Friday, July 11, 2014

Garden update- July 11

i've not been very on top of my garden updates, so i'm going to try and play catch up in this post. 

Despite a lack of rain, my garden has been doing quite well. i've had a few problems with different garden pests, but i am still harvesting quite a bit. 

During June i harvested a dozen broccoli crowns, lots of snow peas, and a few radishes. i never have much luck with radishes and beets. The tops grow, but not the root. i was just reading that this is usually caused by too much nitrogen in the soil.  i was still getting a lot of lettuce, a bit of asparagus and swiss chard. By the end of June the blueberries and the black raspberries had just began to ripen. 

This is by far the best year for black raspberries.  Every spring i'm able to pick a handful here and there, but this year i was picking cup fulls at a time and they were all plump and juicy.  i was able to pick enough for a batch of jam, a few desserts and i am still finding a few ripe behind the house. 

Blueberries are also doing well too, i've already frozen a few gallons of the early variety and the late variety bushes are still totally loaded.  The kids are out there every day eating them right off the bushes, and between them, the birds and the chickens it's amazing that i can put up any at all.  i love having blueberries in the freezer to use in pancakes, muffins etc during the winter. 

First week of July i was still getting a few peas, and some of  my beans were just beginning to come in.  This year i planted just a few Purple pole beans,  Trionfo Violetto beans, Yellow wax, Green  bush beans, black turtle beans, October beans and Burgundy Bush beans.  i planted the Trionfo Violetto at the base of my bean teepees. i do not like them as much as i thought i would. They seem to make a single climbing stem, and the foliage isn't impressive, so my beans poles looks rather empty even though they are climbing them. In the past i grew the Purple Podded Pole beans and the foliage from these really fills in the  trellis and they are fantastic producers. i think i'm going to stick with them in the future. 

Picking lots of wax beans right now. i've already frozen several quarts, and have more to pick. i plant them in a small patch making it easier to keep up with the mexican bean beetles, or at least that's my theory. i think i picked off more bean beetles than i did beans. Just as these begin to stop producing the green beans which are in a different bed should start. i'll be able to pull these and will plant another planting in the space. This allows me to continue harvesting beans up until frost.

This week the squash is overflowing. i am harvesting mostly patty pans and yellow squash.  i decided to plant mostly Romanesco Zucchini  this year and i'm not very impressed with it. So far it has been mostly male flowers, and out of nine large plants i've only picked 4 zucchini. i also planted a few Black Beauty and gray zucchini and am beginning to get zucchini from them. i've always grown the Black Beauty and i think i need to stick with it. In the picture above is 2 of the Romanesco (striped) and one of the Black beauty.

i overplated tomatoes, but i am quite glad that i did. i've already lost several plants to various pests and problems.   i had stem borers attack several of my tomatoes, this is a first. They are very similar to the squash vine borers.  i'll post a blog about them soon. The larva get inside the stem and eat all of the plant tissue. When the plant is unable to draw up water, the entire thing wilts. i originally thought i had a bacterial wilt, so although it sucked to lose the plants i was quite relieved when i found the borer hole in the stem and removed the fat ugly worm.  If it had been a bacterial wilt, i would have probably lost most of my tomatoes.

When tomatoes experience drought stress they often display a variety of symptoms that mimic plant diseases. Earlier this summer, i was almost convinced that my tomatoes had about 3-4 different diseases. However, i picked off all the questionable leaves and after we got a really good rain almost all of my plants recovered and are now doing great!   i still have 3 plants that i'm keeping my eye on, but i do think the majority of what i was seeing was just drought stress. 

i have two Mr. Stripy tomatoes just starting to ripen. They turn yellow with red stripes.  

My garden always seems to peak right around the second week of July, and then everything kind of goes downhill. The weeds take over, the bugs take over, too much rain in July means powdery mildew, downy mildew, blight, wilt and all kinds of other nasty garden diseases. i'm trying to stay optimistic though. Last year it was right around the end of July that Late blight hit.

So a brief rundown of what i'm harvesting the second week of July. i'm still getting a few peas, although i pulled most of them. i dug a few new potatoes and beets, i'm getting lots yellow wax beans, purple pole beans, swiss chard, purple kale, and summer squash. i picked one eggplant so far and i picked my first cucumber today. i'm dug garlic earlier this week and am letting it cure. i'm getting lots of blueberries, black raspberries and blackberries. i have peppers ready to be picked and in a couple more days i should be picking my first ripe tomato.  i can't wait!! 

How is your garden growing? Feel free to link any recent garden posts in the comments below!

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author Unknown


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