June 30, 2018

Corn Tasseling and Other Things in the Garden

The Buhl sweet corn is tasseling, and I can see little corns forming. So cool.

The long season Morado corn is already as tall as me. It's supposed to end up 8-12 feet tall. Only a few stalks lodged at the beginning when they were a foot tall, but they're all staying nice and upright now even with all the rain and wind we've been getting.
Buhl sweet corn tasseling. They're only about 4.5 feet tall at this point.
A few of the stalks only have a single ear forming, but I've counted a few stalks with possibly 4 ears starting.
Baby Buhl corn? So cute. They're actually a very well rooted variety with no signs of lodging. I can actually see them forming more roots at the bottom of their stems, so they're very stable. 
The Butta(F1) zucchini is making babies! My husband got me a big spiralizer for Mother's Day, so I'm incredibly excited. This yellow zucchini is very prolific.
This baby Tuscany melon is about three inches long, but I've seen them get this large and yellow and fall off. So fingers crossed that doesn't happen.
Looks like this is the only baby the Charentais melon has set. They haven't made many female blooms yet and the bed is fairly overcrowded so pollinators probably have problems getting to them.
The onions that were started from seed are making me crazy. Half the bed died out when the Cipolle di Tropea red onions got powdery mildew. The Borettana Cipollini onions aren't swelling up yet, but otherwise they're coping with the rain well. I went ahead and seeded beets in the back half of this bed.
Tall Top Early Wonder beet in the onion bed. They popped up in just 3 days with the warm weather we've been having.
The leeks are doing wonderfully. I've never gotten them to this size in Kentucky before. This variety is American Flag. I'm growing them in clumps of three about 8-12 inches apart. I tried trenching them last year which worked very well, but the squash plants ended up overrunning them.

June 26, 2018

Interesting Winged Bug

It rained crazily all weekend and I found this interesting insect hiding under our covered deck. It laid there quietly while I wandered around close to it, but then flew away when I accidently dropped a gardening clog. It was massive close to 2.5 inches long.
It's more than likely a cicada which have started singing in the trees lately.
It was playing dead for quite a long time making me think it was just a husk from molting but those are usually brown and don't have wings.

June 25, 2018

Harvest Monday, 6/25/18

Sun Gold cherries on the left and Be My Baby cherries on the right with Mrs. Burns lemon basil.

The basil has a delicious scent, a lovely mix of lemon and basil. I'm going to try drying it for tea.
Nero de Toscana kale on the left and Cavolo Lacianato kale on the right.

The kale plants are massive. They're obviously loving all the rain we've been getting. These greens are growing in the shadiest bed in the garden. The giant leaves are surprisingly tender and have good flavor. With none of the bitterness I've found with growing collards in the high heat of summer. They show no signs of bolting, we're supposed to get close to a 100 degrees this week (37.8 Celsius) which will be a good test for them.
On Sunday I collected all the tomatoes that were near ripe as it was supposed to rain a couple inches that night and almost an inch the next day. We ended up with a surprising amount of cherries, the larger ones are Black Vernissage, Sun Gold, Be My Baby, and Indigo Blueberries. Indigo Blueberries only darken when they're touched by the sun, otherwise they remain a pretty red color. But the first large ripe Pink Berkley Tie-Dye got eaten by some critter, probably a squirrel.
The cucumbers are just starting to produce. We never seem to get huge amounts of them. Probably a product of the varieties chosen and the high disease pressure in our garden.

There's lots going on in the garden. We've got corn tasseling and melons swelling. I'll be sharing pictures in a couple days.

I hope everyone is having a great summer. It's crazy that July is almost upon us. Time to start thinking about fall crops.

Please join us for Harvest Monday as hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Where gardeners from around the world share the wonders of their garden as well as trials and tribulations.

