Introducing Feastie: a Grocery List tool that shows you matching Coupons.

I haven't been blogging for a while because I've actually been working really hard on another project...


Feastie is a brand new grocery list web app that sorts your groceries by aisle, produces a printable list, and lets you access your list on your phone with a mobile friendly version. What makes Feastie different from other grocery list apps is that it's the only one that shows you matching coupons for the items you put on your list. When you're logged in, your list is saved automatically, and you can even check back during the week to see if new coupons become available.

Please check it out and let me know what you think! I have a lot more planned for Feastie, so please "like" the Facebook page, subscribe to the new blog, or follow it on twitter.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I'll be back out there gardening again soon.

The Zucchini is Dead. Long Live the Zucchini!

Just about one month after my Zucchini Emergency, when I discovered Squash Vine Borers killing it, I have a new, healthy looking zucchini plant. The old one died shortly after my post. And I planted this one immediately.


The bad news is that I caught one of these bad boys red handed, trying to lay eggs:



I shooed her away and inspected the plant for the tiny orange eggs. I found maybe half a dozen and squashed them. I'm keeping a lookout for more. If all goes well, I should get my first zucchini in about a month.

Build a Bat House to Save Bats from "White-Nose" Fungus

The mysterious "white-nose" fungus that appeared on bats in the Northeast U.S. out of nowhere in 2006 could drive them to extinction within 20 years according to research published this week in Science. Whether you find bats cute or creepy, they're important because they eat insects, including mosquitoes. The 1 million bats that have died since 2006 would have eaten 694 tons of insects each year. That's hundreds of trillions of individual insects!



Bat ecologist Thomas Kunz of Boston University suggests building a bat house to provide bats a better summer habitat.



Photos credit: bcostin.

Zucchini Emergency!

I'm super bummed right now. My zucchini plant went from having many healthy leaves and several blossoms just a few days ago to this sad state.


I pulled off most of the upper stem, which had turned to mush, and found at least three squash vine borers. M****rf***ers!!! I left the few relatively healthy remaining leaves out and covered the ravished stem with some soil in the hopes that it can put out some more roots and recover. I also planted a few new seeds as insurance. I know it's super late, but we could have two full hot months left, maybe I'll get some zucchini in October.

We'll see if it's able to make a comeback. I'll post an update in a few days.

Praying Mantis Among the Peppers

I found this little guy hanging out in my pepper plants.


Here you can see him exploring the pepper plants a bit. In the background you can hear the good humor truck driving by and Max barking at it -- the sounds of summer.

Winners and Losers

My kale is performing like a superstar. This is the second huge colander full that I've got since planting it in early spring.


My cabbage, however, is not as fortunate.


Bug-eaten and going to seed. I gave up on it and composted it after taking this photo. I like to think it at least served some purpose as a bug decoy -- keeping the slugs and bugs off the kale. Like Billy Bob Thornton says in Bad Santa "They can't all be winners, can they".

Back from hibernation (with strawberries)

I actually came out of hibernation a while ago, and planted strawberries and other spring crops (mostly leafy greens) back in the middle of March. Today is the first day I've gotten more than one strawberry:




Unfortunately, somebody else got to the strawberries before I did despite my efforts with bird netting:


Who do you think it could be? Would a rabbit crawl under my netting? Or could a bird peck through it?

Here's the whole garden bed including the newly planted row of peppers and two eggplant plants. The rest of the space is for corn and melons which are hard at work germinating.


The other garden beds have got the leafy greens, some seeds just getting started, and herbs.

This one has got kale, spinach, chard, and Romaine lettuce. The cabbage is a little bug eaten and is starting to go to seed, so I'm thinking I'll start some beans in that spot after ripping that up and eating what I can. The spinach is also about ready to rip up. Kale and chard are still going. In the last row, I've got seeds starting for cucumbers, okra, and heirloom vine tomatoes.


This bed has arugula, mesclun mix, beets, radishes (the fastest growing), carrots, scallions, leeks, and okra (under the plastic salad box to help it germinate).


And this one has my herbs. The oregano is going crazy, and the thyme has just started to flower. The dill is just getting started, and the basil hasn't germinated yet. The rosemary (back, left corner) was just planted from a cutting I got from a friend. I'm saving the middle box for lemongrass!



