Rumble in the Jungle

MiracleGro Tomande
Miracle Tomande

Remember the MiracleGro vs. Organic experiment? At the risk of losing my greenie status, Round 1 goes decisively to the MiracleGro Tomande — whose thick hearty stalk, big healthy leaves, and prolific blossoms totally kick Organic’s scrawny, curly (nutrient deficient?), flowerless butt.

Organic Tomande
Organic Tomande

Mint Fizz

mint fizzIt’s hot. POD-tenders need treats, too.

Recipe courtesy of food52 — SERVES ABOUT 2 QUARTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, washed with stems removed
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ice
  • club soda

Make mint simple syrup by combining sugar, water, and mint in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil then immediately allowing it to simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Strain the leaves.

To assemble the limeade, add about 1 ounce each of the simple syrup and lime juice in a tall glass filled with ice. Top with about 6 ounces of club soda. Stir. Garnish with fresh mint or a lime wedge.

(POD modification: add rum, gin, or vodka. Now that’s a treat.)


repurposed tomato cages, melon trellisLast year plants on deck used tomato cages as a trellis for cucumbers and melons. While it seemed genius, it wasn’t, perhaps, an unqualified success as the 2010 cucurbits did sorta’ so-so. (Not enough air circulation, perhaps?)

It seems silly to waste the investment; so last year’s cages were snipped and spread open to provide large surface areas for the Adam F-1 Cucumber, Orange Hybrid Melon (to be called C. Borealis from here on out, thanks Bethysmalls), and White Wonder Cucumbers to roam. The sharp edges were turned to help train the vigorous vines and to help protect a certain accident-prone gardener. (One whose motto is: “if you haven’t bled on it, it’s not a success.”) An excellent use of unused garden crap, right?

Yeah, there are two C. Boreali in one pot — likely a mistake — but someone couldn’t bring themselves to snip out the oh-so-healthy vine.

Presto Pesto, Baby

basilThese days, POD’s minder is all about the easy. And what’s easier than that guy-who-puts-up-with-so-much’s pesto?

Strangely, the past few days have provided perfect growing conditions: not too hot and just the right amount of delicious rain. That makes for a happy gardener. And that’s the strange part.

Anyhoo, the basil shot up and was already beginning to flower– so it was time o chop it down to the bones. The plants may look naked, but the trim will result in many, many future pestos.

Where’s the Tomato?

Philly’s cold wet spring (remember that?) has been immediately replaced by a hot, dry August. Er. June. A few weeks ago, in a flurry of pre-littlest deckhand productivity, spindly-looking seedlings were planted and just today the minder managed to thin, snip, and top off those tomato pots.

Incidentally, it appears as though the newest (and littlest) deckhand isn’t much help after all. When asked to haul up a bucket of water she said, “pbbbbtttt.” Go figure. But, thanks to an hour-long walk with Appa, the tomatoes got a second helping of dirt.  The goal here, by the way, is that new roots will form along the newly submerged stem and the plant will grow big and strong. The tomatoes even got the first complex sentences of the day. Not once did their minder say, “Where’s the tomato?” Progress.

And plenty of tomatoes, there are. Here’s hoping this year’s crew, which includes patio princess, sweetheart of the patio, tomande, and good old gold nugget (all determinates this year) fare well — ’cause thinning means repotting, in POD’s book. Now we’ve got three tomandes, two gold nuggets, one patio princess, and two sweethearts.

There’s the tomato.

Sweetheart of the PatioSweetheart of the Patio

June Progress

June Plants on DeckThere’s lots going on under the deck, but for now, things are growing…slowly on deck, quickly below.

Thanks to a wonderful POD-sitter, everything survived the week+ of 90+ temps (after a month of unusually chilly days) except the Maestro peas (no surprise there, the heat, no the minder, murdered them).