Monthly Archives: May 2011

Squash Vine Borer Monitoring

If you’ve been reading this blog before this year, you’ll know that we try all kinds of things in an attempt to outwit the Squash Vine Borers. This year I’m not sure what all we’re planning to do, but we will be using the monitoring trap again, courtesy of the fine folks in the K-State Entomology Department.

Here’s a look at our fresh trap. The bottom part is covered with sticky glue, and I placed one of the vine borer pheromone lures  in the center.

**IMPORTANT NOTICE** This trap is for monitoring purposes only! It will not get rid of all your vine borers and completely protect your plants.

I decided to put the trap on one of the trellises in our vertical garden for 2 reasons. First, it is the area where we had squash planted last year. Second, it’s where we have squash planted this year. That wasn’t good planning, was it?

Technically, the trap will be next to the beans and melons. However, I think that 4 feet won’t be too far to expect the moths to fly!

I think it has been a little cool to see the moths coming out yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I see the first moth in a trap.

Friday PhotoEssay

We got another 1.25 inches of rain last night and this morning. The garden isn’t quite floating away yet, but I’m not going to complain.

The grapevines are budding and blooming. Of course, they waited until now so that there was a better chance of black rot infection! There’s not any disease on the leaves yet though, so maybe they’ll be fine.

The malabar spinach is germinating. The seedlings look so small and innocuous right now, don’t they. If you’ve never seen this plant grow before – well, stay tuned!

The larkspur have really burst into bloom this week. Most of them are that beautiful purple/blue color, but there are a few lavender and pink flowers in there.

Our potatoes and onions in the Family of 4 Garden are looking really healthy. The potatoes almost look too healthy… I don’t know if I’ve ever had potato plants get so big and leggy. Maybe it’s that they are in raised beds, so they seem taller than they really are.

The nasturtiums have been growing pretty quickly now that they are up. We got them planted a little bit too late, so I’m concerned that they won’t hang in long enough to bloom, once it gets hot. In the meantime, I’m going to be looking for some nasturtium recipes…

Have a great weekend! Don’t forget that the Master Gardeners are sponsoring a Garden Tour this weekend. For details, visit our website.

Types of Peas and When to Harvest Peas

We got another 3/4″ of rain last night! We are definitely making progress in the rainfall category, and I think the plants are more or less enjoying it as well.

The sugar snap peas in the Family of 4 Garden are blooming and setting on peas, so it seems like a good time to talk about different types of peas and how you know when it is time to pick them.

3 Types of Peas

The three most common types of peas are shelling peas (also called English peas or garden peas), snow peas, and snap peas (or sugar snap peas). Each of them should be picked at a different stage, and they all have some different growth habits.

Shelling Peas

Shelling peas are the most common type of pea, and they can be a lot of fun to grow. Most of the modern hybrids are bred to be more dwarf plants that will grow without a trellis or other support. Shelling peas should be harvested when the pods are plump and full, but not to the point where the pod is starting to get thin/flaccid and the peas are very large. At this point, the peas are usually very starchy (still technically edible, but not as tasty). However, you want to wait to pick your shelling peas until the pods have filled nicely. If you gently squeeze the pod, and it feels like there’s a lot of air yet, and the pods aren’t full, it is best to wait another day or two.

Honestly, the best way to get the hang of picking shelling peas is to pick a couple pods that you think are right, open them, see how full they are, and try the peas. Peas can go from just right to over-mature in just a day or two, so check often! (And if you check often, you get to sample a lot of fresh, raw peas! Yum!)

This is a picture that shows pretty well what the “ideal” pea would look like.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are similar to shelling peas, except that they have sweet, crunchy, edible pods. Not that you can’t eat the pods of shelling peas, but they just aren’t as tasty. The perfect stage for a sugar snap pea is when the pod is slightly less full than you would pick a shelling pea. The peas will get starchy if you leave them on the plant too long. Again, sampling is the best way to get the hang of telling when your peas are ready!

You can find both bush and climbing varieties of sugar snap peas as well. We chose the climbing varieties because it fit in well with our garden plan this year.

Snow Peas

Snow peas areanother edible-pod type of pea. However, unlike the snap peas, you pick snow peas when the pods are still flat, before the peas begin to swell much at all. They are tender and tasty when picked at that stage, and pretty disgusting if you wait too long to pick them.

Again, both bush and climbing varieties are out there. If you look hard enough, you can also find some purple and yellow podded snow peas!

This is a picture of the Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas that we grew a couple years ago in the Demo Garden. The cool thing about this pea is that it has purple flowers instead of white flowers. (The flowers and shoots are edible too!) As a snow pea, it isn’t the tastiest variety, but it does have gorgeous flowers.

The real key with peas though, is to know for sure what type of peas you have when you plant. You need to know if a trellis is necessary. You also need to know when to pick your peas to ensure maximum enjoyment of them!

Video Wednesday

We got a whopping 1/2″ of rain last night! Maybe we’ll get a little bit more today and tomorrow. At this point, even 3 inches would be fine, because it would replenish some of the soil moisture reserves deep down in the ground. Then it can go back to drying out.

For our video today, Dr. Rhonda Janke is talking about some different types of herbs, especially those pesky alliums.

A Little Harvesting and Hoping for Rain

Today was a pretty calm work day, compared to last week. It always seems to work that way – one week is super busy with planting, and then the next week there isn’t much to do. There was even less to do today, since the weather got cold and things didn’t grow as fast.

We did harvest a little bit more lettuce and our first head of cabbage. (The cabbage isn’t from the Family of 4 garden, so it won’t get added in below.)

Here’s a couple of our Master Gardeners holding the just-harvested head of cabbage. Removing this plant should allow a couple of the other plants to grow better.

There you can see it after we stripped all the outer leaves off of it. I guess I should have sat it up so you could get a better look at the cool pointy shape. I’ll try to remember that next time.

Family of 4 Harvest:

1.5 lbs lettuce @ $7.00/lb = $10.50

Weekly Total: $10.50

Year to Date: $81.52