Sunday, July 28, 2013

corn is getting silks

Our Johnny corn is getting silks.  According to a source on google it should be 18-22 days until harvest.  And that the corn should be at it's best for five days. 
Here is a picture of a melon that is started.  it is about the size of a baseball.  I have some problems with the vines of one variety mingling with the vines of other varieties.  It may take a little work to sort out which is which.  Or we could just wait until they mature to figure out what it is. 

Here is an overall shot of the cornfield taken from the field approach at the west end.  In this picture you can see the corn in the back section.  The Perry corn is on the left and the Johnny corn is to the right (with tassels).  Between the two corn patches are some watermelon and cantaloupe.  In the front sections are the squashes on the left, them more melons, gourds, tomatoes,. cucumbers, beans potatoes and another row of tomatoes and sweet potatoes.

Here is picture of the Johnny corn.  For comparison you can see a fencepost on the right side of the picture.

It is hard to tell but this is two rows of cherry tomatoes that did not get caged.  They have taken over the walk space between them and the space on either side of them.

This is the lemon cucumbers that are spreading across the walkway towards the beans.

This is two rows of gourds that are taking over a row of bush beans on the right.

Tomato plants.  No red tomatoes yet.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

a garden update--where to start

So I worked outside a lot this weekend and took a bunch of pictures tonight before i came in the house and now the question is how to pull it together into a post that makes sense.   One of the reasons I write about the garden is to create a garden journal of sorts.  My photos are more to document than decorate.  Maybe someday I will take pictures that are just beautiful.

So where to start?  Maybe with the lawn.  We had some rain and then we had some hot weather and the lawn grew like crazy.  It was hard to keep up. I didn't keep up.  So, part of it had to be mowed twice, once with the deck up and then again with the deck down.  There was all those grass clippings to pick up.  So I have been using the lawn sweeper to collect the clippings and I am using them as mulch to keep down the weeds in the garden and it has been working so I decided that with the abundance of clippings that I could use them a few more places.

Here is the blueberry bed after I weeded it, added a soil amendment to help acidify the soil, threw on some old pine needles to also acidify the soil, watered it well and then covered the soil with a nice thick layer of grass clippings.
And here is a picture of my few berries just starting to turn blue.
And here is a shot of my black raspberries.  They turn red before they turn black and I have been checking them every day or two.  They have not started to turn black yet but there are many that are missing so i think the birds are not waiting for them to get ripe.  I am going to have to come up with a way to cover them with bird net next year.
red berries
no more berries
I have been pleased with how they are doing and I think that there will be more berries next year.  We still have lots of volunteer canes around the yard so I think i am going to start another row in the cornfield.

Here is my apple project that I worked on Saturday.  I noticed that when I mow I cannot get close enough with the mower so I dug up the sod to make the circle larger and mulched with grass clippings to help keep the weeds down.

Can you see the apples?  They are getting bigger!
 And here is the other apple tree.  It is next in line for a bigger mulched circle.  These apples are getting bigger as well.
And as long as we are talking about fruit, here is a shot of the developing grape crop.  We have four grapevines and here are pictures of the fruit of two of them.  One of these will turn dark purple when ripe.  They are a small grape with seeds, not easy to eat like a table grape but great for jelly.  This year I think it might be fun to try making a few bottles of wine.  I think a little research is needed.

Here is the Johnny corn.  The tallest stalks are as tall as me or taller. 
And they are getting tassels.
No ears started yet.  Here is the other variety we planted, the Perry corn.  It was planted several weeks later and is half as tall but the stand seems to be more consistent probably because the weather conditions were better--warmer and drier soil.
Here is Cody standing between the yellow squash plant and the Perry corn.  As usual she is trying to hide from the camera but it gives an idea of the height of the corn.

While I have been mowing I have not been weeding so you will see a few (I wish it was only a few) weeds in these pictures.  Here is our dill.
Here is a yellow squash plant...
And a peek at a yellow squash...

