Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today I planted Better Boy hybrid tomato plants and Crookneck Squash plants from prestarted nursery 9 packs. The plants wilted some after being transfered from the packs to the ground. The tomatoes recovered before nightfall, but the squash was still wilted looking. I also started Sweetcorn and Garden Beans from seed. There are 3 species of mint that sprout every year in my gardens, they are all up and growing. The reddish mint plants are perhaps 1 inch tall, the green mint is 8 inches tall, and the green and white mint is creeping all over, fully grown.
Though in previous years I have done a lot to improve the soil, such as removing rocks and digging in composted leaves and commercial compost, and last year I had the chemical compostion of the soil determined by the county agriculture office and limed and fertilized accoringly, this year I did nothing to ammend the soil.
I have a bean shaped garden. I have some wire fencing that wraps partway around the outside of the garden. The Tomatoes, Squash, and Beans are planted along the fence so they can be tied up to it. Corn fills the rest of the garden. After the corn grows a little, I'll plant beans among it and train the beans up the cornstalks.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The squash was much less wilted looking in the morning, and was very nice looking by the evening. I planted some Serrano Chili seeds from a pepper I was cooking with. (The Serranos never did sprout.)
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The Corn, Beans, and Peppers I planted from seed have not yet sprouted.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I was out of town for the last couple of days. About half of the corn seeds have sprouted, some plants are 2 inches. 4 beans have sprouted and are about 3 inches high, 2 have had their leaves eaten by something. Several bean plants are 6 inches high. The tomatos are about 6-8 inches, the squash plants are up to 10 inches long now. The reddish mint plants are perhaps 3 inches tall and the green mint is 20 inches tall.
I have begun to dig up a new garden area. I found a 20 by 20 foot area of the lawn that gets a lot of sun. My other garden area was about 150 square feet, so I'm roughly quadrupling my garden area with this new 400 square foot plot. I spread compost from my heap over the lawn and now am digging it all spade deep, perhaps 9 inches.I'm thinking of getting more compost, the soil is pretty dense clay. My old area is fully planted, the new area will allow me to put in some later crops and more different kinds of vegetables.
Friday, May 8, 2009
The tomato and bean plants are now tall enough (10 inches) that I will need to tie them in the next couple of days. There are too many, so I will have to pull a few. The serranos did not grow. The corn is tall enough to hoe. I'll plant beans adjacent to the corn plants and let the cornstalks support the bean plants, something someone suggested to me last year. Today I got a truckload of compost from the county and hoed it into the new plot. It's now ready to plant, but I'll save that for a week and keep my plantings separated by 3 weeks. I'm thinking of Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Sunflowers, more corn and beans, etcetera, for the new plot.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Today I planted 9 packs of Boston Pickling Cucumbers, Rutgers Heirloom Tomatos, and Bonnies Green Bell Sweet Peppers in the new garden plot, along the edge furthest from the house. There were 3 rows, I filled in the leftover space with some bean seed. I also planted the rest of my corn seeds, about 50, in the corner close to the house and the kitchen door. Finally, I put in Sunflower Seed along the house near the garage door. In the old plot, the corn is 10 inches high. The other plants were first tied about a week ago and have grown 4 inches.
Monday, May 25, 2009
In the old plot, the tomatos, squash, and beans are knee high. The corn is a foot high, as are some beans I planted later among the corn. Everything in the old plot looks very healthy. There are no blooms on anything yet. In the new plot, the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers I planted from prestarted 9 packs all look very healthy and are 6 inches high. The beans I planted to fill the rows have had their leaves eaten off. Many of the corn and sunflower seeds have sprouted and are 2 inches tall.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
In the old plot, the tomatos, squash, and beans are 3+ feet high, some are at the top of the support fencing. The corn is almost waist high, beans planted among the corn are taller than the corn. Everything in the old plot looks very healthy. There are blooms on the the beans and the squash; the tomatos have just a couple of blooms today. Half a dozen beans were 4 inches long today, they were delicious. This was my first harvest of the season, exclusive of the mint. In the new plot, the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers I planted from prestarted 9 packs all look very healthy and are 1-2 feet high. I've eaten some of the tendrils from the cucumbers. There are perhaps a dozen tomato blossoms. 2 of the bean plants survived. About half or 2/3 of the sunflower plants did not make it. The corn and sunflower plants are about 15 inches high. There is one tomato plant that self started out in the corn, I moved it to the supports today. Also, today I planted corn in the empty areas of the new plot, Sweet Corn Bi-Licious Hybrid, as well as a few more beans. Finally, I also tied up the various vines.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Well, corn is supposed to be knee high by the 4th of July, so this is as good a day as any to report. There has not been much rain lately, so I've been hose watering every 3 days or so, when scratching the soil shows it's dry in the top 1/8 to 1/4 inch. The next few days are supposed to bring several rains; that should liven up the garden. Some spikey yellow caterpillers (They turned out to be Ladybug Larvae.) about 3/8 of an inch long were eating the leaves of my squash and cucumbers, but by picking them off and throwing them out in the grass, I pretty much eliminated them in about a week. Other than that, there have been no real bug problems: all of the beans, squash, and cucumbers I've harvested have been bug free.
