Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mid-May Vegetable Garden Update

It's been a while since the last vegetable garden post, and things are growing (some more than others). 

Let's start with the "Seed Bed" (so named because everything in it with the exception of the chives and self-rooted pepper cutting came up from seed):

"Seed Bed"

(These photos were all taken on a foggy morning, so excuse any greying out of the colors, please.)

Three zucchini plants emerged from the five (I think) seeds we planted.  They're all starting to go through a growth spurt.  Last year, something ruined the zucchini we grew from seed, along with the crookneck squash.  So if these succeed, they'll be our first homegrown zucchini.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though.  We've yet to see even a bloom...

The chives are doing well enough.  Not growing very visibly, but at least they're hanging in there.  Lettuce and radishes seem to be alright, though for some reason, a section of our lettuce row never came up. (I need to replant that, if it's not already too late in the season... Honestly, now that we have sprouts, the lettuce is somewhat less important to me, because sprouts make a fine lettuce substitute for sandwiches, burgers, etc.)

The new bunching onions are teensy-tiny-thin, but maybe with time...

And the Swiss chard is ok, I guess.  It's really not doing much, though.  I haven't had much success with chard, so far, but it's supposed to be good in this climate.  It handles our summer heat better than lettuce, from what I've read.  

The Little Pepper That Could is still hanging in there!

I finally planted the okra seeds, and several little okra seedlings have sprouted.  However, last year, we had no problem getting okra started.  It just never took off properly and eventually faded away to nothing.  I hope it'll get enough sun where it is, this year.  It's supposed to be an easy vegetable to grow, down here, and if you pick it regularly, even just a couple of plants can produce a plentiful bounty of okra pods.  Of course, Donald doesn't like it, so if it does succeed, I'll probably end up giving most of it away. (g)  I like it, myself, but there's only so much okra one person can eat.  Ditto for squash (another of his not-favorite vegetables). 

Next up is the "Squash and Pepper Bed":

"Squash, Pepper, and Tomato Bed"

In my grumble post, I complained that the squash plants all looked like they were damaged.  Afterwards, Donald told me that they've looked like that for a while-- since soon after we planted them, apparently.  (I guess I haven't been very observant!)  In any case, they're still looking healthy-- big, upright leaves, plenty of blooms, and setting fruit.

We'll probably be picking the first squash before long, if nothing goes wrong.  They'll be small, but supposedly it's better to pick them early and often (improved texture, flavor, and productivity).

Crookneck Squash

Crookneck Squash

You can't really see them from this angle, but there are four bell pepper plants and one jalapeƱo behind the squash.  They're all doing fine, so far as I can tell.  No fruit visible, last time I looked, but it's still early.  The bell peppers are the same type we grew last year, and we were pleased with the amount of peppers those produced.

In the very back, there are two tomatoes-- 'Sweet 100' cherry tomatoes, I think.  As you can see, they've taken off.  No tomatoes, yet, but there's plenty of time.  (Last year, the Sweet 100 plants were great producers.)

The last of the raised beds is the "Tomato Bed":

"Tomato Bed"

Not much to say about this bed... The tomato plants all look fine-- though this bed does need some weeding.  The gripeweed took over the tomato bed last year, after the tomato plants faded away.  I was too lazy/too miserable in the heat to get out and deal with them, and now I'm facing the consequences-- lots of gripeweed seedlings.  I've pulled a lot already, but I need to get out there and take care of the rest soon.  And gripeweed being what it is, we'll need to stay on top of it for the rest of the summer, probably.  No telling how many seeds dropped last year.  (Oops.)

The 'Early Girl' plants have small tomatoes on the vine:

Green Tomatoes

I've never paid much attention to determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes, but maybe it's time to start.  Based on this information, it sounds like you can get a longer growing season/more tomatoes if you prune the 'Early Girl' tomatoes.

...Though we've already waited longer than recommended... Ah, well, it's "just" tomatoes.  We'll get what we get.  Fortunately, this is only a hobby garden.  Even a hobby garden, however, gives you a better appreciation of the stresses and struggles of people who have/had to grow almost all their own food.