just bought a Rogue hoe, but not the scuffle hoe, and I love it. I have a lot of hoes, some useful, some not, and I am ready to get some more rogue hoes! They seem sturdy and well-made and they have SHARP edges. Based on your description of the scuffle hoe, I may try one of those soon!"

Okay, so I recently had a birthday, and now I have some birthday gift money burning a hole in my gardening glove. The Rogue Hoe Outlet is currently offering a special deal where you can pick out any four of their handcrafted tempered steel hoes for $100, including shipping. And guess how much cash I just happened to receive? I know I probably do not need four fabulous new hoes (and feel a little guilty even thinking about it), but it kind of seemed like a sign. And I always like buying myself gifts that will last a long time--unlike, say chocolate. (Not that I'm knocking chocolate, but you get the idea.)

Anyway, if anyone else out there has something to say about Rogue hoes--especially in regards to which models you think I should get--I would love to hear from you. And Tabitha and Carol--which models do you have? Thanks so much.

--Over three more pounds of Straight 'N' Narrow haricot vert beans have been picked, blanched, suck-sealed, and tossed into the freezer to be enjoyed sometime this winter. That's over five pounds of tender, thin, sweet beans so far from just one 8-foot row. I have been growing this variety for many years, and this is why. The seeds were purchased from Pinetree Garden Seeds in Maine, one of my favorite seed suppliers.

--I may just have to leave that laundry on the line for the entire summer. We had another 3/10th of an inch of rain yesterday. (Yes, this means I messed with the beans when they were wet, right after I said I never ever do, but I was assuming there must be allowances for desperate situations. I'll let you know if rust starts appearing now, as PaintBrushPoet's granny claimed would happen.) I really am having to wear some bizarre socks dredged up from the bottom of the drawer, though. Not that the rest of my farmgirl clothes are the height of fashion, LOL.

I'll be offline for the rest of today and most of tomorrow. I'm looking forward to finding squirrel-be-gone tips and Rogue hoe info upon my return and will hopefully have a chance to catch up on comments and questions soon. Thanks!


  1. Hi, it's me Carol, the one who is now in love with Rogue Hoes. I have model 00G, a small triangular hoe. I have model 575G on order, "their best selling hoe" and it should arrive soon, I hope! I am going to get a scuffle hoe as soon as I find one I like. I am going to check into this Rogue Hoe Outlet, as that sounds like too good a deal to pass on!

    By the way, those strawberries that are scaring you a bit look like violets to me.

  2. Squirrels in our neck of the woods tend to take 2-3 bites out of the tomatoes that are juuussst about ripe - the ones you tell yourself you'll pick tomorrow or the next day. Nothing is more frustrating. The only solution I've found is fruit tree netting. Drape it over the plants and hold it down with rocks.

  3. About the squirrels, (and other creatures who like to eat from the garden): I used to get so riled at them, and the more I fought back with everything from chicken wire cages to wild cats, the worse they seemed to become. I decided to relax and just plant extra for them.

    Then, I came across some information about gardening with nature intelligences (sometimes called Devas or Nature Spirits - as in the "Perelandra Garden Workbook" by Machelle Wright). I asked for help with the rodents, and so far it is working. They've left my broccoli completely alone since my request. Sounds kind of weird and woo-woo, for sure. But, whatever works, ya know?

  4. My squirrel strategy is the Havahart Model #1025 Live Animal Trap and a short drive to the woods where Mr. Squirel gets to lok for a new home.

  5. One of our cats will go down on a tomato like there's no tomorrow. She prefers we pick them, wash them and put them in a colander first though.

    Our dog, however, eats peppers right off the plants. We haven't had a problem with squirrels yet but that could be thanks to the dog. Guess we'll see soon as she's an inside down now and we're in squirrel country.

  6. Let's talk about a cute little bunny who leaves his/her teeth marks in my yellow squash. It doesn't eat it just leaves those little baby teeth marks! I am not sure when the squash get to maturity, that it will be okay to eat. The bunny also eats all my bell pepper plant leaves up to the very top of the plant. So we will be going to the Farmer's Market for those this season! Bunnies are cute but could they please test their little growing teeth on something else!

