Week of 5/10/2014.
Warning: Picture-heavy post ahead!
The bad: We had a few more deaths in the family. Also, my cabbages are under attack!! D:
The good: We have buds!!!
Plot 1, week 6 – from the top, supplemental onions, herbs, spinach, cabbage, bell pepper:
Plot 2, week 6 – from the top, zucchini, onions, tomatoes:
Both the cilantro and basil have grown up, but now I’m starting to see some new growth. The new growth on the cilantro kind of looks funky, I thought another plant was invading for a moment! But I think the little leaves just aren’t as unfurled as their older siblings. Later on, I noticed little bitty flowers on the ends of the cilantro. I plucked those off in an attempt to keep the plant from “bolting” (new garden vocabulary word). And after I did, my hands smelled like cilantro all day and I was kind of in heaven:
Turns out the little pointy bits on top of the basil were little flowers. When they began revealing themselves later in the week, I plucked those flowers as well.
We lost a spinach. 😦 I’m not surprised, since the spinaches have been really stunted for some reason. When I pulled him up, he had like NO root system. But a mini-row of carrots have taken his place.
Some of the grieving family. As you can see, some of the plants are doing way better than others:
The other death in the family was a cabbage, a victim of cabbageworm! 😡 The effects of the cabbageworm were easy to see — they’re eating my plants!! However, the cabbageworms themselves are REALLY well camouflaged; they’re almost the exact same color as the cabbage itself. I didn’t notice it until I was just about touching it. And when I noticed it… I might have squeaked. Loudly.
I want to avoid using chemical pesticides, so I cleaned up the plants by hand. I flicked a cabbageworm off another cabbage plant, and wiped away what was either more eggs or poop. (Either way — GROSS.) But for one cabbage, I felt it was a lost cause. There holes eaten into the itsy bitsy cabbage head that was forming, so I was afraid there was more hidden in there that I couldn’t clean out without destroying the plant anyway. Even in the open leaves, I felt I was not able to adequately clean out all the nooks and crannies. Plus, I may or may not have had a morbid curiosity of what the cabbage root system would look at at this age. Plus, I didn’t want this overly infested plant to spread to the other, manageable cabbages. (I’m not sure if that’s even a probability, but there was that, plus the morbid curiosity.) So a cabbage was sacrificed. I was surprised by the root system. I’m sure I left some roots behind, but it looks like most of the root system was still in the area / shape of the original seedling tray. I’m shocked it supported such a fluffy plant.
Another mini row of carrots was planted, as a memorial. (Also as an effort to get me more veggies!)
Here is one of the surviving cabbages, still growing. You can see the cabbages are still dwarfing the spinaches by far. I might have to look into trimming the border cabbages to make sure they don’t hog the sunlight from the spinach.:
Bell peppers are one of the plants that are producing buds! I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this, though. They’re still not looking too hot, although I suppose they’re not looking WORSE. I just haven’t seen much improvement from the damage they’ve been displaying. I kind of feel like my bell peppers are having kids way too young and they need to get their own acts together first. 😛
Whilst researching my bell pepper issues, I’ve read that some people would pluck the buds until the plants can recover, basically because, as scrawny as they are, they wouldn’t be able to carry the peppers! So, since I don’t have much confidence in my bell peppers, I plucked the buds from half of the plants and left them on the other half. See, I’m kind of afraid that this may be a one shot thing, and I’d rather have scrawny bell peppers than no peppers (so I left the buds on some). On the other hand, I DO want healthy bell peppers, and I want to give my peppies a chance (so I plucked the buds off some). We’re entering experimenting territory now!
A plant with the buds:
An example of how some of them continue to look unhealthy:
Zucchini – this week’s winner!:
I’m so proud of my zucchinis! I believe they have fully recovered from what was apparently my overzealous watering. They have buds! Some plants have three! I decided not to pluck any of the zucchini buds, at least not for now. 1) I’m pretty sure I’ll have more zucchini than I know what to do with (I will probably resort to freezing them, since apparently the FDA cannot support canning them.) 2) The flowers are pretty! Pretty little orange buds:
And THEN, a few days after this picture was taken, the blooms went POOF:
I’m so excited about these pretty blooms! They don’t last for long: I first noticed the huge blooms when I glanced at my garden on my way to work in the morning. I was all giddy about it and when I came home from lunch, I dragged my husband outside to bask in their beauty. But even at that point in midday, they had already wilted and were pitiful looking. He was understandably underwhelmed. So the next day, I dragged him outside before I left for work to see the pretty, fresh blooms. He was appropriately impressed. And thus I have learned, if you’re going to take pictures of the pretty zucchini blooms, do it in the morning.
The onions are still doing well. They’re like the good children: they do well in school, they stay out of trouble, they don’t give me problems. The leaves on one of the onions was starting to flop over, and my backyard homesteading book mentioned that you should trim them around 6 inches. Another source agreed to trim them to keep them from bolting too soon. So, I experimented on this one and gave it a trim.
After haircut. (Stylish, don’t you think?):
This MAY also count as my first harvest. Ummm, how did I not know that green onions are just young “regular” onions!?
Well… we’re going to say this was NOT my first harvest, because my new green onions were wilted and floppy before I could do anything with them. Besides, really the only time I cook with green onions is for Uncle Vernon’s Jambalaya, but that’s for another blog entry.
Another healthy looking specimen:
Onions in temporary housing:
The tomatoes also got some blooms this week! Little yellow flowers. ^_^ I did the same to the tomatoes that I did with the bell peppers — I plucked the blooms from half of the plants and left the other half alone. Although, my reasons / motivations were different: I’m confident in my tomatoes, I’m confident they’ll bare fruit either way. So THIS way, I can do some more experimenting to see if plucking the first blooms will actually result in a healthier / higher quantity harvest. (Spit… now that I think about it… I hope I didn’t completely stunt them by plucking the blooms… since they’re determinate and all. Oh well, that’s why I only did half!)
Little bitty bloom:
One of the pluckees:
Also, as I mentioned before, this is our first year in the new house, so we’re still discovering what the previous tenants left us. It looks like they left us a perennial herb: lemon balm! I’m not familiar with lemon balm, and not much of a tea drinker, but I’ll have to find something to do with these guys. When I first discovered it, I brought a friend to inspect it. He said, “It looks like mint!” I said, “Ohhh, you think so?” Then he plucked a leaf, smelled it, and said, “Yeah! It’s definitely mint!” I smelled it and said, “Umm… It smells citrus-y.” He smelled it again and said, “Oh. Yeah. Weird.” LOL. To his credit, apparently lemon balm and mint are in the same family and do look alike.
Mint (what I don’t have in my yard) (pic from the linked wikipedia article):
What’s in my yard (pretty sure it’s lemon balm):
It looks like they also left us a couple of blackberry vines! When it was still winter, one of the bushes (? vines? plants?) attacked me by getting the thorns snagged on my pants and scratching my knee. I was like, “Well! THOSE are going to have to come up!” And then they bloomed and I realized I might get blackberries out of them! So… I guess I’ll let them hang around. For now.
Here’s the bigger of the two (with some nice-smelling honey suckle in the background):
Yay! Gardening high!