GARDEN UPDATE

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 15-06-2011

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JUNE 14, 2011

I have been gone for the past 4 days but Kathy and Davis have worked the garden while I was away.  Davis told me that he brought a soil/plant scientist over to the garden this past weekend and he told him that the tomato bed closest to the gate was experiencing nitrogen stress.  We had added 34-0-0 to the soil when we added the compost before planting and did not add anything again in fear of growing large plants without any tomatoes.  We were wrong.  Although we are getting tomatoes, the plants are yellowing (even with the daily watering) as the nitrogen is being leached from the soil so Davis added a feeding of 34-0-0 today.  I will add a topical feeding (Miracle Grow) tomorrow.  The now 6 foot plus tomato bed along the south side of the garden is lush and full of heirloom tomatoes.   These are not turning pink as yet but should start soon.  A very interesting observation…I have seen no evidence of the tomato hawk worm.  KNOCK ON WOOD!

 

TOMATO HORM WORM Manduca quinquemaculata  female

Manduca quinquemaculata

It is just a matter of time before they arrive.  Once here, they will proceed to very rapidly eat the tomato plants.  They start out small but in 5 days will be 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.   We will need to keep a daily watch for them and when seen, we must remove them.  The chickens will delight in the treats.  Peggy thinks we should let them eat because they make beautiful sphinx moths but I want to eat tomatoes (and potatoes) which are their favorite food plants so I will be providing the chickens with their epicurean entertainment.

 

MELON BED and more.

I am really pleased with the progress our melon bed is making.  I think we will need to “Miracle Grow” them tomorrow also as well as pinch the ends out of the runners as they are leaving the bed and going into the grassy areas.  We want the energy to go into making melons not vines.  For those of you who want to get a few tomatoes, I would suggest that you pick your favorites when they begin to turn pink and take them home to ripen in the kitchen window.  If you don’t, you may find them gone when you go back to get them.  We all love our tomatoes.   We have seven varieties of watermelons and cantaloupes – all heirlooms so I am expecting a treat later in the summer.  The okra has sprouted as well as the replant of the Kentucky Wonders.   I need to check the replant of the Johnny”s Seed pole bean that was so good last year.    Kathy planted them where the sugar peas were as our first planting was too close to the chicken fence.  The corn is looking good and the second planting is starting to sprout.  Please check the crook-necked squash every day as it does not take long for them to get too large.  Davis and I covered the vines with soil to re-root the vines to combat the bores but we may loose them anyway.  I have planted four hills of winter squash in the old potato bed.  Cabbage is ready to start picking.  Everyone needs to take a head home and make cooked cabbage or slaw.  Both are great eating.  Our new Passion Vine had a rough weekend without water and shows the stress.  I hope that Davis was able to save it with a little water today.  It is a beautiful flower that will cover 20 feet of our outer fence and bring in the  Gulf Fritillary butterfly ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Fritillary).

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary butterfly

 

GUINEA CHICKS ARE IN THE CHICKEN YARD.

Glenda and I spent a couple hours building a wire cage for the Guinea chicks this evening so we could put them with the chickens and get them out from under the house where they were becoming odoriferous.   I am hopeful that they are old enough to survive the snakes and rodents.

Tomorrow, we will have to water again as well as do our fertilizing and weeding.  I spoke with Lidia Minich today and she offered to loan us her large Troy- built Horse tiller this winter so we can prepare the garden extension for the row crops.   That will make the chore a lot easier.  Don’t forget to get eggs.  If you don’t find any, tell me and I will get them from my stash.

Gordon

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