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Friday PhotoEssay

Have you survived the first bout of heat this week? It is definitely a change for this year!

Here’s the view of the whole garden for the week. I took the picture Thursday afternoon, hence the full sun! Plants are getting bigger, especially the tomatoes, which seem to have doubled in size over the week. You can also see that the garlic and shallots are getting progressively more grey in color as they get closer to harvest. I am still taking the “whole garden” pictures from the other angles too, I just don’t want to spend the space looking at them here. I created a set on Flickr for them, and I’ll get them all added to the set eventually. That set is here.

Our sweet potato slips are here! I’ll have more about those next week, so stay tuned!

This Red Large Lettuce Leaf Basil is living up to its name in that it is purple/red and the leaves are getting huge. Whether it looks like lettuce leaves I will leave up to you. It does have a very funky appearance though, especially compared to your typical basils.

I cooked up something tasty this week using garlic scapes, fresh Maiskij garlic, shallot scapes, and some of the lemongrass I froze last fall. You’ll have to check back next week to see what I made! (Sorry, I know…so many future blog posts, so little time this week.)

As per usual, a couple weeks after putting out the wheat straw mulch, we have wheat seedlings growing! This really isn’t a big concern. It is easy to pull out and either let it dry on top of the mulch or add it to your compost bins. If you are more on top of things than we are, you would have watered your straw bale a couple weeks before mulching, let it sprout, then spread the mulch afterwards.

These are the tomatoes from the ‘Taxi’ plant. They sized up quickly over the weekend, although they still aren’t at full size. Unless one of the grape or cherry tomatoes comes on strong (a real possibility), my money is on this plant for having the first ripe tomato of the year.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

Another week, another cold snap. It looks like we may be in for that same weather pattern next week. UGH!

Here’s a little bit of spring cheer for you though:

I found this mini iris blooming and couldn’t resist picking one. When I went looking in response center cabinet for a small vase to use, I found this big martini glass. I have no idea what it was doing there, but I couldn’t resist using it for the vase!

Hmm…can you tell it’s been a while since we weeded last? Can you tell which is the shallot and which is the grass? I’ll give you a hint – wide and flat bright green leaves are one and the tubular blue-green leaves are the other!

There, that’s better! Now you can see the new growth coming from the center of the plant. It looks like some of the shoots are going to divide at least one more time.

Yes, this is the same lettuce from last week. It hasn’t grown a lot, but the new leaves are definitely another shade darker. There is a benefit to those random blasts of cold weather!

We are starting some of our basil varieties from seed this year rather than just buying the plants. I was supposed to plant them last week, but with our crazy weather I knew we weren’t going to be ready to put them outside until mid-May. Basil doesn’t grow quite as fast as tomatoes, but almost.

The radishes in the Root Vegetables garden are looking great, but these that we planted in the Kids’ Snack Garden look like they’ve been scorched. Not sure if it was sun or cold or wind, but the seed leaves are goners. Luckily it looks like the true leaves are going to be fine.

This is the third time I’ve tried to show you this picture. I was having trouble getting the bud in focus. This is a flower bud on one of the Red Beard Onions that we planted last fall. I keep expecting the flowers to burst forth, but I think the weather is holding things back.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

Another Friday is here! There is no sign of germination where we planted seeds last week, so I’m beginning to get a little concerned. I haven’t done a great job of keeping the soil moist, but then it was covered with snow for part of the last week. I’m hoping that it is just the cold weather (keeping the soil cold) that is delaying germination of the typically quick-germinating radishes. It is so weird to have a late spring!

Here’s a quiz for you…how doe you tell if what you are seeing is grass or garlic or shallots? This picture isn’t too difficult to distinguish, but when the garlic or shallots are smaller it can be a real challenge! The garlic leaves usually feel thicker and waxier to me than grass, and of course, they smell like garlic too!

The rhubarb crown they planted a couple weeks ago is starting to slooooowly put on some growth. I could be wrong, but I think these leaves look like they got a little more cold than they would have preferred.

