Monday, June 28, 2010

Harvest Monday: June 28, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

A small amount of broccoli was harvested, then the rest of the plants composted. The plants were not going to produce much more than the small heads and side shoots seen below. The temperatures have been too warm. I will try growing broccoli again in the fall. The two largest heads were only about 3-inches across. Enough to add to a few salads:

By the end of the week, the Carouby de Maussane Snow Pea Pods were giving us a nice amount of pods that were used in stir-fry, salads, and fresh eating. Hopefully this week they will speed up as the trellis they are on is needed by the tomato plants growing next to them:

Celery, Scallion, Swiss Chard, and Dill were harvested to add to a macaroni salad:

The remaining Spinach (not pictured) and Lettuce were showing signs of bolting earlier this week, so they were all harvested, washed, and packaged up to store in the fridge. The lettuce alone filled three 6-quart storage containers:

We will be eating a lot of salads this week. There is a little more lettuce growing in another part of the garden and I have more lettuce transplants to be planted to keep the salads going. Hopefully at least until the cucumbers are ready and some tomatoes are ripe.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What’s Bugging the Garden Spot? Three Lined Potato Beetle

My poor eggplants are having a rough time. First slugs attacked the bottom leaves, and then something else began munching on the upper leaves tearing ragged holes:

 I’ve been carefully examining the plants every day to try to spot the culprit. I think I found it:

This is the Three Lined Potato Beetle. It feeds on plants in the nightshade family, including potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. They are pretty quick at hiding by ducking behind leaves, dropping to the ground, or taking off as I approach. I spotted a few of these last year, but they never made much of an impact. 

I am growing potatoes for the first time this year, and believe in doing so is attracting more nightshade pests to the garden.

Once I was able to identify the pest on the eggplant as the Three Lined Potato Beetle, I looked at the potato plants more carefully and spotted a few in the potato patch as well:

I found the easiest way to exterminate these is to use a container of soapy water. Place the container under the beetle and hover your hand above, palm side down. The beetle will not be able to fly and will instead drop from its perch directly into the soapy water. The eggs are found on the underside of the leaves, I also place the soapy container beneath them and scrape them off with a stick and dip it into the soapy water. Or just pick off the leaf and dunk it into the soapy water.

Not a huge infestation on the potatoes, but close examination of the leaves will have to commence from now on in order to seek and destroy any further eggs that are found.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What’s Growing in the Garden Spot?

The weather has been wonderful for the gardens lately. There has been a perfect blend of rain, sun and warm weather. So far, this growing season is shaping up to be much better than last year. June has seemed more July like as far as temperatures.

As a result, the garden has been putting on some impressive growth. Below is an overview:

It’s unfortunate that the spring pea pods are just beginning to flower and form pods. Unfortunate because the weather has been quite warm for June and the peas do not like it very much. I am picking a few pods here and there to munch on while I am in the garden, but haven’t had a substantial harvest yet:

The lettuce too began to show signs of bolting last weekend as temperatures have hovered in the 80s for quite a while. I harvested all I could and composted what wasn’t edible. I hope it will last a while in the fridge:

The pole beans are increasing in height. Kentucky Wonder is on the right and Purple Trionfo Violetto on the left:

Surprisingly the Trionfo Violetto was the first to wind itself on the trellis even though the Kentucky Wonder emerged from seed almost a week before it:

The potatoes seem to be doing well. The Kennebec are showing the first signs of blossoms which surprised me because Dark Red Norland are mid-season and the Kennebec late season potatoes:

The tomatoes are loving the heat and are putting on some remarkable development. Here are some of the Early Girl Tomatoes:

The Roma Tomatoes in the SWCs are also beginning to develop fruit:

The San Marazano Tomatoes in the SFGs are making headway (with a little help) up the nylon trellis:

I took these photos several days ago and can’t believe the difference when comparing them to today. We are expecting some rain over the next few days, then warm weather for the weekend. The garden will explode with growth with this treatment.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hard Drive Failure

Twenty years of graphic design experience has instilled in me to always backup my computer files. I have learned the hard way that hardware sometimes fails and files can suddenly become corrupt for no apparent reason. However, deadlines still need to be met in spite of all these problems. 

I have learned to take precautions. I double back up my MacPro at work. I back up my work G5 at home. Why is it I didn't even think to backup my personal MacBook? 

Complete hard drive failure zapped my personal photos, recipes, garden notes, diagrams, and other data into oblivion. What hurts the most is all the garden photos from over the last year. Luckily, this blog holds some of them.

So I begin again. New hard drive, fresh install of the OS and software, and a dedicated backup external drive just for my personal stuff. Live and learn.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Harvest Mondays: Garlic Scapes, Lettuce Mix and Other Salad Clippings

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from their gardens in different areas.

We have been enjoying daily salads from lettuce and spinach for a while now, but as the season progresses we can add in additional ingredients as they become available. This week we added some green onions, swiss chard, and celery:

I can already tell that I need to plant more green onions as I am finding I really enjoy their fresh mild flavor and like to add them to a lot of things. I am reseeding the spots where I pull an onion and hope to have a continuous supply. I have also started a batch of green onion seeds for late summer/fall planting. It’s hard to believe, but it is now time to start thinking about fall plantings.

