Friday, May 29, 2009

More gardening photos

I'm not doing too much in the garden these days. I'm in between harvests, so I mostly just go check on it each day to make sure no critters or creepy crawlies are destroying my plants and see if I need to water. Right now I'm watering about once a week, but I can imagine I'll need to up that as the temps continue to rise. I'm still at a loss as to what I should plant in the square where my sugar snaps are. I've thought about putting a squash, but I think it'll be too close to some of my other plants.

The Quick Pick tomato is turning colors nicely.

Looks like something is eating my eggplant, but I didn't find anything on it. I will continue to monitor the situation.
Look how big the cauliflower plant is getting

The other eggplant is looking very healthy and growing nicely.
One of the little heads of cauliflower. Have I mentioned I'm worried it's going to go to seed?
The American melon continues to grow like crazy every day!
A little baby green bean
Cherokee Purple

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All tied up

At least the tomatoes are. They have long needed to be tied up to the trellises, and I finally took time to do that yesterday evening. It's my first time to tie up tomatoes, and I guess I did an okay job. The tomatoes aren't complaining anyway.

Black Krim and Cherokee Purple after being tied up.

A Cherokee Purple starting to change colors

One of our Quick Picks

Tied up Quick Picks

The eggplants have really taken off lately

The corn is really growing

The cauliflower head is getting bigger too.

Fooled You peppers are looking very good

My biggest pepper

ACHILLEA Coronation Gold from Bluestone Perennials

Shasta Daisy. Some sort of bug got on my shasta daisies, and they don't look so hot. :(

Our strawberries are still lookin good

The green beans are still blooming

Look how much my American melon has grown in just a couple of days.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I love the smell of tomatoes on my hands

There's just something so earthy about it. I feel like I've really been in the garden when I smell like mater plants.

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted something. I've been working in the garden, but I just haven't had time to post to the blog. Plus I took some pics of the garden week before last, and when I came in to download them they were just gone from my memory card. I have yet to figure out why that happened. After that I just didn't worry about making a blog entry. Pictures, to me, are half the fun of a blog. Last week I was out of town on business, so now I'm playing catch up on my blogging.

We had a pretty busy Memorial Day weekend. We didn't head out the lake house as I had originally planned. We stayed at home and worked in the yard. Charlie had gotten a head start on the yard before I got in Friday evening, but we put some finishing touches on it Saturday. After a trip to Home Depot I came home and put some water soluble Miracle Grow fertilizer on the garden. Yeah, my aspirations of growing an organic garden went down the tubes when I started getting garden envy. While I was fertilizing I noticed that ants were all over one of my pea plants. They'd pretty much sheared one leaf off the plant and were working on another one. I had no idea that ants would do that. So I soaked 'em down some Sevin Dust. Hasta la vista ants....

I picked about a dozen strawberries out of my strawberry box. So far I'm not a huge fan of the strawberries. Most of them are very tart, and they're pretty dinky. Maybe I'm not doing something right, and that's why they aren't very sweet. Anyone have any suggestions??

The maters are growing very well.

Quick Pick
Cherokee Purple tomato
Baby black Krim
My corn is finally growing!
My American melons are getting big
One of my heads of cauliflower. I hope it stays cool enough that this won't go seed.
A good sized Fooled You pepper. Won't be long before I can pick it
Several more Fooled Yous on the other plant.

My sugar snaps are pretty well done, but the beans, peas, eggplants, and maters are coming on
This watermelon plant is still so dinky. Dunno what the deal is.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bring on the fertilizer

I am not a patient person. I have learned to accept this about myself.

I had intended to garden in an organic function utilizing 100% Mel's Mix, but I'm tired of my corn and other veggies paling in comparison to my brother's and other gardener's, so tonight I fertilized. I put a 9-12-12 fertilizer around my tomatoes, corn, eggplant, peppers, and American melons. The directions for the fertilizer recommended 2 tbs per plant, but I was worried about overfertilizing them, so I only put 1 tbs per plant. I guess we'll see over the next few weeks if it speeds up the growth and blooming.

