Thursday, July 31, 2014

Midsummer update

It's a good time to check the progress of the vegetable garden this time of year.  Some plants have been harvested and are drying (garlic, onions), some are nearly finished (brassicas) and this year anyway some plants have barely started producing (eggplant, peppers, and okra).  The early potatoes (Irish Cobbler) are out while the Red Pontiacs will likely come out in a week or so.  And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the winter squash will successfully ripen - it looks like a good year.

Ruby Ring onions sun-drying.

I don't plant crops for fall.  Not because I don't want to but because the trees to the south shade the garden too much in the fall.  Just not enough sunlight.  So from here on out it's essentially a winding down process.  I'm just going to go around the beds and show what's going on here.  Every year is different.

It looks like there are plenty of tomatoes.  There's one cage of slicers and two cages of sauce tomatoes, with two plants in each cage.  This is a really bad year for leaf blight and I don't expect much to be left come September.  But there will be quite a few for the next few weeks.  Yesterday I canned 5 pints of salsa and hope to can another batch in a few days.  I'm sold on the sauce tomatoes for canning.  The eggplant in front is in terrible shape.  I let the flea beetles get a good start and finally sprayed them with pyrethins.

This is unusual.  The Provider beans that I planted in mid-May are producing a second flush of beans.  Usually the bean beetles infest the plants after the first bearing and I rip the plants out to deny the beetles their food source.  This year, no beetles, so I let the plants stay. There won't be as many beans as the first time.

And right next to the beans is a new summer squash plant.  If it looks like it will start growing strongly then I will pull out the other one and let the sweet potatoes take over the space.  I can do without summer squash for a while.  Because the squash is a big plant it's easy to forget that it will mature faster than a bush bean, so it really can be succession planted. There's also a lone cauliflower plant, the last cole crop.

As for squash, the two Teksukabotu winter squash have run amok.  I let them send runners down the back side of the trellis into an area near the pond that is nearly devoid of topsoil.  There's a number of nice squash ripening up.

Inside the bed are also two butternut squash and one Honeybear acorn squash.  There are a number of butternuts forming up.  So far no squash bugs.  It looks like the long winter suppressed them as well as the bean beetles.

I planted two Silver Queen okra in the "barrens" near the runaway squash plants. Just dug up a spot of ground, stirred in some compost and planted them.  They would be doing better in the beds (last year they got nearly eight feet tall) but it looks like they will provide some okra in this spot.

The new perennial bed is coming along well.  This spring I planted six asparagus roots and now they are getting some size and continue making new shoots.  The strawberries, an everbearer called Tribute, are growing and making a few berries, which are delicious, but the birds are getting a lot of them.  Everything is doing well except the chive plant.  Go figure.

Finally there's the problem bed.  This bed grew spinach and lettuce in the spring.  I added more fertilizer and planted beets, carrots, two okra plants and bunching onions.  Everything looks stunted.  For years this bed underperformed because it was close to a large cherry tree, which although more dead than alive sent its roots into the bed.  The tree was cut down several years ago.  My thought is this bed needs a good infusion of compost.

I don't keep good records of which beds get compost every year and I may have missed this bed last year.   There's a batch of compost in the bin that is hot and working.  After the remaining potatoes are harvested I'll add the leaf mold from that bed into the compost, add some nitrogen and let it work up.  I'll start a new compost pile and let this one finish out.  This compost should be ready to go into the problem bed by first frost.


Mark Willis said...

So the Squash plant that looked nearly dead did recover then? I wish I had space to grow Squashes; trailing over the ground like yours they look so appealing! We made tomato ketchup yesterday with the first big batch of tomatoes (3kg). This way we will be able to enjoy them for weeks or maybe months to come.

Daphne Gould said...

I wish I were getting winter squash. I still have no babies on my vines. They are really late this year. They still have time, but they had better hurry up and start.

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

Mark - I directed some vines from the butternut and Teksukabotu toward the space where the acorn squash was pulled out. They quickly filled the space up. They're squash!

Susie said...

Your winter squash looks fabulous - I've never heard of Teksukabotu, will look it up. I always do butternut and acorn, and have added spaghetti squash for the first time this year. I have always struggled with onions, so envious of yours. They look perfect!

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