Posts Tagged zucchini

Starting to get ready…(this post should have been posted on July 18)

Tomato Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm

So, I remember myself saying that,thank heavens I haven’t had any tomato hornworms, and lo and behold, what do I see staring right back into my face? You guessed it! The dreaded hornworm! I really could only find one, but it had made a great meal of the tomato plants so out the tomato plants have come. Unfortunatly, most of the heat had done them in.

So, out with the old, in with the new! It’s time to get ready for fall. YAY! My little tomato starts had to be restarted so they are about 10 days old right now, and looking good. All but 2 have sprouted. Which is a pretty great percentage, all in all. I hope to have some nice plants for next month. We shall see. I keep rotating them in the south facing window and in the mornings I put them out on the back patio. So they seem to be doing fine,with that.

Last year, in the winter, I decided to start some plants early, because I really had the spring planting bug, and all the plants sprouted, did fine, and looked wonderful. For about a month. Then, they all started wilting and dying. I discovered that they actually need some air blowing over them, like they would if they were outside, because otherwise they get wilt. Interesting.

Melon growing up a trellis.

Melon growing up a trellis.

The melons (canteloupe and watermelon) are really going to town right now! Love it! I discovered last year if I could just hold them through the squash bugs and the heat, that in late July early August, they would really take off. And that has held true this year again. So, my advice, when they look like they can’t hack it anymore, baby them along, and they will reward your efforts with more melons! Awesome little plants. I have a variety of melons out there right now. And the melon in the picture above just got picked yesterday. Tasted wonderful, too.

Zucchini

Zucchini

These new little zucchini plants are doing fine. And just when I was congratulating myself on gettng all those dreaded squash bugs, what do I find infesting one of my little plants? More of them. I am telling you, these things are everywhere. I just keep picking them off and putting them in my little jar and this does seem to be a good way of killing them, but not preventing them. How about a magic wand?

I used my first compost the other day in the old tomato bed. I pulled out some new compost from the bottom and integrated it into the bed. I think that bed needs some calcium. A few of the tomatoes had blossom end rot, which I think means the soil needs some calcium. That compost had some egg shells in it, so hopefully that will help.

 According to Mary Irish, in her book, “Gardeing in the Desert Southwest, you can plant fast maturing corn right now. So, that is what went into the old tomato bed. I haven’t really had much luck with corn fertilizing very well, eve though they are planted 4 across, 12 long. That should be sufficient according to all the literature I have read. I will let you know how it turns out. They are all just sprouting right now. I love to see those little plants poking themself up out of the dirt. I love to go out and count how many have come up since yesterday.

Last week I FINALLY got my automatic watering system put in. It works fabulous, except I need to adjust the length of time, I think. It’s only watering about 1 inch depth, instead of 2-3. But it does save me about an hour a day. Which is great, if you ask me.

With the kids back in school, and the weather not quite as hot, I am finding myelf thinking about what I will plant in October. Time to plan…

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It’s HOT!

Just picked today.

Just picked today.

It is so HOT outside these days that in order to check out the garden, I seriously have to get up at 6am to beat the heat. We are hitting 108 degrees today, which feels more like 118 degrees to me. I simply can hardly hack it! And of course, most of the garden needs to be shaded from the brutal afternoon sun.

Armeninan cucumbers growing up two 4 ft. tall topiary forms.

Armeninan cucumbers growing up two 4 ft. tall topiary forms.

The cucumbers seem to be doing ok, though. You can just see the tip of the topiary forms.  They are producing more armenian cucumbers than we can possibly eat, and I keep giving them away to relatives and neighbors. We usually just slice them up to munch on, although my daughter likes to dip hers in the ever present ranch dressing.

A small caterpillar on the pickling cucumbers.

A small caterpillar on the pickling cucumbers.

I found a little friend on my pickling cucumbers today, and it has found itself a new home in heaven. I did see a preying mantis that was quite large on the tomatoes today also, and that one I happily left alone. I cannot get rid of my infestation of squash bugs. They have moved onto my watermelon plants and as I now have some new starts of zucchini out there, I really want them GONE! I have tried insecticidal soap and picking them off as I see them and smashing them. I also have tried to look under all the leaves to get the little brown eggs and smash those. None of this has been working well at all. I have plans for the morning, to take a jar out there and pick off all that I can find and put them in the jar and then throw it away. I can hardly stand to touch the things. I think I will wear gardening gloves for this particular chore.

