on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This has to be the first year that the swiss chard's been a disappointment. Normally you can't STOP the stuff from growing, but for some reason the transplants didn't take when I put them out in the garden, annnnd the stuff I direct seeded later isn't showing much promise. Not sure what's up with that - usually there's so much chard ya get sick of it. HOWEVER - just for fun I tucked some of the spare seedlings into one of my flower beds, and of course they're doing well. What's up with that?!

The first of the peppers are forming - yay! There's actually two peppers visible here - the obvious one in the foreground, and then if you look at the shiny spot just up and to the right of the foreground pepper, you can see a pepper on another plant. These guys are still REAL tiny - about the size of my thumb. So don't plan on getting to eat them anytime soon. Peppers take a long time to develop!

What DOESN'T take a long time to develop are zucchini and other summer squash. This guy here's only about the size of my index finger. By the end of the weekend it could be the size of a small boat! This is the first of the zucchini I've seen forming, but the fun (?) thing about zucchini is that they can be right under your nose and blending in with the foliage. How else do you think people come up with those huge zucchini in their gardens? It's not normally by choice - they're fast growers, and they hide well!

This is a patty pan. Or rather, what you see here is more like "Siamese twin" patty pan squash(es).... You'll have this sometimes, where a flower for some reason forms two co-joined fruits. What's really good news is, if you look at the following picture and the preceding picture, you'll see lots of flower buds. Some are really close to the plant - those are male flowers. And some are sticking out on skinny stems - those are female flowers. Insects take care of getting the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers, and it's the female flowers that will turn into the fruit (which we consider a vegetable).

Now I have to start watching out for pests. I know I've already seen plenty of cucumber beetles. Squash bugs and squash vine borers are two other big pests for these plants. In fact, I saw a could squash bugs "getting it on" the other day. I grabbed them and threw them in the pond for the fishies. I learned last year that squash vine borers, which look like really funky red and black moths, are attracted to yellow. So I submerged a yellow bucket lid in a giant stainless steel mixing bowl full of water after spotting one in the garden, and the very next day the squash vine borer moth was dead in the water. Yay!

There's a lot of stuff going on in this next picture. Starting from the top you'll see a really roughed-up looking cucumber leaf. That's what the insects have done to the plant. I'm worried the cukes I've already started won't make it very long - that the cucumber beetles have been snacking on them and, in doing so, also infecting them with a disease resulting in bacterial wilt. I'll try spraying again with organic pesticides - one derived from chrysanthemum, and the other discovered as a byproduct at a distillery. Oh, plus I have a concoction made of pureed hot peppers and garlic I'll be trying. Another trick is to plant some fresh cucumber seeds NOW, in the hopes that if my current plants die off, another round will start up and maybe the pests will have cycled through and died off.

In the same picture above, beneath the damaged leaf, is one of my worst nightmares - bindweed. This stuff is related to moonflower and morning glories, and is alllll over the not-yet-developed lot next to us, and easily finds it's way into my yard/garden. I'm constantly pulling the stuff up, but it keeps reappearing. My two new raised beds are right over where a lot of weeds grew last year, plus use the space that was my former compost bin (which had weeds growing up the outside of it). So these, unfortunately, aren't a surprise.

And finally in the same picture above - a baby cucumber! With it's bloom still attached. Cute, hunh? Also very prickly looking...these can really make my hands itch!

Here's another cucumber, one that's only just beginning to form at the base of the flower. You can also see lots of other small flower buds - let's hope they all form into fully developed flowers and then get pollinated!

Here's a new trick I'm trying this year - supposedly squash bugs don't like onions, garlic, and other plants in the allium family. So my squash bed has a "wall" of onions around it, as well as some lines of onions running across the bed. So far I've only seen the one pair of squash bugs - so either the trick is working, or it's still too early to tell. Anyhow - that's what about 12 feet of onions looks like.

Peas! They're still growing, and still forming! Yay!

Hunh, I guess this radish really didn't want to stay in the ground...it's eager to get into your share this week!


Post a Comment