Thursday, July 31, 2014

More questions about tomatoes.

I have been meticulously clipping the things I've heard called "suckers," sprigs that come out of the interstice of stem and branch. So, first of all, is this always indicated?

Second, my involuntary experiment. I accidentally removed the topmost sprig (if that's the right word) of the plant, not a sucker! That was two or more weeks ago. The plant is growing, but not at the top. The picture shows broad low branches and no tip. So, how does this work?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Green beans (bush); tomatoes.
Continuing with the beans, here is the other problem: curled leaves. I am thinking some kind of insect infestation, because it's only a few plants that have curled leaves. I can't see any insects, but I'll look again. The small plant in the foreground seems stunted and has leaves that seem curled. These leaves contrast with those of the plant behind it.

Another puzzler, for me, at least, is the uneven twins, triplets, etc.--seeds planted at the same time that grow at extremely different rates. Yes, I planted these seeds at the same time and I have a giant and two runts. Why? How come?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kale; green beans (bush).
Having discharged my inaugural duties (honorably enough, I hope) yesterday, now it's time for some real gardening stuff.

As usual this morning I paid a visit to my veggies. The kale spoke to me loudest. Here is a partial of my kale plantation (two of four containers shown)

I planted these when the weather was cool, and they have given us plenty of good side dishes. But why are the leaves so small? What vermin or varmint chews at it diligently? Why can't I see it? Yes, these pots are in the greenhouse, where it's hot (not a good choice)--they are there because they get irrigated by drip lines... (good enough reason?).

A side thought about kale. It's the vegetable that proves I'm consistent when I say I don't like my veggies overcooked. Say what? Yes, it's the exception that confirms the rule! I steam those suckers into submission for 30 minutes or more. Then I chop them into small shreds. Then I prepare some caramelized onions (ok, it's Nancy does that--I haven't mastered it yet), add some slivers of portobello mushroom, salt, pepper, and sautee the whole thing in olive oil (and sometimes some butter) for another five or ten minutes. Then I add some verdicchio wine (other white wines will do), cover the pan, and keeping the flame very low, I let the dish materialize. This is how I turn chewy wax paper into food.

Then the beans cried for help, for two reasons, the first of which I picture  here.

What hurt these leaves? Might the culprit be the hail that occasionally accompanies the monsoon rains common here this time of year? Don't know. Only a few of the plants are so damaged, including one in the greenhouse, which exculpates the hail. I haven't googled this yet; maybe I should ...
This is all for today. Gotta run.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Still just starting.
Still today, July 28, 2014. Invigorated and encouraged by the First Comment, here is a picture of Nancy's yurt. In our yard, just east of the herb garden...

Just starting a blog.
I have decided to try to post some pictures of my garden so friends can help me with common issues such as how to improve the compost; how to detect and treat pests, fungi, viruses ...

July 7. This is a partial view from the south of my the Vegetable Penitentiary (Nancy's nickname for my garden). You can see my squash (4 varieties) and lemon cucumbers in the easternmost three rows; the young peach tree (which has produced no fruit to date); the sunflowers and marigolds (north edge of the garden); and two rows of bush beans. In the background you can see my little greenhouse.

July 28. This is what the Penitentiary looks like today. The rhubarb in the foreground obstructs the view of some of the beans. The sunflowers are over 8 ft tall; the marigolds 3 ft tall. The squash vines are taking over everything. Too many plants in a small space?

We have other patches. The herb and flower garden is hosting three zucchini plants this summer, and this is a partial view of it. You can see a grape vine (top left), the zucchini (foreground) and, clockwise from the lavender, rosettes, fennel, mint ... This picture was taken three days ago (July 25).

This is the zucchini today: