Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cabbage, Cabbage, and More to Come

As you might have guessed from the title, we harvested several heads of cabbage today from the Family of 4 Garden.

The cabbage probably could have lasted in the garden for a little longer – no, you wouldn’t normally harvest and eat 4 heads of cabbage all in the same week. But, we are planning to plant some okra and other veggies in that area, so it was getting to be time to pull the cabbage and move on.

Family of 4 Harvest

10.25 lbs of cabbage @ $0.75/lb = $7.69

0.75 lbs. of sugar snap peas (from last week) @ $7.00/lb = $5.25

Weekly Total: $12.94

Year to Date: $117.94

We’re having a bunch of kids from McConnell AFB here for a Garden Day Camp on Thursday, and we’re planning to pull onions and dig potatoes from the Family of 4 Garden with those kids. I’ll try to get pictures and harvest weights, but it might be my best estimate!

Friday PhotoEssay

Wow – that was some interesting weather last night! The garden got about 2.8 inches of rain, and from the looks of some of the plants, a fair bit of hail as well. Nothing is in terrible shape, but there are some “Swiss cheese” plants out there!

This is probably the worst looking plant. The leaves are just a tattered mess! It is still starting to vine though, so no harm done. One of the cucumber plants did get broken off, but I think it will still be fine and send out a new shoot.

The pole beans are growing like crazy, while the Chinese Long Beans are just sitting there waiting to grow. They’ll kick in gear pretty quick though!

We did spy the first tomato this week on one of our plants. This is on the Bush Early Girl tomato. I’m sure there are a few more baby tomatoes out there by now.

We had a fairly nice collection of gold beets when we pulled them out to make room for the Prairie Star Annuals. This is only part of the pile. They could have gotten bigger, but we were moving on to flowers!

This is what the wheelchair height garden is now populated with – lots of flowers that aren’t blooming yet. They’ll look great in a few weeks. We have them all spaced out so you can really see what the plants are supposed to look like.

Have a great weekend!

Mulching

One of our other big projects in the garden this week was mulching. I had almost completely forgotten about mulching, but the Master Gardeners were on top of it!

Our 3 bales of year old wheat straw easily mulched the three areas we have tomatoes, plus the peppers and the vertical garden. We put the mulch around the plants, about 2-3 inches deep.

Some of the goodness of mulch includes:

1. Cools down the soil a few degrees – this is a good thing as the summer gets hotter!

2. Keeps the soil more evenly moist – less watering, happier plants!

3. Suppresses weeds – less work for us. Hurray!

4. Helps keep disease off the plants and keeps the produce cleaner. Less spraying, washing, and rotten fruit!

If you can’t find straw, you can also use grass clippings (not treated with herbicides), leaves, compost, or wood chips.

Pruning & Tying Tomatoes

You know how it never rains but it pours? I keep thinking we should be able to space out our projects a little more in the garden, but usually, once we are on a roll, we just keep going. We did lots of things in the garden today, so I’ll be posting about that all week.

One thing new we did this week was pruning the suckers off the heirloom tomatoes in the trial. The plants have really grown a lot, and since they are spaced a little closer together, we are taking off all the suckers below the first flower cluster.

Here’s one of the plants before its suckers get pruned off. It is definitely full and bushy, with some large suckers. Ideally, you would prune off the suckers before they get this large, because it is less shocking to the plants.

Here you can see the suckers a little better. They are the very large, upright shoots growing off the main stem, rather than the mostly horizontal leaves.

This is the same plant after the pruning is finished. You can see we accidentally broke one of the regular leaves in the process – one good reason to prune earlier when the suckers are smaller.

We did find flowers or buds on almost all of the heirloom tomatoes today, so I’m glad we chose the shorter day varieties!

Why Prune?

If you are wondering why we pruned the heirlooms, there are a few good reason.

1. They are planted only 24″ apart, which is close for indeterminate plants. Pruning will help improve the airflow for these plants, reducing some of the disease pressure.

2. The heirlooms are very vigorous growers, so the pruning will help keep them under control a bit more.

3. Yes, the suckers would produce some tomatoes, but by removing the suckers, the plant will put more energy into the other fruit, so the other tomatoes might be a little larger. The total yield for each plant will be virtually the same.

We also put the third level of twine on the heirlooms. They had grown a lot and were definitely ready for it.

Friday PhotoEssay

The garden sure has changed a lot this week, especially since the weather has been pretty consistently warm.

The heirloom tomatoes are almost unrecognizable. They will be well past ready for another level of twine next Tuesday! They are also suckering a lot from near the base, so I think we will be pruning them next week as well. I’ll try to get pictures of that process.

The wind certainly didn’t do any favors for our onions. They are pretty well flattened. But, since they still seem to be alive, we’ll let them keep going until they aren’t.

Some of our peppers are starting to grow out of the thrips injury, while others, like the one above, are definitely not growing out of it yet. We may have to spray next week.

More cabbage pictures! This is the cabbage in the Family of 4 Garden, so it is more in line with normal cabbage season, compared to the ‘Caraflex’ that had gotten a head start with the Garden Show (may it rest in peace).

The lavender is in full bloom, and it is much prettier in person than my pictures would show. The colors just get washed out in the bright sunlight. Hopefully we’ll have a cloudy day while it is still blooming nicely.

We have 2 peppers and some squash in the large, 100 gallon smart pot. This picture was taken on Tuesday, and the squash have at least doubled in size since then.

Have a great weekend!