Monday, June 25, 2012

What's Eating My Zuchinni Leaves?

What's eating the leaves on my zucchini?  I've been doing research, but I can't find any pictures that look like this.  If anyone has experience with this and knows if or how I can treat it before it spreads, please leave me a comment.  It would be appreciated!  So far it has only affected 2 leaves. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Garden Tour II and First Harvest

I was worried about my garden while on vacation, but it did great.  It's amazing what can happen in 7 days.  I gave it a good soaking before we left and I'm in awe of my plants when I visited today.  The squash and zucchini are just about at the top of the trellis and both are producing.  I wonder how long it will take before my neighbors ask me not to leave them anymore squash or zucchini. 

These were babies when I left.  They were huge when I returned.  I harvested 6 squash and 2 zucchini.  Guess who will be making a batch of zucchini bread this week.  I have a new recipe that I'm going to try with the squash thanks to my neighbor.  The others I will share with my mother. 

This is the pepper patch.  Several of the peppers were on the ground, so I had to tie them up today.  They are all producing.  Can't wait to make pepper flakes out of the chilies, and freeze the others for some of my other favorites dishes this winter.  I love hot pepper flakes on everything! 

Miss Tilly is wearing her new hat thanks to my neighbor.  Doesn't she look great.  It was a little large, so I stuck in a few hat pins to hold it up. 

The tomatoes are doing great.  At the top are a beefsteak and Paul Robeson. Both are flowering.  The beefsteak has a few tomatoes.  I'm working diligently to remove the suckers this year in hopes of bigger tomatoes.  I'm also giving them doses of calcium and fish emulsion, which I didn't do last season. We'll see if it helps.   I'm going to put a few scoops of compost around them if time allows this week. 

The cukes have taken off.  They are now climbing the netting.  The dill is doing great.  I'm going to use it for refrigerated pickles.  I have red onions planted in this area too.  They will be used in my salsa. 

These are Pink Brandywine.  They are flowering and doing great too.  Can't wait to slice these babies

This is a Hillbilly.  I named it Hatfield, lol.  Watched the movie Hatfield and McCoy on the History Channel last month with Kevin Costner.  Oh, how I love him.  Now he's planted in my garden. A girl can dream can't she. 

The watermelons are sprawling and they have lots of flowers.  A vine had actually grown through the fence.  I was able to bring it back into the garden and head it in the other direction.  I'm letting them grow over the ground along the back fence.  I'm hoping there's enough room.  My bamboo trellis didn't hold up, so the ground was the alternative. 

The Roma patch is under the ladder.  They doubled in size while I was gone.  I also have Blue Lake and Wax beans in the patch as well.  I'm hoping for a good harvest of green beans.  My family loves my green beans and corn, so I'm hoping to can a few quarts to use for family gatherings this year. 

The french Blue Lake pole beans are wrapping around the teepee trellis.  So far so good this year.  The groundhogs ate them down 5 times last season.  I finally gave up.  My battle with them this season will be another post.  I also have Blue Lake bush beans in this patch. 

Here's my first harvest for 2012.  So proud, I grew these from seed.  I may try it again next year.  The spring onions are a courtesy from my neighbor. 

Music In The Garden

Vacation is over!  Those 7 days zoomed by.  I love traveling, but there's no place like home.  I returned home last night, and spent the entire afternoon in the garden weeding and cutting back the squash and zucchini plants.  It's amazing what can happen in a week.  Weeds have grown and all of my veggies have doubled in size.  Stay tuned for a Tour of the Garden Part 2. 

While I was working, I had a visitor.  He perched on top of the greenbean teepee and he chirped and chirped.  I was able to get these great shots and he didn't flinch.  So happy I had my camera with me, it's moments like this that you don't want to miss, and another reason why I love the garden and all nature has to offer.  Do you know what kind of songbird this is?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Admiring Plants In St. Croix, VI

Greetings from St. Croix, VI.  I left my garden and decided to spend a week soaking up the sun in St. Croix, VI.  My brother is tending to my garden.  I pray that everything is living when I return.  St. Croix has not disappointed!  I'm staying on an old sugarcane plantation outside of Christensted.  Some of the chimneys and fireplaces of the sugar mill still remain on the property, but history has been replaced with 50 adorable Indian style cottages and a spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea. 

The grounds have been beautifully maintained.  I love walking around admiring and learning about the native plants on the island.  I remembered all of you, and decided to share a few of the plants throughout the grounds. 

Aloe - Perfect for my sunburned back, ouch!  This plant is huge as you can see.  It's about 4 feet tall and growing. 


Pink Bougainvillea - Absolutely beautiful and my favorite.  This gorgeous plant can be found throughout the grounds of the resort.  It's more of a fuschia color, and the picture doesn't do it justice. 

Orange Bougainvillea.  The plant is actually a combination of peach and orange blooms.  Nice soothing color. 

Fan Palm.  This palm is at the entry of the resort.  It gives you a taste of what's in store as you roam the grounds. 

 Coconut Palm. The coconuts are cut down for guests to eat.  Workers leisurely walk the grounds eating the coconuts and offering this treasure to guests.  I'll be trying one before the week ends. 

Guava Berries - Used to make St. Croix Rum.  The berries turn red when ripe, and can be found on trees/bushes throughout the ground. 

 The Hibicus can be found everywhere on the island.  The petals are boiled, sweetened and made into tea.  Did you know that you can take a cutting and root it in water to start another plant?  They spray the plants with green tea to get rid of pests. 

 Fence Post or Turpentine Tree.  Check out the trunk of the tree.  The entire tree is used in some areas as fence posts. 
                                                         My cottage surrounded by Royal Palms.  

