Tag Archives: chard

August Bounty

The August pickings total as follows (in pounds):

•    Summer squash:    53
•    Cucumbers:             49-½
•    Swiss chard:              6-½
•    Kale:                           10-½
•    Beans:                         5
•    Peppers:                      ¾
•    Sweet corn:              19 (25 ears)
•    Tomatoes:                19-½
•    Eggplant:                   4
•    Scallions:                   1
•    Artichoke:                   ¾
•    Beets:                         1-½ (tops & roots)
•    Basil:                          2-½
•    Blueberries:              2
•    Potatoes:                   6
Grand Total:              182 (rounded off)

Total season bounty:  262

Thank you plants, pollinators, and devas!

Juba skipper on 'Cherry Profusion' zinnias

Juba skipper on 'Cherry Profusion' zinnias

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!

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?

High summer

When temperatures hover near 100°F my appetite switches gears in a big way.  No amount of fresh beans, chard, squash, tomatoes, or cucumbers can lure me to a green salad today, and especially not to cooking.  The last bit of bolting lettuce was plucked this morning to salvage a salad, maybe tomorrow.

First tomatoes were plucked a couple of days ago, and the squash are gearing up for another wave of production; lemon cucumbers are no visibly forming. Almost 6 pounds of green cucumbers were pulled this last week, which was a surprise.  Corn tassels and silk are promising signs of ear production as the plants have grown taller.  Bush beans abound and are a real hit, while thinned basil provides a delightful zest for pasta with garlic, salt, and olive oil.  Nonetheless, tonight’s dinner is cold cereal, cantaloupe, and a blueberry smoothie.

Tasty peaches, apricot sized!

Tasty peaches, apricot sized!

The prize picking was of the three small peaches that had formed on my new 2-yr. old dwarf tree.  I wasn’t sure when they’d be ripe, and when I went to inspect them under their little “pom pom” branch clusters, they released themselves easily with just a gentle nudge.  One was the size of an apricot, and the others a tad bit larger, very sweet and tasty nevertheless.

And the deer?  They’re watching and waiting; today I found evidence of some minor nibbling on the chard, kale, and bean tips.  Time to soap the lines again.  After I have my unorthodox dinner.

Bocce ball zucchini

The magic of zucchini: one day you can play billiards with the little round ones, the next you switch to lawn bowling.

Having shifted into a real stretch of summer for the last 5 days, the garden has responded in kind.  The thunderstorms of my last post soaked the gardens perfectly; no watering was needed for five days, despite 85-95° heat.  Summer squash and salad cucumbers showed their typical exponential growth in 2 days.

Plants are greening nicely in their new shoot growth, after more feeding; Swiss chard and bean plants are recovering from their deer-damage.  The first handful of green beans were picked today; there will be many more reaching full size in a couple of days.

The pickling cukes are just setting while the lemon cukes are in massive flower-stage; had to pull out 1 spaghetti squash plant because there are so many forming on the remaining vine, and the delicata squash was getting overrun (it has the slows).  There are some tiny buttercup squash setting as well.

Two or three corn plants are showing tassels already, which isn’t my preference.  This somewhat predetermines their height, and these are nowhere near their projected height.  We shall see!

In support of another sustainable urban garden movement, I’ve joined the project in their challenge to accumulate 1 million pounds of home-grown food; participants report their tally on any basis, be it daily, weekly, monthly.  It’s not a race, and there are no deadlines; just a way to see how long it takes to cooperatively accumulate the million pounds among the participants.

Since we’d been picking kale, chard, and strawberries (house yard) for a few weeks before discovering this challenge, we’re guesstimating that yield.  So far, the cumulative harvest stands at:
•    Summer squash (combined varieties):   5.25 pounds
•    Cucumbers:   1.75 pounds
•    Kale:  5 pounds
•    Beans: 0.5 pounds
•    Swiss chard:  3 pounds
•    Strawberries: 12 pounds
•    Blueberries:  1 pound
•    Artichoke: 0.5 pound

Oh yes, the sunflowers are winning….finally.

Planting day……finally

Two days ago I set an oscillating sprinkler on for 2 sets of 1-hour duration, separated by 1-hour breaks, to dampen down the upper 4 to 5 inches of soil.  We’ve had a stretch of unusually warm weather during the week; moisture setting in nicely after the second day of soaking.

I spent most of today in the new garden spot, beginning at 8:00 a.m., contemplating and editing my layout while soaking the soil for another couple of hours.  The Ferti-loam mix is wonderful; not a weed has shown up yet.  With our spell of hot weather, the raised soil bed is wonderfully warm, perfect for planting corn and other warmth-lovers.  Lettuce won’t be done until later summer.

Participating neighbors dropped by to help spread organic fertilizer on the beds and rake it in.  Soaker hoses appeared, and I started configuring the hose systems, not that they’d be used right away.

Planting proceeded quickly after 5:00 pm., when westerly breezes arose; stores ran low on various plants, so not everything planned was planted.  More bell peppers and tomatoes are still needed.

The morning after.....planting that is.  Where's Juniper?

The morning after.....planting that is. Where's Juniper?

The overall planting includes:
5 tomato plant varieties
6 yellow bell pepper plants
3 summer squash (seeded): patty-pan (or scallop), round zucchini, yellow straight-neck
3 winter squash (seeded): delicata, spaghetti, buttercup
3 cucumber plants: lemon, sweet-slice long, bush crop
2 Japanese purple eggplants
1 chives plant
1 parsley (seeded)
16 ft. of green bush beans (seed)
8 ft. of rainbow Swiss chard (seed)
8 ft. scallions (bunching onions) (seed)
4 rows (@ 6 ft.) white corn (seed) to yield 24 plants total
6 kale plants
8 sunflowers (seeded among the squash plants)
6 vine-type nasturtiums to climb bamboo teepee (seed)
15 bush nasturtiums to stabilize and color the front edge of the bed (seed)
8 basil (seeded)
3 lavender plants (move in fall)

Amendments and supplies:
5@4-lb.boxes of E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food (5-5-5); raked into top 3 inches of soil; furrowed under corn rows.
Tomato cages
250 ft. of soaker hoses
150 ft. of solid hose (3@50 ft) to connect soakers to house faucets
Brass or plastic multi-channel hose-connectors
Many large cardboard boxes to cover the entire 600 sq. ft. of lawn