Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garden Update

With my recent bout of blog-negligence I’ve not posted any pictures of our garden in a while. So today after I went out to check on things (make sure its still there and all) and water everything in preparation for the 95 degree bake-off to come later in the day, I took some pictures of the health and productivity of the garden. Below are a couple of the highlights.
Our little pumpkin patch.
 The pumpkins are doing well now that I've turned off the sprinklers in that part of the yard and been more resolute in my pinching off of blooms and new vines. We've got 5 very promising, large pumpkins ripening and several more that should make it to the small to medium size category. If the temp stays warm and the days dry, these should do well in the remaining months before Halloween.
 Pumpkins have proved a bit challenging to grow. Initially I was concerned they were not getting enough sun, and they may not have been who knows. Feeding them was also somewhat dicey as well as they require fertilizer at strategic points in their development, same thing with watering. My biggest problem has been keeping them dry with some of the rain, watering and cooler days we've had recently. We've lost two already to rot. These guys, now resting on small plywood boards, are comfortably off the ground enough to keep dry and grow nice and big.
 King Corn as Michael Pollan described it. Corn is another new one for me that I'm not sure if I'm doing quite right. If I had it to do over I'd have fed it more at the beginning and watered it a tad less towards the end. We've got ears but our stalks are starting to look a bit starved and the fruit isn't quite large enough just yet. I pulled off one ear the other day to reveal wonderfully plump kernels, but they probably would have benefited from more time on the stalk. I've also got some succumbing to borers or some other bugs. We use an organic safe pesticide but its just not cutting it on this one.  In the foreground you'll see our broccoli, freshly topped off yesterday afternoon. We're having some friends over this afternoon for a BBQ and one of the main dishes will be freshly steamed, garden broccoli:  yum!
 According to various web sources the world's tallest tomato plant was grown in England to a height of 65 ft by a fertilizer company (go figure). So mine aren't tall enough to be the world's tallest, but according to Fran behind us they're the tallest tomato plants she's ever seen. I'm kind of proud of that fact, though now we're left with a giant jungle canopy of intertwined tomato plants. Our heirloom cherries, brandywine and yellow plants are doing well enough though they're not ripening with the rapidity I'd hoped for. Some of you might be thinking, "Well you fertilized too much and got all leaf and no fruit." Well to any doubters I'd have you know we've actually got 6ft tall plants loaded with fruit as well as blossoms yet to bear fruit. We've had a sporadic summer and inconsistent temperatures so I blame my lack of ripening on that. I also think that next year I will space the plants farther apart from each other and probably not use my raised beds any more. I also will need to either buy more and bigger cages or go rogue and build my own trellising system.
Another view of the mass with my random carrots and cool season beds ready to go. The wire mesh over the bed is used to keep neighborhood cats out of my planters...nasty little things cats.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Kate likes to think that we've actually produced a lot of cherries...but they've just not made it into the house. There may be more truth to that than she knows!  I can't help it, quality control is a job I take very seriously.

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