Sunday, July 29, 2012

Harvesting Cucumbers and Beans

Passion flower "Mayhop"

The cotton crop is flowering.

The garlic harvest - about 2wks early.

My squash plants are really vigorous in this new ground.

The dandelion is really an endive.

The hoop house vines.

These Alpine strawberries are an excellent border.

Add to that they are full of berries.

The black fig has a great crop.

My Chicago fig also has set fruit.

Romano vines - but no beans!

The "Earthbox's" with their pepper plants.

Tomatoes soon to be on the harvest list.

Bees are a scarce insect this year - not good.

 The  cucumbers in the garden are really providing a nice daily harvest of 4 - 6 fruits. That is good because the greenhouse plants were done in by the extremely hot weather we had in the last few weeks.  After a while the vegetable bins in the refrigerator are full and friends find bags of cucumbers on their car seats when the come to visit.
The beans are another story.  I planted three varieties and two of them are really bad.  Goldmine, a yellow Romano, is tasteless and a poor producer - not going to get a second try even with the hot weather we have had.  The vines grow vigorously but the beans are poorly formed and raw or cooked they are poor.  The other planting a "Romano" Pole bean that I got from Pinetree, has as the pictures show, grown great amounts of vines but I have yet to see a flower or bean pod - maybe a great plant for making compost but not beans.  My old "No Name" variety that I have saved for years is still by far the best producing and eating bean I have.  So that means I will continue to save my seed and plant that variety and forget others.  So much for experimentation in the bean patch.
We are looking forward to having tomatoes soon as a few Sugary's are showing color.  The cotton is happy for hot weather and rain at last. The garlic is out of the ground and drying in the little house but it seems to be at least two weeks early. Squash vines are really growing and I have started to cut the ends off some of them to encourage better sized squash.  The pop sorghum has started to tassel and I saw one cantaloupe and one watermelon developing on a vine in the old hoop house.  I have a great crop of red stemmed dandelion and it is my favorite part of salads - bitter but really good. 
The yellow Alpine strawberries that were planted last fall have done amazing as the pictures show.  They have made a fine edge and the fruits are really sweet.  I can get a handful at lest twice a week and they seldom make it into the house.  I grew these plants from seed and planted them out last fall and they have really done well.  Remember, Alpines do not make runners but nice bushy plants and I figure I should have a nice edible edge here for at least three years or more.
My passion vine is blooming and I had thought that it had winter killed but the roots had grown next to the house and survived and I have a nice plant and many flowers again this year.  And both fig trees have a good fruit set so figs will be on the menu this fall.
Happy Gardening

Monday, July 9, 2012

Really Hot For So Early In July

This hibiscus is early and should bloom for a long time

I have covered the crown of the squash plant,

....and have covered the vines also.

The cover this year lasted only 10 months instead of 2 yrs.

The garden is mulched and tomatoes MUST have mulch!

These are the red stemmed dandelions - boy do bunnies love these.

I doubt if this pole bean variety will get a second trial.

Luckily, I had enough of my old variety to plant a nice amount.

We have had 90 plus degree days with a couple of 100's on my thermometer.  Tomatoes and cotton love this weather but fruit set on some plants is hampered by these temperatures.  I have snapped suckers on the tomatoes three times now and it seems like every three to four days I have to wrap the vines around the twine or they fall over!  I have fruit set and so I hope to taste tomatoes before August. 

The pole beans have finally begun to climb, but one of the new varieties seems to need more help than pole beans ought to.  The plants are hard wired to wrap around their supports but one just seems to be very bushy and I am helping plants every day - not a normal pole bean job.  I have been taking suckers off the cucumbers.  I think they vine better and start  fruit production earlier as a result.  I do that especially to the plants in the greenhouse as I want only one vine producing as many cukes as possible.  The hot temps have slowed those plants too.  The cucumbers in the garden have provided a harvest today and so we will soon have plenty.

I have had squash vine borers flying for over two weeks and just Sunday I took the Remay cloth off and covered the vines  with compost.  It was time to sift the last of the old compost so I did that and then covered the crowns and part of the vines of the squash plants.  This is to encourage more roots to grow from the nodes on the stems and help two ways - if I do have some squash vine borers this will help reduce their effect and encouraging the vines to grow more roots and allow them to take in more moisture and help pump up my fruits.  I will keep covering the stems with dirt or with mulch to encourage good stem root production.  Don't cover all the vine, but cover at intervals of like - 4 -5 ft while the vines are growing vigorously.  Once they begin to set fruit I will decide how many fruits each vine will have and then cut the vine ends and stop their growth.

Speaking of mulch, the entire garden is mulched - this will help conserve moisture and help with the Purslane growth - boy does that plant love heat.

Sadly I must report that the hoop house cover is no more.  All this hot spring and early summer weather  and intense heat and UV's have totally rotted the cover and it had to be removed before it deteriorated more and broke into little pieces.  The expense of covering the structure every year will cause us to re-think the hoop house and it might be a thing of the past replaced by 4 or 5 cold frames - smaller and more easily managed and planted. 

The season is already advanced in that the annual hibiscus is blooming already as you can see in the photo - this has got to be at least 2 if not 3 weeks early - so maybe I will get a nice watermelon from the vine next to the house.
Happy Gardening