Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Garden Update

I thought I'd give a run down on the garden.

Eggplant - The plant itself is growing great. The first blossom wilted, withered and died. The next two blossoms did very well and you can see little tiny eggplants up inside. But today I noticed one of the little tiny eggplants seems to be molding. There are a couple more blossoms but I don't know if they are producing yet. So I would say the jury is still out on the eggplant.

Spring Onions - These are growing very well. The green parts are HUGE. I pulled one and it tasted great. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the other five. I'm sure it would be best to cook a tasty dish with them but I bet I just eat them straight, with salt, just like I used to do with my Grandma.

Carrots - Same as the spring onions, growing great with HUGE green tops. Rose picked one and it was about six inches long. We ate the carrot and saved the top for a stock. I think there are three or four left to pull.

Cucumbers - I have two different kinds, straight eights and pickling cucumbers. The straight eights are growing wild. I've been fortunate this year to see a lot of honey bees pollinating the flowers on everything, especially the cucumbers. I saw very few honey bees last year. I've picked at least six big cukes so far and there are at least twenty blossoms waiting to become cucumbers right now. The pickling cucumbers are doing well also. I've picked at least 12-18 so far. I've been making pickles with both kinds (more on that later). The one negative with the pickling cucumbers so far is that the plant is not prolific enough to produce a large enough quantity at a time to make pickles. That is why I have been supplementing with the regular cukes. If I can master the pickling process then then next step would be to plant more pickling cucumber plants than I did this year.

Tomatoes - The tomatoes make me want to cry. All the plants have fruit and all of the plants are six foot tall or more. And all of the plants are dying. I'm not sure the tomatoes will ripen fast enough before the plants die off. I was hoping for a bumper crop but I'm going to be lucky to have a few servings. All of the plants are diseased. I was hoping it was just early blight but the leaves are not responding to the anti-fungal sprays I have tried. So now I am thinking that it is fusarium wilt. I have two watermelon plants planted in the same bed and they are looking week too. I've learned that watermelon is susceptible to fusarium wilt which adds to my suspicion on the tomatoes. I don't grow hybrid VFN tomatoes which are fusarium (the F in VFN) wilt resistant. The problem is in the soil. Next year I'll have to plant the tomatoes in a different location. I'm not sure but planting marigolds might "purify" the soil. I need to look into that more.

Peppers - All of the peppers are growing very well this year. I've already picked a dozen or so jalapenos, two Mexi-bell hybrids and two Cubanelle style peppers. As usual the main problem is I have more peppers than I actually cook with. Looks like I'll be freezing more. I still haven't used up the peppers from last year!

Watermelon - As I mentioned above, the watermelon in the same soil as the tomatoes is looking pretty puny. There are melons on the vines though. Little ones. I planted two more watermelon plants in another bed and they are growing like they are on steroids. So far there are 8-10 melons between the two plants, one about as big as a bowling ball. I'm not holding my breath though. I have never successfully grown a melon to ripeness so there is still a lot of potential for these to be a disappointment. But they look good so far.

Snow peas - These have been a huge disappointment. So far I have had one round of picking that yielded about five ounces of peas. I froze them. Last year I picked batch after batch after batch. I don't know if I planted too close together or if the soil isn't right or what. Today I noticed more new flowers but no peas.

Bush beans - These too have been a disappointment. At first things were going great. The plants are thick and tall. There were lots of flowers. I picked two or three go-arounds for about two pounds of beans, most of which I have frozen. And then all of a sudden everything stopped. So I'm not sure what the problem is here.

Corn - Keeping in mind that the corn was a last minute experiment, I think it is doing fairly well. I did not properly work the soil and I planted in mini-peat cups and the bed is in partial shade. I've lost probably half of the sliver queen. Some of the loss is from stunted plants, I'm guessing because of the shade. Some of the loss is from week roots; the plants fell over from watering and never sprang back up. I think this is a result of poorly worked soil. And some of the plants look like they were trampled. I've only seen two deer one time in two years here, so I doubt it was deer. I'm guessing a dog stomped through the patch of corn. I've only lost about 25% of the early bi-color corn, for the same reasons. I think if I get six ears of corn from either type, I'll be happy given the experimental nature of the planting. I noticed today that some of the early corn have baby ears sprouting from the stalks.

Pumpkin - The pumpkin is going gang busters. It is out of control. Based on blossom count alone, there is potential for at least forty pumpkins. The honey bees have been busy over here. The pumpkin is pulling down corn stalks and branching out along the compost fence. I think some of the vines may be twenty feet long. I'm excited about the potential here.

So there we go. Call it a midterm report card. There is still a lot of growing season left so we'll see what happens.


Brook said...

I have tomatoes and herbs. But just a few tomatoes. Maybe 10 altogether. Oh well.
Too bad about the snow peas-those are so good.
I have NEVER had any luck with eggplant. So if you end up with one that is super!
Hey are you guys coming to Belle Chere this weekend?

Huff Daddy said...

Dammit dammit dammit! Belle Chere is this weekend!?!?!?!?!?!?! We can't even afford the gas to get there. Dammit. That is my favorite festival of festivals. Last year we were too busy, this year too broke. Give me a heads up next year, please, and hope that we can make it.

I LOVE snow peas, but they are a little on the pricey side at the grocery. I eat them like potato chips so it really is a disappointment. Maybe there will be a late boom in production.

It is my first time growing any eggplant. I eat it once every two years, so we'll see. I'm hoping for success though.

Brook said...

Belle Chere is indeed this weekend...every third weekend of July I think. Don't worry-they are forcasting rain EVERY day of it this year.
I actually love eggplant-I should try harder, especially the japanese variety.