These are acorn squashes...flowering but no fruits yet.

And butternut squashes in the front and pumpkins in the back...
Zucchini on the right...
cantaloupes and yellow watermelon...
gourds on the left and a double row of bush beans on the right...

The vine crops are starting to move so it is time to begin evaluating the spacing of the plants for next year and to consider which would benefit from trellising of some sort to grow vertically.  At this point in time the zucchini and yellow squashes are just starting to set fruit, the butternuts, acorns and pumpkins are flowering and the melons are not flowering yet.  The melon plants are also smaller, lower to the ground with smaller leaves.

This is the row of cucumbers green ones on the left side of the fence and lemon cukes on the right side of the fence. 
This is looking like it could be a challenge.  The cucumbers are all over the place, I will need to look at plant spacing and better trellising.  The plants are planted in a double row and the plants are only 5-6 inches apart in the row.  The trellis is looking like it is not going to be up to the task.

Pole beans climbing the fence...

Next post--tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, potager


Saturday, July 13, 2013

The garden is loving this weather

I can't believe how much things are changing since I did the first of the month garden update photos (which ended up being the first week of the month).  I should really have taken new ones and if we have some dry weather this weekend I may get more pictures done.  The Johnny corn has doubled in height and the Perry corn is a least a foot tall.  The pumpkins vines are getting huge and spreading all over the place.  The zucchini and yellow squash is making fruit.  I was able to pick the first zucchini tonight and it was about eight inches long.  There are more coming.  The lemon cukes are spreading into the walkway between the rows instead of climbing up the trellis.  They are flowering but no fruit set yet.  The gourds look like they are getting ready to flower.  The pole beans are flowering and climbing the trellis.  All of the tomatoes have little yellow flowers on them.  I did add some tomato cages yesterday and today I bought some stakes to try to stake up the remaining   Most of the squashes are flowering but the melons are smaller with no flowers yet. 

I have some crops for fall that I would like to seed so hopefully that will get done this weekend.  The poor flower bed is taken over with milkweed but boy does it smell nice when you walk by it and there have been a few monarchs in the yard.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

first pea harvest

Not much to do in the garden today as we had an inch of well needed rain early this morning and things are still pretty wet.  I did have a chance to pick a few peas from the potager.  This first harvest weighed half a pound. 

Ate a few straight from the garden and stir fried a few into a veggie scramble.  I think the rest will go along to the baseball game tonight for snacking.  I am planning to plant some more seeds for a fall harvest.  I am thinking a wide row perhaps in one of the raised rows that are almost finished although I do have some space left that is not raised rows.  Perhaps it will be a good opportunity to do a comparison.

Friday, July 5, 2013

first of the month garden update-perry corn, beans, gourds, zucchini

This is the a picture of a few rows of the other variety of corn that we planted.  This corn went in later, planted under better weather circumstances and the germination seems to be better.  Because it was planted later it is shorter and may mature later.  This corn was planted the 11th, 14th and 17th of June. 
This picture shows a double row of green beans on the right and two rows of ornamental gourds on the left.  These were planted from seeds.
And here is a row of zucchini.  These were started in the greenhouse and transplanted into the garden. 

Here you can see the a couple baby zucchinis started.  This one is about three inches long.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

first of the month garden update- cucumbers, pole beans and melons

We have one raised row devoted to cucumbers.  There is a length of fence and cucumbers planted on each side.  On the east side is the lemon cucumbers.  These were seeds saved from the lemon cucumbers that Lisa grew last year.  Not sure if we will get a cucumber that is the same as the ones that she grew but we are giving it a shot.  I have not saved seed before so I am hoping for the best.  On the west side of the fence are the Johnny's seeds.  We ordered a pickling variety and a slicing variety. 
Along another length of fence are planted partial rows of two pole type beans, some lima beans and a few bush beans that do not need a fence and were planted by accident along the fence.
And then some of the melons.  These melons were planted in the north half of the cornfield to provide a little distance between the two varieties of sweet corn.  These were planted as hills.  They were started in the greenhouse with three seeds to a cell and potted up to solo cups keeping the three seedlings together.  
There are melons planted in other parts of the cornfield but these are four hills each of Maverick and Vine Peach cantaloupe on the left and right and three hills of Lisa's yellow watermelon (saved seeds from last year)  When I planted these I put circles of dried grass around them to try to keep the weeds down.  It seems to be helping but it looks like of silly.