Asparagus ferns.

Asparagus ferns.

The asparagus has gone really crazy lately, making new shoots, going to seed and ferning. They seem to be doing just fine, also, without any extra shading.

Overall view of entrance to garden area.

Overall view of entrance to garden area.

I love the way those new pavers look at the entrance to the garden. Landcraft did such an amazing job on them. It has made the area feel like a little secret garden. To the left of the chicken coop, although you cannot see it, is a small garden shed. We put it in a few months ago, and it has been so handy to put all the supplies in there and not have them spilling about the garden like last year. One handy thing that I read about somewhere, is to hang an inexpensive shoe organizer on the back of the door. I keep all my garden tools in it as well as drip irrigation pieces and twine, zip ties, etc. It has worked out well.

Not much is coming out of the garden right now. It is just simply too hot. I am still getting some tomatoes and that is pretty nice. It should pick up again at the end of August.

Zucchini starts under the shade fabric.

Zucchini starts under the shade fabric.

The above picture shows the pvc hoops that the shade cloth is zip tied to. I went to my local hardware store and bought some 12 inch pieces of rebar and poked them into the ground on either side of the bed and then put the pvc pipes into them onto either side to create the hoops. Cheap and easy. In the winter, I use them also, but instead of the shade cloth, I put 4 mil plastic over them and make a kind of green house. I got the idea from Dave the Garden Guy, and it really works well.

New planter box on back patio.

New planter box on back patio.

Well, I believe that’s all for now. Keep cool!

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while since I last posted. So much has been happening in the garden. Everything is growing and getting larger and starting to set fruit. It’s so funny, because every day I check the eggplant for new fruit, and have seen a few but yesterday, oh my gosh, found these ginormous eggplants that I didn’t even realize were there. That’s what I love about the garden. There is always something new happening. So, guess what we are having for dinner tonite? That’s right. Eggplant.

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Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Anyway, there are tons of tomatoes which is good, because soon it will be getting hot. I have been so happy with these tomatoes this year. I have several varieties, and it will be interesting to see which does the best. I just recently read an article about tomatoes and it did say that if you water them too much, they become tasteless. So, I guess there is a happy medium to watering…not too much, not too little, but just right.

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The snap peas are just setting blossoms, which is just in time. The bunching onions are some that a friend of mine gave me out of her garden last year. They have done so amazing, I can’t even believe it. I just chop some off the top and use them in salsa, kind of like chives, and let them keep growing. However, some of them are starting to flower and need to be used up, even though we have been eating salsa about twice a week and are starting to small like garlic. You know you’ve had too much, when several of your kids reek like garlic when they come to kiss you goodnight, or good bye to go to school. Not good, but delicious!

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The peas are growing like crazy!

The peas are growing like crazy!

And just for fun, I love this little guy. I have him set at from front door, but I think now that Easter is over, I am going to move him into the garden for a while!

The mantra of every gardener!

The mantra of every gardener!

The baby chickens are now 6 weeks old, and it is starting to stay warmer at night, so I thought I would introduce them to the other hens. Unfortunately, it has become very apparent that 2 of them are roosters, so only one will be staying, but I feel so bad for her and don’t want that little hen to be alone with the bigger hens, that I have decided to leave the roosters with her until they get a little bigger. Or, at least until they start crowing, in which case, they will be out of here. But they seem to be doing ok.

The new babies with the hens.

The new babies with the hens.

On a side note, the chicken in the middle, went to chicken heaven yesterday. She had been eating all my eggs and was starting to pull feathers off one of the other chickens. It was a sad day yesterday. Very sad.

I have noticed some little birdies at the bird feeder that are very pretty. I don’t know what they are, but they have red all over their head and chest. Check them out!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The potatoes are doing amazing.

