Posts Tagged ‘vegetable gardening’

This week brings high heat and not much else – it’s late June and our temps are more like mid-August.  Rain is not forthcoming from the sky, so I spend time every few days with the hose pipe.  Which is kind of nice – I cool down the garden, check its progress and generally contemplate not much of anything of importance.

We are within a few days and weeks of the tomatoes starting to come in…in droves.  In fact, here are two turning already; here’s Momotaro:


and here’s a blurry pic of Sugar Sweetie, also on the cusp of ripening:

Sugar Sweetie

In other news, the cukes are blooming and ready to set:

cuke blossoms

And here come the pumpkins:pumpkin

Both of them:


See how we’ve grown over the past ten weeks:

vegetable garden

And see my new trug, ready to start picking all those ripe tomatoes, peppers and squash:


I hope your garden is also growing and getting ready to deliver loads and loads of produce for you to enjoy.

Happy gardening,

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Crop Report, Week 9

Summer is here, and the heat is on.  Lots and lots of green tomatoes are appearing, including a few late arrivals.  I think all the varieties have set fruit, so I’ll introduce the final three.

‘Sherrill’s Watermelon’ has funny shaped tomatoes that should get even more unusual as they grow into huge paste-type fruit (most paste varieties are fairly small but I hear these are well-named; we’ll see.)

Sherrill's Watermelon tomatoes

‘Angola’ has a distinctive bluish cast to the foliage.

angola tomato

And last on the introductions is ‘Hazelfield Farm’, another pass-along seed I received this year; it has plenty of ribs like the older varieties often do:

Hazelfield Farm

The others are all setting into setting on, especially the ‘Health Kick’

Health Kick tomatoes



and ‘Boxcar Willie’

Boxcar Willie

Like most of life, even a garden will have some over-achievers ; it looks like those three are determined to outproduce everybody else this year.  Still no red ‘uns, though.  Still no rain, either.  I’m more disappointed by the lack of moisture than the lack of ripe tomatoes.

However, this week did bring two – count ’em two – zucchini.  And THEY brought perplexity to my children who each wondered aloud why these were not shaped like “real” zucchini.  I assured them these were not mutants, but ‘Eight Ball’ zucchinis.  They’re round and about the size of a pool ball.

eight ball zucchini

I had three juicy, ripe red strawberries, too. And I absent-mindedly left them on the edge of their raised bed while I moved hoses and sprinklers. The birds said thank-you.

In brighter berry news, thanks to my favorite local nurseries, Southbranch and Martin’s, and especially to Middle Son for patiently digging planting holes in our brick-like dry soil, I finally have my “Blueberry Row” along the eastern side of the deck.

Blueberry Row

On the left is ‘Bountiful Blue’, a small highbush variety that will get approximately 4 feet tall.  Beyond the fruitless fig are ‘Sunshine Blue’ and ‘Top Hat’ which are both compact varieties that shouldn’t get more than two feet tall and wide. I hope they cross-pollinate next  year and make lots of plump little blueberries for us to enjoy.  I did hear from my fig source that we may have another bumper crop this year.  I hope so, since mine is not ready to start providing figs  – the victim of a few too many moves.  I promised it that it’s in its forever home.  Next task is to get the grass completely out of this area (Round-up and hand-removal, here we come,) then edge and mulch this area for easier mowing and happier bushes.

So what’s new in your garden?  I hope your beans are doing better than mine…I’ve just about given up hope for this year.  (Note to self:  rabbit fencing is a must-do for next year.)

Happy gardening!

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Crop Report, Week 8

This is where things start to heat up.  The thermometer and the plants are both climbing higher every day.

I harvested our first pepper (an Anaheim) this week.  I’m planning to use it (and another one or two that are also ripe) in this recipe.


The purple jalapenos decided to stop showing off their blooms and put on some fruit.

purple jalapenos

As did some tomatoes, especially the Momotaros.


And the Eva Ball Purples

The Black Cherries

And the Maypop Righties

The first baby zucchini is getting nice and round (it’s an ‘Eight Ball’ so that’s to be expected)

baby zucchini

I got my first nasturtium bloom, ever this week (sorry I didn’t get a photo of it, but it looks like there are more blooms to come.)  I know they’re supposed to be easy plants to grow, but not for me, up to now.  So celebrate with me.  It’s modest, but it’s a start.

I’m starting to get fig envy.  I see pics of little baby figs everywhere.  And at the nurseries, their potted trees have figs.  I’m all for patience with my fig tree, but maybe it’s time to pour some fertilizer to it.  Bring us some figgy pudding, would ya?

I also picked up some blueberry plants this week and middle son and I are preparing the ground to get them planted.  Granted, it’s getting a little late to be putting digging in bushes, but I will be patient with them and give them a year to get growing and setting on.

We’re now down to T-30 days for potato digging.  They’ve been growing for 60 days, and they’re supposed to be ready to harvest in 90 days or less.  I’m hoping for mid-July tater salad.  With sweet onions from my elevated bed here.

And tomatoes to go with them.  And maybe some fried okra.

So how’s your garden growing these days?  I hope it’s growing by leaps and bounds!
Happy gardening,

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Crop Report, Week 7

They say seven is a lucky number.  Maybe so:  Week 7 is the week when (7!) tomato and pepper plants finally set fruit.  Health Kick was first:

Health Kick tomato

Along with Sugar Sweetie:Sugar Sweetie

Then Black Krim:

and Boxcar Willie, bringing up the rear:

Boxcar Willie

The pepper lineup starts with Orange Blaze:

orange blaze

and Jimmy Nardello

Jimmy Nardello

And the Anaheim:


The purple jalapeno is all flower and no fruit…yet.