June 23, 2018

Disease in the Vegetable Garden

Wilt infected Black Vernissage tomato plant.
I decided a week ago that wilt was infecting the Green Zebra tomato plant, so I went ahead and ordered Serenade concentrate to treat the garden. It took 5 days for us to get the order because of the weekend, and within that time a dozen tomato plants showed symptoms of the disease.
It just took a day for the disease to destroy Black Vernissage, one of the most vigorous plants in my garden.
The causal agent for wilt can be either bacterial or fungal. It infects the vascular system giving them a wilting thirsty look. By the time the plant starts dying it's too late. Even with the Serenade these plants probably aren't salvageable.
Green Zebra infected by wilt. It'll get dug up once it dries out a little.
I'm starting to suspect that many of the tomato plants were stunted as they tried to fight off the disease. Last year, many of the varieties were twice as large compared to this year. I had applied Serenade early on last year due to tomato speck (bacterial). After which I had no fungal disease in the garden, not even my usual late blight.
Potato plants infected with some kind of disease. After treating this pot of potatoes the stems are now upright.
The garden got treated on Wednesday, but it rained 6 hours later and has rained most of the weekend. Not the most ideal conditions.

So yesterday, I went through the whole garden and removed dying or yellowing branches on plants. Hoping it would give me a better picture as to whether or not the plants are improving. All the large branches on Black Vernissage are showing signs of infection now, the plant will need to be removed or cut back to the two little suckers that aren't showing signs of disease.

Ah well, it could be worse. In other news, Berkley Tie-Dye and Jaune Flamme are ripening so juicy tomatoes are on the horizon.

June 18, 2018

Harvest Monday, 6/17/18

I've just got a couple tiny harvests from Sunday to share.
The first cherry tomatoes. Two are from Sun Gold and the more orange one with green shoulders is from Be My Baby. None of them were very sweet because they were picked a little too soon.
Teeny tiny ground cherries. These are from fruits that developed before the seedlings were in the ground so they're extra small. They had fallen already from the plants and were protected by their papery husks. Ground cherries definitely have a crunchy texture and light savory flavor, the third one I ate was sweeter reminding me of crunchy Fuyu persimmons.
I was going to harvest kale as well, but we decided to start a 5 day fast tomorrow. Just a little fast to reboot the system. We've done lots of fasts through the years. My husband has done a straight water fast for 21 days, but at most I've only done 14 days. We've, also, done fruit smoothy fasts, and lemon juice fast as well. We usually do them in the spring to kind of clear us out after all those rich meals that people fall into during the winter/holidays.

Please join us for Harvest Monday as presented by Dave at Our Happy Acres. A wild and wonderous place where the little known vegetable gardener lurks, and where you can catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat.

June 17, 2018

Fruiting Vegetables in the Garden

A little tour of the different vegetables that are setting fruit in the garden. It's strange to think how July is only a couple weeks away. By the end of August I'm usually digging up beds and planting the fall garden.
Riesenstraube cherry tomato is a mass of blooms. It's just starting to set fruit, so is later than all the other cherries and it's a shorter plants as well.
Sweet Aperitif has set lots and lots of fruit and is a fairly tall plant having reached the top of its cage already. My packet of seed only contained 10 seeds so I'll definitely be saving seed from this variety.
Black Vernissage with its pretty striations. It has some bad reviews on Baker Creek, but texture and flavor has so much to do with climate and soil I decided to grow it out. The plants are massive and incredibly vigorous. They're a larger sized cherry, bigger than Big Cherry and Black Cherry which I've grown previous years.
Indigo Blueberry cherry, so cute with their dark shoulders. Another healthy vigorous plant that is well behaved structurally, meaning I don't have to constantly push side shoots back into the cage.
Ground cherry fruit with their adorable outer covering. Aunt Molly's and the unnamed variety have both set fruit. Ambrosia has yet to even bloom.
Pink Berkley Tie Dye is another striped tomato variety. They're pretty early for a beefsteak sized tomato. Most years they're a shorter variety that stop producing before the end of the season.
This is labeled Big Zebra but looks more like a paste variety. It's totally possible I mislabeled it. But I'm only growing Anna Russian and Orange Icicle long tomato types, neither of which I've grown before. And I think they're foliage are supposed to be much more wispy or droopy.

