First Day of Summer Garden Update
It’s the first day of summer, and it feels like it! Like many of you, there are good and bad things happening in the garden due to the excessive rain and milder temperatures. Honestly…we kind of need this heat to push along some of our warm season plants.
It has been awhile since an update, but that doesn’t mean we have been MIA in that garden. As you can see, despite the weather challenges, the garden is planted, we have been harvesting, and things are going well. One benefit of the raised beds (and the drainage tiles underneath our garden!) is that no matter how much rain we have gotten, it drains away fairly quickly. So we are not seeing too much root damage from saturated soils.
The herbs & pollinators garden has been growing gangbusters, with absolutely huge bronze fennel, lush parsley, and several beautiful agastaches.
We once again have a SNAP-Ed garden, where we are highlighting the ability to use SNAP dollars to purchase garden plants. We track our expenses and the value of harvested crops. We also have to budget for every purchase, so there is often not money to purchase tomato cages or similar items. The gardeners built this homemade tomato cage for the two tomato plants. We will see if it fares better than last year’s homemade cage!
Corn is something new for us in the Demo Garden, simple because of the space requirements. We tried a Peruvian corn variety a couple years ago, but it didn’t grow. This corn is ‘Glass Gem’ popcorn. We are interested to see how it performs in the small area we have given it.
Lest you think all is well in the garden, we are starting to see a fair amount of early blight on the lower tomato leaves. We hadn’t mulched the garden until last week, which probably didn’t help prevent disease. Mostly this is a rain and humidity problem. Cultural controls would include mulching, caging or staking, and keeping the leaves dry. Fungicide options would include chlorothalonil and copper-based products. It is important to note that fungicides only prevent new leaves from becoming infected, NOT cure infected leaves.
The other thing that we are seeing right now are aphids all over the tomatoes. This is quite abnormal, but probably due to the cooler weather. The benefit of hotter weather is that it should help the tomatoes grow faster and slow down the aphids (which normally like cooler weather). The white specks are the molted husks of the aphids. The black and orange guy is a ladybug larvae that is happily feeding on the aphids. We are hoping that between the hotter weather and the ladybugs, we won’t need to treat for the aphids.
There is much more to see in our garden, so come on over at visit us sometime!
New Vegetables & Fruit for 2013
This is the first of what will probably be 3 or 4 posts about new varieties I’m seeing in seed catalogs as we are getting ready to plan the garden for the year.
The caveat, of course, is that I have no idea if they will do well for us or not! I’m also highly skeptical when a new variety is promoted as being “heat tolerant!” I always suspect that they mean heat tolerant where that variety was developed – typically New York, Washington, Oregon, etc. “Heat tolerant” means something very different there!
There are some new raspberries and strawberries available, mostly from the Cornell University breeding program, that intrigue me. Raspberries are often a challenge to grow here, but they are still one of my favorite fruits.
‘Double Gold’ Raspberry – This is a fall-bearing (primocane fruiting) raspberry that produce pink-blushed gold fruit. It is so pretty that I’m sure I will have to try it at some point, even though it will probably be as susceptible to sunscald as most other gold raspberries.
‘Crimson Night’ Raspberry – Another fall-bearing raspberry, this one has dark purple-red fruit. It also sports compact, dark purple canes. I’ve seen some companies promoting this variety as ideal for container gardens and small garden plots or for use in the edible landscape.
‘Purple Wonder’ Strawberry – This is a June-bearing strawberries that is a dark red to purple color. A fun choice for all you K-State fans!
‘On Deck Hybrid’ Sweet Corn – This varieties is being marketed as perfect for a container on your deck or patio. Color me skeptical on this one! It says plant 9 seeds per 24” container and enjoy sweet corn in 2 months. The biggest challenge about growing sweet corn in a small garden area is poor pollination, so I’m not sure how they are going to overcome that limitation. Anyone want to try it?
‘Vivid Choi’ Pac Choi – A Pac Choi (aka Bok Choy) variety with a range of colored stems a la Swiss Chard. My camera is excited about this one!
‘Green Tiger’ and ‘Pink Tiger’ Saladette Tomatoes – These are 1” wide by 2-4” long tomatoes that are striped. The pink is rose pink with orange striping and the green is yellow-green with dark green stripes.
That’s all for now…I’m sure I’ll have some more to share in the coming weeks!