Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Report 06.29.10

For the past several weeks, my tomatoes have had blossom end rot. I researched and found out there are several causes: calcium deficiency, too much watering, and too little watering. I only water my plants when they are droopy, and the tomato plants haven't looked droopy in a long time, so that ruled out water issues. I went to Schaffitzel's nursery and the gentlemen there suggested calcium nitrate. There are two methods of application. By the box, mix 1 Tbsp of calcium nitrate to 1 gallon of water; this is enough to water 2 plants. Or, by Schaffitzel's suggestion, sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp of calcium nitrate around each plant and water it in. I chose the second method because I don't keep a gallon container on hand. I applied the calcium nitrate yesterday. Schaffitzel's (I really need to learn this guy's first name) said that if after 7 days the tomatoes aren't better, to apply a second time. If after two weeks, if they still aren't better, apply a third time.

After I did this yesterday, I dreamed last night about a bountiful tomato harvest. Probably because I'm stressing that even after I intentionally planted tomatoes that are ideal for canning, that I might not have enough to can. I'd hate to have to buy tomatoes from the farmer's market to can. But, it's only the end of June, and I don't think I canned tomatoes last year until late July or August.  But.... the tomatoes that will be ready in August are setting on now, so this problem needs to be resolved.

Here's to hoping the dream last night was a sign of a bountiful harvest!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Garden Report 06.23.10

Oh boy, we have produce arriving soon!
This is the same bunch of cherry tomatoes that I photographed last time. None of them have turned yet. But the good news is that none of the cherry tomatoes have blossom end rot. Every other plant-Thessaloniki, Cour di Bue and Amish Paste- have blossom end rot. I read it's due to a calcium deficiency, but can also be caused by inconsistent watering.
This is a different cherry tomato plant, just to give some perspective of how many tomatoes are on one plant.  
Yes, that is a yellow pear tomato you see ripening! I wanted to eat it so bad, but it needs another day, so I'm leaving it alone until tomorrow.
While I was in Utah last week there was a big storm. When I came back on Saturday, the yellow pear tomato plant was lying horizontal, tomato cage and all. I tried staking it with two bamboo stakes and they held for about 5 seconds and then fell over as well. So I found a hammer and a 2x2 stake and showed it who's boss. It seems to understand that I, in fact, am boss!
So I'm not sure which pepper this is. I think it's the Corono de Toro that I bought at Bakersville (Yellow Bull's Horn), but the label stick is gone.
I believe this is the Olena Red pepper.
I know these are Anaheims. I'm trying really hard this year to let some of the peppers ripen to their final color. Usually I try to eat them as soon as they are green and ready, but I'm going to let a few of the Anaheims turn red. 
These are the Cayenne peppers from the MiL. They're her favorite pepper.
Tomatillos! They remind me of chinese lanterns. Next time I'll take a picture from the underside of the husk. It's really crazy how the tomatillos set on. The husks set on first, and get large, and then the fruit enlarges and ripens inside the husk. 
The cucumbers are blooming nicely!
And several cucumbers have set on. These are about 4" long and Marketmore 76 is supposed to get 7-8" long.
Green beans. I had two servings of green beans already this week. Not all of the seeds came up; they are three years old so I wasn't expecting a high germination rate. Next year I'll get new seed and probably plant half of a bed in green beans.
I can't remember if I wrote this last time, but last week before I left for Salt Lake City I came to the horrible realization that I completely forgot to plant zucchini. I didn't even have it in my garden sketch! Luckily, since the carrots and peas are done (and already pulled up and in the compost bin) there was some empty space where I planted several seeds. What you see above is NOT the seeds I planted last week. What you see is a volunteer zucchini that came up out of the compost that I incorporated into the root veggie bed.  
This is a better shot of that volunteer zucchini plant and how it's taking over the bed!

Lastly, one of the hanging planters with borage, dianthus and cardinal climbers. The large leaf plant in the center is borate. The spiny looking leaves are the cardinal climbers. I don't know if the plant to the center left is dianthus or a weed. There are several of them coming up in both planters, so I'm guessing dianthus!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fall Garden 2010 Plans

So I'm a genius. I had a whole fall planting list figured out. I came across it last week when I was cleaning off my desk. I'm pretty sure the list went into the recycling pile (oops) and the recycling was dropped off on Tuesday.

So I'm starting the list from scratch. Lucky for me, I can use the University of Missouri Extension office's Vegetable Planting Calendar as a guide. (It's a downloadable PDF linked on the left side of their website.) Their planting calendar is divided into three zones: North, Central and South Missouri. Although Springfield is geographically located in Southern Missouri, our climate is much like that of North Missouri, due to the Ozark Plateau and such, so I'm listing approximate planting dates for North Missouri in parenthesis.

Green beans (7/25-8/5)
Beets (7/25-8/1)
Carrots (7/20-7/30)
Kohlrabi (7/20-7/25)
Lettuce (8/1-8/15)
Radish (8/1-8/20)
Spinach (7/20-8/10)

Other items to plant this fall, that aren't on their list:
Escarole & Escarole (I'm thinking this can be planted the same time as lettuce and spinach, because it's a green.)
Peas (These get really hot really fast, so I probably shouldn't plant them until September, around the end of the radish planting dates.)

