I've only had a handful of zucchini so far this year. I'm wondering if the row cover is worth it. I just can't keep the flowers pollinated well and the plants don't grow as well underneath the cover (unlike other plants that seem to thrive under a cover). It won't be long before powdery mildew takes over the plants and they all die off. So do I get a better harvest this way? Or just a later one? Probably the latter. And the cover is a lot of work. I think next year I won't bother.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
One night I went to bed with the knowledge that we would get rain. I was looking at the radar and it was a huge orange wall headed straight for us. How could we not get rain? When I got up and checked my weather station, we hadn't gotten a drop. So I looked at the radar history and saw the storm break up just west of us. That huge orange wall turned yellow then green. Then totally disappeared. No rain for us. So I've been ignoring the forecasts and just watering when it needs it. It isn't worth waiting.
So of course it rained on Sunday, but only a quarter of an inch so I didn't feel too bad about watering. Then Monday hit. We had flooding rains. It was 2" of rain in less than an hour. Then it all cleared out and was just hot and humid. But at least it was real rain. I might water my garden, but I don't water the grass or the foundation plantings or even my landscaped fruit trees. So I still appreciate the rain. And now this week we are going to have four days of beautiful nonhumid dry sunny days and it will get to be about 80F (27C) each day. I live for weeks like this. We haven't gotten much of this kind of weather. It is just perfect for gardening.
Monday, July 28, 2014
The side shoots were fairly decent in size, but they were a bit deformed. On a few of the shoots, the sides were starting to bloom while the middle was still very tight and needed time to mature. I'm guessing the heat is making them bolt as we have had a lot of hot temperatures over the last couple of weeks. The melons are growing like crazy, but the broccoli is not happy. At least I'm getting side shoots. Hopefully this week I'll have another batch. I'd love to have broccoli every week, even twice a week, but I think that may be asking too much.
- Alliums: 3.49 lbs
- Beans: 1.04 lbs
- Broccoli: 0.69 lbs
- Cucumbers 10.83 lbs
- Greens: 4.15 lbs
- Herbs: 0.18 lbs
- Roots: 1.48 lbs
- Squash, Summer: 0.55 lbs
- Weekly Total: 22.41 lbs
- Yearly Total: 189.78 lbs
- Yearly Tally: $74.95
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Summer has hit and summer means peaches. Right now I've been buying them at the store. The New Jersey peaches have been really good. I suspect the farmers market will have them this week too and I'll start buying them there. But of course I want my own peaches. I lost one of my two peach trees last winter. I haven't a clue what killed it. I replaced it with an Elberta Queen. It will be years before I see peaches from that one.
But my other peach tree is just loaded down with peaches. And I thinned about 3/4 of them off of the tree. I've noticed that the squirrels were thinning more of them out. Many a day. So I had to protect it. On Friday I put the netting over. I had a choice of 14'x14' or 28'x28'. The 14' one is too small, but the 28' one is way too big. So there is a lot of extra fabric around the base of the tree.
I thought for sure after the last struggle to get free, he would give up. But this time he leapt and got really caught in the fabric. After five minutes he was still in there. Now I'm not a fan of squirrels by any means. To me they are rats with fluffy tails, but the last thing I want is for the squirrel to die a slow death in my netting. So I went out and had to help him out. He was not pleased by this. Nor was I for that matter. But at least it scared the heck out of him and he left the area for good. I haven't seen any squirrels going for the peaches anymore. I hope it stays that way.
Last year this was the day that I picked my first peach. I won't be doing that this year. They need a little longer. Also I've noticed that the peaches are much, much smaller this year than last year. I wish I knew why. I'm a real neophyte with fruit trees. It can't be water. We have had about 5" of rain in the last month. That ought to be enough. Surely peaches don't mind the heat we have been getting as Georgia comes to mind when you think of peaches and they are certainly hotter than me. Maybe I just need to thin them better. I did leave them a bit closer this year than last.
