A Last Hoorah by Anya Bogorad

Cuttings Table

Cuttings: A Garden of their own.

I intend to gift these but now I don’t know if I can let them go.

It’s becoming apparent that fall is steadily approaching. The plants have begun to react to the change in weather and sunlight, and are trying to bolt or wither as best they can - though I’m actively working to postpone that as long as is possible.

Part of this fervent need for postponement is because several of our fruiting plants are still in the process of fruiting. Many have loads of fruit on the plant, though slim to none have ripened. We’ve tried a number of tactics to try and push them forward so we get at least a single yield from each plant, but ultimately they do what they wanna do.

For example, our tomato plants are fucking massive. They’ve dwarfed the other plants in the area (save for the hops) and have outgrown their trellises. However, each cluster of fruits on these plants remains stiff and greenish yellow. At least their leaves are fragrant, in an excessively tomato-y way.

Tomatillo Leaves

Tomatillo and Tomato in the Sunlight.

Is there anything more enchanting than a backlit leaf?

Our tomatillos, on the other hand, are doing just fine. It took them a moment to get going, though now are producing two to three harvestable fruits a week. Similarly, the other lantern plant, the ground cherry tomato, has been consistently dropping little lantern-cased tomatoes since about a week after being interred. Both plants clearly prefer growing outward rather than up like their standard tomato counterparts. The dill and fennel growing near them have been completely engulfed.

Pepper

Looks like a booty.

I mean it even has a back and hips, cmon. It’s a booty.

One plant we’re baffled by are the bell peppers. These produced in abundance extremely fast, once the weather turned truly hot. They demand a lot of water, but use it efficiently. The only problem is, these are supposedly meant to turn yellow, and then red. Many seemingly mature fruits have been left to sit on the plant for weeks, and don’t appear to be growing or changing color. They taste good, though! We’re seeing a similar issue with the adjacent jalapeños.

Hops in the Sun

And then, we come to the hops. This plant, as you may imagine from past posts, is getting on just fine. We have to daily train it to go back onto the trellis it’s latched on to, rather than creeping forth to a nearby tree branch (which it could easily do in a single day).

The baby hops are coming along nicely, though they appear a bit drier than is expected. Still, almost each node above six feet of vine has a pair of hops, and gosh darn they’re cute as hell. We’re already plotting how best to cook ‘em up and drink their booze juices. That’s not weird, right?

Related-ish: A spider has taken up residence between a hop vine and the larger of the two tomato plants. We think it has an apartment just under one of the hop leaves, as there’s an abundance of extra webbing there, as well as some previous kills it hasn’t yet eaten. So that’s neat. I didn’t know spiders had a hunting net and a sleeping net. Kinda cute. Kinda.

It's Been a While... by Anya Bogorad

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Since I could..

…hold my hop up high.

SorryNotSorry

Haven’t been updating as often. With all the other projects and general depression taking over there isn’t much time or energy left for freaking out about my plants. And let’s be honest, the second it goes above 75 degrees, I hide in my cave and wait out the sun until a more habitable temperature arrives.

With that said, here are some much-needed updates!

Firstly, our peppers are out of fucking control. Turns out, plants native to the equator really like hot weather. Who’da thunk? Here are just a few (multiply this times oh about ten and you’ve got our yield so far) -

Freakin’ lush-lush.

With their booties hanging out.

And of course, who could go five seconds (not me) without talking about the hops. It grows at a shocking rate now, much more-so than what you see with English Ivy or Blackberry (highly invasive and fast-growing species in the area). What was last week just barely reaching out toward the trellis with one tendril is now attached with several tendrils, and spiralling fully to the top of the structure.
The exciting part? IT’S HOPPIN’ TIME. Noticed these lil bbs this morning:

PING, PING! <— that’s the noises they’d make if they could. All popping out of there like that.

PING, PING! <— that’s the noises they’d make if they could. All popping out of there like that.

Next up we have the other fruits I’ve been heavily anticipating. The pumpkins have been flowering since the day we planted them, but I didn’t see a single flower that looked like it may be female (ie fruit-producing). I thought maybe I was mistaken, or that we needed a “breeding pair” as it were, but I’ve recently noticed some hella bulbous “stems” sprouting up, and those are absolutely the bby pumpkins I’ve been waiting for. HOW FUCKIN CUTE:

Gourd-gous ;D ;D ;D

Gourd-gous ;D ;D ;D

And since I don’t give them much blog-love, I need to mention my Clippings Collection™️ -
I had failed to notice that this lil succulent was trying extremely hard to peace out of the ceramic cup he was in. I had a lil scream because surprise roots are gross. But then I got proud, and repotted it. True story:

Having a creep.

