Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gardeners' hard work rewarded with huge and varied harvest at Davies.

Hi Everyone,
HARVEST TODAY 136 lbs.      YTD 732 lbs.

What a busy day we had...and finished all our chores!! Our terrific crew: Jamie, Susan, Mary Elizabeth, Martha, Joyce, Cathy, Steve, Rita, Nancy and myself (I hope I didn't miss anyone). I came in late this morning, but when I got there everyone was busy harvesting. Things we picked today were tomatoes, bush beans, chard, cucumbers, cantaloupe, herbs, fennel, beets, carrots, eggplant, okra and peppers (jalapeƱo, serrano, shishito and pablano).

Everything piled up waiting to be weighed.

The peppers are finally starting to put out. We are way behind last year on the peppers. Cathy pulled about the last of the beets and carrots. More beets have already been planted and the plan is to plant more carrots Saturday. Two Minnesota Midget cantaloupe were picked today with more on the vines. We planted a second crop of these which are just starting to blossom.

Last of the carrots, beets and fennel.

The beans are plentiful on the first planting, and now we will be able to start harvesting some of our succession plantings by Saturday. The second crop of potatoes are growing up, and Steve hilled them up with our rich compost, which Jamie worked on this morning.

Peanut bed with sunflowers at the end.

The peanut bed looked flush this morning, so think it got a boost with the comfrey tea we put on Saturday. Martha and Nancy de-egged the squash plants and I injected some Bt in the stems as a preventative, although I haven't seen any of the waspy critters responsible for the SVB's lately. All the squash look surprisingly good. We should be able to plant one more succession of squash. Joyce tied up tomatoes and Mary Elizabeth watered. Susan and Cathy planted six Camilla cucumbers, four of which replaced the seedy 'Potato' cucumbers. Yep, we pulled those suckers out....too many seeds. Two more Camilla cucumber towers were planted on the other side of the garden.

Bubba's Black Beans....Bubba would be proud.

The black beans should be ready to start picking next week, and do we ever have a crop. I remember last year they went until nearly frost, so we have a lot of harvesting ahead of us.

We picked the clean leaves on the chard and plan on cutting the rest off about 3 inches from the ground to see if it will send out new shoots for a late season crop. Not listed above in the harvest was lettuce that we found in a shaded spot. It was a loose head that had not bolted or turned bitter, I presume because it was kept cool and out of the sun. What a nice summer bonus.

Overall, it was one of those days that made all our hard work worth the effort. Thanks to all the workers today, and to all those who have been working to make possible this wonderful harvest. Cathy delivered all to the women's shelter, and I know they were thrilled. Included in the delivery was another bouquet of zinnias, which always puts a smile on the face of the lady helping to unload.

'Til later,

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Beauty in the Garden

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 25 lbs.        YTD 444 lbs.

We had a good day today, getting our work done before it got really hot. Our great crew today consisted of Susan, Jamie, G.A., Karen, and first timer intern Cindy Forman.

Bountiful tomatoes.

We harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, okra, squash, beans and a bouquet of zinnias. Not all of the tomatoes were weighed, as we took the unripe ones home to ripen and will be included in Wednesday's harvest. The tomatoes that are just starting to turn get picked to refrain from tempting the raccoons with red ripe things. All was delivered to the halfway house ministry.

'Jade' bush beans with a few Burgundy beans.

As I said before, the 'Jade' beans are just super...beautiful beans and so prolific. The okra is starting to put out nice little batches, especially for the small size of the plants. Our peppers certainly aren't as bountiful as last year, but I've noticed more blossoms lately, so there is still hope.

Okra, Cavelli zucchini and banana peppers.

Today we experimented with the squash, first spraying Bt on the stems and then dusting the stems and ground area with diatomaceous earth to deter squash vine borers and squash bugs. The squash bugs are not nearly as bothersome this year, and G.A. de-egged the only plant that seemed to have any squash bugs. The vine borers seem to be at a minimum also. 

Quite a few tomatoes on rather sickly vines.

As you can see by the photo above, there are tomatoes on the vines but the foliage on the bottom half of most of the plants has turned brown. There appeared to be something that looked like black spot, so we thought it was a fungus from all the rain. We are hoping for another flush of tomatoes since the tops are nice and green.

Grafted tomato.

Above is a grafted tomato started by intern Al Hayes. It is a 'Big Rainbow' grafted into a 'Celebrity.' You will notice that it has none of the diseased foliage at the bottom. Grafted tomatoes are supposed to better withstand disease. No tomatoes yet, but some blossoms. I hope that with the predicted nighttime temps in the 60's next week, that this and all our tomatoes will set some fruit.

Caterpillars eating the dill.

Other chores that got done today....Jamie weeded and worked on the compost. Karen also weeded, clearing our front entrance and a bed. More pole beans were planted. We have to keep in mind where we will be planting our fall crops, planting things that will be ready to come out when the fall/winter crops are ready to go in. 

Zinnia bouquet was a big hit with the ladies.

Speaking of fall crops, the cabbage and broccoli will be started this week, aiming for a late August transplant date. Kale, mustard and kohlrabi will be direct seeded, but we will have to be diligent in watering when direct seeding while the weather is still hot.

I am looking forward to cooler temps next week to get a lot of garden work done, and hope you can do the same.

'Til later,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Breaking in some new gardeners today at Davies PAR.

Hi Everyone,
HARVEST TODAY 43 lbs.          YTD 362 lbs.

There was a good group of gardeners today with some new folks and two long lost friends...Virginia and Bob. Also present were Joyce Carter, Dianne Campbell, Jeanne Courtney, Steve Brown, Martha Montesi, Greg, Susan, Melba, Rita and myself.

Marilyn and Jeanne weighing in the produce.

Harvest today included fennel, tomatoes, strawberries, beans, eggplant, squash, beets, peppers, cucumbers, okra, carrots and herbs.

Two more fennel bulbs this week, with more to come.

We were surprised that we had okra already on tiny plants less than 2 ft. high! What is going on? In the meanwhile, the peppers are slow, slow, slow. This year is certainly quite different from last. We got a nice tomato harvest today, and have not been bothered by raccoons so far....also unlike last year.


Susan and Greg planted a bed of beets (two varieties), and Virginia and Bob planted three rows of potatoes. The seed potatoes were given to us, and we used as many as we could. As long as we have 90 frost free days, we can plant a late crop. I am concerned, however, that the insects/disease may pose a bigger problem at this late addition to the voles. We hated to turn down something free.

Susan and Greg planting beets.

The squash were sprayed with Bt. The cantaloupe, squash and cucumbers were sprayed with the insect deterrent witch hazel mix. The butternut squash were full of squash bug eggs, which Greg squished. The other squash are relatively clean. The Minnesota Midgets are looking good. I believe it will be a good idea to start putting bird netting around them within the next week as they start to ripen to deter the raccoons.

Two of the biggest Minnesota Midget Cantaloupes with many more smaller on the vines.

Tomatoes were tied up and cucumbers trained on the trellis. No more horn worms were spotted on the tomatoes. Our pretty yellow Italian Pole Beans were few because of the voles getting so many vines, but those we got were beautiful.

Yellow Italian Pole Beans.

Rita pulled scads of carrots and also planted sunflowers. Our zinnias are looking great, and we sent a bouquet along with the delivery today. They love getting the zinnias, and we should do another planting so we can have zinnias all summer long.

Zinnias planted under the muscadine vine.

The garden is looking pretty good at present. I'd like to see more peppers, but I guess we were spoiled last year with our super abundant pepper harvest. Everyone worked hard today, and we were glad to see all the new folks.

'Til later,