Monday, May 31, 2010


From Gardening

This leaf belongs to a cauliflower plant that never grew a cauliflower. I think I'm understanding why that happened, or really, why it didn't, but my question is somewhat tangential. Since there are clearly pests in my garden, should I pull up the plants they are eating that I have no use for anymore (dud cauliflowers, dud cabbages, and so on), or should I leave them so the pests eat them and not anything else?

I saw beetles on my butternut squash plants and got some good feedback in Facebook - I bought Organicide but haven't used it yet. I don't want to put actual pesticides near things we will be eating! But I also don't want to do all this hard work for the pests.

I wanted to acknowledge those of you who keep reading and giving us feedback. It is so helpful in our greenhorn journey!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A flowering problem

From Gardening

Last week the broccoli that was farthest along looked great - compact green buds, but it didn't seem very big, so I didn't harvest it. Now it looks like this. Obviously I should have picked it before now, but when should that have been? And can we still eat this?

From Gardening

The bok choy plants have also started flowering. I vaguely know that this is a sign that the plant is done producing and is ready to create seeds to grow a new crop of itself next year. With basil, for instance, I know how to keep it trimmed but still encourage it to grow, by cutting stalks down where the next buds are forming.

So, please advise me. What should I have done differently. Is this a danger for every plant in my garden? Should I let it happen or somehow trim off the flowering parts? Or if I had trimmed them off earlier, would I be seeing more bok choy rather than these flowers?

This year is all about learning, and doing it better next time.

I'm also wondering. If my cauliflower plants have huge leaves but so far no cauliflower, should I assume they will eventually grow, or are they duds?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Preparing for Tomatoes

From Gardening

We have our first baby tomatoes on the vine - I think this is from the Mr. Stripey plant. I went around and pulled up all the little volunteer tomatoes that had started to grow, and to put stakes next to some and cages around others, as well as pinching off the tiny sprouts between the branches that would make it less stable. I also transplanted one of the yellow pear plants I started from seed, but I'm waiting to transplant the rest until we've harvested the cabbages and broccoli.

What kinds of tomatoes did you plant? We planted one each of Sweet 100, Mr. Stripey, Black Krim, Arkansas Traveler, Hybrid Cherry, Green Zebra, tomatillo, and then have some from seed for Amish paste and yellow pear.

I bought calcium to put on the tomatoes but haven't done anything with it yet. I'm fearful of fungus but kind of want to see how they do on their own first.

What do you do for your tomatoes to keep them healthy?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Garden So Far

From Gardening

I took this shot from my bedroom window, which shows how nice and neat everything is looking now that the weeds are all mowed down.

A couple of observations:

-We should really trim the huge cabbage leaves back. I read that you can and it won't hurt the plant, and it would stop it from taking over the squares around it.
-The 4-foot stakes were NOT high enough for the eager peas. Next year I'm going to try the net/frame combo that can go up to 5 feet instead of 4.
-The broccoli that is growing the best is the one that actually gets less sun, because it is blocked part of the day by the peas. Hmm.
-I have no idea if I planted leeks right or what/how I should do with them. They look lush though.
-Still need to put netting on the strawberries and consider safeguarding the blueberries as well. Maybe this week!

Finishing the stones between the beds will make this look a lot nicer.

We have started being able to enjoy the vegetables of our labor this week. Besides the post about bok choy, we've had a salad with lettuce from the garden, and a pasta salad with peas and dill from it. That's the point, and it is really happening, not too far into May.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ladybugs are Good (Right?)

From Gardening

I remember buying ladybugs when I was young to put in the garden. So I should be feeling happy that they are hanging out on the pea plants.... right?

Our garden is pesticide and chemical free, and I don't want to change that. I was just curious.

Friday, May 7, 2010

From Garden to Table - Bok Choy!

From Gardening

It has finally happened - something grew, and we ate it. The bok choy cabbages that are scattered in Raised Beds #1 and #2 were grown from seeds, sprouted inside, transplanted, and have thrived in our warm spring. The Bonnie Early hybrids are still growing, and can't be harvested until there is an entire head there.

But Bok Choy can be harvested a leaf at a time, you just take off the formed outer leaves and leave the tender middle ones to keep growing. I'm not sure at what point you consider the plant "done," but I know we haven't reached that point yet.

From Gardening

The bok choy didn't have to go very far to become Garlic Bok Choy. Hopefully there will be many more new meals in our house that come from the back yard!