There's no losing this list, unless Blogger decides to delete it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's harvest!

And today we have Parisienne carrots, Chioggia beets, a Golden beet, snow peas and a couple shelling peas (not pictured- I ate them in the garden!)

I was reading an article the other day, or maybe it was Michael Pollan's book Food Rules, that if a person invests $70 into a garden (whether seeds or plants or a combination of), they will reap at least $600 worth of produce during the year. What this means is, if they were to go to the store and purchase everything they'd grown from investing $70, all the store bought produce would cost at least $600! That's crazy!
I think next year, I am going to weigh the produce I get everyday and write it down, and see how much I actually harvest. I know it's always a lot, sometimes I can't even eat it all. But, I'm hoping with my new "food rule" of eating what's in season as it's ready to harvest from my garden, that I won't be putting as much produce in the compost. This will probably help me gauge what I need to plant more and less of. The last two years I had intentions of taking the extra produce to a local food pantry but by the time I would remember to take it, gnats had gotten to them or the veggies had gotten squishy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shingles, and not the kind on houses

Friday morning I woke up with a weird rash on the inside of my left elbow. It looked like poison ivy but didn't itch. (And I hadn't been around poison ivy for almost a year.) It was tender to the touch but otherwise wasn't causing problems.
Sunday, I noticed the skin was very hot around it, and there was a pink patch forming all around the rash.
Monday, it was extremely tender; it touched my clothes when I walked. I decided it was time to call the doctor; I thought it might be a skin fungus from the gym equipment.
I went to the doctor yesterday and he diagnosed me with shingles. He said it is caused by the same virus as chicken pox. After a person breaks out with chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in the body until the person is under intense stress, or until their immune system is compromised. Then it resurfaces as a rash, but not lots of little bumps all over the body. It doesn't resemble chicken pox hardly at all. Instead of itching, it hurts, and not just the casual "hurt". The virus attacks nerves, and sends shooting pains through the rash. My particular rash is causing shooting pains in my left arm and in my neck. It doesn't necessarily have to touch anything to have the shooting pains. I don't even have to be moving for it to hurt.
I was reading about symptoms leading up to a shingles outbreak, and that helped to explain the fever I had the latter part of last week (and still have even though I'm on meds), and the headaches that I had all last week.
Granted, I was under a lot of stress. I started working part time last week, but when I say part time I really mean full time hourly. And I'm still studying for exams. So of course I'm worried about money. The first thing the doctor asked me after checking out the rash was if I was stressed.
The good news is it's only contagious if people in contact with me have never had chicken pox. If they have had chicken pox, nothing will happen to them. But if they haven't had chicken pox, they'll get them from my shingles virus.  Oh, and re-occurrences of shingles are rare. That's also nice to know.
Here's to hoping I don't have any of the adverse side effects of the medicines. They are all pretty scary.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is anyone else drooling yet?

It's summertime, because my garden says so.
This first picture is of a bumble bee, busy pollinating clover.(Having problems seeing it? Look at the flower to left of the middle.)
I've been dreaming of Greek salad ever since I started the tomatoes from seed inside in February. That dream is soon to be a reality!Above, cucumbers have set on.
These are an heirloom tomato, called Black Cherry. As the name implies, they are a cherry tomato that is "black", which is really a dark red-purple.
This is also an heirloom variety. It was free seed sent to me when I ordered the other seeds. It is called Cuor di Bue and is an Italian tomato for fresh eating. I will probably use it for slicing, for Greek salad, and will try canning with it.
Next are Yellow Pear tomatoes. These are the only tomatoes I am growing this year that I didn't start from seed. I forgot to order the seed and by the time I remembered it was April. I was afraid the seedlings wouldn't be big enough to transplant in time, so I bought a single plant from the Ace Hardware down the street. The following photo is also of Yellow Pear; the plant is LOADED with little green tomatoes.
Not all of the tomatoes have set on yet. This is a shot of one of the Amish Paste plants. These are similar to Roma tomatoes and are used for sauces and tomato paste. Lots of flowers = lots of tomatoes = lots of paste and sauce to use in the winter!
This is a kohlrabi plant. They are from the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and the like. It grows above ground, but is a root vegetable. I eat them when they are slightly smaller than softballs. I peel the tough outer skin off and then shave them, or slice them julienne and put them in salads. Very crunchy, the texture of an apple, but the flavor is similar to broccoli.
This is a Chinese Red Meat radish, which is also referred to as a Watermelon radish because when they are sliced the outer edge is pale green and the inside is a vibrant red-pink. They are sweeter than typical radishes and aren't supposed to be eaten until rather large- 4" diameter. Not all of mine have gotten that big because it got so hot. They can also be planted in the fall, supposedly with better results because they have a tendency to bolt.
Last but not least, the Castor Beans. I planted these in with the vegetables. Moles found my raised beds earlier this spring and uprooted a lot of stuff. Mom used to plant Castor Beans to keep moles away, so I'm trying it. They are very poisonous to humans though; the entire plant contains a poison called Ricin which I've seen on a "top 10 deadliest poisons list" in the past.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...