Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blueberries are planted.

Since i dragged out that big container and got all the decomposed peat out of it and into the wheelbarrow... i figured i'd might as well plant the blueberries  'cause i had to dig the peat moss into the soil anyway.

The weather decided to be a pest, there'd be sudden downpours and then it would stop and the sun would go blazing hot then pour again, so it wasn't a simply walk out and plant kind of thing.
But it made me mad so i didn't just go in and plan for tomorrow.

Of course as soon as the plants were in the ground and the name  tags were shoved in place, i slogged back into the house and stood in front of the air conditioner with my arms over my head for about 10 minutes.

I finally cooled off and dried out enough to take pictures for the record a couple hours after.
I planted them just about 6' apart at either end of the grape row. I also planted them more in the center of the weedblock than the grapes since they will become more bushy than the grapes will be.

Blueray on the left and Patriot on the right

The other end of the grape row,  this time i have the Patriot blueberry on the left and the Blueray on the right.

We will use landscape timbers to edge the bed and mulch the landscape fabric, its on the list of upcoming projects. Now that i have all the plants installed that can happen sooner than later.

I saw this ladybug while i was walking back to the garden:

And when i checked my garden i noticed that  the cabbages actually are resprouting from the ground. These sprouts may try to form medium sized heads if they are aren't eaten before they can.

.That one was blurry, here's a better  shot:

Cool!  Grapes  coming back from the roots and cabbage coming back too....

I'm now in a much happier mood about this enterprise!

Seeds, again!

Yes, i bought more seeds.
But i had to!
Because they were there and my plants are not.

I bought some Calabrese green sprouting broccoli.  I got some Broccoli Raab, some Arugula and i got a bush bean with purple pods.
I have grown purple-podded bush beans before and i liked how much easier it was to find and harvest the beans.   Depending on the variety, if the bean pods are missed and mature too far the plant will stop producing, so purple pods that make more thorough harvesting easier help to prevent that from happening.  That, and i like the change of color. As much as i like green foods, sometimes one gets tired of eating that color.
I got the broccoli raab because it is more bitter than classic calabrese. I noticed the kale was not being raided, maybe the flavor wasn't as mild as the cabbage and gypsy broccoli.  I don't generally mind bitterness within reason so i figure its worth a shot. If its less appealing to the evil, oversized squirrels  i may have a shot at harvesting some for myself.
I grabbed the arugula just for the heck of it.  I might just scatter the seed in the lackluster carrot beds. 

I have a very large, plastic, terracotta colored window box style pot that i was considering growing some broccoli in, i remembered that the soil in it right now is mostly old peat moss.  I had put it in there, having no other place to put it, the bag was shredded, it was about 1/4  of one of those huge bales i got at Home Depot...  i think that will be perfect to add to the soil where the blueberries are going to go. Its been in there for about as long as we have had the house....  7 years or so...?   I can trade the peat moss for potting soil, compost and yard dirt.  Hopefully the plastic is sturdy enough to not break.

My other alternative is to use my 30 gallon rubber tub. It was once 30 gallon patio pond that was made to look somewhat like an oval cedar trough.  The liner is a thick, slightly flexible rubber. I think its the same material horse watering buckets are made out of.  If i get the guts to cut a drain hole in it, i could use that as a planter too.

I went out and retrieved the big plastic pot. It looks like its still strong enough to plant in. It barely looks its age actually. 

Just a little weedy and dirty

My little blueberry plants need to be planted soon, the Patriot type are flowering. I need to remove them too.

Also, this might be good news!  While i was out (in the oppressive humidity) i checked on the grapes, the Edelweiss grapes don't look like much still, but i did notice the weedblock was lifting a bit next to the really dead looking Edelweiss twig. I pulled the fabric back a bit and out sprang a green vine tip with a couple crumpled leaves.  I do believe that the Edelweiss may be regrowing from its roots!  I'm pretty sure its a grape shoot, the leaves are more rounded than the others, but i looked for some leaf pictures and that type of grape has rounder leaves.  I won't know for sure until the leaves unfurl completely, but it should happen in a day or so.  As far as i know, Burpee does not graft these grapes, if it is on its own rootstock, i will at least have a chance at ending up with one Edelweiss after all!