A pleasant surprise

I'm home sick today. Some sort of stomach virus or the vengeance of the sausage biscuit we got from Brookshire Brothers yesterday morning. Between trips to the bathroom I went out this morning to take pics of the garden sans the trees and brush my honey cut down last week. Light is flooding in! Of course, now that it's hot, the garden may miss the shade it was getting.

Less trees = more daylight = happier veggies

My tomato plants aren't looking all that great. Some of the leaves have sort of withered away, and my blooms are falling off the plants. I don't really see a lot of bees around my place so I wonder if the blooms aren't getting pollinated....

Last week I decided to plant some hardy hibiscus seeds that I bought from Baker Creek a few months ago. My sister-in-law really likes Hibiscus, so I plan on giving her some. I don't think she will need 8 plants though.... They're perennial plants that are supposed to have dinner plate sized flowers. I'm excited to see how they turn out. They've started to germinate, so hopefully I won't have to wait too long.

Itty Tiny Hardy Hibiscus

While checking on the little Hibiscus seedlings, I noticed that a lemon tree cutting a friend gave me had decided to start blooming. I thought it was dead, and I'd been neglecting it. I haven't watered it in over a month. I guess it has retained enough rain water to still be viable. That was a nice little bright spot in the day.

Non-dead lemon tree cutting

Flowering Fooled You

My flowering "compost potatoes"

Okay, my flowers are not in the square foot garden, but I'm so pleased with how they're doing that I had to take some pics and show them off. Last year I bought a pre-planned garden from Bluestone Perenials. I ended up dividing the garden and putting half of the plants in the bed in front of my house and the other half in front of the guest house. Despite my best efforts to kill them most of the plants have managed to survive. Most of these plants were only 6 inches or so high when they arrived via UPS last year. Now they're huge. Below are a few of the hardy survivors.

Nepeta Walker's Low. I have three of these plants, and they're spread out all over the place

Sedum Autumn Joy
. this plant is at least 16 inches tall.

Shasta Daisy Alaska. It'll be blooming soon. This plant is about 2 feet tall

Achillea Coronation Gold

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New potential follower

I've been a little lackadaisical in posting to the blog this week. It's been H-O-T here. and M-U-G-G-Y. The muggy makes the hot even worse. Walking outside is like stepping into a sauna. Needless to say playing in the garden hasn't been as much fun this week.

I had to water this week for the first time in a few of weeks because it finally quit raining. The sun is now pouring in on most of my boxes. The tomato and watermelon box is still getting too much shade, so we need to cut out some more scrub brush, and my honey's gonna borrow a friend's pole saw to trim some limbs off of an oak tree that puts a lot of shade on the box.

I picked a literal hand full of sugar snap peas off the vine today. I don't really like the peashell, but the peas themselves are pretty okay. Maybe before this season is over I'll convince myself I really like them. Of course, I've been eating them raw, so cooked in something they may taste better. I have enjoyed growing the sugar snap peas, so next year I think I'll plant quite a few more squares of them. The nieces and nephews like picking them and eating them right out of the garden, so that's another plus.

Speaking of nieces and nephews, Emma, my youngest niece, loves eating strawberries out of the garden. Charlie and I have found them to be a bit tart, but she wolfs 'em down like they're pure sugar.

My Fooled You pepper plants have blooms on them! Won't be long now before I'm eating bacon wrapped jalapenos off the grill without having to worry about the setting my mouth on fire. My corn is getting pretty tall. I can't remember when I need to pull of the suckers? I'm not at the point yet, but I remember having to do it at my husband's grandpa's farm.

I'll try to take some pics of the garden tomorrow. I was going to take some last week, but my camera fogs up when I walk out of the house, and it's too hot to stay outside and let the camera acclimate. Maybe tomorrow it won't be so steamy, and I can get some updated pictures.

I've just learned from my aunt that my grandma wants to follow my blog. Guess I better keep it G-rated from here on out. :) Hey Mammaw!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So let the sun shine in

I love it when a plan comes together!

