Grow Baby Grow

To date, my friend Mae and I have harvested 5 batches of lettuce, 5 summer squash, 1 zucchini, 9 cucumbers, 2 peas, some parsley and a bunch of basil.

The garden is growing.  And so I thought I would provide an update.

Last time I blogged about the garden it looked like this:

July 9

And as of 4 days ago, July 20th, it looked like this:

July 20

I would imagine that if I were to take a picture today it might look slightly different, but not much as the lens of my camera can only capture so much change.

Today I picked all of these cucumbers from the garden.  And the other day I picked these …

I go to the garden daily and look at the fruit.  I pollinate any squash or cucumber or watermelon bud that needs pollinating.  I watch the squash to see if they are growing or rotting.  I watch my cucumbers to see if they are big enough to pick.  And I check the tomatoes to see if they are ripening.

Cherry Tomatoes

Roma Style Tomatoes

Beefsteak Style Tomatoes

The other day our cucumbers looked like this–these were our first two–and they got picked…

Cucumbers

But today I learned that my cucumbers are supposed to be picked when they are 3 to 5 inches long!  I had noticed the last few days that my cucumber plants were no longer producing female flowers.  I figured it had to do with the heat or the intense rain we’ve been having or the fact that there are MANY small cucumbers on the plant.  However, the fact that a few of the cucumbers I picked today were almost 7 inches long probably is the root of the problem.  Apparently you pick cucumbers before they are “ripe” because a ripe cucumber is yellow, and when the plant feels it has sufficient enough cucumbers to produce seed it stops producing more fruit.  Whether or not that makes any sense, the point is I picked 7 cucumbers today and a few were starting to turn yellow which means they were past the prime picking age.  I ate one, it did taste slightly like a pine tree, but I enjoyed it.  In general I love cucumbers… especially with salt.

I have had a few other problems with our garden.

To date I have only been able to get 1 watermelon to grow.

Watermelon

Watermelon

All the rest, even after a little pollination intervention, end up looking like this…

Sad Watermelon

And never get any bigger.  The last few days my watermelon plant has also stopped producing female OR male flowers and has slowed down in growth.  Again, I am wondering if this is due to the heat or intense rain or is typical of watermelon plants.  I hope in the next few days I have some more buds.

I have also only been able to grow one zucchini even though we have 2 plants that both develop female buds.

Healthy Zucchini the Day it was Harvested

And speaking of squash problems here is an example of our rotting summer squash I mentioned above…

Sad Summer Squash

Today I think I discovered some evidence of the squash vine borer — this moth larvae that burrows its way into the squash vines and, eventually, kills them is left untreated.

One Saturday in June I happened to stumble across this little weekend morning gardening show on PBS.  I learned that when you discover the evidence of the squash vine borer, you take a paperclip, unfold it, and stick it into the hole it left on the vine in order to kill the larvae.  I tried this today.

Yesterday I found this caterpillar on a tomato plant.

Caterpillar

I find him absolutely amazing.  But he had eaten the top of my plant.

My beets are small…

Golden Beet

Due to their late start and I’m assuming the poor soil conditions.

And the pea plants are dying (do you see how the leaves at the base are turning yellow?) …

Peas Plants

Although still producing peas, which is more than I could ask since these also received a very late start.

Pea Pod

I continue to learn so much.  I have been learning about optimal growing conditions, typical characteristics of plants, pests, diseases, and harvesting.  I only imagine that as long as I continue to ask questions, and keep my eyes open, I will continue to learn indefinitely.

Despite these problems, the garden is still full of hope.  This past week I have begun pollinating these…

Butternut Squash

And have started noticing peppers.   Since my hot pepper seeds were from a mixed pack I had no idea what plants we would have in our garden.   Of the 7 planted, it currently looks like we have 2 poblano pepper plants and 1 jalapeno.  This has been an exciting discovery since these were the 2 peppers I was hoping for the most!

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