Having a creep.

Ps, been seeing more bees than wasps lately. Hoo-too the-ray.

This Means War by Anya Bogorad

No photo today. Just unadulterated rage.
I awoke to a squirrel eating the tomatillo I’d been so diligently waiting to fully ripen.

Ok squirrel, you’re on.

Fruits / Labor by Anya Bogorad

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Proto-Zucchini

Not a dild, not yet a woman.

This post will be in two halves. The first will cover the notable therapeutic benefit I’ve found from tending to my plants, the second will be a sweep of the fruits our plants are finally bearing.

Fruits of Emotional Labor

I'm not often party to emphasizing articles that suggest a "natural" means to "fix" things like depression and mental illness, but I have found my backyard/garden to be compellingly therapeutic - even beyond what immersive video games can offer:

(Oliver Sacks on the Psychological and Physiological Consolations of Nature)

Gardening has all the trappings of truly beneficial therapy, rather than the lengthy distraction vid games ultimately provide. Distractions are important, but without a means to bring your energy into something actionable beyond completing quests, that can easily become a hole.

I've found outside plant tending to be much different than my previous experience with indoor. I always rather ignored/killed my indoor plants. For whatever reason, I grew more responsible tending to outdoor fruit-yielding plants than I ever did with my indoor plants. This responsibility has had the added benefit of reflecting back on the care of my indoor plants, which has improved in a huge way.

I'm sure there's some grand moral in here somewhere, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Grow shit you can eat. The end.

Fruits of Physical Labor

Despite every pest known to Portland, we’ve still managed to bring our fruiting plants through to fruition (woohoo, never got to use that word literally). Some of these flirted coyly with non-productive flowers (ex: all-male flowers for weeks on end). I’m all for gay flowers, but I also want muh damn squash. Finally the squash, zucchini, bell peppers, ground cherries, and tomatoes are showing promise. I hope the hops are soon to follow, as they’ve shot up nearly two feet in a matter of days (horrifying).

Slideshow of my delicious seed sacks:

 
 

Ok It's Colder Now by Anya Bogorad

A future bell pepper.

The first of its name.

As much as my energy is directly tied to the appearance of sunlight, I do ultimately appreciate when my plants aren’t fighting for dear life trying to sop up the groundwater before it evaporates, such as on overcast days. Aside from the panic of rushing about trying to keep various items watered, tended, and shaded throughout the day, some plants throw epically dramatic displays when they’re thirsty; imagine if your child had the ability to appear 80 years older when expressing their discomfort…. Ok don’t imagine that.

It also seems that wasps only prowl our yard when it’s as hot as your father’s anus* outside. This means I could be among my plants for stretches of time that went beyond a few seconds - needing never to shriek and run away flailing.

So, it was nice to simply enjoy the things in my yard today. Basically.

Things I learned:

[1] My hops plant and one of my tomato plants are trying to reenact The Creation of Adam:

It’s blurry, don’t bother zooming + enhancing.

[2] We have flesh flies in our yard:


There better not be a body in my yard…

[3] The plant that thrives in roadside ditches I thought I’d killed (let’s not even… let’s not even get into how that made me feel), is indeed still alive and sending up new palmate leaves:

Palmate? More like flipping-you-off-ate…..

[4] The garlic I’ve been growing from a single store-bought clove didn’t grow much over the past few months, but it did manage to become perfectly spherical again. I’m confused and impressed for it:

Area 51 Souvenir

[5] Ok this photo isn’t from today, but just look how fucking gorgeous these tomatillos are. Holy fuck. It’s a tiny lantern party in that plant at all times:

If tiny Elves don’t live here I’m sending it back.

 

Also I had an interview for a position at Wacom that I bombed so badly I wish I could go back and play the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme over the entirety of it just to make it a finished piece of performance art. But yknow what, my plants were there for me when I got back, and I thanked them by pruning off their dead parts. Find you a man who can do both.



*I’m workshopping some idioms. How’s my driving?

It's Too Hot to Blog by Anya Bogorad

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but here’s a photo of a blackberry

Will we forgive the blackberry’s invasive overabundance when the apocalypse hits and we’re all scrambling for anything edible?

