Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tater Blossom Time

This time of year, when it (FINALLY!!!) gets hot, the garden explodes. I took these pictures late last week, and worked in the garden this past weekend, getting rid of the few weeds there were, and trellising plants. I could swear that the tomato plants grew 3 or 4 inches last week, and there were a few baby beans on the pole bean plants. Even with the cold, wet July, there is hope that August's warmth will bring bounty to the garden.

I also checked my tomato, pepper, eggplant, tomatillo, and potato plants for late blight. (Luckily, all I found was the occasional dead leaf, and a bit of bacterial speck, which happens when mud splashes up on the leaves after a heavy rain.) They are all in the same family, and, while all might not be susceptible, I am a bit concerned about it, since I read an interesting article here about its prevalence this summer. If you weren't aware, late blight is the same fungus that caused the Irish Potato Famine back in the 19th century. These days we have fungicides and a good understanding of the disease's life cycle, but if you are a first-time gardener, it could be devistating, both to your plants and to your hobby. If it hits your garden, hopefully this article will help you to understand what's going on and what to do, and remember, life will go on next year! This is a bad weather year - they aren't all like this.

Garden on 7/29/2009.

The potatoes in their barrels, dirt has been added to the tops. They are looking terrific - it is a great year for potatoes, as long as late blight doesn't hit!

White potato blossoms on the Kennebec potatoes.

Purple blossoms on the Russian Reds or French Fingerlings (planted together).

Volunteer potato plants in the compost bin - last year, we got one that weighed a pound out of the compost. If my barrels don't work out, I might just dump my seed potatoes in the bin next spring!

Cherry tomatoes "Tomacchio" from the "ringer" plants - we've had a steady supply and have harvested about 2 pounds from them so far. They aren't as tasty as the heirloom tomatoes, but still tastier than those from the grocery store!

Brandywine tomato - ripened very quickly after this picture was taken. I hope this plant produces more. This was also a "ringer" plant.

Eggplants are growing, not as quickly as I'd like, but there is still time for them to catch up.

Peppers are also growing slowly.

The tomatillo plants are doing well and have many flowers. I need to trellis them better - I think I'll use rags from an old t-shirt to gently tie them to the bamboo stakes.

My pole beans have gone crazy. On the left and in the back on the right are Fortex and Marvel of Venice, both of which take about 60 days to produce, and in the foreground on the right are Red Noodle, which are 85 day producers. We ate a couple of baby beans off the vine on Saturday, and were they tasty.

Bean blossoms - I love the shape and promise.

One cucumber plant is starting to run. I'm lucky to work at a place that has an abundance of veggies, since my cukes never do too well. Working at Johnny's certainly keeps me in pickles.

I planted Nasturtiums under the trellises - they are doing very nicely.

The first Zephyr summer squash was picked on Saturday, and sauteed Sunday - delicious. I always plant this colorful variety.

One of the squash blossoms was just loaded with bees - a couple flew out before I snapped this shot. It's nice to see honeybees around again!

The garlic is just about ready to harvest. I spoke to Mike Brown, owner of a local farm and a product manager here at Johnny's, and he said a good tip for garlic harvest is to leave a couple of scapes on your plants - once they uncurl and point straight up, the garlic is ready to harvest. Saturday two scapes I missed were pointing up, but one was still curved over, so I think I'll harvest this coming weekend.

A volunteer tomato plant among the garlic. I never have the heart to kill them - and it has blossoms. It will be interesting to see what variety this is. I grow mostly heirlooms, so I am hoping its from one of those plants. Apparently this is the peril of not getting your compost bin hot enough (as are the potatoes growing in it!)

The shallots are ready to harvest, also - once their leaves lie down, they have stopped growing and are ready to pick.

The onions are growing strong. I'm hoping the get some size to them, but they might not, since I planted kind of late.

The sweet potatoes are vining - once the garlic is up, I'll train them over to that area.


tj said...

...Garden is looking great! I love the landscape fabric/black plastic? idea altho' it isn't earth friendly. I did the solarizing of a pumpkin patch this past Spring/Summer with plastic and felt pretty bad when I rolled it up and tossed it in the trash can. I will resort to newspaper and straw mulch from now on...

...This is our first year using the square foot gardening method with raised beds and I'm afraid I overkilled our garden with manure and topsoil. Our tomatoes are stunted as well as peppers and cukes. I didn't know that could happen but once again, gardening has taught me another lesson...(it seems the lessons are never-ending around here:o)lol

...Thanks for sharing your lil' piece of heaven!

...Blessings... :o)

the webmaster at Johnny's Selected Seeds said...

Thank you TJ!! And you're welcome!!

I tried the biodegradable mulch we sell, but it did not hold up to the spring winds (see a previous post). I will use this year's garden fabric a couple of times, anyway. I don't like to throw it away, either. I've thought about the lasagna garden concept with newspaper and other composts; maybe next year (or the year after).

If you got a lot of water and cool weather in your area in July, it might be that stunting your plants. They should take off in the warm sunny weather. If that isn't the problem, well, I sympathize - my dad overfertilized and killed some of his beans earlier this year. (Then the woodchuck got the next batch, but that's another story).

Good luck - hope your garden takes off for you.