Friday, October 23, 2009

Cabbage Worms Are Not My Friend

Here is one of my two cabbage plants. The cabbage worms seemed to have had mercy on this one. I felt the inside and there is a little baby cabbage head in there!

The kale on the other had they feasted on! This is all that is left for now, but I know it will come back in a week or so.

The collard greens also met a similar fate as the kale but it is coming back quickly also.

Check this monster out! This is my broccoli. It looks like it is working on 3 heads of broccoli, we'll see!

I sprayed everything with organic insecticide designed to get rid of the cabbage worms and a couple of other varmints but leaves the good bugs alone.

I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello fellow gardeners! I've been gone for over a month, I can't believe how fast the time has gone. So all the summer vegetables are out except for the pepper plants. They actually went kind of crazy with blooms after the cucumber and tomato plants were taken out so I'm seeing where that goes.

Before we went on vacation I got my fall vegetables in. I have collard greens, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and beets. When we came home they had definitely grown but I realized a variety of critters were finding them tasty. I found 2 horn worms (they were black and brown), I dispatched of them in soapy water, but the problem got worse as you can see from the photos. Now I have figured out that I have slugs and lots of them! So I sprinkled Sluggo around the garden, hopefully that will drive them away. If it looks like the markings of some other kind of critter let me know.

The plants are growing like crazy now and I'm looking forward to seeing my first baby cabbages!

Imagine my surprise to see a softball size watermelon! I was sure the plant would just keep growing and not produce any fruit because I read the planting directions after I planted in in poorly conditioned soil. I left it alone and occasionally watered it and it survived. The honeydew was not as fortunate, it disappeared.

Just something pretty to end with...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Preparing for late summer plantings

Although the summer heat and humidity is in full swing I have my eyes set on fall goodies. I ordered my end of summer plants from Tasteful Garden this week and they should be here next week. I also picked up 8 bags of cow manure for my raised gardens. I have a feeling the tomatoes and cucumbers sapped a lot of the good stuff out of the soil.

The cucumbers are nearing their end. I don't think the last couple are going to fully develop. Next year I think I'm going to do the cucumbers on an arbor. They got too crowded on the trellis I made for them. I under estimated how prolific they would be.

The red and yellow grape tomatoes have slowed on their ripening but there is still a lot of green ones and blooms so I think they will keep plugging along.

The beefsteaks are doing their thing as well as the black plum tomatoes. I probably have enough black plums to do another 2 pound bag for the freezer. I included some picks from my freezing frenzy.

I'll check back when I have my new plantings to give you the low down on what I have planned!

Stay cool!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Garden Update

The garden and I seem to have hit a comfortable pace. I get out there about every 3 days to bring in whatever is ready. The cucumbers are starting to die back some and not produce as much as quickly. I am picking about every 3 days and getting about 6 cucumbers. Just a few weeks ago I was getting 6 or so a day. This is a better pace for sure!

The black plum tomatoes have really take off though. I picked 38 this morning and am now looking up directions for freezing so I can keep them for sauce this winter. Next summer I am going to venture into canning but this summer I'm just doing a lot of freezing. It should be fine since they are just going in sauce.

The beefsteak, pictured above, is putting out about 5 tomatoes every few days. Looks like it has plenty more to go.

The marigolds look good. I think they are doing their job, I still don't seem to be having issue with critters and I've seen the rabbit twice, but not in the garden. I do throw a grape tomato or two behind the shed when I am picking, maybe that makes them happy enough to leave the garden alone.

In the cucumber picture above you can barely see my mini red bell pepper plant. It has produced about a dozen peppers. They are so cute and so sweet! They are part of dinner tonight I think.

The yellow bell pepper has done pretty well with 4 so far. The first one was regular size the next few were a little on the small size but very tasty.

Getting ready to fertilize again this week and thankfully we had some rain so I was able to save some water.

Happy gardening everyone!

Yellow Grape Tomato

Better late than never... Here is a picture of my yellow grape tomato plant. It has slowed it's ripening pace from a pint a day to about a pint every 3 days. As you can see there is still plenty of tomatoes still to ripen. The cage is 7.5 feet tall so I think the plant is easily 8-8.5 feet tall. Thankfully I can stand on the sides of the garden bed to get the top fruit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Critical Mass

Actually a yellow bell pepper. I'm thinking I wait until it gets a little red on it before picking and then bring it inside. Any thoughts?

Black plum tomato, ready to be picked. They get a little darker and have striations in them that look like they are little hand painted works of art, so beautiful.

I've had some trouble getting my baby red bell peppers to this point. Very happy to say I now have 4, that's enough for an appetizer!
Many more to come though, I just hope they keep making it.

I definitely think we've hit our pace for the tomatoes. The red and yellow grape tomatoes have been plugging along for weeks now. I didn't think the beefsteak or black plum tomatoes would ever get going... I was wrong! They've gone crazy! I'm going to contact the food bank and see if they would like the over flow. The window sill full, minus two, are all from today! The crate of grape tomatoes is 3 days worth. I've got some happy 'maters...

I continue to water once a week with the soaker hose for an hour and a half. Mother nature saved me the trouble this week, thanks lady! I also fertilize with Espoma to add nitrogen every 6 weeks. The marigolds seem to be keeping the 4 legged creatures away and the squirrels are conspicuously absent this year, odd... I hope they aren't planning a coup when the beefsteaks take off. The birds fly in and eat the bugs off the tomato plants but don't seem to do any other harm except knocking off the occasional grape tomato.

I did end up tearing out the zucchini and squash. They got a bad case of the powdery mildew and I was afraid it would spread to the tomatoes. I have learned that squash and zucchini need their own bed when planting in raised beds as I do. The beefsteaks seemed to really start to do their thing once the others were gone. I definitely got my fill of both vegetables so I don't feel shorted even though they came out early. I froze 8 bags, 2 cups each of grated zucchini. I think we'll be in good shape for zucchini bread for a while.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Drying Oregano

I didn't get out to my garden yesterday so today was a particularly big day! It is as if the squash and zucchini knew their days were numbered if they didn't stop rotting!

I had an ingenious idea to start drying my oregano since it has really been going gangbusters. After executing my great idea I went online to find out how I was really supposed to be doing it and found I am doing it all wrong. For fun though, I am going to try it this way and put it is a cool dry place and see what happens. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Movin' on Up!

Before leaving for the long holiday weekend I knew we needed to do something the wrangle the tomato plants. They had outgrown their 5 foot high cages. We took the same tomato wire we used for the original cages, split it in half long ways and made 2.5 foot extenders for the top. Unlike the original cages, we couldn't connect the sides until we got them around the plants. This was definitely a two person job! Now the cages are a total of 7.5 feet high. Any higher and they are on their own! I'm getting about a half to a full pint of grape tomatoes a day. The beefsteaks and black pears haven't started turning yet but when they do we are going to be in tomatoes up to our ears! Can't wait!

A closer look...

Just something pretty from the garden...

Some success and some challenges

Before treating for blossom end rot with Espoma bone meal.

After treatment! Healthy Beefsteaks with what looks like the beginning of blushing, I hope! I am so excited for my first tomato sandwich I can't stand it!

Is this powdery mildew? If so what is the best way to get rid of it? BTW, my squash and zucchini are still mostly rotting. I'm about 1 for 10 on harvesting a viable one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

Grape tomatoes are finally taking off!

Refrigerator pickles-first of the season!

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday! Enjoy your family and friends!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The First Zucchini and Cucumber

I did not get out to my garden today until after dark so I was lurking again with the flashlight. This time in search of progress or improvement since I laid down straw. My squash is still rotting at a pretty good rate. I'm going to treat the garden with bone meal tomorrow and hope this will stop the rot on the squash and beefsteak tomatoes. Of course in the garden there is always a little disappointment and then comes a huge reward! This zucchini and cucumber tripled over the weekend and I finally got to cut something out of the garden! I am so proud I had to show you my big harvest!

Question: When the squash or zucchini starts to form can I clip off the bloom? I'm wondering if that will help them not rot. The blooms get pretty gross as the squash grows.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Yellow bell pepper on it's way, lots of others. My peppers seem behind some of the other blogs I've seen. They've grown a lot since I gave them more compost but still small. I put extra straw around them to protect their roots since they don't grow as deeply as the tomatoes.

I lost the first round of squash but the second round was close behind. I took Cindy's advice and put straw down to keep them out of the dirt. We've had so much rain the dirt is holding a lot of moisture.

The red grape tomatoes are going crazy!

The cucumbers are really coming along, this is by far the biggest one so far. The cucumbers are a bit unruly, they keep wanting to attach to the tomato and pepper cages and run behind the garden. I go out every day and reroute them back to their trellis.

Before and After Photos

Tomatoes and Squash Before (about 6 weeks ago)

Tomatoes and Squash Today!

Two New Additions

We had 2 stumps ground out today making way for new garden areas. Since it will take some time for us to decide what we want to do with the space I decided to try growing a watermelon and honeydew in the freshly turned dirt. I went to the garden center to get straw and saw them sitting there looking very sad in what is left of the vegetable section. Stay tuned, I would love to have a watermelon or two!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My first Black Pear tomato

Just something pretty, a cucumber blossom!

Baby cucumber, there is going to be a lot of them! They love the climbing wire I put up for them with the left over wire from the tomato cages.

Is this blossom rot? The zucchini were both fine yesterday! How can I stop this?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ugh... Bugs...

Please help me...

I think I have slugs and maybe aphids again (see previous post Ready, Set, Go)?

In case I am correct I did the soapy water spray and will rinse in the morning. They seem to just be on the squash right now. I wonder if I should treat the tomatoes just in case? Will it hurt the blooms?

Any advice or if it doesn't look like aphids let me know!

Slug Trap to check in the morning

Are these aphids or slug eggs?

Definitely slugs I think?

More mystery bugs...

Finally, what is this thing?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baby buds!

Finally, the garden is going crazy with growth! I found I was under watering. Even though we've had a ton of rain, it was ill timed, and the garden got a little dry and wasn't really growing very quickly. Additionally, we picked up one of those soil test kits from HD and found we were low on nitrogen and a couple of other minerals. We picked up some organic soil amendment and finally got the soaker hose put in. Once we did all that it went crazy and we've been rewarded with all kinds of baby buds! Sadly, I did lose my first couple of peppers but they have lots of new buds so hopefully we'll have better luck with the next phase.

My squash plant had ants all over it right before it really took off. I supressed my urge to "get rid of them" at the urging of a wise plant person. She told me they are great for polinating between the male and female squash flowers. So true, because we are going to be in squash this summer for sure!