This is a big relief, because this year it seems that the things i was most excited about are the ones that weren't panning out too well  so far.

 Oh... one bad thing... the Japanese Beetles are out.  It seems early this year and that is not a good thing!

Havahart trap is still empty. Nothing more eaten in the garden, but the horseradish leaves have been munched on again.

Oh, my beach plum saplings are looking good. They had leafed out nicely late this Spring and have grown quite a bit.  They need planting out too, but with the fencing and the yard not quite done i don't know where.

Topsy Turvey looking pretty good, has a lot of catching up to do.

I applied roundup to the far edge of the garden where the Jerusalem Artichokes, Asparagus and Horseradish plants are. I think i'm going to restring the electric fence and enclose those parts too. The ground is more level there and i think i will have fewer gaps to deal with.

I applied the roundup maybe 20 minutes ago, when the weather radar map showed no storms in sight, and all of a sudden we are now under a severe thunderstorm watch. 
If i want rain all i have to do is apply Roundup to the weeds.  But it did this to me last time and though i had my doubts it did end up working, it just took longer to see the results.

Well i think that is it for now.
It's almost 1pm.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Make your own Vanilla Extract.

Having sworn off white sugar (any sugar really) and most all grains entirely, i like to know what is in the stuff i use.  I like to have vanilla in my homemade yogurt, but i found that many vanilla extracts available have sugar added or other unnecessary ingredients.  I don't really call myself a purist, but when i can control the ingredients of a thing and make it myself, i find it to be another fun project.

So i make my own Vanilla Extract.

Its super easy.  Just find yourself a good source of fresh beans (i suggest eBay, its where i got mine, there are good sellers there).

Depending on how much extract you want to make, you can buy as many as you want.
I happened to get a large batch of beans because i plan to use them for things besides extract and i plan to use the beans themselves as well as the extract i make as gifts.

This spread cost me under $30 including shipping. 

The recipe is simple,  about 6 beans per cup of extract. The only other ingredient is Vodka.  Smirnoff works well, it has the right balance of price and taste for my purposes.
I am making double strength extract so i can dilute it if i want or just have that extra rich flavor in my recipes. Regular recipes say 3-4 beans per cup of Vodka.

So i start by measuring the Vodka.
I have 12 relatives i plan to give the finished extract to for Christmas, so i need at least 24oz per batch.  I have two types of beans, Madagascar and Tahitian.  Madagascar extract is the most common type available, Tahitian is rare as an extract but it has distinctive different flavor.  So i am making a batch of each.
I want to have some left for myself so i am going to make 26 ounces of each.  So i needed 52oz of Vodka.  A 1.75 liter bottle gave me plenty with some left over.

Weighed for each jar:
 One pound, 10 ounces give or take.  (zero out the jar on the scale first)

That equals roughly 3 and one half cups
And for double-strength extract, that's 6 beans per cup.... 21 beans needed

Slit each of the beans lengthwise and scrape out the insides

Into the jar it goes. 

 Rough chop the rest of the bean and put it in the jar....  repeat 20 more times ;o)

Cover and shake.  

Here are the Tahitian beans:

A second jar, before shaking.
Allow to steep at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

This is what the jars look like after one night of steeping.

The extract needs to steep for at least 6 weeks.  The beans can be used about 3 times. I heard of people simply topping their jars off with fresh Vodka and adding the occasional bean.  The extract can last indefinitely since the Vodka's high alcohol content keeps things quite sterile.

Strain it through a fine mesh, bottle it and use like store-bought, or use it straight from the jar. The bean particles settle out of the way so you can do this.

I plan to purchase a number of  new 2 ounce glass bottles with dropper tops, i'll make a nice label to go on them and they should be a unique and useful gift. 

There are DIY Vanilla extract recipes out there that are non-alcohol. Usually the vodka is subbed with glycerine. Not the solid bar soap glycerin, but the liquid type. I have bought it at the pharmacy before, i used it to make bubble bath, lip balm and other homemade cosmetic items.I've never bought it for edible purposes but as far as i know the pure glycerin is safe to eat.  It is more pricey than Vodka.

