Dear Gentle Reader,

Sorry that I haven’t been about for a while.   But, I am back in the garden again.  Hooray!  Here is an update on what I have been doing.

It has been hotter than I’ll get out the past few weeks.  So, as a result, I haven’t been doing more than occasional watering and picking tomatoes and zukes.  The Matt’s Wild Cherry tomatoes are going berserk.  I don’t think I have ever seen a tomato produce so much, and they don’t seem bothered by disease, pests or the heat.  My four plants are producing so much that I am having to pawn them off on the neighbors, people at work, and any unsuspecting stranger that happens to stroll by the house. 

The Al Kufa tomatoes are great too.  They haven’t had any problems with disease or getting blown over.  They are very sturdy bushes that don’t really need any support at all.  Plus they are producing a lot.  These are a bit smaller than a tennis ball.  So, next year I would like to grow something with larger tomatoes.  Other than that, I have no complaints with the Al Kufa.  They are really great plants.

The Amish Paste tomatoes I have aren’t doing so well.  I think it is because I planted them in SWCs, and they are just too small for the plants.  The tomatoes that I am getting from them are wonderful.  But the plants are kind of straggly looking and run out of water frequently.  I might try them again next year, in the ground.   I think the Al Kuffa would have done better in the SWCs, as they are short, blocky plants.  I think I’ll plant herbs in the SWCs next year.  I’ve always had great success with herbs in the SWCs.

The corn was a bust.  Most of the ears were not fertilized at all.  A few had about 1/3 of the kernels fertilized, and only one ear was fully fertilized.  What a bummer.  I guess, if I want to grow corn in the future, I need to have a really big plot of it, not just a 4×6 growing box.  BTW, the pumpkins I planted grew but never produced pumpkins.  Eventually, they got ripped out.

The cukes haven’t been doing well.  The vines were growing like crazy, and I got tons of blooms, but the plants weren’t producing female flowers.  I really don’t know why.  Up until this past weekend, the plants were healthy.  But, when I went out Saturday to water, half of the plants had succumbed to bacterial wilt.  Boo hoo.  I need to read up on cukes to find out why they didn’t make female flowers.  This variety is supposed to be very prolific.

The Hubbard squash is going strong.  I have two beautiful fruits growing on them.  There were about 4 or 5 squash that got started but bit the dust.  Don’t know why that is.  In any case, I am keeping my fingers crossed that bacterial wilt doesn’t get this.  So far, it has been a very healthy, vigorous plant.  It doesn’t seem to be bothered by much.  But, boy is it BIG!  It is growing half way around the house.  It is planted in a garden on the side of the house and then wraps around to the back.  It is multi-branching.  And every few days I have to pick up a new branch that is starting out into the yard, and move it so that it will grow along the garden in the back of the house.  I would like to grow it again next year, but I’m not sure where I will do that.  Maybe I will start it just outside the gardens, and then wrap it around as it grows.  Then it won’t get mowed over.

The garlic was also a bust.  I waited too late to pick the hardneck garlic, and the papery skins had rotted away, leaving bare, mouldy, teeny tiny cloves.  They went into the composter.   The soft neck garlic was picked at the right time, and is hanging in the kitchen, but it also has tiny cloves.  In the grand scheme of things, I’m no so sure it is worth my time to grow garlic.  The leeks were awful too.  They were bulbing (making babies), so I obviously didn’t pick them at the right time.  I think I will try again with leeks, but try a variety where I know what it is.  I have no idea what these were.

One of the garden boxes is cleaned out, and I have planted Ecinacea, Rudbeckia and Shasta daisies that I started from seed a few weeks ago.  Next spring, I plan to move them to the garden on the side of the garage.  I would like it to be mostly “wild flowers.”  Tight now, it is overgrown with the Hubbard squash and crab grass.  Also, there is a fabulous swamp milkweed and some common milkweed.  The swam milkweed is a huge plant (about 4-feet high) and the bees and butterflies love it.  I think I would like some little blue stem grass there too.  It will be kind of wild, but we will get some pretty flowers during the summer.

And that’s all for now.  I’ll be back at the end of the week.  I want to plant some lettuces for Fall.  And it is time to get busy making pickles.  Before you know it, it will be time to make applesauce! )