It makes me wonder if there are any other mislabeled plants in the garden.
Black Brandywine is a smaller plant for me this year. Maybe it's the extra hot summer we've been having.
In contrast Dark Brandywine is doing better this year. But I remember Black Brandy as having a more memorable flavor.
Jaune Flamme is setting nice long trusses of fruit. I'm very excited to try this variety.
Pink Brandywine sometimes gets yellowing leaves as a sign of magnesium deficiency in my garden. This plant is more affected than the other two of the same variety and is blooming later than the others.
Pink Brandywine is my favorite tomato, so juicy and delicious.
The fruit of the Brandywine. I just find them so adorable with their crumpled edges.
Granny Cantrell's German Red is actually a pink tomato with clear skin. Their young fruit are so pale they almost appear white.
There's something wrong with the Green Zebra plants. The side that get's full sun is dying which I've been trimming off. I've finally decided wilt is making its way through the garden. Cosmonaut Volkov is showing signs of wilt as well. The disease can be caused by either fungus or bacteria, but I'm guessing one of the fungal wilts.

I went ahead and ordered Serenade, which is an organic method of control utilizing the soil borne microorganism Bacillus subtilis.
Marianna's Peace tomato with its potato leaves is a big plant. This is another new to me variety that should have pink fruit.
Green Cherokee is a surprise. Another very large plant it's setting a lot more fruit than Purple Cherokee ever did for me. It's supposed to be one of the best tasting green tomatoes out there. I'm also growing Aunt Ruby's German Green, which is a delicious albeit late tomato so we can have a comparison.
All the cucumbers are setting fruit except for Boothby's Blonde, which also happens to be the smallest plants. I've spotted what looks like spotted cucumber beetles but they're pink/red, hopefully they're just little ladybugs.
It looks like Charentais has set a single fruit. I'm hand pollinating the melons residing in the pepper beds. I haven't seen any bees in the garden yet, not even the tiny sweat bees which usually pollinate tomato plants.

Tuscany has set 2 or 3 fruit. Look how fuzzy they are! So cute.
The peppers are finally blooming. I might try hand pollinating in the morning to see if that helps.
And I'd like to share my experiences with different tomato supports:

There's lots of different methods for growing and supporting tomato plants. I have a friend who prunes her tomatoes to one stem so as to get earlier tomatoes. Whereas, I allow side shoots or suckers to develop and fruit since we have such a long growing season. When we lived in the mountains we only grew stout determinant plants because the seasons were so short.

I've tried different methods to support tomatoes. Letting them lay on the ground is the worst in terms of production. Staking is ok for bush or determinant varieties, kind of fiddly with the tying of the stems. Florida Weave takes work especially with indeterminant or long vining types, but string is cheap. Sandwiching plants between fencing is easy to put up and easy to take down, but harvesting can be difficult if you're short.

This is the second year we've used tomato cages. It's by far my favorite support system. I have both the thin gauge and powder coated cages. Since I plant tomatoes in double rows within a bed, the thin gauge cages get tied together at the top to give them more structural stability.

June 16, 2018

Six on Saturday in the Vegetable Garden

I'm sharing six things from the garden on this lovely Saturday. Just a few vegetable related things.

Six on Saturday is hosted by the Propagator. Where gardeners all over the world share the goings on in their gardens.
1) In a shady corner of the corn patch grows a free range tomato plant. Who are its people, where did it come from? Possibly it will be a hybrid since we had tiny sweat bees pollinating tomato blooms last year.
2) Another self-sown plant is this little cucumber in the sweet potato patch. And the little plant in the bottom right hand corner is the tiniest of the tiny sweet potato slips.
3) Leaf celery. One of my triumphs after trying for years to raise a few plants from seed. Now we have a whole bed of them behind the greenhouse.
4) Asian chives. It only took two packets of seed to get 7 chive plants. But if you're counting, there are only 6 plants shown. Yes, a chive was lost to a weeding incident.
5) A ladybug amongst the bush bean blooms? I think not. More likely the dreaded spotted cucumber beetle.
6) And last but not least. I wanted to show the first ripening tomato. This variety is Sun Gold (F1) a cherry type.