The recipe i found for Non-Alcohol Vanilla Extract is:

12 oz Glycerin
4  oz warm water
2 Whole Vanilla Beans

Procedure is the same as the regular method, split, scrape and chop the beans into the liquids, keep in a glass jar, shake often. Should be ready to use after a month or so.  I'd probably double the bean bill. But that's me.

Rainy day today

And that is good, we need this nice soaking rain. Its been a firly decent year so far, generally warm with regular installments of rain at the right times.

I'm glad i got all the weeding done yesterday. I had to do it all at once or the pain will catch up with me. Last night my leg hurt so bad it almost made me sick to my stomach.  I'll have to try and take it easy the next few days.

Hubby went  ahead and bought me a Havahart trap yesterday after he saw what the beasts did to my horseradish plants. We baited it with the remains of a few of the broccoli plants that took the worst damage, we also tossed in a chunk of grocery store broccoli floret for good measure.  If i have to trap and relocate woodchucks all summer (or for the rest of my earthly existence) i'll be ok as long as we get them before they get my veggies.
I think i might be able to rely on the fence a little more now that i think i fixed the issue of the lower wire height.  It was too high from the ground on the far side.  The way my raised bed slopes was part of the problem there. The wire looked low enough, but the slope of the ground made a perfect gap that a 'chuck could slide right under without contacting the wire.  I was going to mound it up with dirt, but i knew that would not be solid enough so i took some scrap boards and set them just under the wire to fill that gap, since the boards are on the inside of the wire they can't be moved from beyond the wire and they can't be used to jump over.

My descriptive powers are not good, so:

and the hopeful fix:

I really hope i get it right this time!  There have been a few not-quite-ideal situations with this fence. The fence itself functions like it is supposed to, but my end of the bargain has been lacking.

First, relying on one strand was naive.  It was effective on the neighborhood dogs and cats but not on a determined predator of vegetables.

Second,  i should have used Roundup along the fence line in the first place, hubby didn't want me to but i convinced him it was necessary for the fence to work.  I should have just done it instead of letting my point become obvious.

Third, i should have paid much more attention to the contours  of the ground and how the slopes created wide gaps.

Fourth, i should have included the asparagus and horseradish bed in the protected area.  I didn't have enough wire from the original kit to run two strands around all of it, but hubby bought me 1/4 mile of wire  a few days later and i should have restrung it right then.  I plan to fix this mistake next chance i get.

If it turns out that the fence is effective after all the tweaking is complete i'll be thrilled.  If not, i'll still keep using it to keep the cats from using it as a litter box and the loose dogs from trodding down my veggies.  I do plan to use the trap continuously each year to try and keep numbers down.  We'll have to find a good place to relocate them where we won't be causing someone else the same trouble.

Best of all, if the fence finally works, i can stop blogging about woodchucks!!!

Soon i should be able to buy the mini fridge for storing my seeds so i can get rid of the boxes, trays and such that i store them in now. I'll also have to buy a bag of silica gel which i can get in the cat litter section of the pet store. 
If i can get the fridge set up the first week of July i can sort my seeds and start replacements for a fall crop.

I planted the cilantro seedlings out in the gaps left by badly germinating parsnips.  I also planted my peppermint next to the pepper plants,  a couple of the sweet and hot pepper plants shriveled and died earlier this spring so i just stuck the mint in there. I may regret planting my mint right in the garden like this since i hear it can get aggressive and invasive...  but i'm throwing caution to the wind this time.
I had some buttercrunch lettuce seedlings that spent too much time in their flat, but i planted them in the gaps left by the eaten broccoli.  I'll see what they do.

