Monday, May 30, 2011

Family Garden: Still Growing!

We had our first day of 100 degree weather this week (it's too early!!!) and that officially ended garden pea season around here. It was just about done anyway, but the pea vines just couldn't take the heat. I'll probably pull them this week.

The attack by the caterpillars on the broccoli has definitely slowed this week and I've been picking them off whenever I see them, which I think is helping. My tomato and pepper seeds have all sprouted and are growing and the melon plants are happily getting bigger as well. There are also flowers on my bush bean plants!

One issue I did see that concerns me is that it looks like the stalk to my zucchini plant might be rotting right where it comes out of the dirt. There are lots of flowers on the plant itself, so maybe this isn't a big deal, but I did see some pill beetles and ants coming out of the stalk at the base. Hopefully the plant will make it, there are lots of flowers on it!

Last week's growing zucchini was harvested this week and converted into a chocolate zucchini cake, which has been enjoyed by the family. I also got another handful of carrots, which leave a few left in the garden, but not many. Orbit has thoroughly enjoyed eating the carrot tops for me :)

Here are the boxes as of last night:

Box #1:
Box #2:
Box #3:
Here are some other random snapshots for you (because I KNOW you were curious):
Really tall beanstalk (it goes up to the tip of my finger):
Bush Bean flowers!
Recovering Broccoli plant:
Pepper plant:
Tomato seedling:
Honeydew plants:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family Garden: When the Very Hungry Caterpillar Attacks...

AKA: Broccoli Carnage (last week on left, this week on right)

One of the favorite books around our house is the very hungry caterpillar and this weekend made me realize how hungry those little guys can get! They have discovered my giant broccoli plant and almost eaten it to shreds. Apparently I was supposed to put netting over my broccoli plants to keep the butterflies from laying eggs on it (oops). Now, I can't get rid of them. There are thousands of eggs on the plant and lots of caterpillars. I tried spraying them with my homemade pesticide, but that didn't seem to do any good. I like butterflies, but I really was hoping to have some garden fresh broccoli this year...

There is good news. I learned about zucchini flowers this week. I had noticed that several of my zucchini flowers were opening and then just falling off the plant. After researching I found out that there are male and female zucchini flowers and that only the female ones produce zucchini. The male ones are there to provide the pollen for the bees to pollinate the female ones. I went out and looked and sure enough I had two male flowers and one female flowers. The female ones have a little bulb under the flower that becomes the zucchini. Here's what they look like:

Zucchini Flowers

Lo and behold, the next day I saw the female flower close and now we have a good zucchini growing!

Here's the state of the garden as of an hour ago:

Box #1:
Box #2:
Box #3:
Zucchini growing!
This is supposed to be a bush bean plant, but I have a beanstalk growing up my trellis (see below):Pepper plant:
The offender:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Family Garden: Peas & Carrots

This week I've continued to harvest a few more veggies including one large zucchini and a handful of peas. One of the most exciting parts of garden life this week was pulling up some of the carrots! At the end of February, I planted 64 Little Finger (baby) carrot seeds and realized last night I was supposed to start harvesting them after 65 days, which was last week, if I'm counting my days correctly (I forgot to write down when I planted the carrot seeds). Anyway, I guessed that the carrots with the largest tops would probably be ready first, so I pulled a few. The first few were large and good sized, but the next few seemed a bit small still, so I left the others in the garden to grow a few more days. I realized after I picked them that I can dig down a bit and look at the tops of the carrots which will tell me whether or not they are ready to be picked. Good to know for next time. They are very cute, tasty and I will definitely be planting these again. I also harvested a pretty large zucchini, which is destined to become a cake sometime this week.
This Week's Harvest!

Just for kicks, I also planted some honeydew, tomato and bell pepper seeds directly in box #2 of the garden, just to see if they grow any better there. It's most likely too late, but I figured it was worth a try since I already had the seeds and the garden space. There are two honeydew melon sprouts up already!

Box #1
Box #2
Box #3

You can't see it, but the zucchini really does share it's box with a cantaloupe plant and 7 bush bean plants. Thankfully, they are still getting along well together. So that's the state of the garden this are a few shots I took:

California Wonder Bell Pepper:
Zucchini Buds (you can see the small Hoodoo muskmelon aka Cantaloupe plant in the background):
Climbing Peas (three different varieties from L to R: Tall Telephone, Wando, and Lincoln):
Honeydew Sprout:
Gi-normous Romanesco Italia Broccoli Plant:
Top View:
Bush Bean Plants through the Onions:
Pretty water droplet on a broccoli leaf:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Family Garden: Harvests!!!

I apologize for these pictures...the sun was still setting when I had the chance to run outside and snap some pictures, therefore we have some new camera angles this week!

This week was special in that I got to reap my first harvest!! I got seven peas out of that pod and they were the yummiest peas I have ever eaten! Because of this I have officially declared the garden a success! Today, I picked four more peapods which contained 16 peas total and will dine on those peas tomorrow for lunch. YUM! The zucchini plant is working on another zucchini for me, which is great. I can't wait for that one so I can make some yummy baked goods :)

I lost my tomato plants again...I think from here on out I'm going to try planting the seeds directly in the ground instead of transplanting them. That leaves me with a few red onions, and four bell pepper plants in box #2- not a whole lot. I planted three more honeydew melon seeds in that box and two of those sprouted this week, so that's good. I may plant a few more tomato and pepper seeds in the boxes just to see if they grow, I've got plenty of seeds left...

I'm shooting the boxes from the opposite side to avoid shadows, so just know that the plants will be reversed from their usual location. Next week, I'll try to go back to the normal way and get some better pictures.

Box #1:
Box #2:
Box #3:
Here are some other things I saw as I walked around the garden today...

Happy Broccoli Plant:
Cantaloupe Melon Plant:
California Wonder Pepper:
Honeydew melon sprout:
Second harvest!!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Family Garden: Plants are Growing!

The garden this week has grown quite a bit! We had some severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning on Tuesday and I was concerned as to what the garden would look like the next day. The only damage was to my purple broccoli and my honeydew sprout. The purple broccoli looks like it was either shredded by hail or eaten by bet would be eaten by something. The honeydew sprout was snapped in half, so I will need to replant that from seed. I think I'll try putting it in one of the empty squares in Box #2, so it doesn't get shaded by the giant zucchini plant :)

Here's Box #1:
Box #2:
Box #3:
The zucchini looks like it might actually be growing a zucchini, so that's exciting. I've also got quite a few more peapods growing! It's definitely fun to go out there every day and see what's new :) Here are some shots from today:

Zucchini Flower!
Growing Zucchini?
Storm or bug?
Happy Broccoli plant
Carrots and Onions
Pepper plant