I was off today, and instead of sitting around the house doing nada (which is what I really wanted to do) I mowed the lawn. Our neighbors mowed their lawn yesterday, and ours was looking pretty scraggly, so I decided to mow the lawn for hubby. Mind you, I had ulterior motives....

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I thought I needed to move my garden because it wasn't getting enough sunlight. The spot where my garden sits has trees and underbrush on the east side, and a barn on the north side. The garden is shady in the morning and starts getting sun at midday, but now that the trees on the west side of our house have leaves, the garden starts getting shade in the late afternoon. So we've got a window of about 4 hours of direct sunlight. Definitely not enough sunshine, and I think it's the reason my lettuce plants haven't grown one iota since they went in the garden. (They're on the right side of the far back/right box)

I never pulled the trigger on moving the boxes, because I really like the spot it's in. It's accessible and noticeable, yet out of the way. Plus I already have my tomato plants and sugar snap peas growing up the trellis. I didn't want to have to unwind those veggies before a move, reset the trellis and then reweave. And I don't think my sugar snap peas would have tolerated that move since they're blooming/bearing fruit.

The other alternative to moving the boxes was to thin out the trees and underbrush on the east side of the boxes to let more sun shine in. I'd pretty much decided that's what I wanted to do, but I couldn't convince my hubby to get out there and do it. That's where mowing the lawn came in - by mowing the lawn I thought I'd be able to score enough brownie points to get my honey to volunteer to trim the brush and cut down some of the larger trees. It worked! This evening he was really happy that I mowed, and after I fixed him a yummy dinner, he changed clothes, got out the chain saw and started cutting. He was able to successfully lay the trees down behind the boxes without damaging anything.

Wow! The amount of light that it let in from cutting down that stuff is amazing. I can't wait to see my garden in the morning. My little lettuces should be rejoicing at all the sunlight they're going to get.

I didn't get to take any "after" photos tonight because we were busy cleaning up the limbs and leaves. I'll take some tomorrow and post them.

The barn on the north side of my garden.

The forest on the other side of my boxes.

Wow, it's been a long time

My little sister came to visit us from Missouri, so I haven't been online to blog. I've still been checking on the garden, but just haven't been able to get online to talk about it.

My little carrot seeds sprouted last week. I think covering them with the vermiculite really helped. A lot more of the seeds sprouted this time than last, and it's the same seed packet. So I think that's a method I will use from here on out.

Hard to tell here, but there are some carrot seedlings in there.

Our strawberry box is looking good and about to produce a second round of strawberries. After a brief harvest earlier this year, some critter discovered our box and began their own harvesting. We built a cover this weekend to critterproof the berries, so we hope we'll be able to pick the strawberries this time around.

Our strawberry cage. Not very pretty, but so far it's working. Hopefully we can beef it up with a frame and some ribs to go across the arch.

I think I mentioned previously that my brother picked me up some cauliflower plants. I noticed last week that they were getting chewed on my something, and I picked a little worm off of it. Then I noticed a lot of dirt on the leaves, but didn't think too much about it. The next day the plants were covered with caterpillars. Turns out the "dirt" was actually insect eggs. Argh! Luckily I hadn't planted the cauliflower in the garden. Since then I've been lookout for creepy crawlies in the garden.

The caterpillars

Oh the devastation!

With the loss of my cauliflower plants it was time for another trip to Cook's Nursery. I scoped out the cauliflowers. It looked like several of the plants had some insect damage and others had eggs on them. Now I was able to distinguish the bugs from the dirt, so I made sure none of the plants in the 4 pack I picked out had holes or "dirt" on them.

My new cauliflower plants.

I noticed some holes in my eggplants today. Not sure what the deal is with that... I checked them over good and didn't spot any bugs or eggs. And none of the plants surrounding the eggplant have any damage...

Holey eggplants, Batman. What's wrong??

My fooled you pepper plants are looking good. They have some buds on them, so in the next few days i should see some pretty flowers on them. After that we'll have us some jalapenos!

Won't be long now!

The blueberries are looking good, and although the late frost got the early berries we've still got some on the way. I think the frost killing the berries was a good thing. Now my bushes can concentrate more on growing and less on making berries.

More blueberries on the way