I also got around to protecting the apples on the trees in the back yard. There are two apples on one tree and seven on the other. So not many. I didn't think they were worth netting the whole tree. So I'm trying to net the individual apples. I'm thinking it probably won't work, but it doesn't hurt to try.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Every morning I go out into the garden to do the chores. The first things I see are the melons and sweet potatoes. They are always trying to escape their beds, so I turn the ends of the plants inwards to keep them under control. Or at least relatively under control. Then it is on to the covered zucchini plants. I lift the covers and fertilize any female blossoms I find. Usually there is one. I haven't been very successful in getting them to set though. Maybe one in three. One more week and the cover comes off. Then the bees can do their work.
The beans are right next to the cucumbers so I check those over and pick any that are big enough. I make sure the asparagus beans aren't being taken over by their more vigorous neighbors. They don't seem to want to branch very much. I do pinch all the beans out when they reach the top of the trellis to get them to branch. But those beans are such slow growers that they have just gotten there. I've also had some rust and some kind of spotting disease. So I ignore the beans when they are wet. And I've been cutting off any affected leaves to try to keep it from spreading. Last year I didn't do this and the rust spread very quickly.
My other patches of corn are getting huge too. And they weren't really protected from the wind. I find that corn falls over easily in my raised beds. So the windward sides of one patch was staked. I don't have enough stakes for all my corn, but if those stay upright, they will protect the other corn from falling. I have one other patch but it is partially protected from a nearby tall row cover so I'm hoping it will stay upright.
And as always I weed when I see them. But occasionally things get out of control - especially under those row covers. Yesterday I decided I HAD to weed the onions. The crab grass was about to bloom and there was a nightshade plant that was huge. I got out the gloves for that one. Some of the crabgrass was close to the onions and was huge. Mostly I could pull it with only minimal disturbance, but one red onion was accidentally pulled. Like the Ailsa Craig onions, the red onions are a bit smaller this year I think. Maybe not though. I'll find out when they are all harvested and weighed as I grew the same amount of each variety this year and last.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I had a bunch of the Copra onions fall down over a week ago in a wind storm. Most places say to harvest a couple of days after the top fall over. UMass Extension service says to have half the leaves dead before harvesting for the best storage. They say they don't cure well if the leaves are too green. So I split the difference. A couple of leaves have died on the bulbs and they have been down for a while now. I'd say this is about 2/3s of my Copras. The others are still standing tall, so I'll leave them alone.
The first curing is in the sun preferably an 80F degree day. Well yesterday it 92F. This can produce sunscald, but waiting longer means another rainstorm they have to go through which could lead to rot. So I did it anyway. I decided this year to try a new way. Last year I'd leave the onions outside on the path for a day or two, then I'd bring them inside to dry. I don't particularly like the constant smell of onions in the house (we don't have a shed big enough for them or a garage like most people would use). And I think the gas they release is bad for my asthmatic lungs. So I wanted a better solution.
I would say this is going to be one of the best years for my Copras. Copra has never been a particularly large onion. Their claim to fame is that they store very well. They are a 3" onion that can get bigger in good conditions. Mine were always lucky to get to 3". This year the bulbs are bigger than usual with many over 3" and I haven't found even one that was starting to bolt. I think the netting over the onions really helped to keep the onion fly from damaging them. I hope that means that they will store better too as I've gotten a lot of random rot in storage in the past. I'm also endeavoring to be as gentle as possible with my onions as dropping them or knocking them around can lead to rot.
In addition to the Copras, I've been harvesting the Ailsa Craig onions as I need them. They are a sweet onion and though they are a good keeper for a sweet onions (about 2 months) I always use them first as they can't store over the winter. They haven't fallen over yet, but the bulbs are big enough. Interestingly I don't think they are getting quite as big as last year. But the taste is a lot better.my refrigerator pickle brine. I like to make up jars of the brine and when the cucumbers are harvested, I can just pop any extra ones I'm not using, into the brine. I decided to make up the brine because as I was setting up the onion drying spot, I had to take down a couple of dill plants. They had huge heads and were just perfect. Now I just need my cucumbers to go crazy. I think they are almost at that point.