  7. Yes, that strawberry plant? Not. It's a dead ringer for the wild VIOLETS taking over my garden. (And it's looking kinda yellow - maybe you should give it a little manure!)

    Just yesterday, we saw a red fox crossing the road carrying a (very dead or dying) squirrel in her mouth. Maybe encourage the foxes? :-)

  8. First I have to say that I have been religiously reading your blog and learning alot! You are a fantastic writer. I laughed about the rain! It works for me too. We live in Northern BC and needed rain so I left a sleeping bag and blanket on the line... (really don't like the sleeping bag out there - they are hard to clean to begin with!!) It hasn't stopped raining (on and off) for three days. I am in heaven and getting things done in my work rather than trying to keep plants watered for a bit!! It so works!

  9. We have the same problem as noname - the cats, especially the momma ones from the barn, have pink faces all summer from eating tomatoes. This year we've caught them pulling down cornstalks and ripping up the ears, after blaming it on the raccoons!

  10. i have the 575G. i wish i had an excuse to buy four more hoes, but my one seems to do me just fine. my advice- buy some of them as gifts for others!

    the model i have is small but strong. i have the longest handle, which is perfect because i am somewhat tall (not *very* tall) and i can actually do my work with this without hunching over. it took me awhile to correct my posture for the new hoe.

    i use a hoe specifically for weeding- not for digging. you can pull this along the soil for small weeds, shaving them off. a small amount of pressure along with pulling and pushing takes care of even the largest weeds i have. i must admit i dont have a lot of huge weeds, though- we mulch, heavily.

    i really love the look this soil-scraping method of weeding gives the rows.

    for the record, just a few days ago karl used my mother's day hoe to kill a copperhead that was sunning itself near our back porch. the thing certainly holds an edge!


  11. BTW, I'm joining everyone else in pronouncing your strawberry a violet.

  12. Love your blog. I agree with the folks who say you have a big violet plant there. The good news is that there are a couple of smallish strawberry plants too. One in the lower left and one in the upper left. Look for three part leaves. Yum.

  13. the strawberries look exactly like the miles of violets that have taken over my garden beds! Oh, they're insidious those violets, with roots that reach to the very center of the earth and hang on as if they cared about their life or something. The nerve.

  14. I'll be the naive dissenter and say that your strawberry plant almost looks like it crossed with a nearby cuke. Of course, that is ridiculous, but it's the first thing I thought of when I saw those leaves.

    My mother-in-law lives nearby-ish in Kansas and says "Thank you" for the rain. She was in need of a break from watering, too.

  15. Susan, I am not stalking you!! but.. i broke my winged hoe a couple years ago, mourned that I couldn't find a replacement anywhere.. and here you show me several similar ones (the first 3 on the rogue page). I loved this hoe!! Bless you.

    Additionally, squirrels here in NoCal steal an almost ripe tomato, eat half, and leave the rest sitting on the deck just to show me that they have the power!! And the stellar jays poke holes into the tomatoes to get a "drink" from inside. So far I have harvested 0 tomatoes for me.. but the critters have enjoyed almost a dozen.

  16. Hi there -- just another vote for wild violet, rather than strawberry. And I would just urge you to rip that thing out before it takes over. As a newbie gardener I actually saved and transplanted some of the stupid things when I was digging new garden beds. Though they are pretty when blooming in early spring, I now rank them right up there with quickweed as a nuisance plant -- spread like crazy and never go away.

  17. Want to send me some of those beans! They look FABULOUS!

    I finally took care of my squirrel problem (was I perhaps one of the three that came complaining to you?!)-- although I'm not sure if it was a squirrel problem or just theiving women, but I picked up some chicken wire and surrounded my buckets with them. All green tomatoes, but they're still there.

  18. Hey, if those 'strawberries' are not violets. they might be a novelty plant known as 'beetberry', which is I think, a chenopodium.

    Found your blog through Kelly Ferry and I like it. I'm a farm manager at a community farm project in NorCal. We've been needing hoes and I just went over and ordered some Rogue Hoes. Can't wait to try them out!


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!