Garden Update

The weather got downright hostile on Thursday. Tornadoes touched down in eleven different towns, all about 30 miles east of me. However, for almost a week before hand the sky was gray and overcast and rained came and went. It alternated between no rain, pouring, and cats and dogs. The garden was a casualty of copious rain.

Broken Corn 7.26.08
Broken Corn

Everything started out fine with the Three Sisters Planting Method until it all started to grow. The biggest lesson I learned is to plant the corn a few weeks before the beans and squash. Because I planted them all at the same time, the beans out grew the corn. As the beans became more and more prolific, they started to weigh down the corn. I don’t really care because I wasn’t planning on eating the corn — mostly I planted ornamental, but there may be one or two “regular” ears in there — it was just way to keep the beans and squashes off the ground — so when the rain flattened then corn I asked Wolf to make some stakes to stake the corn up so the beans and squashes continue to grow upwards. Overall though, this is a great method of planting these three plants. I highly recommend it.

Staked Corn 7.26.08

I hope the corn doesn’t choke or anything because I staked it up. Like I said, it’s a way to keep everything else off the ground and from spreading. Believe me when I say what’s planted in this bed will take over the *entire* garden if it doesn’t grow up.

Dried Out Tomatoes 7.26.08

Wolf planted all kinds of tomatoes, some already started and others from seeds. Pictured above is from seed. I have no idea why the leaves are so brown and dried out. We’ve gotten a pretty steady amount of rain (not including last week) and when it’s gotten dry I have watered the garden. So for some reason these tomatoes aren’t doing well. Now that I think of it, nothing in this particular bed is doing well. We have peppers planted here which are maybe 2 inches tall.

Good Looking Tomatoes 7.26.08

These tomatoes, on the other hand, are doing phenomenal. Planted in the bed next to the dried out tomatoes (you can see the tops of some in the bottom of the picture) these grape and cherries are taller than I am. Not all have flowered though about 50% have.

Tomatoes 7.26.08

Don’t they just look scrumptious? I can’t wait until they redden up!

Dill and Catnip 7.26.08

Next to the dried out tomatoes I have this catnip plant. This is the first time I’ve gotten a plant this big and full. I’m really pleased.

From what I understand catnip will come back on its own so I shouldn’t have to plant anymore in this bucket.

My plan is to make some eye pillows with the catnip and save some for tea for those nights when I can’t sleep.

Next to the catnip is some dill. It’s really, really odd but this dill has no odor. Every dill plant I’ve ever had has been pungent as hell but this one…nothing. Even rubbing your hands on the dill doesn’t bring the smell out into the air nor onto your hands. Weird, hu?

Transplanted Oregano 7.26.08

Because of the lack of enticing dill odor, I had Wolf plant some more seed in this bed (it’s where the garlic came from.) from a different seed company, one which the package smells like dill.

Also, as you can see, there is oregano planted here. It was in a small pot before so Wolf transplanted it to the garden bed when we took out the garlic. This is in the same bed as the tomatoes which are doing well.

Beans 7.26.08

These beans are in their own small bed. At first I thought I only planted black beans here because I only saw purple flowers but I noticed today there are some white flowers so I must’ve put some cannanelli beans in there, or some other sort of bean. Honestly, I didn’t keep very good track this year because of the funk I was in in the spring. There’ll be lots of surprises anyways! I *heart* surprises!

Potatoes 7.26.08

I have two different varieties of potato planted in this bed. On the left half is gold rush and on the right is onaway. The gold rush blossomed beautifully but I’m not sure the flowers were pollinated.

Potato Balls 7.26.08

The gold rush potatoes have these balls on them. I asked Glenn, Maggie, Scott, Donnie, and Carol (all fellow gardeners) what the balls represented and no one knew. Maggie sent me an email a couple days later with an explanation:

The green balls on the vines are from cross pollination or self pollination of the potato flowers. If they cross pollinate, each seed inside the ball will be a new potato variety. The seed balls are not edible and they don’t have any effect on the crop below the soil, so you don’t have to do anything with them. The potato is related to the tomato plant. That’s why the green balls look like tomatoes, except you can’t eat them.

I suppose you could try harvesting, drying and planting them and seeing what happens!!!

Already I was nervous the potatoes hadn’t been pollinated because I hadn’t seen any bugs hanging around the potatoes (the bugs are all over the garden now!) so her email confirmed my suspicion. The onaways, the potatoes on the right in the picture, have not flowered yet. Here’s to hoping!

Cucumbers 7.26.08

The cucumbers are doing awesome. There are two types planted here — I don’t know what kind, I didn’t write it down. You can see one is climbing and flowering well. I hear the bumblebees and other pollinators in this part of the garden every time I walk out there (I also hear them in the three sisters bed) and there are lots of small cucumbers starting. The other plant is climbing nicely but the threads are thin as silk and the leaves a lot smaller. There are no flowers as of yet.

On the other side of the bed are three different melons: watermelon (two varieties), and tigger melon. They were each coming along really slowly but the humidity and rain of last week jump started them. Right after I took this picture Wolf put up some chicken wire for the melons to climb up. I saw a couple flowers on one of the plants which is really encouraging.

Pollenating a Cucumber 7.26.08

Speaking of pollinators…

Blueberries by the Canoe 7.26.08

We have all kinds of small blueberry bushes all over the property but none have given us any blueberries. Wolf came up to me with a small handful and told me where I could find more. I think the reason this particular bush flowered and fruited is because it’s right next to the driveway which gets a lot of road salt in the winter. Regardless, I couldn’t help myself and gobbled them down.

Blueberries About to Be Devoured 7.26.08

Some were sweet, some were tart. All were yummy!

Sunrise and Mist 7.25.08

It was nice to wake up to this on Friday morning after all rain and tornadoes.

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11 Responses to Garden Update

  1. tinydr says:

    with the not so healthy looking tomatoes… is there anything different about the way the soil in the beds was processed?

    I have a few guesses, but one question: do the healthy tomatoes have any necrotic spots or do they look good?

    I can’t say I know much about tomatoes, but I know some about other plants…

  2. Howling Hill says:

    tinydr: same soil as the healthy tomatoes. The healthy tomatoes have some necrotic spots but on the bottom leaves. Not all of the plants have the spots either.

    When we pull up the garden in the fall we’re going to mix in some compost which is something we haven’t done before. Hopefully next year we’ll have some really nitrogen rich soil.

  3. I think it is very likely that there is a combination of things going on with your tomatoes – one cause is over-water with poor drainage & we know it has been pretty rainy! (I know it is strange that too much water an make a plant dry up, but it can.)

    Second, with all those pines you may have a high pH. Soil toxicity is another cause of drying leaves. Sprinkle a little wood ash in the bed – it improves soil pH and provides essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

    Finally – when looking at your “healthy” tomatoes, they are very tall but look very thin (the base of your stalks should be 10x the size of what you have.) Which says you probably have a lack sunlight problem, which probably isn’t a surprise to you….

    Your beans and squashes look very happy though!

    That is a fantastic picture of the sunlight streaming through the trees…

  4. Allie says:

    I have cherry tomatoes as tall as me too. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

    Your gardens are beautiful!

  5. Howling Hill says:

    Allie: Thanks! What’s yours look like?

  6. christy O says:

    Your garden is down right impressive! My blueberry plants don’t make berries either. I’ll be replanting them after we move so I hope I find a better spot for them. They obviously don’t like where they are now.

  7. Howling Hill says:

    Christy: Thanks so much!

    There are lots of squash flowers being pollinated as as I type. Let hope I get lots of squash!

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