Saturday, July 17, 2010

what's going on in the garden

this was our first zucchini, which I picked in early July. I was really excited to be able to grow my own, since it's one of my favorite summer vegetables. I have fond memories of picking squash in my mom's garden and barely being able to keep up with the yield.

the fruit shown above was actually the second zucchini in the garden. the first was coming along, but failed to mature, remaining skinny and yellow. I didn't realize at the time that this was a sign of squash boring worms, which attack the stalk. I pulled out the biggest plant first, as shown above. you can see a mealy orange material coming out of the base. that's the rotten stalk- sort of the plant's innards. I left the two other plants in the garden for a few days, then yanked them too. I figured it was better to get diseased plants out of the garden sooner than later. they grew so big and strong, it was sad to see them go. being a first-time gardener, I didn't know what to expect when planting the small starts, underestimating how big the plants would get. I think overcrowding them in the plot probably made them susceptible to disease. early on I was watering the patch steadily through the day for fear that the plants would get too dry. then I found out that it's best to give the garden a good soaking (really wet!) in the morning. that's what I've been doing and the garden is steadily improving.

east side of patio. wandering jew, strawberry, cutting from stonecrop and fava beans. the beans are staying on the less sunny side of the garden, as I found out they're a cool weather crop. doh! not sure why the garden center sold them to me.

lemongrass- a lovely addition to the garden.

big, potted plant that the neighbor gave me before she moved out.

compost- such a fun project! I've done a ton of reading on how-to, and it seems to be coming a long okay. b drilled holes in the bottom of the bin- it was here when we moved into the apartment. I compost all my fruit and veggie scraps, tea loose and bagged, egg shells and small chicken bones. I'm careful to rinse anything that's an animal product as the scent can attract critters. to that I add garden clippings (careful not to add invasive weeds which can sprout in compost) and unbleached paper. covering it with the white screen has helped immensely. at first it was attracting fruit flies and fleas. then when the houseflies came, it was too much for me.

look how big the tomato plant is getting! I created a simple tipi for it out of garden sticks. I transplanted the smaller of the two tomatoes to the space where the zucchini had been. it established right away, benefitting from a couple of days of rain.

my first tomatoes! this is more than exciting. fingers crossed.

tabletop- two basil plants, avocado sprouted from seed and rosemary. over a month ago I thinned out the herb patch, as the basil was overcrowded. the four small plants I pulled out are doing really well.

I also pulled one of the small hot pepper plants, as it was also overcrowded in the section that has the tomatoes and the green beans. lesson learned- give your plants space!

I ate my first eggplant today- so good! I maybe picked it a little early, but what I'm learning in gardening is that there are no mistakes. it's impossible to know what's going to happen until you do it- so everything you do, whether success or failure, is an opportunity to learn.

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