Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Garden Harvest for May 29th, 2012.

Our garden is coming along very well in it's vegetable and berry growth. The raspberry canes are loaded with berries in various stages of maturity. I anticipate a much better raspberry harvest than the one we had last year, although it wasn't bad. The blueberries have almost all turned from green to a reddish blue hue. It's time to get the bird netting in place in order to protect the berries.

We picked another three tomatoberries this week. Soon there will be more since many of the small tomatoes are already greenish orange and will soon be red.

We picked our first sweet banana peppers this week. These three weighed two and a quarter ounces.

Now we come to one of my favorites, the Fortex green beans. This was the first picking for this year and we were fortunate enough to get five pounds of them! We'll cook some of these and also make some pickled dilly beans.

This week I'll be planting some bouregard sweet potatoes as an experiment. Currently I have them suspended in jars of water so the slips will grow, but they aren't doing as well as I had hoped. While there is no dramatic growth of the slips, seven of the eight potato halves have wonderfully healthy roots growing into the water. The one that isn't doing well is in the one jar that when I was changing the water using bottled spring water, I ran out, so I used tap water in that last jar. Now that potato is very soft and appears to be rotting. I also noted that the water in all the other jars is crystal clear, and the bad jar's water is so murky that you cannot see through it at all. Kind of makes you wonder about the tap water. Anyway, I'm going to plant the seven good halves of sweet potato right into the garden soil, and not just the slips alone. We'll see how they do.

As I walk through the garden, I can see what appears to be dozens and dozens of beautiful rich green tomatoes. However, in with these beautiful plants are four or five that are having some problems. Surprisingly, three of those plants are Celebrities.  I chose Celebrity because of their disease resistance. Three plants being stricken by disease isn't a good ratio seeing that I only have fourteen of the Celebrity variety. I don't know that I'll select that as one of my favorites for next year's planting.

The miniature yellow pear tomato plants in the half-barrel are loaded with blossoms. I can hardly wait until we can start picking those tasty treats!

That takes care of this week's gardening information from our back yard organic vegetable garden.

I hope everyone is doing well with their gardens!

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Monday, May 21, 2012

Harvest Monday for May 21st, 2012.

We have a harvest for today's post! Although it is small, it is a harvest nonetheless and we're grateful for it.

Our tomatoberry plant has provided two pretty little tomatoes weighing a total of 3/4 of an ounce. More are on the way for next week.

Our Swiss chard is still producing some leaves from plants that aren't going to seed. I picked 12 ounces of it for this week's harvest.

For those folks that have been following my attempt to overwinter giant marconi pepper plants, the trial is over. The plants weren't doing anything even though the roots and interior of the stalks of the ones I inspected earlier in the year were a healthy green. I pulled another test plant this week, and it came out without any effort. The roots had rotted. So I'm tilling up the soil there and planting a fresh batch of marconi pepper plants in their place.

That concludes the harvest report for this week. I would like to share with you that I am very happy with the number and size of green tomatoes coming along, as well as the green bean and lima bean blossoms all over the vines! I hope everyone is having great progress with their crops this year!

Be sure to visit DaphnesDandelions for more exciting gardening experiences in a northern growing zone.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Vegetables Are Growing Well In Our Garden.

With the warm days but cool nights, our garden continues to do well for us. The continuous warmth that we need to get the plants growing steadily hasn't quite gotten here yet. Nevertheless, things are growing nicely for us.


The tomatoberry plant is doing well. That one is almost ripe enough to pick! I can't wait for our first tomato of the year!

Half of the heritage red raspberries are growing very nicely. The other half has some type of issue and isn't growing nearly as fast, so I'm sending off a soil sample to the Cooperative Extension for an analysis to see what we need to do to get them going properly. Yesterday, our granddaughter Celie picked the first four red raspberries for this year from our garden. She really enjoyed them and we enjoyed watching her eat them up.

The yellow pear tomato plants are doing very well with good growth and many blossoms.

The sweet golden bell pepper seeds that my mom gave me from her seed collection from last year are very healthy looking. I was considering that I may have too many plants in this half-barrel, but I'm not sure if I want to disturb them to transplant a few. I'm thinking about that for awhile.

These are some of the feverfew flowers that grew from a root that mom gave me last year. The bees and butterflies really like them, so I hope they spread like wildfire!

The following are some pictures of some of my blueberry plants. All are doing very well, and it won't be long before I'll have to put up the bird netting to protect them.

Here are a couple of shots of the onion flowers in the process of developing seeds.

They sure are beautiful and look quite exotic.

The glenora seedless grapes continue to fill out even with the cool evenings. There are hardly many leaves on the vines, but these grapes sure seem to want to grow!

These are the black beauty eggplants we're growing this year. The plants aren't even a foot tall, but the development of the eggplants has begun.

The ruby red Swiss chard is still growing to produce seed for us. This particular stalk is five feet tall!

This is our asparagus bed. I just spread four inches of compost on top of it to keep the weeds down. The crowns were two years old already, so with this being their third year of existence, I'm hoping to have some asparagus next year. I admit that it is hard to plant something that takes so long to produce, but I know it will be worth the wait!

Beans, beans, beans...

We have nine rows of beans this year. Six rows of Fortex green beans, and three rows of willow leaf Lima beans, or baby butter beans.

