Monthly Archives: August 2010

Friday PhotoEssay

Are you surviving the heat? I’m going to be taking off next week and heading to northern WI and southern MN, where the high temperatures are supposed to be in the 70s! Of course then I’ll be back here the following week and the 90 degree temperatures will feel hot again. I’ll probably post a few things of horticultural interest while I’m off gallivanting…we’ll see what there is to see.

I love growing radishes. They are all about instant gratification! You can’t get much more instantly gratifying for a vegetable gardener than to plant seeds on Tuesday morning and be able to take pictures of the seedlings by Friday morning. We have seedlings growing of the ‘April Cross’ Daikons, the ‘Green Meat’, ‘Red Meat’, and Mantanghong radishes. No sign of beets or carrots growing yet, but if they are going to grow, I would expect to see them coming up in the next several days.

Look what we found hanging out in our pepper plants! Isn’t it cute? I really love hornworms…well, if I find them before they can do major damage. You can really see the little hairs on his back, the suction cups on his abdomen, and his pointy little feet.

Sorry, I just had to indulge in another hornworm picture, especially since you couldn’t see his horn in the other picture.

We have a couple really nice (but still green) Brandywine tomatoes on our plant. I think we have a total of 3 fruit set on our plant…at least that’s all I’ve found so far in our tomato vine jungle.

The ‘Sunbelt’ grape is ripening and hasn’t yet been attacked by robins. From this picture, you can almost pretend that it’s in a huge vineyard, rather than the Demonstration garden!

Don’t those grapes look luscious and delicious?

Have a great weekend!

More Melon Mania

What can I say? Sometimes alliteration just gets the best of me.

So I was out wandering around the garden this morning, when I noticed that our ‘Honey Bun’ cantaloupe was looking decidedly riper than it had just 2 days ago. After another loop around the garden, I went closer to see how the stem looked – if it was ready to “slip” or not. To my surprise, I found the melon already completely detached from the vine! Sure enough, the stem had pulled off completely. That makes this melon literally “falling off the vine ripe.” Since a melon doesn’t take kindly to sitting out in the hot sun, boiling from the inside out, it has now been added to the menu for Lunch in the Garden tomorrow, along with the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. Yum! (By the way, I think Lunch in the Garden will actually be Lunch in the Ingle Room tomorrow. Even I have limits of what I’ll tolerate!)

Here’s the stem end of the melon. You can see that there is a well defined dish where the stem was attached, showing that it really was ripe and not just pulled off early. The spot in the center is actually a little cavity into the melon itself, which is rather strange. I don’t know if that is an abnormality of this particular variety or something else weird happening. It definitely isn’t normal.

From the inside, you can see that it is thoroughly ripe. The rind is narrow, which is good. The seed cavity is a little bit bigger than ideal, but not terrible. Of course, what really counts is the flavor. I would call it good, but not great. It doesn’t lack flavor, but it isn’t as sweet as I think a really good melon should be. It is entirely possible that we have been watering too much, preventing the development of the best possible flavor.

Fall Veggie Video

Just in case you are tired of reading what I write about vegetables, now you can listen to me ramble about them too! Here’s a video that just got edited and posted by our K-State Research & Extension Communications folks.

If you want to watch more videos of me (or other Extension folks) talk about a wide variety of different aspects of gardening, you can check out the KSRE YouTube Channel, especially the Kansas Healthy Yards Playlist.

The Melon Saga Continues…

Today was an exciting day in the Demonstration Garden! We not only finally did some of our fall planting (we’ll see how that goes for us in a couple weeks), but we got to harvest our sole, lonely watermelon.

After some deliberation, we decided that we should pick it, as it fits the standards for watermelon ripeness. The little tendril by the stem had turned brown and dry. (Can you see it? It’s there by the top of the melon.) There was also a yellow patch on the bottom. Or on the top rather, when you turn it over. Since it was the only melon, it was rather scary to pick it because if it wasn’t ripe, then we would be out of luck!

Happily, we were in luck! If anything, the watermelon was slightly over-ripe. It was sweet and juicy, and perfect for eating on a hot summer morning. As you can see, it was quite seedy, which we aren’t used to anymore with all the seedless watermelons in the grocery stores. Still, if you want to grow a watermelon and you don’t have much space, this is a fun melon to grow.

Family of 4 Garden Harvest

8 oz. cherry tomatoes @ $0.25/oz =$2.00

1.8 lbs. tomatoes @ $2.00/lb = $3.60

1 cucumber @ $0.75/each = $0.75

Weekly Total = $6.35

Yearly Total = $186.58

Plants That Keep On Going

I think the heat has sapped any intelligent gardening thoughts clean out of my head. Or maybe it’s that there isn’t much exciting/blog-worthy happening in the Demonstration Garden right now. In fact, I really wasn’t expecting to see much in the garden this morning other than scorched plants that are waiting for cooler weather, like we all are. However, there were a couple of surprises!

Last Monday we were bemoaning the loss of one of our not-yet-ripe cantaloupes. Today I saw that a new one had gotten started completely unnoticed! I knew the plant was still flowering, but I didn’t think it was really going to set any more melons on the small vines. (Even though, really, we have 4-5 plants growing, since we didn’t thin them out. Each plant should have at least one melon.) The ‘Honey Bun’ cantaloupe definitely wins an award for thriving in the heat, and in a small area too!

And then there was this little guy. I’m not positive that this tiny melon is actually thoroughly pollinated and going to make it, but so far so good. Yet another sign that cantaloupe really do love hot weather! Notice the nice green leaves with no sign of scorch. Quite impressive.