The okra are getting bigger; it’s just a matter of time before they are big and sturdy enough to start blooming and then pods!


So there’s my crop report for the week. Finally there are actually some “crops” to report. How’s your garden doing this year?

Happy gardening,

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A week ago yesterday, we pointed our wagon (okay, our humongous SUV) westward and spent the Memorial Day weekend in south-central Oklahoma.  Before I left, I watered, weeded, took pictures and left word with Swimmer Girl and Middle Son to please (please, please!) water while we were gone. Temperatures soared, but they faithfully watered and the vegetables responded to the combination of moisture and heat. Unfortunately, the weeds were left unmonitored for those few days and the miscreants took advantage of their freedom to grow and flourish as well.

It has taken me a few days to catch up on other things before I could turn my stern eye back to the weeds.  Yesterday I slipped out before it got too hot and tackled the weeding.  Middle Son strolled out to see what I was doing; I mentioned running the Mantis tiller to loosen the soil in the paths and re-shape the rows.  He took the hint (errr, bait) and the next thing I knew the tiller was running with him behind it.  Then he went the extra mile and hand-hoed the edges to get everything looking wonderful as you sand weed-free as you see in this picture:

vegetable garden

When he finished, I pointed out that since he doesn’t love tomatoes,  he must have been motivated by his love for me.  He agreed that was part of it – and the promise of lip-smacking salsa in a few more months.  The tomatoes, zucchini and peppers are all blooming with abandon.

tomato blooms

zucchini blossom

pepper bloom

And finally the lettuce plants are taking off and growing large enough to make their way into a salad:

I had one tomato go all wilty on me.  At first I thought it had been overlooked in the watering schedule, so I watered it a couple times and it didn’t recover.  I plucked it out, washed my hands and substituted a health (but small) seedling in its place.  No sense in babying a sickly plant or risking letting its virus or fungus spread to the other plants.

My next to-do is to become a mixologist and whip up an egg/pepper concoction to protect the beans from rabbits.  And start harvesting a few of radishes.

So how’s your garden doing?

Happy gardening,

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An apt title for three reasons:

1. On a positive note, this week brought one of those annual milestones every gardener anticipates:  the tomatoes needed staking. Well, technically, they needed tied up to their stakes, since the stakes are already in place.

2. The beans are continuing to get a nightly haircut thanks to my resident rabbit.  I’m quickly depleting my surplus of blood meal and ground pepper (good excuse to buy more, I guess.)  Next week, I’m going to try a homemade spray with egg and pepper to see if I can’t deter the pest long enough to get the beans to a tougher and less-tempting stage.

3.  You’ll have to close your eyes and imagine pictures this week.  I *had* pictures I snapped yesterday afternoon before we headed out the door (I’m writing this en route to Oklahoma.)  I downloaded them to Picasa, and  instructed it to delete everything off the photo card once the download was complete. Picasa warned me that it couldn’t be undone – was I sure?  Sure I was sure.  I thought.  The download finished, and I had 25 new pics, but not the ones I snapped yesterday.  Sigh.

Anyhoo, the tomatoes are nice, sturdy plants and growing well.  The next few weeks will find me adjusting their ties ever upward.  Now to see some blooms and then fruit should start to appear. It’s a race against the thermometer and calendar at this point:  how quickly can we get blooms pollinated and fruit setting before the nighttime temps start to drift high enough to halt the production process?    I was grateful for the cooler evening temps we experienced earlier this week – a cool breeze is great for sleeping and for the ‘maters. But temps this weekend are supposed to climb close to the century mark and overnight temperatures won’t get as cool, either.

The potatoes are continuing to shoot up daily – I’m hoping they’re making lots of little tubers (tater tots?) beneath that blanket of straw and dirt.

One little row of radishes is growing fine while the other is struggling – my guess is it’s  a nutrient deficiency and possibly a low pH issue going on in this raised bed.  I’ve added some wood ash and alfalfa tea in an effort to introduce some gentle nitrogen and raise the pH but so far, the  affected plants aren’t responding to my overtures.

The okra are continuing to grow up and out, and the chard and fennel are putting out new growth and settling into their new homes.

My bird netting is probably not pinned down tightly enough to keep the truly persistent birds out of the berries, so note to self is to get some landscape fabric pins to secure it.

And that’s this week’s crop report.  Next week, pictures.  And soon, there WILL be actual crops to discuss!
Happy gardening,

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Things are booming (no “L” in that word)  in the garden. We’ve had several inches of rain over the past couple weeks, interspersed between bouts of temperatures north of 85 degrees.  In fact, as I finish up this post and wait for pictures I took early this morning to upload, it’s raining again.  Which saves on my water bill and the plants are all growing by leaps and bounds with the combination of moisture and heat.  I am piling on dirt and straw on the potatoes daily, sometimes twice a day.

vegetable garden mid-May

vegetable garden mid-May

But still no bLooms on the tomatoes or peppers.  In due time, I know…

Whatever is nibbling on the beans is continuing its nocturnal noshing.  The beans are trying mightily to move past it and putting out new leaves, but I’m not sure if they can win this game.  I’m tempted to try some commercial pest deterrent, but I hear it has a wretched odor and I don’t need to stink up the garden.  Anyone have success with a less malodorous solution to keeping rabbits and/or turtles out of the garden?

Happy gardening!

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