This is my first attempt to grow willow leaf pole Lima beans. In the past years, I grew Henderson Baby Butter Beans, but each year I lost the majority of the crops to rot and bugs. This year I decided to try the pole version so the beans will stay off the ground and I'll be able to find them more easily.

Both types of bean are growing pretty good right now. I did have to resow about a third of the rows because the chilly night air returned, and I think that did them in. Thankfully, we're past that point now.

You can see all the blossoms on these Fortex bean vines. We'll have a good harvest this year. Last year I canned 94 quarts of green beans from my garden. Just think... that used to just be lawn that I mowed. I like using the area this way much, much better!

You can see that the vines for both the Fortex beans and the willow leaf pole beans are steadily reaching for the sky. Tomorrow morning I'll take the long vines and braid them into the fence material.


The tomato plants this year have quite an abundance of blossoms on them! I hope they all develop into beautiful tomatoes.

We're keeping our fingers crossed for a good crop.

I wanted to share some pictures of the tomatoes that are forming on the vines we have. They're really looking good!

This year we have plenty of tomato plants. We have 27 La Romas, 9 Park's Whoppers, 14 Celebrities and one tomatoberry. Fifty-one tomato plants in all.

Last but not least, in addition to the garden growing, Molly is also growing... quickly! She now weighs 39 pounds at just three and a half months old! What a smart, sweet puppy and great addition to our family! She chased her first squirrel the day before yesterday. YAY!


That finishes up this garden update from our back yard organic vegetable garden. I hope you found it interesting, and I hope it encourages someone to start or expand their garden. Why not do it this year?

Have a wonderful vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Here's How Our Garden is Doing Today.

Sorry that I haven't posted for a little while, but we had a family crisis come up and it needed to get resolved. This time of year we aren't having many harvests, but there's plenty of activity in our garden just the same.

Remember those shallow "diggings" we had a problem with a few posts ago? We're attributing that to raccoons. A couple of nights after those holes appeared, our puppy Molly brought it to our attention that there were three raccoons raising a ruckus in our neighbor's tree, having probably climbed over the intertwined branches of the maple tree in our back yard to their pecan tree. It was apparently a raccoon love triangle. The way reality shows are popping up, it may be made into a new series!

No additional holes have appeared since then.

A big change in our garden is the addition of our Jersey Giant asparagus bed on April 29th in the west plot. I put it in the area I used to use as a turn around space for my large tiller. Since I have the small Mantis tiller I don't need to use that area for turning the big tiller around. It's twenty feet long with sixteen healthy asparagus roots properly positioned in a trench and covered up. I have enough space so that the row can expand to be five feet wide. As hoped for, the new shoots soon popped out and I covered them with soil blended with cured compost, filling the trench completely and then some, in order to have it shed some of the rain water they will get in order to prevent rotting.

Here are some pics of our Fortex green bean vines. Even with the alternating chilly nights and warm days, these seem to be doing well!

The tops of some of the vines are already reaching for the sky... a welcome sight!

Here are a couple of Park's Whopper tomatoes hidden in the vines.

Here are a couple of La Roma paste tomatoes shaping up nicely. Actually there are three now that the picture is larger.

Here is a shot looking down into one of the tomato cages I made from "field fencing". As you can see in the area surrounding the cage, with the family issue that came up I haven't had time to mini-till. That's going to take place this week!

Here are some absolutely delicious Tomatoberries. We grew these in a container in 2010 and from one plant, we harvested 342 tomatoes weighing in at 5.42 pounds. We bought what was supposed to be a Tomatoberry plant from a nursery center this past year, but it didn't even come close in appearance, taste or production. What a disappointment that was!

Here are six little Yellow Pear tomato plants in a half-barrel. They are delicious and contain lower acid than regular small tomatoes.

Here is a look at the heritage raspberries we have growing between the house and the concrete driveway. They're doing great!

Here are some sorrel plants my mom gave me three years ago. Winter or summer, they still produce.

This is some two year old horseradish growing in a half-barrel. It spread so much when it was in the ground that I put it in a barrel to control it!


Here are some pictures showing the anticipated yield from our blueberries.

I can hardly wait!

Here are the seeds still on the butter crunch lettuce plants. They resemble dandelion seeds that blow away in a puff.

The grapes are forming even after the chilly nights! See the cold damage on the leaf below the center of the picture?


Here is a picture of the Swiss chard that has gone to seed and you can see the butter crunch lettuce plants in the left top corner. The green Swiss chard plant at the far right in the picture is fifty-three inches tall!

Here is a close-up of the celery plant that is flowering in preparation for developing its seeds.

Green Onions.

These are the green onions I bought at WalMart last year. After using the green scallions I planted the bulbs last spring. I picked scallions all year and this year it went to seed.

Beauregard Sweet Potato Slips

I read up on how to produce sweet potato slips and I decided to give this a try. These sweet potatoes came from North Carolina, and I found them here at a local family farm stand less than six miles from our house.

I must have just bought them at the right time. Ten hours after I put them in the water this growth appeared. It hasn't continued at that rate, however.

That does it for catching up on current garden activities at our house. I hope the warm weather continues to stick around and not confuse the vegetables with these cold snaps.

Thanks for visiting and I hope everyone is having great success with their gardens this year!

Have a wonderful vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK