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FINALLY, Spring.

There’s no question about it, spring was reluctant to come and stay this year. While we have tried to stay on schedule with our planting, we ended up delaying a few things until it got a bit warmer. Thankfully, the warm weather coincided with tomato planting time, so we are pretty much back on track!

41567684981_0383065076 This is the garden in mid-April. You can see from the wooden stakes that things had been planted…but not much green was showing up!

41843273812_28b7977459Jumping ahead three weeks to today…there’s a lot more green to be seen, and you can also see that we have been adding trellises and tomato cages!

41169157274_a7ee443ed4Of our early spring planting, these plants are probably the most spectacular right now. These Chinese cabbages were transplanted the third week of March and have survived multiple nights below freezing with NO protection, snow, cold rain, and wind. The light green is ‘Tokyo Bekana,’ a loose leaf cabbage. The red and dark green are both heading types of Chinese cabbages that are just barely starting to form their heads.

41843272742_28e2656566Also beginning to look good is our SNAP-Ed garden. The radishes, spinach, and lettuce are all finally growing well, and we inter-planted the peppers, tomatoes, and herbs this week. Look for more about this garden to come next week!

41169154634_c1eea26f5fOf the lettuces we have in the garden this spring, this one is by far the most interesting. This is a variety called ‘Italienischer.’ It is very upright and dark green. At maturity it is supposed to be 18″ tall and heat tolerant. It also has the unique oakleaf leaf shape. It almost looks like an overzealous dandelion!

40078997300_5c3f9f8f87While not as beautiful, I also had to share this heirloom lettuce variety – mostly because of the name! The lightly red-tinged leaf lettuce has the name ‘Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed.” I don’t know who came up with that, but…it’s quite the name.

In addition to tomatoes, we planted most of our herbs (except the basil) and all of the various beans this week. Next week we hope to get the peppers planted as well as the cucumbers, squash, and melons.

Hope to see you at Herb Day tomorrow!

Friday VideoEssay – May 26, 2017

For a change of pace, here’s a video essay this week!

Friday PhotoEssay – May 19, 2017

We survived a rainy, stormy week and the garden looks generally green and healthy.

34338565900_43a1b986e6We also planted most of our remaining warm season plants this week, including replanting some things that hadn’t been successful so far…

34561246082_4759b39366Part of that planting was putting up all of our cattle panel trellises before planting our vine crops. We planted cucumber, watermelon, and cantaloupe seeds this week. I think they have managed to stay well watered!

33880685484_786770a1e3We also saw some pesky insects starting to make an appearance. The holes in the cabbages turned up some young cabbage loopers on the undersides of the leaves. We treated with Dipel Dust (a bacterial-based product) on Tuesday. Unfortunately, most of it did wash off later. Hopefully it did enough to get rid of the majority of the caterpillars.

34591910851_658f220b44Like most other plants, our carrots are growing well. Unfortunately, the plants are a bit too thick to produce good carrots. We thinned the plants out so that there is about one carrot plant per inch. This should make it easier to get good quality carrots rather than carrots that are twisted around each other.

34591916961_be056cd758We also transplanted our gingers back outside this week. They had been in my office and are more than ready to go back out. This is the turmeric. The rhizomes are still nice and healthy, but it is just starting to come out of dormancy and put on new growth for the year.

We are almost done with our spring planting, so from here on it is just a matter of watching everything grow!

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!