I have some perennial seedlings that need to be potted up, they are still lingering in the 9pack trays.  I have been saving gallon milk jugs to plant them in until i can put them in a permanent place...  i mentioned to hubby that i might be doing that for this week's projects (he's tired of seeing the flats sitting at the edge of the driveway collecting silt and i don't blame him, i'm not liking it either, i have to  drain the trays after every rain and they look messy), but judging by his lack of response when i mentioned that is what i had been saving the milk jugs for...i have a feeling my jugs took a trip to the town's "Transfer Station". Which will be a bit of a problem.  My other option is to  go to  the local nursery and see if they will let me have some of their  discarded nursery pots.  I have gotten pots from them before, a whole bag of assorted sizes.  If they still do it, it should be all i need.

The cuttings are still hanging on, some better than others.  I have at least 2 of each type that are not drying up or gotten fuzzy. They don't look like much, so i haven't taken pictures.
I have another Autumn Olive seed that has sprouted and needs to be potted up, the first one still hasn't broken the surface of the soil yet.  No luck with the other berry seeds from that eBay order.
The Goji seedlings are still alive, they must grow super slow because they haven't moved an inch  yet. I think they still have only their seed leaves.  I might try potting them up or planting them in the garden  for the rest of the year.  I read they are a bit weak their first year to overwinter so i might have to bring them indoors for the winter and maybe store them in the entry of the basement inside the bulkhead,  or i'll have to set up a place for them with lights.

The dog has decided to be a brat the last few days.  Her former owners used to let her lay on the furniture. I can't allow this personally, hounds have a smell and i can't deal with it on my furniture.  I have a nice chair that we allow her to use just for her and its in the living room with everyone else so its not like i am isolating her from the family. She just isn't allowed on the other two pieces of furniture. 
Well i kept smelling 'dog' when i sat on my couch with my morning coffee and it was annoying.  Then i started catching her on the couches when i woke up in the mornings before she did.  She'd get scolded and then directed to her chair.  At night i started laying the baby gates across the couches to keep her off them while we were asleep.  Well, Bassets can be spiteful creatures so she retaliated by peeing on my carpet.  After three nights of finding puddles and scolding her (she was taken outdoors for a pee break last thing before bedtime each night) i decided to gate her in the hallway by the side door with the baby gates. Its a 6'x4' area and its tiled, so i folded a blanket into a bed for her, put her in and gave her a small treat and said goodnight.  No pee this morning.
This will be done until i have the money to buy her  a kennel (soon). She used to be crate trained so i hope she takes to it again.  A dog with an at-will and overnight crate is a happier dog in my experience. She also needs an escape spot to go to for when our toddler starts pestering her.

I started the homemade Vanilla Extract last night. I'll post the 'how to do it' instructions & pictures later today or early tomorrow.  It is an easy project.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I am the Weed Warrior....!

I almost feel victorious.

I finally got everything weeded and i do mean everything.  With varying degrees of thoroughness, the Jerusalem Artichokes i sort of slacked on, but after almost 3 hours of weeding i didn't care.
The rest of the garden was done as thoroughly as i possibly could get it. It was a great day for weeding, cool and overcast... i think i still got a sunburn.

It kinda stinks that the carrot and parsnip beds look so bare when everything else looks so good.  I left the weeds in the aisles sonce i don't feel like doing the extra work of removing them.  I might later but not now.

I don't usually take the row pictures from this end of the garden, but i felt like doing that this time.

Now that they are weeded, i can actually see my peppers and eggplants.

Burdock and then Globe Artichokes... the artichokes don't seem to be going anywhere yet.  The Summer Squash are small too...
Salsify, surviving brusseld sprouts and cauliflower plants, then beans...Provider bush beans.  I forgot the name the other day.

Birdhouse gourd, i love the leaves on that plant. They are velvety and soft, not like summer squash, melon or cucumber leaves which are spiky and irritating.

I have native ladybugs all over the place here, i like them better than the asiatic ones- the type that swarm and sometimes bite.  These are rounder and have a larger black 'head'.

Here is a ladybug larva

And i found this yellow ladybug eating yellow aphids.

My experiment with the celery base is working, cause its really coming out of the soil now

Marechal Foch with flower buds.
i hate the dust in my camera lens.

