Spring Garden update

A quick check on the garden tonight and even though it was a bit cooler and cloudy today, the garden seems to be off to a decent start. New plants sprouting and the early planted plants are not looking worse and in most cases actually improving.  Once we get through a chilly morning tomorrow, the weather looks to warm up and get sunnier so I am anticipating some more good growing days ahead.

First Pea plant has emerged

First Pea plant has emerged

Just three days in the ground and here are the radishes already

Just three days in the ground and here are the radishes already

Lettuce sprouts are also making an appearance

Lettuce sprouts are also making an appearance

This Brandy Boy tomato seems to be enjoying its new home. Nice and greed with new leaves already starting.

This Brandy Boy tomato seems to be enjoying its new home. Nice and greed with new leaves already starting.

Zucchini with a bloom already.

Zucchini with a bloom already.

Not sure what to make of the early blooming zucchini plants. I wonder if it is perhaps a sign of distress. I guess it is possible starting them inside earlier than I should have as well as being cramped into the smaller container messed up its development cycle.

Catch up post

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately and hopefully this catch up post will get me back into the swing of things.  I took a family trip up to Chicago last weekend to check out my sister and her husband’s new house as well as give the kids a taste of a big city.  Before leaving, I took some pictures of the garden with the intention of writing a status update for the blog.  Well, that was a week ago and I am just now getting the post written.  Last week was the time in the garden where everything looks nice and neat.  Not overgrown, not overcrowded.  No troubles with insects or disease yet, just a happy time.  By the end of this month, that carefree time will be over.  Below are some pictures showing the state of the garden before we left for our long weekend.

Here we have the Bush Green Beans, Zucchini and two tomato plants anchoring the far end of the bed.

Here we have the Bush Green Beans, Zucchini and two tomato plants anchoring the far end of the bed.

Next up are the sweet potato plants.  I'm waiting for them to start vining out so I can bury them deeper with the mounds of soil.

Next up are the sweet potato plants. I’m waiting for them to start vining out so I can bury them deeper with the mounds of soil.

Sunflowers are starting to stretch their legs

Sunflowers are starting to stretch their legs

Brussels Sprouts.  Two good, one sick and one already gone.

Brussels Sprouts. Two good, one sick and one already gone.

Four Golden Egg yellow squash

Four Golden Egg yellow squash

Sugar Snap Peas all in bloom

Sugar Snap Peas all in bloom

Mess of onions

Mess of onions

Four more tomato plants

Four more tomato plants

Basil and Lettuce

Basil and Lettuce

Cucumbers with some lettuce and radish growing in the shade of the trellis

Cucumbers with some lettuce and radish growing in the shade of the trellis

Pole beans just starting to climb

Pole beans just starting to climb

Two rows of carrots

Two rows of carrots

Closeup of the blooming tomotoes

Closeup of the blooming tomotoes

Since the above pictures were taken last week, I have managed to harvest a couple more vegetables. First up was some peas which I finally had a chance to steam up tonight. Very tasty. I also thinned some of the onions and chopped them up for a salad and tacos.

First harvest of peas

First harvest of peas

A couple green onions to be chopped up for a salad

A couple green onions to be chopped up for a salad

 

Independence Day Update

Today is one of those perfect July days. Blue sky dotted with puffy cumulus clouds, light breeze and temperatures in the mid 70s. I figured today would be a great day for a garden status update.

For starters, we get a update on the garden from a short distance away.  It is amazing how much the plants have grown in the last 3-4 weeks.  The warm temperatures and well timed rain have done wonders for getting the plants off to a great start.

Garden Jungle

Garden Jungle

Already overgrown

Already overgrown

In the picture above, we see the cucumbers climbing and covering the trellis with the green bean tower in the upper right.

Most of the tall plants are in the front of the garden this year

Most of the tall plants are in the front of the garden this year

Green beans are close

Green beans are close

The green beans are doing pretty well this year.  A small pest problem just starting with a few leaves being perforated, but sprinkled a bit of the Bt powder in the hopes it will ward off the pests.  Depending on what it is that is eating it, I may need to switch over to some insecticidal soap.  I am thinking the first green beans on the table will be later next week.  Hmm, better make sure I have some brown sugar and bacon on hand.

Bunches of baby cucumbers

Bunches of baby cucumbers

The cucumber plants have been producing more baby cucumbers than I could count.  So, why haven’t you seen any pictures of all these wonderful cucumbers harvested?  They never make it past the tiny baby cucumber stage.  They turn brown, shrivel up and fall off shortly after the bloom falls off.  Researching what is going on here is on my todo list.  Could it be lack of pollinators?  Perhaps there is a mineral deficiency in the garden?  If I ever figure it out, I’ll be sure and post it.

Golden Egg Yellow Squash

Golden Egg Yellow Squash

Sort of the same issue with the cucumbers is also happening to the squash as well as zucchini.  The plant is producing plenty of fruit, but it just does’t seem to mature into something harvestable.  So far, I have only gotten one yellow squash from the four plants in the garden.  I’d guess that the plants have produced close to 40 fruits, but they just can’t hang on.

Peter piper picked a peck of ... Well, you get the idea.

Peter piper picked a peck of … Well, you get the idea.

The pepper plants are all starting to produce some peppers now.  Not exactly sure what I am going to do with all of them once they are ready to harvest, but I’ll either figure that out when the time comes or give them away to those who already have it figured out.

