Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Garden's in Bloom
Despite a record heat wave up here the Garden is holding up really well. It is during times like these that I feel digging out the garden beds to 2 to 2 1/2 feet deep really payed off. I've been watering the garden deeply once every four days. The potatoes are looking ragged due to bug damage, but the flowers are still beautiful.
The Earth Boxes with the tomatoes in them are going through roughly six gallons of water a day each, and I've been exclusively filling them with water collected in our stacked rain barrels. The rain barrels hold 108 gallons of water and were full at the start of this heat wave. They collect some water each day from our air-conditioner, but with two of us using it to water plants we're down to the last thirty gallons or so. Hopefully will get a nice Thunderstorm soon! No hail please.
The heat wave has helped the tomatoes along, and we've been sampling the first of the year. Here are some very early Yellow Amish Paste tomatoes. While I'd prefer a slicer, they're still excellent with some fresh basil and salt.
The Black Cherry tomatoes are setting fruit in bunches, though they haven't started to blush yet. I'm really looking forward to these after missing out last year due to the blight. I've seen some early blight on some of the lower leaves of a couple of the tomatoes, but nothing serious. My miscalculation on row width has made it very challenging for me to get in and prune and they're suffering a bit for it.
I went a little wild with the cucumber, melons, and squash this year and maintaining them has turned into a full time job.
In nearly every flower I find at least one, if not three or four, cucumber beetles. Despite my efforts every morning and night to squash as many as I can there seems to be no end to them. They've already caused some serious damage to the vines in the earth box, though the in ground vines are holding up so far.
This cucumber flower in the earthbox had two mating pairs on it. A quick shake dropped all four into my palm where they were quickly dispatched. They usually respond to being disturbed by dropping off the flower they're on so putting a hand or soapy water under and shaking works well. Though they will sometimes fly away.
A rare undisturbed cucumber flower. I wish I saw more of these.
Three different varieties of potato this year, and I can't wait to harvest them. I have done a poor job of hilling them, and I'm sure our harvest will be worse for it. Interplanting the potatoes with beans made hilling impractical, which I'll remember for next year.
I really enjoy the purple flowers, and the seed pods are nice too. Has anyone ever tried starting potatoes from seed? Can it be done?
There are many varieties of beans in the garden this year though I only have flowers from two at the moment. The Soya bean and Dragon bean varieties have nice flowers as well that I'll have to photograph soon.
I grabbed a few young green beans off this plant tonight and they were heavenly. The harvest should start to roll in on these this weekend.
The Scarlet runner beans are an experiment this year as I've never grown or tried them before. Their flowers live up to the name at least!
One of the pumpkin vines climbed a pole bean tower, and there is a baby pumpkin sitting near the top of it. If it starts to grow I'm going to need to buy some pantyhose to support it with.
The garden is filling out nicely. Too nicely, in fact. I really screwed up on the layout this year in the corn and the tomatoes side by side, and now I can hardly fit between them. We unfortunately are going to have to take down a few ailing trees this summer, which should provide us with a ton of mulch. I think I'm going to adjust the layout this fall and line the new wider pathways with mulch.
I went to stand by the corn today and it was officially taller than me!