The potatoes are doing amazing.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Just a side note. It looks like finally the black eyed susan vine might be finally starting to germinate and sprout. I think it has been about 2 weeks since I planted those seeds. I’m not entirely sure that that is what it is, so we shall see. According to the literature I have read, they only last for 3 years, and they you have to replant.

I so love this time of year.

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SFG layout

Overal view of left side of garden

Overal view of left side of garden

Overall view of right side of garden
Overall view of right side of garden
Smart Pot
Smart Pot
Zucchini
Zucchini

Planning a semi-permanent garden style and layout is definately a big decision. I think that more than anything, it’s important to read as much as you can about a certain style and gather as many opinions from different people as you can, as well as attend some gardening classes if they are available. And even then, the only way to learn how to garden is to get out and garden!

For such a long time I would buy books, magazines and just dream about gardening and what I would do if I had a garden. And then one day I realized that if what I really wanted was a garden, I was the only one who was going to do it! It just really hit me that sitting around dreaming and thinking about it wasn’t going to get it done. I needed to get up and do it. Now, our back yard has been through a few phases in the short 4 years that we have lived here. I have been a fan of Mel Bartholomew’s book, “All New Square Foot Gardening”, after purchasing his previous edition off of a sale rack at the local book store. I have pored over those pages at night and carted it around in my car to read when I had spare time. So, I knew that I wanted to try it. So, I carted home some cement blocks from Home Depot and made a 4 foot by 4 foot square and filled it with soil and started a garden. It didn’t look very pretty. And I discovered that black widows loved to get up in the brick. This freaked me out and freaked my kids out. So, we moved the garden to the back corner of the yard.

My husband took all spring and into the summer 2 years ago to put the fencing in. That was a definate chore. But, necessary, considering that we have a crazy dog who likes to run through everything. And, it does look nice. But the general layout was done by me, with cedar boards screwed together as directed in Mel Bartholomew’s book. I did one bed at a time, because it was hard work. And I filled them with garden soil, one bed at a time, for the same reason. So, now I have 4 long beds measuring 4 ft by 12 ft. and 2 beds measuring 3 ft. by 12 ft. I don’t find the thinner beds easier to work with. They are both very easy to garden and plant and turn the soil over in. I have loved this style. I rarely get weeds in them, for whatever reason, I am not sure. I do get weeds in the pathways, which are now covered in small pea gravel. I do have to water every day, though. But the soil is so wonderful to work with, I can handle that. And I really have no tilling to speak of. My opinion of the square foot garden is all positive and if I had to choose all over again, heaven forbid, I would do the same thing.

I am trying a new thing this year. I purchased a “smart pot” from www.gardeners.com and put some russet seed potatoes in it. It is a pot that is a permeable fabric. It definately waters well. We will see how it does. I am kicking around the idea of purchasing another one to put some red potatoes in it.
In the picture above of the overall view of the left side of the garden, you can see that some of the broccoli has gone to seed. What happened was that in the fall, I planted some cabbage and broccoli in that bed. I then proceeded to schedule our family up so much with holiday activities that I was pretty worn out and just couldn’t muster up any energy to garden. I don’t think I watered that garden more than a handful of times. So, it was extremely nice of the weather to cooperate with me and give us all that rain. But when I went out to check out how the garden was looking a couple of months ago, I found the broccoli all gone to seed and covered in bees. And because I really need those bees, I have kind of left it that way for them. They really don’t bother me at all when I am watering. They are just busy little bees…
As you can see, the zucchini have gotten so much bigger since the previously posted picture. Seeds are the way to go! So easy, so much cheaper, and if they don’t sprout, put another seed in! No big deal!!!

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Zucchini has sprouted

The zucchini are all sprouted but 1. Pretty good odds for seeds!
The zucchini are all sprouted but 1. Pretty good odds for seeds!

I am still waiting for these to sprout:

winter squash
watermelon
melon
pumpkin
nasturtium
sunflower
black-eyed pea
Everything else is doing great! I may have to replant the aremenian cucumber because that crazy dog, Gracie, went traipsing through the newly planted bed and so far only 2 plants have sprouted out of 16.  Maybe I’ll poke some seeds in the ground in the am.

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