June 14, 2018

The Weedy Garden in June

We planted the garden about a month ago, so I wanted to give a little tour of what's been going on.

It's been a fairly hot summer already with temperatures in the 90's since the end of May. Certain varieties are adversely affected by the unrelenting heat. A few tomato plants that did really well last year are half the size this year, and they're setting less fruit. Namely Cosmonaut Volkov, Peron, Coustralee, Black Krim, and Black Brandywine.
Caged tomato plants. The front row are all cherry tomatoes.
Sweet potato bed. The Purple on the left are spaced maybe 3 feet apart, whereas the unknown orange type (likely Beauregard) are spaced about 1.5 feet apart. Some of the slips I grew of the orange are ultra tiny so I figure they probably won't make it.
The kale are doing surprisingly well. They're in the shadiest part of the garden so that is likely helping. There's a Portuguese kale and a Nero de Toscana kale.
The Asian chives are still alive, although one accidently got weeded. But the shallots are all dead. It was during the time we got 4 inches of rain and then it immediately went to 98 degrees for a few days (36.7 Celsius). I think they actually got steamed to death.
The lemon basil is loving the heat. To the left of them is a row of ground cherries, being next to the lawn is probably hard on them. The ground cherries planted in the tomato beds are easily 2-3 times bigger.
Siam Queen basil is doing really well. They're surprisingly bushy without having to pinch off the main growing tip.
It's really nice to have parsley around to use, but at the bottom of the pic are a couple of leaf celery plants which I expected to get a lot taller. It would be a bummer if they stayed this small with tiny stringy stems.
I'm experimenting with caging Aunt Molly's and the unnamed ground cherry. They really want to flop on the ground, but I keep forcing them into the cage as the stems get long enough. 
Most of the cucumbers have reached the top of their cages and they're just starting to set fruit. There are few bees out and about, so I hand pollinate these along with melons.
And a very weedy patch of Morado corn, it's about waist high. A few of the plants were knocked down by heavy rain, hilling up soil around the stems seems to be helping with that.

Mostly sweet pepper patch with melons planted in the center. They've just started to bloom but peppers have a hard time setting fruit when nighttime temperatures are high.
I actually weeded the Buhl corn today and I managed not to pull or step on any of them. They seem to be forming quite a bit of tillers even when the plants are small.
Can you see the leeks amongst the weedy grass? I weeded half the onion patch a couple of weeks ago and half the onion plants died. It's made me nervous about weeding the leeks and the rest of the onions.
The bush beans are blooming. Hooray! Snap beans, here we come!
The potatoes in pots had yellowing leaves, so I trimmed them up and fed them. But something is still going on with this pot. They haven't bloomed or anything so I don't think they're close to being harvestable. This was just from a mix of red and yellow seed potatoes.
The Adirondack Blue potatoes are doing much better after being fed. No more yellowing leaves or anything.
The Blues are even blooming, hopefully they're actually making potatoes.
The plan is to weed the Morado corn tomorrow after work, and then weed the leeks and onions this weekend. I'll have to spend a lot of time with the leek patch so they don't get accidently get pulled along with the weeds.

I'm having a really hard time getting New Zealand spinach to germinate indoors. I might try using the area that used to house shallots as a seedling bed.

Thank goodness it rained a few days ago. I was hand watering sections of the garden in the morning before work and other parts after work. Which is part of the reason I'm so behind in weeding.

I'll be sharing pics of fruiting vegetables soon. I won't be getting big tomatoes at the end of June like last year, mid July more like.