Baby Lima Bean

Baby Lima Bean

The Lima Bean plants are doing great this year and are full of blooms.  A few have already turned into baby Lima bean pods.  I’m hoping that this years harvest will be better than last years.

Zoomed in Zucchinis

Zoomed in Zucchinis

Kind of an ugly zucchini.  Again, as I mentioned with the cucumbers and squash, the zukes just are not keeping their fruit.  Off to the left you can see a bit of the Bt powder that I have sprinkled across the stem in an attempt to keep the evil squash vine bore at bay.

Sizable Onions

Sizable Onions

I am very excited about the onions this year.  The yellow in particular have a few very respectable bulbs which have grown quite well.  The reds are doing okay and the white onions seem to be staying subterranean for the time being.

Just shy of 7 feet

Just shy of 7 feet

Another update on the sunflowers, here we see the tallest approaching the seven feet mark.  Pretty soon it will be hard to measure these guys.

Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes

I haven’t talked about the tomatoes too much this year.  Here is a Brandy Boy hybrid showing its newest fruit.  The Sweet 100 are doing pretty good as well with some small green tomatoes.  Sadly, the Fourth of July variety still have a ways to go and will once again not live up to their namesake.

Expanding Sweet Potatoes

Expanding Sweet Potatoes

Not sure what is happening under the ground, but the sweet potatoes have certainly started to fill in their area and expanded outside into the walkway.

Last picking of peas

Last picking of peas

Finally, we have one more picture of the sugar snap peas.  I picked all these pods today and am figuring that this will most likely be the last peas harvested of the season.  I’ll think about getting a second planting in if there is time and energy.

Growing Garden

I was away from the garden for a few days this week on a family vacation and boy did the garden grow during those four days.  Everything is bigger and greener than when I left.  The plants are big enough now that the ground based bugs are not causing much problems anymore and we are still early enough the flying insects haven’t started attacking yet.  This is the time of year when the garden goes from neat and orderly to crowded and messy. Even still, great progress this week.

Plenty of pea blossoms

Plenty of pea blossoms

No pods forming yet, but they have got to be getting close.

Baby cucumbers

Baby cucumbers

The plant itself isn’t very tall yet, so I don’t know if these little guys will hang around and become full size cukes or not, but it is encouraging to see some fruit starting.

Tomato blossoms

Tomato blossoms

Not too bad considering I started this guy from a seed.  I wish I got them started a bit earlier, but this plant at least seems to be doing pretty well.

Baby yellow squash

Baby yellow squash

Can’t wait to slice once of these up and cook it on the grill.

12 inches in 7 days

12 inches in 7 days

Since the last post on the Sunflowers, they have grown about a foot in the last week.  I wish I had an easy way to get a webcam out in the garden, I’d place a measuring stick next to these and watch them grow.  With favorable weather forecast for next week as well, I expect another foot or more.

Baby yellow squash

Baby green bell pepper

Climbing green beans

Climbing green beans

Sunflower updates and other misc items

Most of the sunflowers are in full bloom (3 of 5). I finally had a chance to visit the garden in daylight and figured it would make for some better pictures and a measurement.  Once again a step ladder would have helped, but I like to do things the hard way.

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Reminds me of a lion for some reason

This one made it simpler on me and has started to look down towards the ground.  The head of the sunflower is only about 6 feet off the ground now.

The leader of the group has also started to face the ground, but it is still around 9 feet up.  How big is the flower?  Check out the picture below to see a poor measurement attempt.

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Hard to measure something up so high

The tape is at a pretty severe angle, so I am going to guess a bit and call that about 8-9 inches for the center part and a little over a foot if you go petal tip to petal tip.  Pretty soon I will have to start researching what to do with these.  I’d like to get a bag of sunflower seeds out of two or three of the heads.

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Rare picture of the gardener himself

My wife happened to be out in the garden this morning and offered to take a picture.  So, in a first for the blog, here is a picture of me next to the tallest sunflower.  Heck, aside from the trees and the house, that might be the next tallest thing in the yard.

So, enough about sunflowers.  What else is going on in the garden.  The last few weeks have been another chapter in the bug battle.  This time it is worms eating the Brussels sprouts.  Below are pictures of the two types making the leaves look like (or even worse than) Swiss cheese.  Both appear to be different types of Cabbage worms.

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Pesky work type #1 – Evergestis rimosalis

This first one looks a lot like a Evergestis rimosalis or more commonly known as a Cross-Stripped Cabbage Worm.

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Pesky work type #2

This one seems to be an Imported Cabbage Worm known as Pieris rapae. These are much harder to spot as their green color is almost the exact shade as the leaf on which they are hiding. Also in the picture is my latest cabbage worm remover. A poke and twist usually makes quick work of the pesky problem.

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Flowers as far as the eye can see… well sort of.

From this angle here, it looks like a flower garden and not a vegetable garden. The picture below shows the bed from a different angle and you can see how the zinnias are pushing hard on the Brussels sprouts.  Mental note for next year.. zinnias take up a lot of space.

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Way too crowded

That being said, I do like the extra color to the garden with the zinnias.  Here is a good pink/purple colored flower with a nice red one below.

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Zinnia closeup

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A red zinnia

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Butterfly checking out the red zinnia

Finally, there were a number of flying visitors to the garden today.  The bees and bumble bees were out in force checking out all the various flowers.  Above is a picture I was lucky enough to capture of a butterfly.  The snapshot I would have liked to get was of a hummingbird flittering from flower to flower and zipping about the garden.