I think our garden is about ready for fall, as you can easily see below:
One of the reasons the pumpkins are looking so sad is because there are dozens (or more) squash bug nymphs all over them. I’m actually rather impressed that they didn’t show up before now, when the pumpkins are almost done producing. Since the plants are nearly dead and we picked all but 2 pumpkins this week, I think we will just be removing the plants rather than trying to treat for the squash bugs.
This is one of the fruit from the ‘Tondo Liscia Manduria’ cucumber vine in the Italian Garden. We let it go all the way to “melon” stage, and you can see that the stem had slipped (separated from the fruit) and it was starting to crack.
From the inside, you can see it looks quite a bit like a honeydew melon. It tasted pretty good – not dissimilar to a honeydew melon. Maybe not quite as sweet. The texture was very much like a melon. So it’s a dual purpose plant – cucumbers and melons!
We have ornamental peppers in many of our containers this year, and they are just starting to look really spectacular. This is a variety called ‘Sangria.’ I love the mixture of red and purple peppers.
This pot has three different varieties, and the color combination is really interesting. I love the purple plant in front, then the green plant with orange fruit, then the “black” plant at the back. The sizes of the plants worked well too!
Have a great weekend!
I think one of the hardest gardening tasks is thinning out seedlings. It is too easy to just let it go, because you are so excited to see the plants growing, and then everything is an overgrown, tangled mess that you can’t thin out. That’s one of the reasons that I try really hard to space things out when I plant the seeds. However, that doesn’t always work out.
On our trellises for growing vining vegetables, we usually want no more than 2-3 plants per side of the trellis. It seems like so little when you are planting just a few seeds, but planting too many can be a disaster later on!
You can see that there are at least 5 plants along this trellis, and I think there may have been another one or two that I didn’t get in the picture. Even though these plants will be growing up the trellis, if we left all of the plants in place, they would be so thick that we could have problems with diseases – especially if this hot, humid weather keeps on.
We removed all but 3 plants from each of the trellises, which will still be plenty thick by the time the plants are full grown.
We had the first of our subcommittee meetings yesterday to work on the planning for Bed 1. I don’t know what I’m going to call this garden, because it is really three different parts all in one. One end is the Vertical Garden, the middle part is Quinoa, and the other end is a Spring/Fall Italian Garden. Maybe I’ll have to nickname it the Conglomerate Garden? The Motley Mixed Garden? The Heterogeneous Garden? The Italicalnoa Garden? The Quinicalian Garden? I’ll take nominations!
The Italian section of the garden features spring and fall vegetables, with the intention of exploring what there is beyond tomatoes and basil, the quintessential Italian foods. We had a lot of fun perusing the Seeds from Italy catalog and website and trying to find the best choices for different types of vegetables. As you can see, the spring plantings include several types of greens, beans, and cippolini onions. The beans are a shelling type called ‘Lingua di Fuoco’ which translates to ‘Tongue of Fire.’ The pods have bright pink streaks!
There are lots of types of chicories to choose from, including plain chicory, endive, escarole, and radicchio. We chose a couple “Italian Dandelion” varieties of chicory to try, an endive/escarole mesclun mix, and a red radicchio/chicory for the fall.
We also will have Tuscan Kale growing all year. Sometimes the Tuscan type is called Dinosaur Kale, Nero di Toscano, or similar names.
We are going to try a bulbing variety of fennel in the fall to see if it will produce, as well as some purple bunching onions.
We are continuing to demonstrate some of the vertical gardening techniques, and the trellis/arbor over one of the walkways was such a hit last year that we decided to try it again.
‘Tonda Liscia Manduria’ Cucumber is an Italian cucumber melon that is fairly small, round, and has fuzzy skin. It tastes like a cucumber when young and ripens to taste more like a melon.
‘Escorial’ Melon is a Charentais-type melon. It is earlier maturing and hopefully will be less crack-prone than the heirloom Charentais melon.
‘Small Sugar’ Pumpkin is a pie pumpkin that produces sweet, 4-6 lb pumpkins. I’m looking forward to pie this fall!