#justdoomsdaythoughts

Triffid - Y/N? by Anya Bogorad

Oh snap.

Terrible joke, I wish I was sorry.

Lil sugar snap pea has decided it’s time for things like hating your parents and showing up in jeans and a tux t-shirt to prom. Look how fucking adolescent:

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In other news, just like healing tattoos or my snake when he’s not moist enough, I compulsively peeled off remnants of my avocado pit’s dark outer husk. Why am I saying this? One, because I’m proud. For some reason. Proud it’s not dead? Not sure (also not sure if it’s not dead). But largely because the inner-patterning, I’ve found, is trippy as fuck. Enjoy:

See?

You don’t need drugs to get high. You need avocado pit husk.

God bless. Fuck, I’m dehydrated.

New Tenants by Anya Bogorad

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Corn ‘N Owl

My favorite tiki drink.

We’ve swallowed our pride and pulled up the last of the emaciated peas. This time around, instead of diving blindly in to re-planting, we made sure to get some good info from the pros at the plant store about how best to deal with the pests we have.

Planting today took a lot more effort as we had to till the existing soil as deep as six inches, pull out dead roots (of which there were plenty), remove half that soil, replace it with new soil, churn in plant food mix, and then sprinkle on slug/earwig repellant. It was only after that that we were able to actually put our new plants in the ground.

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A Very Good Chart™️

Of what’s what and what’s where.

Fuck by Anya Bogorad

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The Betrayer

Why couldn’t it be something fun like a surprise cannabis?

I’m now almost completely sure that the plant that’s sprouted up everywhere we have potting soil is in fact the highly invasive and very ironically named Tree of Heaven (also called the Widowmaker). This type of sumac that grows in whateverthefuck it wants to such as sidewalk cracks is known to grow fast - which is something I can attest to having witnessed them popping up every damned where.

What’s worse (or maybe better?) is I’ve found they may be a larger contributing factor to why our intentionally planted vegetation becomes so mysteriously emaciated so quickly; the Tree of Heaven, apparently, secretes a sort of neighboring-root-poison so it doesn’t have to deal with competition. And yep, we have these everywhere in our planters - pulling them up when they sprout just slows down the eventual forest they’re determined to create.

More on this Class B invasive plant can be found here, among other sources:

God damn it was such a cute and hearty little guy, I was hoping it was some magical mystery plant I could brag about and play Beatles to all day. Well. Back to botanical banality (my next band name btw).

Plants + Zombies by Anya Bogorad

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Teeny kales

Don’t call it a comeback?

Stopped by for a squat-n-peer in my garden after coming home from being out all afternoon. Over the past few days, and most pronounced today, it’s become clear that several plants I thought were complete goners are actually attempting to make a comeback.

For example, the kale stumps like the one shown above are actually attempting to grow new leaves out of the stumps of the old ones. I was ready to pull these guys up after we had to fully cull them due to aphid infestation, but my partner recommending letting it sit to see what happens. Well he was absolutely right. There are five of these little stubs, each of which are regrowing each branch. Color me impressed.

Other plants doing similar things are a spinach I pulled up and replanted in a gross part of the yard I call my “resurrection zone” - an experiment to see if any clearly-dead plants would regrow at a certain point. Turns out, one’s really making a good Christian effort! But it’s getting heavily nommed by bugs so, not sure how that’s gunna work out.

Another is the mystery-broccoliª we found already growing in the yard. We had to strip it down initially as it bolted too soon, though it seems to be assuming this gray weather is fall or spring, so is trying again to grow baby broccolis out of the nooks of each previous stem.

Lastly there’s the pea plantsº. Only a few (the ones which got the most sun) are really still producing fruit, the others have all withered and died. Well, except for one, which must have sensed its impending doom and suddenly started sprouting new stems and leaves out of the pit of a very old leaf (about a foot down from what was the top of the plant I was in the process of cropping off when I found the new growth).

ªMystery Broccoli

ªMystery Broccoli

ºPea Plant

ºPea Plant

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As an aside, we still have our fair share of mystery plants cropping up, that no amount of Googling or app-ing has yielded results:

Baby Tree?

Deadly Nightshade?

Invasive Weed?

In closing, I hope y’all are ready for the Minotaur, cause we about to be GOURD:

Get it?

Get it?