Speaking of cold, the lettuce and chard in our cold frame got a little more cold than they would have strictly preferred this week, since we left the cold frame completely open when it got so cold earlier this week. Somewhat surprisingly, they really don’t look that much the worse for wear!

This is the obligatory “before” picture. Rumor has it that we are going to be starting work on this shade garden this week. If nothing else, the compost has to move from the parking lot into the garden, since the farmers’ market is starting a week from tomorrow!

My light stand looks like a forest of plant labels right now! By next Friday I hope it will look like a forest of small tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants!

Have a great weekend!

Demo Garden Work Day

Although the plants in the garden are growing like weeds (the weeds are also growing like weeds, in the interest of full disclosure!), we are kind of in that post-planting but pre-harvest lull in the garden. We continue to battle the cucumber beetles on the eggplant, and this week we started training the vines to the cattle panel trellises.

The Quiet Garden area looks so nice after getting everything planted and placed. It will only look better as the flowers continue to grow, fill in, and bloom.

Seemingly overnight, there seems to be an abundance of spurge growing everywhere in the garden. (With the ongoing concern about the beans and herbicide, I guess it’s nice that something is growing well?)

I found these two critters on one of the Purple Tomatillo plants. At first glance I thought they were potato bugs, and on second inspection, I wondered about striped cucumber beetles, but they didn’t look right. After consultation with a coworker, he suggested that they were striped blister beetles. UGH! And we thought cucumber beetles were a problem. UPDATE: Then another coworker saw this post and called with the information that it is a Threelined Potato Beetle. Not an insect I commonly see around here, and it is different than the Colorado Potato Beetle. They feed on potato plants, which would explain their presence on the tomatillos (potatoes are cousins). And from the looks of it, they are planning on reproducing and camping out for awhile longer.

As you can see, the plants in the Vertical Garden have been growing quickly. The plants on the right side are all different types of cucumbers. On the left side there is a mixture of vining winter squash and melons. The biggest, bushiest plants are the winter squash that are just barely starting to vine. We started clipping the running vines up to the panels today, despite the wind, because they will be humongous by next week at this rate!

Here you can see one of our Master Gardeners clipping up some of the cucumber vines. They are just long enough to be put up on the trellises, but you can see from the tendrils that they will be doing quite a bit of climbing on their own this week if the wind doesn’t knock them off.

Friday PhotoEssay

Since we did some garden cleanup this week, I thought I’d share some of those photos. It is always sad to pull out plants, but it is nice when the garden looks clean too!

The first thing to go was the tomatoes. The plants still had a number of tomatoes on them, so we picked them off.

We ended up with about 5 pounds of green tomatoes from all the remaining plants. Some of them will still turn red, while others probably won’t. I suspect I’ll have to find a couple green tomato recipes to share.

I think I’ve discussed my propensity for trying things just to see what will happen, right? Well, this is one of those cases. I had a few fava bean seeds kicking around, so why not throw them in on October 15, just to see how they survive the winter? Oh yeah, and let’s put them in the cold bed with the spinach, rather than the bed with the plastic. I’ll be very surprised if we get any fava beans next spring, but hey…who knows?

Along that same line, here’s the little larkspur seedlings in amongst the lettuces. So far they seem quite content with life. I wonder how they’ll look in a couple weeks? They are supposed to be very hardy, but I’m afraid they’re still too small.

The leeks and onions are looking good, especially the leeks. It is rather amazing that they were such tiny, wispy little plants two months ago, and they still have a long way to go before they reach full size!

The vegetables aren’t the only things enjoying the long, fairly warm fall. The weeds are having a blast too! We’re seeing a lot of little henbit seedlings popping up around the garden.

Can you believe that it’s going to be November come next Monday? I’m still not sure where September went! That said, it looks like we may actually get down to some freezing temperatures here in South Central Kansas…in a couple of weeks. We’ll see if the forecast holds!