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Friday PhotoEssay

Even with a couple of hotter days this week, I have to confess that I’ve really been enjoying the weather. The cool mornings are the best! Unfortunately, it means that our melons and eggplant have really slowed down. The tomatoes are still going pretty strong.

I think I may show the view of the garden from this angle for a few weeks, at least until we take those cherry tomatoes down off the trellis. The vegetable arbor is kind of blocking the view of the rest of the garden. This way you can see the awesome blue-green color of all the Brassicas. I’m also thinking about doing a “Year in Review” PhotoEssay later this fall. It will be kind of a “time lapse” look at the garden through the whole summer. Look for that in early November, perhaps?

Look at this! I’ve been watching the broccoli and cauliflower closely, expecting that they may start forming heads soon, and this broccoli plant is just now getting started. I kind of thought the two sprouting broccoli varieties might have been earlier, but I guess not.

This cauliflower plant looks like it might be thinking about starting a head in the center. Lots of the newer varieties are self-blanching (meaning the wrapper leaves curl over the heads to help keep them nice and white), and I wonder if that’s what’s going on with these little new leaves in the center.

This savoy, ‘Famosa’ cabbage is starting to form the head in the center. All the cabbage seem to be starting to form heads, although with all the caterpillar damage, I’m not sure how edible they will be! This one seems to have the least damage, maybe because of the ruffly leaves?

I was out at the John C. Pair Horticulture Research Center down in Haysville last night. When we were out in the sweet potato fields, there were tons of toads hopping all over! I managed to get a picture of this one. It’s pretty amazing how well he blends in with the color of the soil!

Have a great weekend!

 

Friday PhotoEssay

As of writing this post (Thurs. AM), we haven’t gotten a significant amount of rain in the Demo Garden this week. I know some of you in other parts of the area have gotten more. Here’s hoping that we’ll get some good rain either this afternoon or tomorrow!

Yet again, you can see the gradual decline of the tomatoes. I had a conversation with a garden visitor this week, where I told her that I would rather have ugly tomato plants with great tomatoes than pretty plants and no tomatoes! We are also starting to take a few plants out here and there. One of the trellises is completely empty now!

The arugula and Swiss Chard in the pizza garden is just about the perfect size for salads right now, and I would imagine they would also be good on a pizza! Yum!

The fall brassicas garden is growing like crazy, although the caterpillars are still munching like crazy too. Actually, they aren’t as bad at the moment. There is some feeding damage on the new growth, but nothing like it was earlier. And there are still those annoying little white butterflies flitting around. I’ll be happy when I quit seeing them!

You can clearly see the effects of the spider mites on those leaves, but they sure don’t seem to be slowing down the production of these grape tomatoes. After all we harvested on Tuesday, I still got another half gallon of tomatoes today. Yikes! There are also some that I just can’t reach because of the way the tomato cages and vines are intertwined.

This cool looking moth was hanging around the garden this week. I am pretty sure it is a Whitelined Sphinx Moth, which is supposedly the most common sphinx moth in Kansas. Apparently the larvae mostly feeds on weeds. If it lays its eggs on the cabbage, those caterpillars won’t be happy (since we treat for caterpillars), so I hope it was just visiting.

The Lunchbox peppers have been doing pretty well all summer, but they are going crazy now! They are very productive, especially compared to the Yummy peppers we’ve tried in the past.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

Hurray for cooler weather! I was ready for some more fall-like temperatures.

Our “whole garden” view for this week clearly shows the increased brown coloration of the tomatoes. If you get close, you can see that we’ve had a resurgence in spider mites. There’s also lots of browning foliage in the trellis plants too. I’m afraid this is going to turn out to be a little bit of a “death & destruction” edition of the Friday PhotoEssay, as I look through my pictures.

The honeydew melon is showing the beginning of powdery mildew on the leaves. The mildew is that slight greyish cast to the leaves in spots and splotches. It almost looks like there is a weird glare to the picture. If I wanted to treat, I would have to do it right now. By next week it will probably be so widespread that we can’t get it back under control. We could spray sulfur, neem oil, or potassium bicarbonate if we wanted to.  We often see powdery mildew starting in mid-August, but this year it was cool and wet then. The hot, dry weather the past couple weeks is ideal for powdery mildew to develop. We will probably remove these plants next week.

Although we see the fruitworm holes often enough, we don’t always see the caterpillar eating its way through the whole tomato. You can tell this one has been hungry!

I found this melon sitting on the ground under one of the pepper plants yesterday afternoon. Not wanting to let it go to waste, I decided to check it out. Once again, the ‘Yellow Mini Tiger’ watermelon fell off the vine before it was fully ripe. The flavor was okay, but still fairly bland. I’m afraid this one is going to be a “not recommended” for using on a trellis, since they seem to fall off the vines too easily.

The cabbages are getting a little crazy. The caterpillar damage isn’t so bad at the moment, and they’ve grown a huge amount. They are perhaps a little close together, but only 2 across might have been a little far apart. We will just have slightly smaller heads of cabbage.

There are those pesky spider mites. One of the Master Gardeners asked if we were going to treat. What do you think? My thought was, no way! With the weather cooling off and the tomato plants declining already, it isn’t worth it to try fighting spider mites right now, at least not in my book.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

First off, I have to point out that yesterday’s Eggplant Lasagna post that said “Eggplant is my new favorite vegetable” was written by Denise, not me. I will admit that some of the recipes Denise has tried are definitely tasty, but I’m not sure that raises eggplant onto my “favorite vegetable” list. Let’s take a tour of the garden, shall we?

Here’s the whole garden picture from this afternoon. The tomatoes and other summer vegetables are starting to get that slight yellowish brown cast to them…They aren’t quite that same deep green color as they were a few weeks ago. The sweet potatoes are still crazy and you can see the brassicas growing like crazy in the distant beds.

This is the ‘Deadon’ cabbage variety. We seem to be starting to get a handle on the cabbageworms to some extent. This plant doesn’t have any damage on the new growth, for the most part. We are still regularly applying Dipel dust (Bt) to keep the caterpillars at bay. I still see the cabbage butterflies flitting around laying eggs and a few of the caterpillars lurking here and there. I’ll be glad when it cools down so the insects don’t reproduce as fast!

Hey! We’ve got Swiss Chard! This is the ‘Fordhook Giant’ that is planted in the Pizza Garden. I thought it was going to be white stemmed, but it is looking rather pink stemmed at the moment. Not that I (or the camera) will complain as the fall progresses.

This is the Fall/Winter Salad mix that we got from Wild Garden Seed. They have different mixes designed for different seasons, which is cool. The other neat thing is that they divide the seeds for each mix into 2 packets, a “slow germ” and a “fast germ” packet. The idea is that you plant the slow germinating seeds first and the quick germinating seeds a week or so later to help have the plants ready to harvest at the same time. The seedlings along the middle dripline were planted 2 1/2 weeks ago, and the ones along the close dripline were planted 1 1/2 weeks ago. They are about the same size now, so we’ll have to see if that amount of staggered planting worked out or if we should have waited another week to plant the faster germinating seeds.

The vegetable arbor has really turned into the cherry tomato arbor. Not that I’m complaining…it’s pretty neat. It is a trifle overwhelming though. I picked about a half gallon bag full of cherry tomatoes this afternoon just by going after the ones that were within easy reach. Yikes! Both of these varieties (Super Sweet 100 and Golden Honey Bunch) are winners in my book.

It looks like we have successfully gotten a good stand of carrot seedlings this year. I was worried about that, given the sandy soil and the weather. The kale and spinach were not as successful, so we may have to try replanting those if it every cools down again.

Some of our tomato plants (other than the cherry tomatoes, which are constant), are still plugging along. Both the ‘Limmony,’ shown here, and the ‘Jetsetter’ plants have a lot of medium-sized, developing greet fruit. If it doesn’t cool down too much, we could still have quite a lot of tomatoes ripening this month.

Have a great weekend!

Continuing Caterpillar Saga

Yesterday morning we inspected all our Brassicas to see if we still had more caterpillars to deal with.

Um, yes. Yes we did. I know you see the bigger cabbageworm, but do you see the tiny one too? It’s along the purple midrib. These guys start really small but eat and grow quickly. Yuck. We also found some eggs that haven’t yet hatched.

We dusted with Dipel Dust to see if we could get better control. Of course, with the shaker cans, it is a real challenge to get even coverage and not put on too much. If we aren’t seeing better control by later in the week, we may have to bring out the big guns…I saw that one single cabbage butterfly can lay up to 300 eggs in its lifetime. I really don’t want these caterpillars to get to the adult stage!