Another bed, not pictured, has some leftover scallions and leeks that survived the winter, plus Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini getting started. The last bed is a flower bed, and I'm still working on getting that one ready. I got burnt out last year with building the bed. I'm hoping to start my flower seeds this weekend.

Anyone have ides for how to use tons of oregano?

Light the Night!

This Saturday, I'm participating in the DC Light the Night Walk with team IMAGINATION DOMINATION.

Photo credit: Tsar Kasim.

Light The Night Walk is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's evening walk and fundraising event. It is the nation's night to pay tribute and bring hope to thousands of people battling blood cancers and to commemorate loved ones lost.

I was inspired to participate in the Light The Night Walk by my friend and team captain, Jessica.

Jessica started our team while she was undergoing treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia. Thanks to innovations in cancer treatment research; a generous, matching bone marrow donor; excellent care at Johns Hopkins; her own amazing, fighting spirit; and the support of many friends, family, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, Jessica is now in remission!

Jessica isn't the only person I know who has been affected by leukemia or lymphoma. One of my ex-roommates is a survivor of Hodgkin's disease and my best friend, Sharlette, is a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Here's Sharlette (right) and me (left) at Lauriol Plaza:

Every 4 minutes one person is diagnosed with a blood cancer. An estimated 139,860 people will be newly diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma this year.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) funds lifesaving research that has contributed to major advances in the treatment of blood cancers and treatments for other types of cancer, such as chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. These treatments have helped patients live better, longer lives. New targeted therapies that kill cancer cells without harming normal tissue are providing drugs and procedures that are improving quality of life.

So, what does this have to do with gardening or food? Well, not much to do with gardening, but we are having a food related fundraiser tomorrow. Our team is having an event at California Tortilla in Bethesda (4862 Cordell Ave Bethesda, MD). Mention the password "CURE" between 11am and 5pm and 25% of the sale goes to team Imagination Domination. You must say the secret password! Please come and show your support and ask your friends, family, and coworkers to stop by and get some yummy food.

You can also donate directly to the Light the Night walk here. You can donate in ANY amount and every little bit counts!!!

Don't shop at Yardiac.com

I'm indulging in a bit of bloggers revenge here, but they deserve it. I'll keep the story short.

On June 21 I ordered 5 Soji Solar Lanterns from Yardiac.com for a total of $110.23.

Since I wanted them for a barbecue I was having the following weekend, I paid extra for 2nd day air shipping. On June 25, they still had not arrived. I called Yardiac's customer service and was told that my lanterns had still not left the warehouse. I canceled the order and bought something similar in a brick and mortar store nearby. A few days later, I notice on my credit card statement that Yardiac charged me for the lanterns that never shipped. I've been shopping online for a decade now, and I don't think I've ever been charged for something before it's shipped. On top of that, there was no credit for my cancellation! I called Yardiac's customer service again and was told that my pending credit was being processed by their credit department and that it would take 7-10 business days. Interesting. Yardiac jumped the gun to charge me, but are dragging their feet to credit me. As of today, it's been another credit card cycle and I still have no credit from Yardiac. So I filed a dispute with the credit card company.

To summarize: don't do business with Yardiac.com!

It's impossible to tell if Yardiac is extremely stupid or malicious or both. One could imagine that the inconsistency in how quickly Yardiac charges you versus credits you could be part of a scheme to keep more sales on their books at the end of the month, or before they go under, or are sold.

Update: Many similar stories about Yardiac are posted here. They definitely have a pattern of charging customers before items are shipped and not crediting them when they cancel.

Another baby veggie update

A friend sent me this video after seeing my last post in which I compared corn to Beeker from the muppets. So on this evenings garden walk, I noticed that the corn now resembles Animal.




I also noticed my first baby bell pepper


and an eggplant!


My neighbors might think I'm crazy. Every time I see a new baby vegetable for the first time, such as with this eggplant, I squeal outloud "OMG, an EGGPLANT!" Then I repeat, "Max, it's an eggplant!" as if I'm talking to my dog and as if that makes me sound less crazy.