These pictures are of a red watermelon variety planted in hills and a row.

Never having grown melons I am excited to see how they do. 

first of the month garden update-tomatoes

This year we planted four different varieties of tomatoes, an heirloom, a paste, a cherry and a beef tomato.  We started them all from seeds in the greenhouse and we planted them all into the corn field on raised rows.

In row 3 are the big beef tomatoes.  They are planted on both sides of a fence in kind of an alternating double row.  The plants are tied to the fence.  When I planted them I took the plants that I had and divided them more or less evenly along the fence.  Not a very scientific method to be sure but we will see if they seem to be too close together as the season progresses.

Next  are the cherry tomatoes.  They are planted in two raised rows.  They so far have not gotten any attention as far as trellising.  My plan was to try a couple of methods of trellising that i had not used before and these tomatoes are awaiting that project.

There is a fair amount of difference in size of the plants as some are considerably larger than the others.  There is a some flowering going on and I even spotted two tiny tomatoes started on one plant.
These next tomatoes are the brandywines. They are the heirlooms.  They are planted in two raised rows and like the cherry tomatoes they are awaiting trellising.
And finally the paste tomatoes.  There are also two raised rows of these tomatoes.  These plants have been caged with small tomato cages.

There is a group of four tomatoes that are planted around a 5 gallon bucket submerged in the ground that in the cornfield and three San Marzano paste tomatoes in the potager that are not pictured.  There are a few yellow blossoms so hopefully we will soon have tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

first of the month garden update-johnny corn

This year we planted two varieties of sweet corn.  Both were held over seed from last year.  The corn from Johnny's was planted first and it was still a little wet when it went in the ground.  There is a great difference in the size of the plants.  Here are a couple shots of the Johnny corn from different angles.

 The other corn is nicknamed Perry corn after the person who gifted the seed to us.  That went in later under better circumstances.  It is quite a bit smaller and I should have a picture or two tomorrow.

first of the month garden update-potatoes

The potatoes were the first thing in the garden once the space was tilled.  The potatoes that were used for seed came from Lisa.  She had them left from last year and they had been growing long eyes at her house.  There were several varieties, which looked like a red, a white and a Yukon.  I will have to ask her for sure.  They were mixed together in the container so they were mixed together in the rows as I planted them.
We planted three 20 foot rows on May 7.  These are the left three rows in the picture.  The other two rows were planted later.  I note that two of the early rows and one of the later rows are flowering and two rows one early and one late are not yet flowering.  I am guessing that is more likely that the different varieties flower at different times. 

This year I tried growing sweet potatoes.  When I planted them I covered my row with black plastic and planted the sweet potatoes through holes that we made into the plastic.  It sounded like a wonderful idea.  The plastic would warm the soil, help keep the weeds away and retain moisture.  I eventually removed the plastic.  Our wind would lift up the plastic and the little slips would end up underneath the plastic.  The rain stood on top of the plastic in puddles and I wasn't sure if the sweet potato slips were getting any water.  I eventually pulled up the plastic and the little slips looked tough.  Now they are getting leaves and starting to grow.  Some are quite a bit bigger than the others but I am hoping the little guys will catch up.  the sweet potato slips arrive during our very wet spring.  I was not able to plant them right away and when I did plant the first row they went into wet, muddy soil.  I waited to plant the others, sticking them into water to keep them from drying out until they went into drier dirt.  The first row was planted on May 27 with the second row on June 1.