While i was out weeding, i found a few spots where i think the fence is too high.   I think the groundhogs are just walking right under it. I found that they have eaten the leaves of my horseradish almost to the nubs...  so i might go use roundup and totally re do the fence and include the far part of the garden that i didn't think i had to worry about-- the JA patch and the Asparagus bed.
I thought we had gotten it low enough to stop them last week, but the rain compacted the soil and they got under it again.  So i'll try this one more time and see if that is what was happening...

Who knows.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Just weeding and stuff

They must have heard me, cause my secret cabbage seedling is gone.  I did pick and eat my kholrabi, so i claim victory over that.

So they are still getting in.

The fence simply cannot be working. Yeah it keeps cats and dogs out, but that's not what eats my stuff.

I think we might try using chicken wire sooner rather than later,  why wait?  As soon as i get another installment of funds, it will happen.  If i'm going to try again for a fall crop i will need it.

Or i will simply plant a whole row of kale (and maybe some pretty flowering types, beautiful and edible).  That is the only thing that still remains untouched.  I can't believe it.

The collards aren't getting hit too hard either.

I think i might try growing the chard in a big pot i have.  Or maybe get back into container gardening again. I like this idea and instructional i found in another little blog i follow called A Potter's Garden.  Her blog led me to this: SWC.
Now, i'll always keep a terrestrial garden, but if i can't keep the woodchucks out of my broccoli any other way, i'll have to grow my veggies in a box that is off the ground and can be surrounded by a small wire cage of some sort.

No way i'm going to let this continue and i'm not going to give up on growing cabbage and broccoli..

Anyway, i weeded a lot today. Got both sides of a whole row done and most of another. That makes me mostly caught up

I can actually see my onions now,  some of them are paired with herbs, so that is what those big green clumps are in that section.  The walkways are full of the pulled-up weeds.  I don't know if i should put them in the compost pile or leave them there, i'll be stepping on them regularly and if their roots dry out enough the remains will become mulch.

I still need to pull the weeds that are living on the edges of the walkways,  but i had to call it a day after these rows were done.  I hope to finish it up tomorrow.

This is a mess!I used those strips of plywood to hold down the row cover, but i just haven't made putting them someplace else a priority.

I have a baby cucumber!

Its blurry cause i stuck my finger in the photo, but this is so i can see how small it is now.

Hopefully these plants produce a lot and nothing gets into them.

I dug up and sent off a rosemary and a basil plant and sent a few of the Welsh onions i ended up not having room for (to my SIL). They are like chives, only fatter, flowering in white instead of pink and they have a flavor more like garlic.

I'm also brining up some country style pork ribs to smoke and grill tomorrow.  I have them in the basic salt and sugar brine with a tablespoon of 'sweet' pickling spice in it. I'm hoping that the spices will make things seem to taste sweeter since i won't use barbeque sauce on them.

I need to find out what i can use chervil with. I have a few plants that are doing great but i forgot what the stuff is good with.  I think it is in Herbes de Provence ....  maybe good with chicken?  I eat a lot of chicken.

I'm almost scared to say it, but my basil plants all look nice.  There is word of a basil blight that is not just causing headaches for commercial growers but home gardeners as well.  I don't know anyone else on my street or anyone within a few more streets who garden, so i think my risk is minimal.
 My sage also looks good.  I hope to have plenty to dry to use until next summer.

Currently reading "The Backyard Berry Book" i'm still reading the grape grower book, but the berry book i have os a library loan and its one of 5 or so that i borrowed, so it has a higher finish priority.

Oh, speaking of grapes, my Reliance and Marechal Foch have flower buds. I noticed this when i was giving my Toddler a supervised  run of the yard.  I didn't have enough hands for the camera so i didn't photo the grapes.  I think i will let them open just to see them once, then i will remove them in favor of stronger growth. 

Planning and plotting...

Today i plan to pick the Kohlrabi. They are going to be on the small side, but they type i have (early purple vienna) isn't  supposed to get to baseball size. I do wish they were bigger, but i think the plant is more likely to try and regrow leaves first rather than continue enlarging its bulb so i'm just going to make a single meal of the golf ball sized veggie.  I think i could put down some buckwheat seeds to hold the space for the seedlings i'll plant later.