A huge bonus to growing hard necked garlic are the scapes that form this time of year:

This is the largest harvest of garlic scapes that I have ever had. These weighed in at 1 pound, 4 ounces and will be put to good use in pesto, chopped into salads, and any leftovers dried in the dehydrator and jarred up to be used as a spice.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Signs of Cutworms

Earlier in the week as I was checking the garden I caught a scent of onion coming from one of the Square Foot Gardens. Upon closer inspection, I saw one of my onions had been severed close to the base:

Then I spotted the Jalapeno Pepper located in the next square over decapitated as well:

Classic signs of cutworm. Luckily, I have some extra Jalapeno seedlings that will take its place, but before replanting, I attempted to find the little culprit:

I dug through the square looking for the little grey worm, but failed to find it. Not taking any chances, I utilized a tip that Daphne of Daphne’s Dandelions mentioned recently of using last years hosta stems to prevent the cut worm from surrounding the stems:

I added hosta stems to all the peppers in this bed. Thanks for the tip, Daphne! 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vegetables Planted in Containers Around the Garden

Last week I blogged about the plants in the Square Foot Gardens and the Traditional Garden. This installment covers the vegetables planted in DIY Self Watering Containers (SWCs) and large pots.

First, I want to send out a HUGE “Thank You!” to Jeff of Our Engineered Garden. I had some issues with the SWCs that I built last year that involved excess moisture. Jeff has given me great feedback in regards to what went wrong and some good advice on how to modify and fix these problems.

In addition, I constructed six new SWCs this year mostly following Jeff’s instructions here. Jeff, also an Alabama Master Gardener, has tested his DIY SWCs and has even developed a soon to be published “how to” guide for building them for his local extension office in Alabama. We are very lucky to have such a resource in our little garden blog community, thank you Jeff!

The best advice I can give you if you are interested in building DIY SWCs is to learn all you can from tested methods. Don’t just source out random plans from the internet or forums unless they can prove results. Even then, results may vary depending on different growing conditions in your area. So proceed with caution and try one or two at first and see how they do.

A plethora of information can also be gained from the EarthBox website and forums. I obtained a lot of knowledge here from recommended soil mix, to fertilizer, to plant spacing. If we are going to copy a commercial design, it's probably best to study one of the sources and learn how it works first.

I am still learning about SWCs and I want to see how these produce this year before I give more information on building your own. However, between Jeff’s advice and tutorials and gaining additional knowledge from the EarthBox website, I am confident that this year will be an improvement over last year.

There is a total of 9 SWCs in the garden spot. The first 2 below are Tall Utah Celery. Celery likes a lot of water, so I hope this growing method works well for them:

Below are the 4 SWCs with 2 Roma Tomatoes each:

2 SWCs with 2 Bush Boy Tomatoes each:

Broccoli SWC under a row cover as I am trying to avoid the yucky infestation of green cabbage worms. So far, so good. These photos were taken a while ago, they have doubled in size since then, but have not formed heads yet:

There are also a few other containers around the garden spot. The two below have one Roma Tomato each and one Basil:

Not shown is Zucchini that was also seeded in a container this year. No pictures yet since the seeds have just been planted. I have never grown Zucchini in containers, so I am curious to see how these will do.

A rainy weekend is expected here in Maine. I am glad to be finished with all the major garden projects and now I can watch the garden grow, weed, and water as necessary until the harvests begin. I hope you enjoy time in your gardens this weekend.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vegetables Planted in the Traditional Garden

Yesterday I posted an overview of vegetables planted in the square foot gardens. Below is an overview of plants in the traditional in-ground garden.

The photo below is the west side of the garden looking north. The solar mulch is used to help warm the soil and keep the weeds down:

At the very top on the outside edge of the garden are 4 Self Watering Containers (SWC) with 2 Roma Tomatoes each:

Right in front of the SWC planted in the ground are 4 Early Girl Tomatoes:

The next row are the Sugar Baby Watermelons:

Fast Break Melons are in the next row:

The bottom row are the Charantais Melons:

Below is a picture of the east side of the garden looking north:

The bean trellises are at the north end of the garden:

The back trellis has a double row of Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. They were seeded last week and I swear they sprouted and unfurled before my very eyes:

The second trellis has a double row of Purple Trionfo Violetto Pole Beans that have also begun to sprout and unfurl their leaves:

In front of the bean trellises are a row of 4 Early Girl Tomatoes:

3 of the Early Girl Tomato plants had formed buds just before planting. I pinched most of these off as I want the plants to focus on root development not fruit development right now. But I left he buds on one plant and they bloomed the day after planting in the garden:

In front of the Early Girl Tomatoes are 2 rows of Kennebec Potatoes:

Then 3 rows of Dark Red Norland Potatoes:

The potatoes look like they are ready for another hilling:

I am out of garden soil, so I may raid the compost bin of shredded leaves from last fall to do one more hilling.

The wind has been whipping for the past several days, some of the tomato and melon leaves are showing signs of some light damage. I think they will be ok, but I can't help but worry about them. It rained yesterday as predicted and I could tell that the garden benefited greatly.