Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Second Crop Veggies Are Growing!

The butter beans I planted on August 11th are doing fine. I expect to see blooms within a week to ten days.

The snap beans are doing very well. Many are climbing on the fence material already. As you can see, the weeds are popping up quickly, but it has rained twice in the last two days, so it's too wet to till. In another day or two, I'll be tilling between the rows. These are the same rows that practically didn't have ANY weeds when the beans blocked out the sun from hitting the soil. Look at the difference the sunlight makes when it hits the same undisturbed soil. Weeds are popping up like crazy! Especially the nut grass. What a pain. But, there are still no synthetic chemicals in my garden, nor will there be. Even my weeds are organic.

The butternut Squash is coming in strong, even though it has to compete with the nut grass.

Broccoli is just coming up in the west field. It's a cool weather crop, so it will be fine with the weather in the winter months. I had it last year and it made it through the snows we had.

When I was tilling up the garden, I ran over a yellowed cucumber and it got chewed up in the tines of the tiller. I thought it would just decompose into the soil because it was juicy and spoiled, but look at the cucumber plants that sprang up from it! Even though they are in between the rows I have planted, I'm not going to pull them out. I'm going to put a couple fence posts in there, hang some fence material, and let them grow up for another harvest of cucumbers. Why not? They're already established, so I'm not going to disturb their progress. I may as well take advantage of having them growing.

The carrot seed that I planted in the container that had the tomato berry plant in it is germinating nicely. When the plants get large enough, I plan on thinning them by harvesting the small carrots so the others can grow larger. I hope that works.

The Sugar Pumpkins have almost all germinated. I'm planning to put these where some of the tomato plants are. I'll be taking out 36 tomato plants next week, so there will be plenty of room for everything.

The burpless cucumbers have almost all sprouted. When I was planting these I didn't know I would have more cucumbers reseeding themselves in the west field. If they all produce well, I'll take the excess to the Oasis Social Ministry on High Street and they can use them to feed the hungry folks. They do a great job there taking care of the less fortunate. I wish everyone would support them, and places like them. With the economy the way it is, look at all the people who have become "the less fortunate". If we were in their shoes, we would be wishing someone would help each of us. We all know that's true, even if we don't say it out loud. When I have enough extra, I also take some of my produce to a family shelter downtown for women and children. Remember, "There but for the Grace of God, go I."

My Bouquet Dill in the two containers has sprung up again by itself, much to my surprise. I had some stalks left standing, and they were turning from brown back to green. I figured I would strengthen the roots if I cut them back, so that's what I did. However large these grow during the remainder of the warm season, I'll be taking the containers into my shop out of the weather for the winter. Then we'll see what they do early in the spring. I may harden them off by taking them out during the day, and bringing them back inside at night. That way they will get a head start next year.

I have 43 of these little 3 ounce Dixie bathroom cups with broccoli seeds in them, waiting for germination. One has come up so far, but it's still early. When I take out the plants to put them in the garden, I'll save the cups for re-use, and recycle the broken ones.

The beets are coming in pretty slowly, but at least they're growing. I had a terrible beet crop last year. Out of a 20 foot long row, I only got one beet. The tops made up okay, but the bulbs just didn't form.

In the middle of this weed patch is one Virginia Brand peanut plant with the oval leaves and the seam down the center. I was hesitant about pulling the weeds because I might ruin the peanuts that are growing in there with them. When the peanut plant dies, then I'll dig up the peanuts and get rid of the weeds. This plant is from the seeds harvested from plants that I grew last year. I got the seeds for them from the Chippoakes Plantation Park in Virginia during an exhibition of an antique peanut harvester. The Chippoakes machine operator gave me a few of the actual Virginia Brand peanuts that had been grown there, and I planted them last year. This year I'm able to give the plant a full growth period, as last year, I obtained the seeds so late in the season, most of the seeds (peanuts) weren't developed enough to be used as seed material.

During the composition time of this post, conditions became favorable to till in between the snap bean rows. It came out pretty good.

After tilling the bean rows, I fertilized them with this organic fertilizer. I also used several Garden Tone organic fertilizers for specific vegetables, and I am happy with all the results and would recommend them. I have been getting mine for several years from Norfolk County Feed & Seed on Airline Boulevard. They have a great selection of plants and materials, and a knowledgeable and friendly staff to help you with your questions.

After rubbing the dried petals off the sunflower heads, this is what they look like. It makes you think of a bee honeycomb, since it is so uniform.

After "air sifting" the sunflower seeds and associated debris, my wife and I ended up with 1 and 3/4 pounds of sunflower seeds. What I call "air sifting" is to pick up handfuls of the seed and debris while in front of a strong fan, and slowly sift the material through your fingers, dropping it back into the holding container. Doing this over and over lets the fan blow away the small debris and empty seed hulls, leaving you with a pretty clean accumulation of sunflower seed.

My grape vines are looking great towards the end of summer. With all these vines looking so healthy, I am hoping that the root system has developed the same way. That will be critical for next year's grape harvest, which should be a good one. These plants are now a full three years old and should start producing normal quantities of grapes.

My horseradish plants are beginning to fade as they prepare to go dormant for the winter. When the leaves are all turned brown and dry, I will dig the roots up for preparing more horseradish. It's delicious with hard boiled eggs, among other things.

The Chayote plant, or vegetable pear, is growing pretty good, but I'm having my doubts that it will produce fruit this year. It has things on it that look like they may be blooms forming. Only time will tell on this one.

I didn't include photos of some of my plants because they are currently so small. In flats and starting pots, I am growing chives, leeks and sweet fennel. They are some of the replacements for the space the tomatoes are occupying now.

Happy Gardening for now!

Veggie PAK

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