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Friday PhotoEssay

Oh my goodness, rain! We had 6.5 inches of rain last week, another 2.65 inches early this week, and another 0.3-0.4 just this morning. Things are getting a little soggy around here, and we’re starting to see some diseases that are spread by rain, including some less common ones. I checked the US Drought Monitor this morning, and even with all the rain we are still considered to be in Moderate Drought here in Sedgwick County. Of course, western Kansas is still in severe to exceptional drought!

Here’s the garden after our morning shower today. The buckwheat has doubled in size again this week and the sweet potatoes are starting to go a little bit crazy!

The ‘Limmony’ tomato was this deep gold color by Tuesday. Isn’t it gorgeous?

We harvested the carrots from the Kids’ Snack Garden this week so the spot can have a little rest before we plant something for this fall. The orange carrots are a variety called ‘Mokum,’ and they were pretty nice carrots!

The buckwheat is starting to bud and flower. We actually terminated the buckwheat in Bed 2 to prepare for planting the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage in another week. I’ll share that with you in a separate post next week, I hope. The remaining buckwheat will grow for another week or two before we turn it under.

Look at those sweet potatoes grow! I know that last week I was looking at this garden and wondering why the plants were taking so much time to fill in the last center part of the bed. Well…they took care of that pretty quick! Now to see how crazy the vines get outside the bed…

The amount of rain we’ve had isn’t always ideal. This poor Asian melon was ripening nicely, but when I checked it this morning it had cracked badly. It was not a fan of the rain, apparently.

Speaking of melons, the big watermelon fell off the vine on Tuesday when we were working with them. Ugh! I cut into it, and obviously the seedlessness worked out, but the ripeness didn’t. I didn’t think it was ripe yet, and clearly I was right on that count. The rest of our melons got some additional support this week…

It would seem that even the small watermelons are not as well adapted to growing on the trellises and cantaloupes and winter squashes. We’ve got the other watermelons all tied up with some extra support for the time being.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

I have two options for this week’s PhotoEssay…I can share all the pretty or interesting things in the garden or I can share all of the pests and bugs and problems we’re starting to see. Any votes?

I’ll be honest that I was leaning towards the pests, bugs, and problems, but then I decided it would get rather lengthy and that I should save that for one or two posts next week. If you want a quick preview: spider mites, caterpillars, squirrels, blight, holey leaves, stinkbugs, and more!

You can see from our Whole Garden picture this week that we mulched the sweet potatoes on Tuesday and that we have a couple sunflowers blooming. You can’t see that the tomatoes are looking increasingly beset by a variety of problems and pests. Oh well. Such is tomato growing in Kansas! We’ll have some great examples for the Tomato Pests & Diseases talk at Tomato Day!

Look at this! We have buckwheat seedlings starting to grow. (Sorry about the poor focus on the seedling. Still learning the new camera. But the soil particles are in great focus!) This is very quick germination, probably aided by the warm temperatures and the nice shower we had yesterday morning. These seedlings are in the Pizza Garden. I haven’t seen any in the other beds yet…Hmm…

Earlier this week I was talking to someone about the tomatoes we had growing in the Demo Garden, and I said that there must be nothing spectacular about the ‘Bella Rosa’ variety because I had to look it up to remember we had it planted. Then I went out to the garden to take a look at the plant. I’m not going to forget about it again, that’s for sure! It has a cluster of 6 or more HUGE tomatoes on it, as well as more set higher up in the plant. It is supposed to have 10 oz fruit, and these are well on their way.

I commented last week about the ‘Limmony’ flowers that were aborting rather than setting, and I was wondering how many tomatoes we would actually get from this plant, since they are supposed to grow into huge tomatoes. Well, I may be changing my tune about that! I looked the plant over this week and again saw the big one shown here, but also found at least a dozen small green tomatoes that were set in the last couple weeks. Twelve beefsteak tomatoes may not be quite as many as you would get from a hybrid, but it is a pretty exemplary showing from an heirloom in my experience! (To put that in perspective, I just counted 17 tomatoes from the hybrid Jetsetter plant, including the 2 we’ve already harvested.)

This ‘Little Baby Flower’ watermelon has been growing like crazy this week. (Note to melon thieves: This melon is NOT anywhere close to ripe. Please leave it alone. Thanks!)

The squash under the row cover are also growing fast. Our hoops are shorter than sometimes, so I think we are going to have to take the row cover off before the plants have reached the blooming stage and hope the Squash Vine Borers have already found fodder somewhere else this year. I haven’t seen any of the moths flying around in the last couple weeks, so maybe we are safe?

I haven’t really been checking the pepper plants for production because they are often a little bit later than the tomatoes, especially the snack pepper types. I was walking by the Kids Snack Garden on Tuesday morning during our work time and notice a flash of red! We had a couple of peppers ripe. Then yesterday there were a couple more. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but it seems like the ‘Lunchbox’ variety are an improvement over the ‘Yummy’ variety in earliness and production at least. We’ll see how they taste.

Have a great weekend!