Full sweet potato harvest

The weather was warm and the sun was shining today. With the ground dry, I decided to dig the sweet potatoes. I was tempted to give them another week, but the forecasted low temperatures next weekend are 30 degrees.

Sweet potatoes before digging

Sweet potatoes before digging

The first plant I dug today had two very large potatoes hiding under it. While none of the other plants were quite as grand, I did manage to get a sizable amount of potatoes from the ten plants. I decided to weigh this harvest and was surprised to see I have 24 pounds of sweet potatoes.

One large sweet potato

One large sweet potato

Guess I’m going to be on the lookout for some easy sweet potato recipes.

The pile of harvested sweet potatoes

The pile of harvested sweet potatoes

First peek at the sweet potatoes.

This past Sunday, the weather was decent and I was in the garden cleaning up the last of the tomato plants. I decided to dig up one of the sweet potato plants to see how they are doing.  It turns out they are doing quite well.  There were two large and three or four medium potatoes on this one plant with a few smaller ones sprinkled in.  This year there may be a big enough harvest that I’ll have to try a bit harder curing and storing them to ensure they will last the winter. After reading a few posts online, here and here, it seems it is best to not eat the freshly harvested tubers and instead let them cure for a bit so they develop a sweeter taste.

First plants worth of sweet potatoes

First plants worth of sweet potatoes

While in the garden, I collected a few other vegeatables that were ready. October 19th and I can still get a few tomatoes and peppers. Actually, the peppers seem to be getting a second wind in the cooler weather. It will be close to see how many more make it before the frost.

Late season tomatoes and peppers

Late season tomatoes and peppers

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.

Mutant sweet potatoes

Some days I do feel sorry for my family. They really don’t know what I am going to dig from the garden and serve them next.

On today’s menu is mutant sweet potatoes. After the rains this weekend, I noticed that there were two sweet potatoes protruding from the ground.  Today I went back out and decided I better pull them from the ground before they get discolored and tough skinned.

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Sweet potato climbing from the ground

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Closer view of the emerging spud

What I pulled from the ground was quite a surprise and appeared to be some abomination.  I can honestly say, I have not seen any sweet potatoes look like this before.  Maybe it is just me, but these all look like stomachs.  I guess they could be a bit like a Rorschach test where what each of us sees tells us about what is going on in our minds.  I was apparently hungry or something.

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What the…? Would you eat these?

In the end, after they were cut up and steamed, they looked and tasted like regular ol’ sweet potatoes.  But, if you see my family with third arms, missing ears or second heads, then we can blame it on the fact that we eat the mutant sweet potatoes.

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Diced and steamed sweet potatoes

Full status update with a tour of the garden

Here is a big post. Essentially, the plan is to post a picture and brief comment on everything currently growing in the garden.

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Sweet Potatoes

Not much change with the sweet potatoes.  Not much change from when I planted them, but they are still there and alive so that is good.  I expect to see a lot more growth as the summer heats up.

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Spill over tomatoes

Here are the two tomato plants I didn’t really have room for but couldn’t bear to throw out.  Brandy-boy in the front and a Fourth of July in the back.  The Brandy-boy seems to be pretty happy back here even with the reduced amount of sunlight in this bed.

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Yellow squash

Yellow squash is doing very well.  I down selected to just four plants, which is probably still too many for the space I have here.  So far, the plants have stayed in their own little quadrants, but I won’t be surprised if they begin to take over more space once the summer heat comes.

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First sign of yellow squash fruit

I’m excited to try my first sauteed yellow squash and it this little guy holds on, it could be in a week or so.

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Leaning tower of Peasa

The soil in this back bed is pretty loose.  Not the best for supporting the tall pea tower.  I think it should be okay as the bottom ring gives it something to rest on so it won’t topple over.  I picked a zip lock back full of peas on Saturday morning, probably enough for two meals.  I hope the plants keep producing for another week or two at least.

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Wind swept onion patch

The last storm that passed through pushed all the onion greens over to one side.  It doesn’t seem to have effected the plants any.  I have a feeling we will have onions to last us all winter.

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Cucumbers

The cucumbers are finally starting to vine out and use the trellis.  I have had to take them and poke the plants through the holes to get them started, but in a week or so, they should all start making their ascent.

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Pole beans

The beans are starting to make some moves.  One plant has finally grabbed hold of a string and climbed up about 4 feet.  A few others are showing signs of thinking of doing the same.  Again, another week should show a lot of progress.

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Carrots

The carrots are slowly growing.  I thinned them out so that they won’t be growing on top of each other.  Still pretty much a waiting game for these guys though.

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Sunflowers

After a rough start on the sunflowers, the five that I did get to grow are really starting to take off.  It should make an interesting study in the effects of longer sunlight as the near plant gets more sun than the far one.  Already you can see the height difference.

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Zucchini

The zucchini have been thinned down to just two plants. Both seem to be doing well.

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First sign of zucchini fruit

First sign of baby zucchini.  There seems to be a whole host of inappropriate jokes I can make about this picture, but I’ll refrain.

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Super Sweet 100 tomatoes

Tomatoes have all been caged or staked.  Just waiting on them to grow and start shooting out tomatoes.

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Romaine lettuce

The romaine lettuce has done very well this year.  I think it would do even better if I thinned it out and gave the remaining plants more room to grow.  We have been having a number of fresh salads so far this year, but not enough to really even put a dent in the amount of lettuce growing in the garden.

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Brandy-Boy hybrid tomatoes in the foreground and Leaf lettuce in the back

Here are two more Brandy-boy tomatoes.  Again, not much to say be “GROW FASTER!”  I’m getting anxious for that first garden tomato.

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July Forth tomatoes

According to the name, this variety of tomatoes should be my first ones.  They have about 3 weeks.  The clock is ticking….

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Lima beans

The lima beans are a bit different this year.  This variety seems to want to climb.  I put in a fence to give them a little something to use and we’ll see how tall they want to go.  Hopefully not too tall.

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Bussels Sprouts

Brussel sprouts have been thinned down to just 6 plants.  Could still be too many for this space, but I’ll keep an eye on them as they grow and we’ll see.

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Zinnias

Finally, we finish the garden tour with a stop at the zinnias.  There are two varieties here with the shorter ones on the right and the taller ones on the left.  There were a few buds when I checked on Saturday so I expect to see some color in the garden soon.

Bring on the blooms and other garden updates

Even though the tomatoes were just recently planted in the garden and haven’t grown much in stature, many have started to shoot out blooms. We’re still a ways off from picking that first red tomato, but it is nice to see progress being made.

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First blooms of the year

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More tomato blooms

In other news, I had a bit of an impulse buy today while at the local Lowes. They had a number of nine-pack Sweet Potato plants. Not having tried sweet potatoes, I picked up a pack and planted it in the space that was reserved for the second crop of lettuce and spinach.  The tag in this plant had a nice QR code which encoded a link to a website telling me more about the sweet potatoes I bought.  Here it is is all its glory.  Sweet Potato Webpage

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Sweet potatoes

Finally, just a general view of the garden. To get a better one I should look like a dork and get the step ladder out and shoot from a higher angle, but this one will have to do for now.

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The garden in early June