Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Week Away - And How the Garden Grows

Shore lunch in Canada - fresh Northern Pike - FANTASTIC
The fragrance of Four-O-Clocks is one of my favorite summer smells.
Tomatoes and more tomatoes.
Big heads of Green Magic broccoli.
The luffa that covered my 8 foot trellis.
I think these vines grew a foot or more every day.
The Chicago Brown Turkey fig tree will give us nice figs for the next month - great tree!

WOW! leave the garden for a week and BAM - everything jumps. My wife worked hard to keep the garden picked while I was gone fishing in Canada but 2in of rain and sunny summer days will make everything leap. The fishing trip was back at Woman River Camp in Ear Falls Ontario - about 750 miles from home and in great fishing waters. I went with my brother, Dennis, by fishing buddy, Dick Schaal and the three of us had a great time - good fishing, great food, and lots of laughs. Only had rain one day out of six and one day that was really hot for late August that far north.
While I was gone the garden really started producing. Easily a half dozen cucumbers a day, great amounts of green beans, and the tomatoes really got ripe. Somehow I have quites a few determinate plants that I will cross off the list for next year. I even found two watermelons on the vine that I have since hung in pantyhose slings to support them on the trellis - now if they only have enough time to get ripe.
The fig tree is really producing and the peppers in the EarthBoxes are making a great crop. I really like those plants for peppers. They get plenty of water, are nice an warm on the greenhouse apron and no earwigs have found them - sounds like all plus marks for them.
The luffa gourds are taking over one trellis as the pictures show so they have been cut and will be headed for the compost bin soon. The broccoli has matured too fast and so we intend to pick the whole crop and freeze as much as possible. Daikon radishes are still edible and not too hot. I got rid of the melon plant in the greenhouse because the one in the hoop house is doing so much better - has set three nice melons.
My only bad note was the hornets nest in the greenhouse that was in the thermostat so when I reached over to turn the knob to open the vent they got mad and one stung me - welcome home! They no longer live in the greenhouse by the way.
Happy Gardening

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomatoes and Cucumbers A Plenty

Can't resist sharing zinnias.
Brown Turkey Figs - yum yum.
2011 garlic harvest - replant the LARGEST heads for next year late Sept/Oct.

The tomatoes are finally ripening so that we can't eat them all in a day. The cucumbers are probably the best crop I have ever had. I pick 6 -8 perfect straight fruits each day and growing on the trellis most of them hang down inside and are just perfect. I wish the tomatoes were as healthy - Septoria is on quite a few plants and tomorrow I plan to leaf prune them off. I have already cut most of the tops out of the tallest plants. No need letting them grow so tall as most of the fruit developing now is what will be ready before frost. Any fruit that is just in flower may not make it with the days getting shorter. Unfortunately I seem to have more determinate plants than I expected. I don't like them because of their habit of branching makes cutting out suckers tough. Along with the fact that all the fruits usually come ripe at once - these are great plants for ketchup or other canning or freezing.
The pole beans, food and home for the Japanese beetles, are finally ready to pick. I like the Roma type pole beans but this years main corp is a snap bean ( Fortex )that's not too bad just slow in production. The first figs are ripe on the Brown Turkey and they are such a treat. The garlic has all been dug and is drying in the tool shed. We have had roasted garlic from the grill twice this week and I am taking some on my fishing trip. I cut the top off the garlic bulb, give it a shot of olive oil and wrap it in foil and put the bundle on the back side of the grill. In less than 20 min they are done and ready for bread. Great eats.
Happy Gardening

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Varmint Arrives on the Scene!

Yukky - Nasty eating machine!
Can't mistake those white spots on the sides of the wings -Japanese beetle!
Lets look as something much better - quick before it gets eaten!
Zinnias are, I guess, my favorite garden flower.
These little yellow ones are really much brighter than the picture can show.
Tomatoberry - good little salad variety.
The peppers in the "EARTHBox" planters are starting to produce
The little black fig tree has a respectable crop.
Fair entries at the Door County Fair seemed to be down this year. But blue ribbons weren't.
Some entries were just too tempting.
This has got to be the largest kohlrabi I have ever seen - can't comment on its taste.
Black Australorp rooster - fills his cage.
An Australorp hen with egg. There must have been over a dozen examples of this breed.

I knew that Japanese Beetles had been introduce to the west side of Green Bay maybe about 10 or more years ago. We have been monitoring their expansion annually. Unfortunately, they have migrated into my garden this week! I found 28 of them feasting on my pole beans on Thursday and have found a few more each day since. Needless to say I was most unhappy. These eating machines could be worse than white cabbage butterflies or even rabbits. The Extension office said that they had been discovered on the UWGB campus last year - that's less than 5 city blocks away and it did not take long for them to spread farther north. As grubs in the lawn and adults on my garden plants these critters will initiate constant monitoring in the garden from now on. I dreaded this event and now it has happened. A big UN-thank to the commercial landscaper who brought them into the city on nursery stock those years ago!

I still did not get my garlic dug as we had some rain and I just ran out of time. I see from the comments that others have done their harvest and had great results. I was in Door County judging the Junior and Open classes at the fair this past week and they had great garlic too. General entries were down this year - for example we had no potato entries in any class! The best thing at the fair were the chickens. I had wanted to see adult Australorp chickens and I sure did. There were rooster, hens, and pullets and those are big chickens. The roosters at the fair were HUGE. As a reminder, Australorps were the variety that I got as chicks and had to give up on this year.

Cucumbers and more tomatoes (slowly) are on the menu along with a few heads of garlic and some of the shallots. The broccoli should start to head up and at last the melon plant in the greenhouse has set female flowers. So I pollinated as many as have bloomed this week. I hope they take.
Happy Gardening