Useable Space by Anya Bogorad

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Hosewater Pareidolia

Enhanced by digital finger painting.

This update is less about plants (ok not at all about plants) and more about how some aggressive sweeping, lawn trimming, and item rearranging has made it much more tenable for us to sit outside when not explicitly tending to the garden.

Just last week when my sister came by to work remotely from my apartment, she’d quickly revoked her request to work from the yard after dodging two spider blitzes and nearly sitting on a third spider being eaten alive by a swarm of ants.

Aaron got a wild hair and decided it was time to evict the bugs from our garden table and porch area, as well as to shave down the intermittent patches of grass/weeds dappling the lawn to mere bristles. Since then, we’ve been able to comfortably enjoy eating at the table out back, while our cats have been exploring parts of the yard even they were saying hell no to previously (and they lick their own anuses).

'Murica by Anya Bogorad

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Clone (G)wars.

My rando clippings are leveling up.

This is the sum of my unemployment:

A bunch of still-living cuttings from plants I’ve owned or have walked past since February.

I will be the plant clone queen.

Yes I wrote this two mimosa pints in.

Pest Control by Anya Bogorad

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Ladybugs

Out of focus, but you get the idea.

Name a garden pest common to Oregon and we have it. In fact, I think our planters advertise themselves as a co-op for any and all garden pest to come feel at home, maybe enjoy the jacuzzi or get a massage.

The worst of it are the ants, aphids, and what appear to be little midge flies - so we’ve decided to sprinkle store-bought ladybugs about in hopes they’re hungry for just those pests.

So far all we’ve found they do is lounge about the same as all the other bugs, sometimes allowing aphids to fully walk on them - but they’re just too chilled out to care. I guess the upside here is that we’ve created a really hospitable pile of dirt. I just wish the happy hour special wasn’t the vegetables we’re trying to grow.

Nothing like clipping and carting off kale leaves that are absolutely bursting with aphid nests to get your skin crawling first thing in the morning.

Daily Scan by Anya Bogorad

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PRE-SQUASH

I hope I get to it before the slugs do.

It’s become my daily wake-up routine to throw on whatever garbage clothes I have lying around and head to the yard to peep at what’s changed overnight. It’s a little like Christmas morning in a way, especially as many plants go through dramatic changes in that short time span. It’s also just a really great way to center myself and get some air first thing in the morning.

No exaggeration, it’s more effective than caffeine.

This post in particular will focus on some of my findings, and what my typical morning-time stream of consciousness entails during my new routine. Click an image to see more:

Oh Lawd. by Anya Bogorad

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sugar snap pea … pea.

Growing a crazy tail.

Oh lawd he growin!* I’ve destroyed more sugar snap pea pods than was really worth the eventual yield, but I got at least one single yield, so that’s success in my mind.

This little seed has grown a hearty tail, and has since being photographed been placed in a tiny seedling planter.

History has shown that I do better with cuttings and established plants than I do cultivating a plant from seed, so let us all send this tiny pea our thoughts and prayers. Those work, right?

*Can we take a moment to appreciate the “aw lawd he ____” meme? It reminds me of my ever-gregarious Louisiana family. And cats.

Introduction by Anya Bogorad

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Catnip/Catmint

On my outdoor plant experimentation table.

I post about plants in excess. Well, it may be a fairly nominal amount in the larger scheme of millennial milieu; though for me, considering I’ve only been on this kick since October, I think “excess” applies.

While I’ll continue to post plant-related things on Instagram, where lovely plant-related posts belong, I may as well duplicate that effort here, in a more thorough and deliberate manner. These posts will likely still be photography-oriented as I tend to photograph better than I can write, perhaps in time I’ll be able to build a narrative of our little garden - something to look back on and to share with the parents, yknow?

So to start, a bit of elaboration on the image above. This is the outcome of a very small cutting I took of our catnip (catmint?). I snipped off a stem just under a node, had it sit in water for a short time, and then stuck it in a pot outside - well before it had started to visibly grow new roots.

Catnip, it seems, is quite prolific. Given it’s a part of that family of plants that will take over all of Oregon if given the chance, this was no surprise. Though it will still catch me off guard to see a small, relatively bare, three-inch cutting taken in May turn into what you see here by the end of June.

This particular cutting was meant as a gift for a friend (Gemini, so it’s getting on well overdue). I’d better get to handing it over before it takes over my yard. Maybe I should start charging it rent?