Monthly Archives: August 2009

Getting the word out

We’ve been fortunate to have the local newspaper (Corvallis Gazette-Times) interested in publishing an article about the project, which was just released today.

Catch the online article at:
http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/article_595d9888-95da-11de-aef7-001cc4c002e0.html

The total August harvest tally will be posted tomorrow.

And, we really do exist!  We all had divergent plans that precluded a group photo in the newspaper article, but this is the “goof” photo that caught some interest….

Group photo-4

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Slip, sliding away

Alas, we’re officially on the downside and downslide of summer when the inevitable powdery mildew shows up on the squash and cucumbers.  The ‘Buttercup’ winter squash is the hardest hit, since it was shaded more as it wound its vines beneath the corn, so with the corn completely picked it was time to remove some stalks to let more light in for the squash and increase air circulation.

Powdery mildew on Butternut squash

Powdery mildew on Buttercup squash

Powdery mildew on yellow squash

Powdery mildew on yellow squash

Although commercial growers may apply chemicals to retard the formation of mildew, it really is a natural phenomenon that ties in with a change in season, via changes in temperature and humidity.

In town I’ve spotted a slight color tinge to some vine maples, and other plants are exhibiting their seasonal “green fatigue”.  Given the lower sun angle and record low temperatures of 41 during the last week, it may be time to use plastic over the tomatoes, at least at night.  After another interlude of partly overcast days, we’re due to warm up to the mid-upper 80’s for a stretch, but the heat won’t be the same.

Meanwhile,  a new group a ‘Rainbow’ Swiss chard is sprouting well, along with a row of lettuce.

Stay tuned for the end-of-month tally next week……

Double-takes

This week we had a couple of double-takes as the garden yielded fused corn and fused squash…

Double-takes on sweet corn

Double-takes on sweet corn

Double-takes on yellow straightneck squash

Double-takes on yellow straightneck squash

Our “browser” deer, who I believe to be a yearling-buck, may be trying to educate himself about mature versus green tomatoes.  Either that, or he got spooked and dropped the green Roma tomato.  Better to nibble off all the tips of the young bean plants!  And, thanks to the lavender plant stashed against the row of chard, he only nibbled 2 or 3 leaves.  The Irish Spring odor must have worn off the ropes over the last couple of days.

A deer-rejected Roma tomato!

A deer-rejected Roma tomato!

The new (third?) wave of yellow squash is coming on as a heat wave hits us again this week, after an unseasonably cool two weeks. The dreaded “powdery mildew” just began to make an appearance on the bushcrop squash, so now we’re officially on the downside of summer, and we hope the night temperatures will rise back to the 50’s during this last summer hurrah, since the large tomatoes are so slow to ripen.

Squash sextuplets and this is only one group!

Squash sextuplets and this is only one group!

We’re also pleased that our new sign arrived during the week, along with small business cards, so curious passersby can learn a little more if they’d like.

New signage for project information

New signage for project information

Since I’m receiving more questions about caring for particular plants, I’ll be adding a separate page of general comments, though by no means exhaustive.  Thanks for the questions and comments that have been sent!

May we present……?

Gorgeous corn! In spite of inconsistent weather and some temporary nutrient deficiencies, our ‘Silver Princess’ sweet corn has matured and borne at least one ear per plant.  The tallest plants have 2 to 3 ears apiece, and one even has a fourth (immature).  Some ears are still filling out, but today (drum roll please) we harvested the first 5 ears! Almost clockwork to the day….70 days from planting.

First corn pickings and smiles of success

First corn pickings and smiles of success

Irresistible sweet corn var. Silver Princess

Irresistible sweet corn var. Silver Princess and not an ear worm to be found.

While enjoying our fresh, tender corn this week we’re keeping our eyes open for the next onslaught of squash and lemon cucumbers, after a slight respite.  And, contemplate when the dozen “personal size” spaghetti squashes will mature, and ponder if they really are what the package claims; fortunately they stopped growing awhile ago.  We’re also relieved to hear that formerly predicted “colder than average temperatures” for the rest of August won’t be likely; we need more warmth for our great crop of big, green tomatoes.

Colorful bounty: corn, eggplant, banana sweet pepper, cherry tomato

Colorful bounty: corn, eggplant, banana sweet pepper, cherry tomato

July Bounty

The heat spike of the previous blog has eased to the high 80’s, yielding nearly 10 pounds of summer squash in 4 days.  This marks the first donation of surplus food to a local food bank.  We’ve been overrun with squash and cucumbers, and that’s before the lemon cucumbers are coming on strong.  Our one casualty was a partially sun-scalded bell pepper, which had to be picked long before turning its intended orange hue.

Aug-01-09

The July pickings total as follows (in pounds):

•    Summer squash:    30 1/4
•    Cucumbers:             15 1/2
•    Swiss chard:             5 1/4
•    Kale:                          5 1/4
•    Beans:                       2
•    Peppers:                   1/4
•    Lettuce:                    6 1/4
•    Tomatoes:                 3/4
•    Eggplant:                  1
•    Artichoke:                 3/4
•    Scallions:                  1/2
•    Basil:                          1/8
•    Strawberries:            10
•    Blueberries:              1
•    Peaches:                     1/2
Grand Total:        80 (rounded off)

The sunflowers and yellow straightneck squash still appear to be competitive, thus said squash plant is now over 4 feet high, which makes for easier picking at times.  A squash “tree” more than a bush.  Today it looks as if the sunflowers took another bound upwards above 5 feet.  Will the squash try it?