 A view of the pool and Carribean Sea from the front porch of the cottage.  The color of both are beautiful.

They have a beautiful tree here called the Flamboyant, which has bright orange flowers on it.  I haven't been able to get a picture, because they have all been along the road.  The roads here do not have shoulders, so it's impossible to pull over to snap a picture.  I still have a few more days to enjoy here in St. Croix.  Tomorrow I spend the day tasting the coconuts, sipping the best iced tea that I've had and lounging on the beach.  Thursday I will go into Christensted to enjoy the boardwalk and take pictues of the town for my scrapbook.  Hopefully, I'll find a few Flamboyant trees along the way.  We'll see what the remaining days bring.  Hope you enjoyed the beautiful plants and view on the island of St. Croix, and I hope your gardens are thriving. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Look What I Found

Look what I found!  I'm amazed at what can happen in the garden in a week.  I found baby squash and zucchini and the peas are popping up like crazy. 

At the rate the squash and zucchini are growing, I'll be begging people to take it off my hands, making numerous trips to the food banks to deliver these fresh veggies, and consuming zucchini fries, bread and anything else that I can think of for months to come.  No harvest yet, but I'm so looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Calcium Mix for Tomatoes

My tomatoes are taking off, so to give them a boost through out the growing season I'll be feeding them eggshells and calcium tablets.  My tomatoes were good last year, but they were small.  In addition to the calcium, I'll be diligent in removing the suckers.  

I'll be going on vacation this week, so I wanted to give them a good dose before we leave.  I grinded up a bottle of calcium tablets into powder, and boiled a half dozen of eggs that were ready to expire.  Calcium tablets are rather expensive, so I'll be relying on eggshells the majority of the season. 

The eggshells should be dry, so I placed them in the oven for 5 minutes to dry then out.  I then placed them in a plastic bag and used a rolling pin to crush them into fine pieces.  I mixed the calcium powder and eggshells together and placed a healthy dose around the base of the tomato plants.  I used a plastic fork to mix the mixture into the soil and replaced the straw mulch.  We received a good shower this evening after I placed the mixture, so I'm hoping that it will help mix the powder into the soil. 

I'll continue this process throughout the growing season.  I'm hoping for a bumper crop with the boosts of calcium.  How do you feed your tomato plants. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Staking Indeterminate Tomatoes

I decided to add more support to my tomato cages.  They're pretty study, but I didn't feel confident they would hold indeterminate tomato plants. The Amish Paste plants put them to the test last year. They didn't fall over, but there was a strain placed on the cages.  They worked perfectly for the determinate tomatoes, but I must also admit the heirlooms are going to hit the ground if I don't provide more stability.

I was actually displeased with the price that I paid for the cages at Tractor Supply last season, but when I look back on it they were worth it. Because of the price, I decided to keep the cages and just drive 2 t-post beside them and attach the cages with twist ties.

I hoping the t-posts will hold them.  I was thinking about purchasing a roll of concrete mesh, but weighed the pros and cons.  The t-posts were attached in 10 minutes.  I would have to cut the concrete mesh and put the cages together.  The tomato cages I currently have are stackable, and I can store the t-posts behind the compost bins.  I would have to disassemble the concrete mesh to store them,  and where I don't know.  If I decide to extend the garden next year, I will use the cages for hybrids and invest in cattle panel for the heirlooms.  I'll stake the panel with the extra t-posts.  I hope my idea works.  Have you used t-posts to anchor your cages?

Other happenings, the squash have covered the first rung of the bamboo trellis and lots of blooms are forming.  The zuchinni is looking good on the other side.  I gathered a few great recipes to use for the squash and zuchinni. 

My peas are finally coming up.  I'm late planting them.  These are Wando, and they're suppose to be heat tolerate and great for freezing.  If successful, I get to have the entire harvest to myself.  I'm the only person in the household who loves peasI'm hoping my little granddaughter, Zarriah, will take after her grandmother and will enjoy them for her baby food.  If so, I'll plant another crop for fall harvest. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Garden Tour

Things are looking pretty good in the garden.  I spent a few hours in there this afternoon and it was the perfect day for it.  High 72, partly cloudy.  Not too hot, and the ground soft enough to pull weeds without much effort.  That's the way I like to work. 

The squash and zucchini are blooming.  I decided to put some straw around everything today, to help keep the weeds down.  I had a bale waiting to be used.  My neighbor was nice enough to give me the bale she used for fall decorating to use as mulch in my garden.  I'm going to use the remaining to mulch the pathways.  The less weeds, the better for me. 

This is a Hungarian Wax pepper that is setting fruit.  They are all doing nicely.  I saw a few Chili's on one plant as well.  Can't wait to put these babies away for chili and salsa. 

I need to get the Geraniums in the ground.  They're laying outside the fence waiting for my attention.  I'll be planting them as a companion to the peppers. 

These are Boston pickling cukes and dill.  Can't wait to make spicy refrigerator pickles out of these babies.  I used 2 t-posts that I had laying around and garden netting for the trellis.   I placed slicers on the other side.  I took this picture before I got the slicers in today.   

The Romas and bush beans are looking goodThe Beefsteak and Pink Brandy Wine, below, are coming along nicely. 

The Blue Lake french pole beans and bush beans are coming along too.    Do you mulch your beans? 

This is Miss Tilly.  Matilda has seen better days, so she was placed on the garbage truck at the end of the season last year.  Miss Tilly is missing her hat, and Mama can't find it.  I'll have to find a replacement in the coming weeks. 

I did plant peas and sunflowers today.  I didn't have any luck with the sunflowers last year and the groundhogs eat the peas down to the ground.  Hopefully this will be a better year.  Stay tuned for more developments in the Diva's Garden.