May 14, 2016

An Update on Trellis Plantings

Pole beans have finally started vining. They do seem to take awhile, gaining some size with their first true leaves, before shooting straight up to overtake their poles while on their way to the sky. The dry pole beans seem to have faired better, germination wise, than the snap/green pole beans which had to be re-seeded in places.

I'm growing 3 types of dry beans: Old Mother Stallard which are a beautiful burgundy and white swirled bean, Spagna Bianco a very gigantic white Italian bean, and Lingua di Fuoco a Borlotto type bean.
This is a bitter melon seedling, very pretty with its bright chartreuse coloring. These have been seeded since May 1st, but it took two days in the 90s (32 degree Celsius) before they decided to pop out of the ground. The young green fruit can be shockingly bitter, but as they ripen to yellow/orange their insides sweeten. Eventually the ripe ones will split open showing their vivid scarlet insides and spilling their seeds to the ground.

Most people eat the bitter green fruit cooked. I've seen it scrambled with eggs but my grandma stuffs it with ground pork, mushrooms, and glass noodles before boiling it.
Luffa seedlings look just like cucumber seedlings but on steroids. Their vines are rampant but I just let them run on neighboring trellises or fences, and their fruits can be huge.
The true leaves on loofa even look like cucumber leaves. And their fruit are just scrumptious. One of my favorite vegetables ever. Just lightly sauteed with garlic and salt, it's just so good. I haven't had much success growing it, so am trying for a third year. I usually only end up with a couple fruits by the end of the season, I have a feeling they're fruiting is daylight sensitive.
I used up some ancient cucumber seeds while planting the trellises, and of course the oldest seeds didn't germinate. Only 3 out of 6 varieties decided to sprout, so I purchased some more cucumber seeds and replanted a couple trellises. Fresh cucumbers are one of the pleasures of summer, right up there with green beans and tomatoes for me.

The plants don't last long because of the various viruses spread by squash bugs that always infest the plants by the end of summer. But its always a joy when they're around.
A few of the snap beans are starting to vine as well. I was afraid Rattlesnake had rotted in the ground but after those two 90 degree days they've decided to come up. I had even started replanting the trellis with Greasy Grits beans before I noticed.

The other two varieties I'm growing are Meraviglia de Venezia a yellow type which is supposed to be very early, and Smeraldo a green romano type. I do like my fat snap beans.
There's beetles that feed on bean plants in this area. They come out at night. Mostly.

I've also seen little holes around the bamboo poles and little foot prints which could be squirrels.
Between tomatoes and broccoli I've had to replace 32 destroyed plants. Almost 20 tomatoes. Just today I replanted 5 tomato seedlings and one broccoli, although there's another broccoli that probably needs replacing. It's a good thing I have so many extra plants.

There must be a different flea beetle that bothers tomato plants. Luckily tomatoes grow fast enough they seem to be less affected by the damage, compared to eggplants.
Half of the broccoli seedlings have been replanted. Big sigh. My husband cut some bamboo poles for me so I'm going to be setting up floating row covers in the next few days.
But the Brussels sprouts are doing really well. They're much bigger than last year upon being set out. Last year was my first time growing them and it was a big bust. Sad sad water deprived plants. They're right next to the broccoli this year so I'll be keeping them well watered.
Aphids and flea beetles have found my seedlings so I've been dusting with diatomaceous earth. I spent some time today repotting pepper plants into individual containers. You can see how tiny some of them are to the left of the tomatoes. I had to re-seed a bunch of them due to low germination. A few of the plants have weird crumpled leaves, distorted by aphids feeding most likely.


Dave @ HappyAcres said...

You are ahead of me on getting things planted! Our soil is still very wet, and we got 2 more inches of rain the last few days. I did manage to get bush beans planted and growing but I need to put up a trellis before I can sow the pole beans.

I've grown luffa before for the dried sponge but never eaten them. Is it a special variety for eating?

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
I've seen people eat both the smooth and angled luffas so I think they're all edible young but the skins are peeled before cooking them up. Although, my dad does peel off the high points on the angled loofah like the way people peel cucumbers so you can get that bit of crunch. I'm growing 5 different varieties to see if I can get one to fruit well.

Do you end up with lots of fruit? How do you grow yours? Maybe mine weren't get enough water past years. You are definitely getting a ton of rain, it makes planting so hard. I hope the weather starts cooperating soon for you. We didn't even bother with rabbit manure in the garden this year, it's been too wet to get another tilling in.

David Velten said...

Your garden is way ahead of mine. It will be weeks before I think of planting bans or tomatoes. Your luffa experiment is interesting. I always wondered why people ate them. And you are right, flea beetles specialize, but the eggplant beetle (Epitrix fuscula) also feeds on tomatoes. I find they just attack the lower leaves and don't really affect the plant, while they feast on my eggplants. I did a little research on them you can read here:

Phuong said...

Hi David,
Thanks for the link, it's amazing how quickly flea beetles can decimate plants. Your leek seedlings look great. When do you end up planting your warm weather crops in the garden?

Last year was our first year gardening at this house and the flea beetle population was insane, the yard had weeds that were covered in beetles. Those weeds aren't around this year and the damage to the tomato plants seem less. Even so, I plan on using floating row covers on the eggplants.

Margaret said...

Just like David, you are much further ahead than we are here. I'll likely not be sowing any beans for another week or two. I have a similar disparity in growth in my tomatoes where a few that took particularly long to come up are tiny seedlings compared to those that came up right away - a 2 or 3 week delay can much such a huge difference!

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
We went from 90 degree (32 Celsius) to 50 degree days (10 Celsius) and it looks like the plants in the ground have gone into a bit of a shock. I bet you have been working in the garden tons since your return. It looks like you had a fantastic trip.

After work I spent the evening transplanting Asian greens, some into the garden and some into bigger pots. The ground is so wet from all the rain and it's supposed to rain even more on Friday.