Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birth and Death in the Garden

The tomatoes are getting tall - the cherry tomato plants are almost 5' tall and have about a dozen little green cherry tomatoes coming along with more flowers budding. The July4 tomatoes are also starting to fruit - teensy so far. The Black Krim tomatoes have some buds getting ready to open. They are oddly huge by tomato bud standards. The tomatoes I planted from seed have come to nothing. A few are still seedlings, no second leaves, but mostly they are gone. I think there are two tiny tomatillo seedlings left, with second leaves, but not much to them. I don't know whether the problem is the time of year I planted them, poor seeds, pests (didn't see any) or what. I suspect it may be the heat is to much for tomato seeds.

The garlic never came up. Neither did the peppers nor most of the onions. I've got about 6 or 7 red onions coming along and two teeny sprigs in the white onion bed but they haven't done much so I'm not sure they will ever bulb. Most of the lettuce died - bad timing on my part. The summer is definitely too hot for lettuce. A few heads of buttercrunch are doing OK in a shady part of the garden so I might get a salad out of it. The rouge d'hiver and rocket are about dead. The cantelope came up, flowered, and died.

The radishes are OK. No idea how I will know when they are ready to harvest. I pulled up one that had loads of leaves and since I thought I had read radishes grow fast I thought it would be ready. Not. Just a root, no bulb. I stuck it back in and watered it. The leaves wilted but lo and behold it put out new leaves so maybe it will be OK.

The cucumbers are doing OK. Still short but at least not sick looking or dead. No flowers yet. Same with the red okra and the lima beans.

The potatoes are coming up nicely. I need to read up on when to hill them and get some alfalfa hay to do that.

The squash is starting to veg but I had a big disappointment with the first ones. I had two yellow squash - a fat one and a little one. The little one started to implode - just shrank up on itself. I thought maybe it didn't get fertilized. the big one was doing fine but then it started to shrivel up too. I pulled it off the vine and broke it open and there was a fat, green caterpiller munching away! I stepped on the squash, caterpiller and all. I have two more yellow squash and one zucchini. I got out the Dipel dust and gave the vines a sprinkle. I didn't really want to use pesticides but I also didn't really want to lose anymore squash!

No pumpkins yet. The vines were looking ugly, with several torn and browning leaves so I decided to clean it up and cut off the bad leaves. That may not have been a good idea. Now the vine looks so barren. It has lots of male flowers but all of the little female buds have disappeared without opening. Patience, patience. But I really wanted some pumpkins for Halloween. Oh, well. Maybe for Thanksgiving.

I fed the garden with fish and seaweed emulsion this morning. Gag! What a stink! I can't get it out of my nose and everytime I walk out there it really smells awful. My poor neighbors. However, it's supposed to do wonders. In fact, I should repeat it every two weeks. I hope it works.

I went to Wabash Feed store to get some transplants. Onion sets won't be there until November but I got some other things (see spreadsheet). I tried Home Depot garden center and Houston Garden Center but neither has any vegetables at all. Weird since it's time to put in the fall gardens.

On the cheese front...
I tried to smoke a gouda cheese but wound up almost melting the poor thing. I had this idea of putting mesquite chips in a crock pot, setting the pot in the BBQ pit and putting the cheese on a rack above the chips. Too warm. I need to build a cold smoker and probably wait until winter weather to try again. Last week I cut into the farmhouse cheddar. It's 2 months old and I just wanted to know if it was OK. It was delicious - quite sharp, in fact. However, its kind of crumbly. But at least it tastes good! I'm waxing over the cut edge and putting it back in the cheese cave to age somemore.

No comments: