June 6, 2020

Happenings in the Garden

The vegetable garden got planted over Memorial weekend which I had to work, boo hiss. The cold wet spring had delayed planting of my seedlings, and the seeds that were directly sown mostly didn't germinate. But it was kind of nice having a long drawn out spring, even though it was a bit too rainy. But at last, summer is here to stay.

On Friday, May 22nd, my husband tilled the garden for a second time. He only tilled the top couple inches since it was still pretty wet lower than that, and I immediately started planting in earnest because it was supposed to rain from Monday on. It took 4 days to get most everything planted. It started raining while I was trying to finish seeding the last bed with bush beans.

These pictures were taken on May 31st and June 1st, when the plants had more than a week to settle in.
My friend gave me 12 tomato plants a month ago, mostly Oaxacan Jewel and Giant Aussie, but also a Black Krim and a couple Carbon. She had ended up with 36 Oaxacan Jewel plants when she thought they weren't germinating. We've all been there. I gave her a bunch of amaranth, zucchini, and pattypan squash plants as thanks.

Besides my friend's plants, this bed is also home to 3 Pink Brandywine tomato plants. It looks like all the plants have nearly doubled in size since being planted out a week ago. The plants at the end of the bed are basil and flowers that have been nibbled on by birds.
This bed is home to cherry tomatoes and smaller salad type tomatoes like Taxi and Juane Flamme. I started my tomato plants a month later than my friend's, but the vigorous cherries look like they might be catching up in size.

During planting I amended the tomato planting holes with crushed eggshells, spent coffee grounds, azomite rock dust, and Mykos mycorrhiza inoculant. Living in a humid environment I have a real problem with fungus in the garden. I'm hoping the mycorrhiza will help compete with the diseases below ground. I've also used Serenade, which utilizes a harmless bacillus and is considered an organic method to control bacterial and fungal infections in the garden.
The majority of the tomato plants I started took forever to germinate with the cold weather. They were just little sticks in the ground a week ago and even though they're still short, they are all forming blooms. My theory is we had such a chilly spring, then they were planted out on a day that reached 90 degree days (32 degree Celsius), so they thought they were dying and decided to perpetuate their species by bearing fruit.
Sungold blooms are already opening up.
Pink Brandywine with their potato leaves are blooming. They are very vigorous and productive in our climate.
This bed used to be home to 13 pepper plants, but the day after planting the birds topped all but two of the plants. Cilantro and different varieties of basil are residing here now with a nice stand of amaranth at the end of the bed.
Here's a pepper plant that was topped by a bird. It looks like it's trying to form new leaves at the joints of the cotyledon leaves.
Green amaranth at the end of the pepper & herb bed. Critters love to nibble on the amaranth leaves.
Droves of these bugs fly away when I water the amaranth. It's my first time growing it, and I've never seen this specific bug before.
The Telegraph cucumber plants were in desperate need of being planted out. They immediately put out runners once in the ground. There's also edible chrysanthemum in the bed, along with red amaranth at the end.
The red amaranth is being eaten on by those same bugs besetting the green amaranth.
Squash bugs and vine borers usually decimate my squash and zucchini plants. So I plant tons of different varieties to compensate for the high insect pressure. In this bed starting at the far left are Tondo Di Piacenza a round zucchini, Elite zucchini, White Custard pattypan, and a single Rolet squash putting out runners in the back right.

You might notice the sweet potato laying on the ground at the bottom right. It was one of the two Purple sweet potatoes I used to start my slips. My son wanted to feed it to the squirrels, and wouldn't you know it, something did take it over the fence. The second sweet potato is now waiting for the squirrels to come get it.
Starting from the left Gentry summer squash, Butta zucchini, Fordhook zucchini, and Straight Neck squash. I just noticed that the growing tip on one of the Butta zucchini plants is gone, probably nipped out by birds.
There's an itty bitty round zucchini, if you look closely.
The bush beans are just finishing germinating. Normally I plant the rows much closer together, but with the greenhouse on the other side of the bed, I thought giving them room would make picking easier.
I tried a new way to form sweet potato slips. Instead of suspending the sweets so half was in water, I planted them in little tubs with potting soil. It ended up making very healthy slips with complex root systems. They say having lots of roots during planting means lots of small potatoes, hopefully that doesn't hold true.

There's also a row of seven Burgundy okra plants next to the fence. Their red stems are very pretty, but they've been taking a great deal of water to settle in.
This is one of the two beds that didn't get re-tilled. All those greens are from free range plants of likely mixed parentage. I just dug them up from around the garden when they were little and replanted them in this bed. There's also green onion ends from the grocery store that I rooted in water.

The mass of yellow flowers at the end of the bed are blooming Asian greens that I transplanted and am letting go to seed. They've been blooming for months, and once in awhile I clip and hang dry the seed pods.

I am very happy that we were able to plant the garden. The physical activity and doing things outdoors has been nice. We've chosen to not tell our young child about the pandemic. He's been asking about the parks, pools, and playgrounds. But since he can see the caution tape all around, we've told him that they're cleaning and fixing those areas. Usually my dad takes swimming lessons with him during the summer, but that is unlikely to happen.

In the tomato beds Tuscany melon and Ginkaku melon have just germinated. I'm hoping they'll provide some groundcover to shade out weeds, plus a few melons would be awesome. We actually love watermelon, but I've never been able to grow it here. I have a friend who does really well growing gigantic watermelons but she has raised beds.


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

What a lot of plants! And most of them looking happy to be growing there.
Our weather in England is going backwards. We've had an exceptionally sunny May, with some very hot days accompanied by some awkwardly cold nights. It has been dry too. Now we are in June, the sun has gone, the rain has come and some of the time it's been really windy. I've put the heating on in the house!

Phuong said...

Hi Lucy,
Your weather has been so extreme. It's crazy you've had to turn the heat back on. But it's good that the rain finally came. We're supposed to cool back down tomorrow and get some rain again ourselves which I'm looking forward to.

Chhaya said...

Lovely looking plants, Phuong! It must have been a lot of work getting them in the ground!

Sue Garrett said...

You’ve been really busy. After we have had some rain we are trying to plant lots of things. Earlier we were delayed as in our case it was too dry!

Phuong said...

Hi Chhaya,
It felt good to get everything in the ground. With all the rain, it had felt like the garden was never going to happen.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
I'm so glad you finally got some rain and the garden planted. It looks like you got the bulk of the planting done.