October 31, 2014: Rain barrel

Thanks to the Philadelphia Water Department’s Rain Check program, I now have a rain barrel! The materials and installation were free, and it only took about 15 minutes. I first posted about this initiative on May 28. Since then, I attended a workshop in June, then put my name on the list. The only other requirement is to be a Philadelphia resident! To check out the schedule of workshops, click here.

While the vermicomposting process takes place on the right in the tumbling compost bin, the rain barrel on the left will collect water to help that nice soil produce veggies, flowers, and herbs next year. And, it’s being diverted from the waterways to alleviate the stormwater flow. What could be better!

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October 18, 2014: Summer colors in fall

The temperatures are expected to drop into the low 40s by the end of this weekend, so I wanted to capture some of my garden’s last summer colors, reminiscent of warmer days. McBaine joined me as I photographed flowers, seedpods, and the remaining tomatoes, but his interest was primarily focused on chewing a stick!

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September 28, 2014: Pumpkins (not homegrown)

Two heirloom pumpkins are a decorative fall addition to my front stoop. One is a bright reddish orange and the other a green and yellow variegated kind. While these squash are not from my garden, those that are out there aren’t faring too well: a squirrel came in the yard the other day and ate the yellow squash that had managed to grow the biggest to date! It was only 3 inches long or so. I hope at least most of the others are safe. Three new perennials from Greensgrow are also adding to the curb appeal to the front of the house: a pink “Pretty Lady Diana” anemone, more hens and chicks, and a dwarf red hot poker plant (Kniphofia “Ember Glow”) that has dense orange and yellow spikes for flowers.

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September 20, 2014: Omelet with a golden tomato, garlic chives, and purple basil

During the last few miles of my 13 mile run this morning, I was planning how to concoct a breakfast omelet with food from my garden. As I thought about what I could add to the eggs and cheese, I knew one ingredient would be a golden tomato. Several have ripened in the past week and I need to use them soon. Basil crossed my mind, as did garlic chives, the latter having just bloomed white star-shaped florets sent up from the grass-like clumps. So, for the last bit of my run, this is what kept me going! And it was tasty. As I was outside cutting the herbs, I noticed a baby squash. There are now over a dozen blossoms on the zucchini and yellow squash plants.

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September 15, 2014: Fall’s first squash blossom

Today marked the emergence of the first bright yellow squash blossom, though I can’t tell yet if it’s from a zucchini or yellow squash plant. They look alike to me! I picked another couple pounds of tomatoes, and left many more to ripen on the vine. The morning glory tendrils have continued to wrap around stalks and climb up the fence. They’re everywhere. I wonder if they’ll last until the first frost. The tomatoes are on their way out, as the leaves fade and the final fruits turn red before the overnight temperatures dip and fall arrives. Meanwhile, McBaine still enjoys the firewood, which he considers his outdoor toys.

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September 6, 2014: Ready for #gardentour2014

Today is the day! The South Philly Garden Tour, presented by the South Philly Food Co-op, starts at 1pm. I’m all ready for the 150-200 participants who will brave the heat! And my checklist is complete:

- Infused water with spearmint from my garden: check.
- Fresh tomatoes for snacks: yup!
- Balloons and signage out front: thanks to the volunteers.
- Goodies from Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, one of the sponsors: yum.
- A gorgeous floral arrangement in a mason jar from Jig-Bee flower farm: yes indeed!

Hope to see you here!

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