Thursday, 14 July 2011

Garden update...

The hot weather has set the garden to growing.  Last year our tomato plants were huge, green vines with little fruit which then got attacked by blight.  Apparently blight is an issue in this area.  I had planted the tomatoes in the new garden, which was heavily mulched and probably nitrogen heavy due to the loads of composting leaves and grass clippings.   This would have resulted in the massive amount of green growth with little fruit.   I moved the tomatoes to the old garden this year.   I lightly composed it before I planted the seedlings and have heavily mulched it with straw.   I worried that the plants were hardly growing, but most of them have started to catch up.  Next year I'll remember to provide early protection; planting them under plastic or insulated in some way.    There are 4 different varieties of tomatoes - a small fruiting hybrid which has mega disease tolerance, including some blight resistance.  It's fruits are bigger than cherry or grape tomatoes, but smaller than regular tomatoes.  There are plum tomatoes for freezing and canning, orange and sweet 100's cherry type tomatoes for general salads and out of hand eating.   We'll see what happens this year.  They are well spaced for air circulation in order to combat disease and I'm hoping the straw mulch will have a 2 fold benefit.  First of course is helping keep the weeds down.  The second is that disease like blight are supposed to be soil borne, and splashing of the dirt on the leaves helps cause it.  By putting a heavy layer of straw down, I'm hoping that the soil won't splash on the leaves, thereby helping the plant avoid soil borne diseases.

In previous gardens, the only peppers I've had do well, were some hot peppers which were purchased by accident.   I'd tried them covered with a makeshift plastic dome and they did fantastically.   This year, I planted 2 types of peppers - sweet yellow banana peppers and a shorter season sweet pepper, which unfortunately happened to be yellow as well.   I'd forgotten that when I purchased the banana pepper seedlings.  I was going to put them all under plastic, but just after I'd planted, there were a couple of days of hot, hot, dry weather, which stalled my doing so.   The weeks of cool, wet weather right after slowed things down, but I think the plants are catching up.   The banana peppers are loaded with fruits and the other peppers have just started flowering!

The peas are almost done fruiting.   I've had a tasty snack every day for a week and a half.  Yesterday there were enough ready to harvest to add to a tasty bulgar salad for dinner.   I shelled over a cup of fresh peas, which were so yummy.

The Scarlet Runner beans are flowering.   The yellow pole beans are about to flower and the regular green pole beans are slightly behind that.   There are only a few yellow beans because the wild beasties seemed to enjoy feasting on the seedlings as soon as they were sprouting.

The first zucchini should be ready to harvest soon.   I hand pollinated it just to be certain.  :)   The cucumbers have started producing as well.  These are regular old Straight Eight's, a reliable standard.  The fruit will take a bit more time to mature though, since it's a regular old slicing cucumber and nothing fancy or special. 

The rest of the garden is doing just as nicely.   The beets are growing well.  We might have some carrots too.  The potatoes should be ready to harvest in a few weeks and the garlic is almost ready to dig up and dry.   The early lettuce I planted has been delicious.  We've eaten salad almost every day.  I'm amazed that it still isn't bitter or going to seed although the second crop is growing.   We've harvested more arugula from that and the lettuce may be ready to start harvesting next week.   We've eaten radishes (daikon yum), fresh onions and will harvest some Swiss chard for dinner tonight.  Since I didn't have any Swiss Chard seeds and there were none available when I looked for them, I've no idea how it got there.  However I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth - we'll eat it anyway, despite my not planting it and it being in not quite the spot that I'd have chosen.


suzibee said...

There's a nice variety in your garden. One of these days I must find some straw bales when I'm out & about.

Leigh said...

Oh, your garden looks so good! Isn't it fun when things volunteer like your Swiss chard?

I'm having issues with blight this year, so appreciate the tips. Not much hope for my current plants, but I definitely need to take measures in the future.

Woolly Bits said...

I think I live in the country that invented blight:)) tomatoes only grow inside here, and if the air is too muggy, we immediately get blight:(( so I keep them in pots and tubs in the front and back porch - the only place where it's warm enough, but not too muggy! zucchini on the other hand grow like mad in the tunnel - I've never bothered with pollination, we have too many of them anyway:))
happy gardening - at least you've got summer weather right now! we are still at 13 or 14 C and rain:(( could do with your socks, when they're finished:))