It looks like the garden remains unraided again today.  Three days in a row with no new defilement. 

Today is nice and cool, it would be a great day to catch up with weeding but hubby and the oldest are probably going to be out visiting his sister  today, so i won't have anyone to  watch the toddler.  I'd have her outside with me, but she won't stick around and sitting in the stroller is not good enough for her.  She loves being outside, which is great, but it has to be her playtime 100%, not my time to get anything done. :o)

I wish my bulbing fennel was either bigger or needed thinning cause i'd send some over to my sister in law (she's the Chef and beautiful things can be done with baby fennel). I'm going to try and pot up a couple rosemary plants for her if i have the time to get out there and do it before hubby and daughter #1 head out.

I had wanted to grow way more herbs than i was actually able to get out this year. I have some seeds that are perennials, like winter savory and peppermint, and i think either oregano and thyme are perennial- or both are, i'd have to look it up again.  Anyway, i lost many of them to frost and the rest i  still haven't planted because i don't have a permanent place for them yet. 

I wanted to get going on those flowerbeds by now but the heat and weather came in so it hasn't happened....  but when it does, i want to put the herbs in there i think. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Its been hot, rainy or humid for the last few days. Keeping mostly inside.  Its been in the low 80's, but when the humidity is in the 70% range it just isn't fun to be outside. 

Of course the whole woodchuck fiasco has had me pretty miffed, but it wasn't really enough to keep me out of the garden, but combine it with weather and it will stop my chattering mood in its tracks.

I'm saying it quietly cause you know how it goes when you say something and then the opposite happens.... but it looks like Wednesday is the last day the garden got raided.
I haven't seen a woodchuck since Wednesday.
Granted, there isn't much left for a groundhog to get into as far as my brassicas go... but there is some stuff left and the Swiss chard is regrowing.
They did miss two of my brussels sprouts and the 3 purple cauliflower might make it back if they get left alone.  The groundhogs did not eat the center of the plants so the leaves could still regrow.
I have read in garden books that things like cabbages can regenerate if the original head is harvested right.  If you don't cut too close to the soil when you cut a cabbage head (leave about 2" of stalk), the plant will regrow a few miniature heads in a cluster.I just might try and see if i can use that information and try to apply it to my situation.  If i cut what is left of the heart of my cabbage plants out, it may set up a similar signal to the plant.  Only trouble is that there are few outer leaves left... but it might not matter if the roots are strong enough.
My other option is to leave alone what is left and see what it does.  If  the cabbage do not head, the loose leaves will still be edible, just not as sweet and crisp.
Luckily, there is enough time for me to start new seeds of all my brassicas to get a fall crop.
If i am fortunate, the woodchucks won't be so interested in my garden by that time of year.... but maybe it will be worse?
Winter fattening time vs. baby woodchuck feeding time....

But i  think that last woodchuck may have had an encounter with my fence in a big way.  I went out yesterday to see if there was more stuff ruined (there wasn't ptl!) and i noticed the fence in the back part of the garden (the way they exit when i scare them off) was all twisted up (candy cane twist, not knotted mess). The top two strands were wound together enough that it had stuck like that until i undid it.
Now if the woodchuck had got caught in the two strands enough to tangle them like that, it would have been getting continuous shocks for who knows how long.  And that was a rainy day, so water may have made it worse.  So if the woodchuck that charged me had gotten tangled, it sure would explain its behavior.
But i don't remember if  i did check the fence after that incident.  I wish i was sure, because if the wire got twirled for some other reason i'd like to know.

I do wonder why i haven't seen one of them since then.
There were three, all about the same small size.  Hubby had harassed them a bit with the pellet gun, hoping they'd decide it was too hostile an area to set up house, but it didn't seem to work. Maybe the combo of it all did something.  Or they got that brain roundworm disease...
I won't claim victory over this batch of groundhogs 'till midwinter when i'm sure they are hibernating (or until their skins are tacked to the back wall of my garden shed, Daniel Boone style) because my garden is full of things they will either eat to the nubs or just taste-test enough to ruin.

I did take reconnaissance photos yesterday, but didn't feel like posting them.

*************************   about 3 hours later*********************

I took some more this evening since i did see one of the groundhogs run across the back of the next yard over. If i'm lucky, they have decided to stick to the other side of my neighbors' house. I really wish they'd do something about that woodpile.  If it were stacked properly it wouldn't be so inviting to vermin.

Anyway, here are the pics from 6/23/10

Kohlrabi & Chard




Kale stands untouched and a small cabbage plant to the bottom right was missed.

Its har4d to see, but there are the small purple cauliflower plants here. They got their big round leaves nipped off, but they have their center leaves still...at least 2 of them seem to.  I need to weed this area.

And these are the Brussels sprouts, some seem to have made it, they might survive to grow if they don't get eaten again.

and Today

Looks pretty much the same to me except the chard seems to be regrowing. Its a cut-and-come-again veggie, so that is encouraging.

Kohlrabi and chard

.I haven't bothered to weed here lately, the weather has been uncomfortable for me and its too depressing to spend much time looking at the ruins.
This is the cabbage, i think it is also the same.

The collards look the same, damage not too bad on them for the most part.

The broccoli, being my favorite and most anticipated crop, of course got the worst of it.  Cabbage is my second favorite by the way, and the damage is approximately proportionate.

 At least the kale looks great.  I have never grown it before, based on the level of enjoyment by the groundhogs of my other favorites i have a strange feeling that kale will not be to my liking either.
Lets hope! It might be the only crop those nasty things leave for me.

 They still haven't noticed my little cabbage in the lower right corner.

I figured while i was out there to take more pics of what is doing well.
Tomatoes and corn....  need weeding, can't tell the corn from the weeds and i do have basil to the left of the tomatoes and i have marigolds to the right.

Carrots, beets, rutabagas, beans and behind them are the brussels and cauliflower

Squash always cheer me up,  they can make anyone feel like a successful gardener.

Topsy-Turvey tomato is doing well.  Its more than doubled in size.

The gift cuttings i got last week are mixed. Some are still putting on a game face and some are obviously not going to root.
There is at least one out of each group that has shriveled or balckened,  i think i only have 2 pieces of the kiwi that are still hanging on. Hardy kiwi are a cantankerous  little creatures anyway. lol
Though many leaves have dropped from the cuttings, there do seem to be tiny green buds remaining in the leaf scar area.  They might develop if roots start to grow.  Its just a matter of time to see how it goes.

I planted the chitted Autumn Olive seed but it hasn't emerged from the soil surface yet.

If i am going to replace the ruined cole crops with new seedlings i'll need to start seed this coming week.  It might be a good opportunity to test the year-end value of the row covers, if the season cuts me short on the brassicas, the row covers may make the difference.

I read in one of my garden books, i think it was Joy of Gardening, that i can grow my own onion sets easily. The time to start that would be about now. Just plant the seeds directly in the garden and they will grow just enough to be set-sized by late fall. They can be lifted from the garden, cured like big onions and stored cool and dark in a fridge or root cellar for the winter and then set out as early as possible in the spring.
Worth a shot.

Oh and lastly...

The Mighty Hunter
That's my Caper...  with his first mouse (that i know of) He's been 100% indoor kitty since we found him when he was about 5 weeks old.  I have no idea how we got a mouse in here, i have never seen evidence of one before, maybe the weather and the pouring rain drove it in. I'm glad the cat found it though!
He left it right at the doorway to the living room just where he knew i'd see it.  He usually leaves his Rosie Rats there for me instead, so i almost didn't notice it at first.

So you know i'm very proud of him cause in order to brag about his catch, i have to admit that i had a mouse in my home and i had to show my hated pink carpet!  The carpet came with the house and we want bamboo floors, but until we can afford wal-to-wall bamboo, i am stuck with the color i dislike the most.
Oh well.
Hubby teases Caper and calls him useless cause he sleeps all day and 'capers' through the house all night...  but i told hubbs that he can't call the cat useless anymore. :o)