Tending Tuesdays: What’s happened to my garden

10 08 2010

I am home now, and the anticipation of seeing my garden is passed.  I now know all the ins and outs of what has happened since I left.

The sad news is, unsurprisingly, my cucumber plants did not overcome downy mildew and are now in the final stages of the disease and will, most likely, be completely dead by the end of the week.  The happy part is, the cucumbers hadn’t all been affected yet, and so I got to harvest a giant bowl of them!  Most of them are too big for pickling, but I feel like I will probably ferment some relish instead and maybe make a nice, cool, cucumber soup.

(my dying cucumber plants, next to a healthy nasturtium and a healthy, but completely unproductive broccoli. I think it was planted too late)

The most exciting news is, after gorging on nitrogen and growing into bushes, with no fruits, one of my pepper plants has a glorious, baby pepper growing on it!  Hopefully it will be able to mature before the end of the growing season.

Another piece of exciting news is that my squash are reproducing now and I have at least two squash growing.  The sad news is it looks like they may have powdery mildew.  All this humidity is a real excitement for the fungi family this year.

(a baby squash with its glorious flower still attached)

My carrots, beets and peas have all sprouted, as have my basil seeds.  Calendula is still blooming, though I was able to pull up some plants that had obviously completed their life cycle.  If they have their way, my whole garden will be calendula next year too! Zucchini is easing up a little on the crazy production of fruits, which is fine by me as I’ve eaten more zucchini this year than ever before. 

(peas on the left and beets and carrots on the right)

The potatoes are seeming pretty happy and my fig tree is putting on foliage like crazy, which is awesome considering it got sunburned badly earlier this spring and lost ALL of its foliage.  So, maybe next year we’ll be able to get a good harvest of figs from it….

Another sad loss was my coriander seeds which seemed to have been removed/”maintained” by someone in my absence.  Instead of a beautiful bounty of many seeds, I came home to a small handful that was left on a seriously trimmed stalk.  So, I planted them in the space they were before and maybe I’ll get some cilantro out of it.

It was so nice to come home to the bounty of my garden.  I love it.  I love the picking, the weeding, the growth and the death.  All of it reminds me of how precious our food is, and how much effort goes into growing good, organic produce.  Today, I spent the morning with little A out there and came home with a big bowl of goodies.

(so, this would look better, but little A insisted that most of the cucumbers be photographed inside an unused dog poo bag.  so, imagine the bag brimming with luscious cucumbers.  Also, imagine a REALLY happy toddler, brimming with joy from the bag full of cucumbers)

Also, this year, I am learning SOOO much about gardening.  Books are great, but until you actually throw seeds into the dirt, there’s not much learning going on.  I am already planning my gardens for next year in my head, based on what I learned this year, and how much of what I actually like to have and eat.

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6 responses

10 08 2010
elsa

I’m already planning next years too! Our cucumbers got the downy mildew as well and our experimental squash has some kind of powdery mildew that I’m attempting to treat with baking soda. Our kale is massive and tasy and I’ve spotted a great many beans!

10 08 2010
mamameme

too bad about the cukes. 😦 But great about the kale! mmmmmmmm.

10 08 2010
Alison Kerr

Hi Meme, it’s fun to follow your gardening adventures. Did you know that the squash blossoms are edible? If you get concerned that the mildew will get them before you do you could eat the flowers rather than waiting for the fruit. Actually, only the female flowers will grow fruit anyway. I’ve never tried squash because the squash bugs are really bad in Eastern Kansas, though I’ve heard that the winter squash do quite well. I’ve been meaning to try winter squash and sweet potatoes. I think 2011 will be the year!

Do let me know what happens with your potatoes. Also, would you like to write a guest post for my blog? If so, just drop me a note through my Contact form.

11 08 2010
mamameme

Hi Alison,

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I did know that the blossoms are edible, but have been holding out for fruits! I’ll try eating some though, because we have lots. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂
That’s too bad about the squash bugs. We only have one summer squash plant and are overwhelmed by fruit, which is amazing!

Thank you for the invite to write a guest blog post. I would love to. I’ll send the form out today.

11 08 2010
Rashel

All our cukes were toast, too, so sad. The “volunteer” squash in our garden and out of one of our in-the-ground composts got the mildew, too. Our melons still look good but when I went to see my parents garden this weekend, in one week their melons went from vigorous to dying completely, it’s really so sad. The zucchinis, squashes and cukes are all completely covered in striped cucumber beetle and squash bugs, just covered. I really want to learn more about how to prevent this because cucumbers and melons are a huge part of our diet.

You’re so right about experience – we all need to learn from trial and error over many years and then there’s still so much to learn about growing food!

What a lovely harvest you came home to and too bad about the coriander seed.

11 08 2010
mamameme

that’s so sad about your melons. Our squash are seeming to go the same way. I’m hoping that washing them and spraying them with baking soda solution will help. It’s just too bad that once the squash have finally produced fruits that the plants are getting ill.
There’s a lot of information in permaculture around attracting good predators. For the striped cucumber beetle the predators are: “soldier beetles, tachinid flies, braconid wasps and certain nematodes”. providing habitat and food for these creatures would help keep the beetles down.

Good luck!

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