Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Garden Update: June 18th 2013

My Summer garden is really starting to take off!!

The most important thing I learned this month was that corn does really awful in zone 9! Mine are covered with bugs. I did research and I guess I have some kind of worm which digs a hole into the corn husk. Then the hole attracts other bugs, mostly these tiny black beetles. I doused my corn in lots of diatomaceous earth, and the problem didn't get any better. I only do organic gardening so I refuse to use some kind of chemical spray.

This could be all my fault. I started the corn, direct sow, January 17th. By the time the corn ears were forming its really hot weather which also brings tons of bugs with it. So next time, I will plant my corn early fall when the bugs start going away. Today I noticed the husks were broken into exposing all the kernels, maybe a squirrel opened them? Anyways, the bugs got into them quick. This happened in just the last 2 days as I was in the garden Saturday and there was no such damage. I pulled out the entire plant of corn with such damage as it attracts more bugs.

My corn, after I pulled out the infested plants.
I planted the "On Deck" hybrid corn from Burpee back in January. I probably would have harvested the ears by now if it wasent for the bugs. I wonder if the bugs are extra attracted to this particular variety? I have some "Golden Bantam" heirloom corn growing in here too since the "On Deck" germinated so poorly. These wont be ready for another 2-3 months so I will compare how the bugs act to this one.

Now for some great news. My Ananas D'Amerique A Chair Verte cantaloupe are producing now!

Ananas D'Amerique A Chair Verte cantaloupe, seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
I found this melon growing today! It totally surprised me. I think I direct sowed the seeds April 14th. It will probably be another month before its ready for harvest. 
I'm so excited to finally taste this melon. I heard it is very fragrant and sweet. I'm not sure how to tell when they are ready for harvest. I better do some research on that. This is the image from the seed packet, hard to believe it will turn to look like this:

We have them growing up the sides and roof of the community garden chicken coop to provide shade to the chickens.

Its a neat way to protect the chickens and yet save space by growing these large vines over something. There are 3 plants growing up the coop, plus I have 2 plants growing in my own plots.

The melons have HUGE vines which I didnt quite comprehend until now. I wish I had more room for them. I love melons, next year I will devote an entire plot to them. I did plant them according to the square foot gardening method, which is 1 plant per 2 square feet, plus I left a few more square footage just in case.

I didnt get a good photo of it, but my watermelons are also doing very well and have lots of buds on them. In the photo below the Jubilee variety is shown in the middle bottom, shady portion of the photo. Its not easy to see because of the shade. There are 2 plants growing in that section between some cow peas in the sun middle left, and my huge super sweet 100 cherry tomato plant on the entire right side of the photo. Behind the cow pea plants is another section of watermelon plants. This was some seed given to me by a Texas gardener who said it grew great in his garden. I dont know what variety they are, but they are growing well.

Jubilee watermelon, shaded area shown in bottom center of image.
Now, back to the mystery tomatoes I mentioned in last months update. My dog knocked over some of my seed trays and my tomatoes got mixed up. I knew they were probably a Cherokee Purple tomato  and now I'm almost 100% sure thats what they are. Here is what the tomatoes growing on the plants look like now:

It has a purple tinge to it, as expected with a Cherokee purple. These plants have really taken off since I transplanted the seedlings in the garden about the last week of May. Here are 2 of the Cherokee purple plants growing in a 54 inch tomato cage, they are up to my waist in height now.

There is a 3rd mystery tomato plant which has a large tomato on it buts its green without any purple hue, so I'm not sure what it is. The rest of my tomato seeds are for cherry sized tomatoes except for some Pink Oxheart seeds I got, which was one of the ones I planted in my knocked over seed trays, but to my knowledge this is a smaller sized tomato like a Roma tomato. I wont know for sure until the tomato ripens, unfortunately today there was a hole in it so I pulled it off the plant.

I have another mystery tomato which is a big sized one growing with my super sweet 100 tomatoes. I thought this was also a super sweet 100 plant since I started it from seed along with my super sweet 100s. But its has a completely different growth habit and fruit size. Oh well, its a delicious tomato.

Other mystery tomato
Super Sweet 100 tomato
My super sweet 100 tomatoes are crazy prolific. Every day I harvest almost a sandwich Ziploc bag full if fully ripened cherry tomatoes. I only have 1 plant! But since its a hybrid, I wont be growing it again. Here is a full pic of the entire plant growing up a circular 6 foot cage. Its a cherry tomato tree! Its a nice tomato to start with if your new at gardening.

Super Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant
My "Black Crowder" cow peas are also starting to produce. I started them in seed trays back in late April/ early May I think. Then I transplanted them at the end of May. So they are estimated to be around 2 months old. This plant is both bushy and a vine. It has a bush but it sends out lots of vines every where. I probably will need to put a tomato cage on them, so they can grow up that instead of on top of my other plants. 
Black Crowder cowpeaS
Black crowder cow peas section bottom middle of photo
These seeds were given to me by Logrus, and I am so happy to report they are doing very well especially in our Texas summer heat. I dont think I have ever eaten cow peas before, but I cant wait to try them. This is the flower bud of the crowder peas;

Black Crowder cow pea flower bud
And the "peas" themselves are forming and they look like this:

Black Crowder cow pea pods
I'm not sure when your supposed to harvest them, or how you know they are ready.
I also bought a Black Beauty Zucchini and a standard Yellow squash plants and put them in my garden the last week of May. I did try to start them from seed but they died. Now its too late into the season to start them from seed again so I just bought them. One plant of each is more than enough for my household of 2.
Black Beauty Zucchini
I also laid down some mulch in my tiny walk ways to keep the weeds from growing. Its looks so nice! And you can see that I laid down my soaker hoses properly. It waters my garden every day at 5am. This is a must if you live in the south and its so hot. It maintains consistent watering which helps prevent stress on the plants from drying out repeatedly. No stress means they can focus their energy  growing into healthy plants. 

My center path covered with mulch which lies between plots #2 and #3. This is an older picture taken last week of May. Since then everything has really grown like crazy.
I also fertilized my plots with bone meal and blood meal. It supplies good organic nitrogen and phosphorus. I'm missing the potassium part of the 3 basic fertilizer components. So to make up for that every time I eat a banana I save the skin, chop it up into smaller pieces, and spread it around the surface of my plots. I also save all my egg shells, grind them up, and throw them around my plots. Eggshells have calcium which are awesome for tomatoes and prevent blossom end rot. Plus the bugs hate the sharp edges of the shells, especially soft bodied bugs like slugs.

Here is my plot #1. Nothing much going on except flowers have started blooming. I started this plot April 10th with direct sow flower seeds and lots of gladiolus bulbs. I have started to cut gladiolus flowers. My lavender is still blooming. The chamomile has died out after it bloomed like crazy. I thought it was a perennial but I guess not. My kale is still alive
Plot #1, flowers only

No comments:

Post a Comment