Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garden Update

We've been so busy harvesting and shelling black-eyed peas (pink eye purple hulls, actually) picking tomatoes and okra, and watching the progress of the cantaloupes that I've not had time to update. Not to mention that work really hinders my computer time!

It's been hot, hot, HOT here in my neck of the woods for the past couple of weeks. We finally got about 1/4" of rain a couple of days ago. We're more than 5" behind in our rainfall for the year. I think it's going to take something big, like a hurricane to come ashore (unfortunately), to change the weather pattern. I'm so ready for cooler temps and rain and it's just the end of June! I'm usually not feeling this way until the middle to end of July.

The Contender bush beans gave up the ghost this past week. They were really starting to look stressed because of the temps, so on Wednesday, the husband and I harvested all the beans and then yanked out the plants.

We ended up with a mop bucket full of beans.
The partial harvest for the day of the beans.

Out of our bucket full of beans, we got 3 quart sized freezer bags full of cut green beans. I did blanch them for 3 mins in boiling water followed by 3 mins in a cold water bath before bagging and freezing.

The pink eye purple hull black eyed peas are going crazy! They are so loaded with pods it's not even funny. For the past week, we've been harvesting pods, shelling them, and then putting them in a freezer bag in the freezer. I'm cooking them TONIGHT!

Bloom and the first pods.

Green pods

Ripe pods (purple hulls)

Fresh shelled. See the pink eyes?

We have 2 mounds of cantaloupes. The first mound has already set 3 fruits. The largest fruit has started to develop its webbing, so it should be ripe and ready soon.

Still a bit on the green side, but you can see the webbing starting to form on the skin. Soon....

The second mound of cantaloupes is in an area that receives more shade than the first mound. Those plants have finally started running and sending out both male and female flowers. I saw a couple of potential melons this morning that look like they've been pollinated. Here's one of the potentials on my watch list.

Lastly, the watermelon patch is really filling in. I think there's some kind of fungus among us, so I'm researching that and trying to figure out what it is and how to treat it.

The watermelon patch before straw was put down.

First potential watermelon. It's teeny tiny, but located just to the right of the black edging between the two leaves.

That's it for today. Next time, I'll show off my cucumbers!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


It seems like so much has been happening in the garden lately! I'm so tired of the hot temps already. We usually have these temps in July, not in June. We're also lacking precipitation. We're 5" behind on the rainfall totals for the year. However, there's good news in the garden! We've been harvesting for the past week or so.

Today's harvest of a handful of cherry tomatoes from our volunteer cherry tomato plants, a few okra that are now in the freezer, and a lemon cucumber.

The other night, I went out and picked about a pound of Contender bush beans, a few strawberries, and a couple of okra. This was our first harvest of beans and they were really tasty! Husband put the okra somewhere, supposedly in the freezer, but I've not found them yet! LOL

This is the first year I've grown lemon cucumbers. I didn't really know what to expect, but I thought I'd give them a try. I'm in love!! What a tasty little thing and perfect for just one or two people! It's about the size of a medium sized apple, grows green, and then turns a light shade of yellow and gets stripes from the top down when it's ripe. There are little spiny things on the outside of the skin, but if you use a vegetable scrubber on them, they'll come off. The skin is tasty and the inside is nice and crisp!

Here's the inside. It's so pretty, I think!

We pulled the garlic up on Sunday. It hadn't fallen over, but it was all brown and dead looking, so out it came. This is elephant garlic passed along to me from a gardening friend who's been growing and passing it along for about 20 years now. All I can say is that the fully mature bulb is HUGE! It's about the size of a softball.

Here's my haul. The smaller bulb on the left is a 2-year bulb. I'll let it cure, then plant it again in the fall. Next year at harvest time, it'll be the size of the larger bulbs on the right. The 2 bulbs on the right were grown from full size pods last fall. They are full size cloves of garlic. We'll use one of the bulbs for cooking and one of them we'll plant in late September-early October so we'll have more full-grown garlic bulbs next June.

If you'll look at the picture of the garlic on the right, you'll notice that the outer paper husk of the garlic is not there. That's because we waited too long to harvest. These cloves are still viable, but without the paper, they are more susceptible to disease and pests. We'll have to use these first. They need to dry for about a month where it's not too dry and out of the sun. We've brushed the dirt off them, but not used water on them. Right now, they're on my washing machine, but we'll soon hang them outside under the carport where they'll be out of the sun, but can take advantage of the warmth and high humidity.

These are the small bulbules that grow on the bottom of the larger bulb of garlic. These are 2-year pods and this is what we planted most of last fall. They have a very hard outer shell that takes awhile to break down and germinate. The smaller bulb in the previous picture is what was grown out of one of these bulbules. I need to clean these up, let them cure, then they'll be ready for sharing and planting!

Until next time, I'll leave you with a pic of one of my garden visitors.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today in the Garden

We have a lovely lemon cucumber growing.

The Contender bush beans are getting ready. They were flopped over, so the husband has been working today to get them "contained" in a more orderly fashioned.

The black-eyed peas have started blooming.

I spied my first couple of maters ripening...finally! Now I just need to keep them safe from the birds. Need to put up bird netting. Oh good! Something else to do outside in the heat.

Lastly, we released our first Black Swallowtail butterfly grown from a caterpillar this morning!

I have one caterpillar getting ready to pupate and form a chrysalis, 1 in the third instar stage and then I discovered 2 first instar stage cats this morning in one of my containers.