Quinoa is a Chenopodium, which means that it is going to look a lot like lambsquarter/goosefoot when it starts growing. The flowers/seed heads are supposed to be beautiful colors, which we are all looking forward to. Depending on how hot it gets for how long this summer, we may or may not get a seed crop, but it should be interesting to try growing it! We chose the ‘Brightest Brilliant’ mix and ‘Colorado’ and the two varieties to try.
I have so many great pictures from this week that I feel like I need to do two or three PhotoEssays. Or perhaps I should just plan to write a couple more posts for next week? That might be a plan…especially since I’ve been struggling to get something posted on Mondays this year.
It is starting to feel a little bit like a tropical rainforest around here, and some of the plants are clearly thriving in this weather. Some of the begonias are just lush and this zucchini plant has HUGE leaves and flowers. (The white/silver you see on the leaves is just natural coloration for this variety, not powdery mildew.)
We had the hardest time getting the cucumber vine started on the trellis this spring when there wasn’t much moisture. After replanting multiple times, we finally had one seed germinate, and it is just now producing. It is one of the ‘Salt & Pepper’ Cucumbers that we had last year.
I was busy roasting garlic yesterday so we could taste test it all next week, and I thought I’d take a picture of one of the elephant garlic bulbs and one of the larger regular garlic bulbs. Quite a difference! (In my opinion, the Elephant Garlic doesn’t taste very good roasted either. Maybe it just isn’t garlick-y enough?)
Hmm…this ‘Rosa Bianca’ eggplant seems to be more purple than rose. I wonder if the color is an effect of the cooler night temperatures? It’s certainly pretty, and I’m sure there is no effect on the edibility. It’s just interesting that the colors are so much more vibrant all of a sudden. The ones I picked at the beginning of the week were almost white.
Have a great weekend!
Are we tired of rain yet? I’ll be honest that I’ve rather lost track of our rainfall totals…they just keep adding up. It just adds up to “wet” and “very wet.”
I’m afraid this is a portent of things to come with our fall brassicas planting… We have cabbageworms on the plants while they are still seedlings in my office! (We had them outside for ONE day a week ago and managed to get eggs laid and hatched out. Yikes.
We harvested the first of the Yellow Stuffer tomatoes this week and cut it open for a look and tasting during our work time on Tuesday. The cavity isn’t as big as most large bell peppers, but it has a very different interior look than most tomatoes. It wouldn’t be hard to get the seeds out, or just add more stuffing around them.
Denise came and got a huge bowl of eggplant from me on Monday and then tried several recipes in preparation for our next Saturday Sampler on the 17th. I sampled the dishes for lunch on Tuesday. Two of the recipes were okay, but not my favorite and the other three were very yummy. They were almost good enough that I didn’t know I was eating eggplant! You’ll have to stay tuned for some of those recipes.
The ‘Snow Leopard’ Honeydew Melon are appearing quite productive, although we haven’t picked one yet. It is a little bit challenging to tell for sure when they are ripe, and we picked a couple honeydews last year that weren’t quite ripe. This one looks like it is getting close, but I don’t want to pick it too soon. The keys with honeydew is that the rind should be creamy colored instead of greenish, and it should feel waxy to the touch rather than hairy. We may have to try picking this one next week and giving it a try.
You also know that it’s been raining a lot when the melons are cracking! Granted, this is an Asian melon that has a thinner rind/skin. It has cracked pretty badly. We had several of these melons ripe this week, including one that was completely eaten hollow by the sowbugs taking advantage of the cracks. We tried this one. It was nice and crunchy and sweet. We decided that if you tell everyone it is a sweet cucumber, it gets better reviews than if you bill it as a melon, because it isn’t as sweet as most of the melons we are used to. It does have a very floral taste as well.
The ‘Super Sweet 100s’ cherry tomato that is on the trellis/arbor is going crazy! It is very much living up to its name. The tomatoes also are getting smaller and smaller as the numbers increase. We discussed this week that this is a good example of why more pruning may have been beneficial on this plant in particular. Fewer, but larger fruit!
Have a great weekend! Stay dry!