In the old plot, the squash and beans used to produce a lot, but now are pretty much dormant. There are lots of green tomatos, but none have ripened yet. The corn is between knee high and chest high, and the males flowers are out in force. However, I only see 3 ears starting among the 40 or so plants. The two species of mint are quite healthy, and I harvest leaves from them regularly.
In the new plot, the corn and sunflowers I planted May 15 are now chest high. There are no sunflowers blooming, but there are a couple of buds less than an inch in diameter. A couple of blocks away, someone has sunflowers 10+ feet high, and some of the flowers are already dry. On my sunflowers, the stalks are as thick as a thumb, theirs are as thick as a wrist. I need to figure out how they do that. There are male flowers on a few of the corn plants, no ears. The corn I planted June 9th is above the knee, and some I planted later in blank spots is 6 inches high. The cucumbers have gone completely nuts, growing all over the supports. There are thousands of blooms, and I eat probably 5-10 cucumbers a day. At any given time hundreds of bugs are fertilizing the flowers. The tomatos have green fruit, none have ripened yet. The bell pepper plants are 2 feet high and healthy, no fruit yet. Several bean plants seem to be growing well, and are 8-30 inches tall. The mint is healthy.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I've been noticing yellow ladybugs on my squash plants, and started to wonder if the yellow caterpillars were related. Some internet research showed that the caterpillars looked just like the larval stage in the life cycle diagram to the left, with a totally yellow coloration. Here's some more Lady Bug information.
Below, 4 other things I saw on the Cucumber and Squash Leaves.
Not much has changed in the old plot.
In the new plot, some corn is 9 feet high. Male flowers and ears of corn are out in force. Even the youngest corn crop is over a foot high. The sunflowers are 6 feet high, with some flower buds approaching 3 inches in diameter. I've noticed at other people's houses that squirrels were climbing the sunflower stalks and eating the seeds. I'll have to pick the flowers as soon as they are mature, and take them inside to dry, I guess. The cucumbers are producing like crazy, and I've been giving them away. I ate a 1 inch bell pepper, it was good. There is also a good supply of green beans.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
One tomato has finally begun to redden. I'm looking forward to some ripe ones. There are lots of green tomatos in both the old and new plots, and squirrels have been eating them. Some they eat right on the vine, some they pick and carry a few feet. Generally, they eat through the skin layer, and stop when they get to the seeds.
|I noticed some sunflowers are opening, I'll take pictures of one over time to show its progress. Here's some more sunflower information.|
|In just 4 days, the flower is open and bumblebees are pollenating.|
On July 23, this Sunflower started to Droop over. I Harvested it July 28.
Friday, August 21st
On the left, a sunflower has dried near my basement dehumidifier for 3 weeks, and the seeds are tasty.
On the right, Squirrels have eaten all the seeds of flowers still out on the plants.
|Here I stand in front of the new plot July 18. Behind me are Corn and Sunflowers. On the left, see the supports and Tomato, Bean, Cucumber, and Bell Pepper vines. The Sunflower above my head is the one in the photos above.|
Friday, August 21st, 2009
I've been in Wales for 3 weeks. In that time, all of my cucumber and squash plants have died and dried up. Squirrels have eaten all the kernals off the sweet corn, and all the seeds off the sunflowers. Two sunflower heads were ready for harvest before I left. I dried these near my dehumidifier in my basement, and the seeds are now very nice to eat. The Bell Pepper plants are much taller, and looking healthy. In previous years, the Bell Peppers really have only thrived in late summer, so this is not a big surprise. Many tomatos are now ripening. Beans I planted just before leaving are 8 inches tall. The green mint in the new plot has gone to seed and dried up, but the red mint in the old plot is tall and healthy. The green and white mint looks normal.