Archive for June, 2011
Spent a few hours out in the garden yesterday. We had our biggest harvest yet:
A couple pounds of green beans, a couple pounds of lima beans, and handful of blackeye peas, five spaghetti squash, five tomatoes, two zucchinis, and 5 serrano peppers, not pictured here as I gathered them later in the day. All together it was just shy of eight POUNDS of food! 😀
Those are the last of the spaghetti squash. After the heavy trimming a few weeks ago, the vines stopped setting new fruit but everything still on them ripened quickly. The rust was back in full force, so I harvested what was left and pulled out the vines. I also trimmed the zucchinis again, removing the infected leaves and leaving what looked healthy. I think they’ll hold out a while longer for me. Where the spaghetti squash had been, I spread a layer of coffee grounds and mulched to prep the bed for the next big thing. Later this week, I’ll plant soybeans there!
I pulled out some of the green bean plants too. I am confident now that my green beans have common bacterial blight. I’m also confident that it has started spreading to my lima beans.
I feel conflicted. I think I ought to pull all the green bean plants to protect the limas and tomatoes… but they’re still producing and I’m reluctant to rip out plants that are creating a couple pounds of food a week! I pulled out the row closest to the limas, the row where the plants are sort of falling over each other, and for now I’ve left the rest of them. When everything is spent – green beans, limas, tomatoes – I’ll solarize this bed through the hottest weeks of the summer and hopefully will head into the fall and winter with healthy disease free soil.
So this is two garden beds that have already experienced disease. Some of that is just life in Florida as hot and humid as it is. But next year I’ll do more to mix different vegetable types together and avoid the big solid patches I have here now, which should help.
In happier news, the new summer crops are doing beautifully. Here are my cowpeas just two weeks after planting:
The calabaza all sprouted, and I thinned them yesterday to one plant per mound.
The sweet potatoes are all growing nicely too.
The okra is doing beautifully, but I neglected to photograph it for you. I suppose that will give me an excuse for another post soon.
The peanuts I planted haven’t sprouted. I suspect a squirrel dug them up. I haven’t decided for sure whether I’ll try again, since I know the squirrels will still be there if I do.
Herbs I started a while back are doing well. Here are baby lemongrasses:
The passionvines that I’m allowing to run wild are blooming.
I haven’t seen many honeybees in the past couple of weeks. There’s still a constant flurry of activity from wasps and solitary bees, and all my veggies are getting pollinated. But I do miss the honeybees and I’m hoping whatever colony had been visiting me before is okay.
I try to do most of my harvesting and cultivating in the beds when the pollinators are less active. Sometimes I can’t help being out there when they’re busy. So far, none of them has stung me (and I’m really hoping they don’t… last time I got a wasp sting I had a welt that lasted a couple of months, so I suspect I’m mildly allergic). I make a point of moving gently and while I’m cautious, I’m becoming less frightened of them as time goes on, which is good.
The gnats are less willing to coexist with me. They insist on flying up my nose when I’m hunched over picking beans. I doubt any of them has survived the vigorous nose blowing that ensues. Not. Fun.
Last but not least, I think my Brandywine tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Very excited about that!
That’s it for the time being. We’re feasting on fresh veggies and I’m already plotting my garden plans several months from now, as I think through where I’m planting now and what I’ll be ready to turn over in the fall. Good stuff. 🙂
After starting my seeds nearly 8 weeks later than ideal, and the long wait that has ensued in the time since, I was finally able to pick my first tomatoes yesterday!
There are many more coming ripe now, as well as new fruits still setting. It’s been hot for a long time but apparently, it’s still cooling enough at night for them to set fruit. Yay!
I was adamant about eating the first one simply, with olive oil and salt, where the flavor of the tomato could shine through. This is the first home grown tomato I’ve eaten ever. This one is a Margherita; I also have Brandywines in the garden but none of them has started to ripen yet.
It was very good. Not quite as mind-blowing as I’d been told to expect, but I may have picked this a day or two sooner than I should have. I’m looking forward to gathering more ‘maters in the days to come! 🙂