Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hey, nice melons!

Just got back from my week in Bloomington Indiana (no not a vacation) and I've come home to find some actual fruit! The vines of both watermelons and canteloupe have pretty much taken over the trellises as I had hoped they would and I'm sure they will eventually completely engulf the structures.

Here is a newly forming watermelon.

Here are the two largest watermelons so far (one about 2" and the other about 3").

The first...

... and the second.

This is one of several just beginning canteloupes (none are larger than this at the present).

Nothing much else is new. The corn ears are still growing and the cucumbers are sort of old news now. We picked about 6 mature cucumbers so far and there are another half dozen starting to grow. Next year I am going to give the cucumbers a real trellis and more room. The tomatoes are also way too close together and WAY to close to the cucumbers.

We have a lot of cucumber beetles but I don't think it is an infestation just yet. Each time I go out there I kill five or six. Next year I am going to till the soil with nematodes to help eliminate some of the garden pests.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick garden post

I wanted to show you the 'first fruits' or fruit... err vegetable as it were. This is about as large as I've been told to let the cucumbers grow. If they get any bigger than about 6-7" they start getting bitter. There are at least 100 flowers in the cucumber 'bush' so at some point I imagine we will be harvesting several at a time, at which point I might try my hand at making dill pickles since I'm not much of a cucumber fan myself. DeAnna and René by the way devoured this one and said it was absolutely delicious!

The melons vines are all making good progress up the trellis and soon I am thinking they will be in competition with the ridiculous cucumber colony.

Here is a view from deep inside the cucumber complex.

This thing was staring at me so I took its picture... I think I can see my reflection.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nice coffee machine...

This week I am in a class at Fishnet Security downtown to learn about the F5 network load balancer we just had installed at the office and this is the coffee machine they have. I think I am going to make it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Every day something new...

I didn't expect to see so many cool things when I went out to view the garden today... it inspired me to pull out the 'nice' camera (Fujifilm Finepix S1000) in lieu of the blackberry and I played around a bit with the super macro feature which this one does pretty well.

A canteloupe blossom

A baby cucumber

baby green beans

First ear of corn starting

This is the top of a cucumber plant... just playing with macro settings.

This looks similar to a ladybird beetle which is a very beneficial garden insect as I understand... but it looks too elongated so I'm not sure exactly what it is.

I suppose I should be grateful to the bumblebees for helping my corn grow but I confess they make me a bit nervous.

There are quite a few out there today.

The watermelon vines are finally starting to get long enough to train up the trellis

The canteloupe had a headstart and are all clearly moving up.

More posts to come as more exciting things continue happening in my garden.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tassels, flowers and mushrooms...

Some of the plants are now flowering which I believe just preceeds fruit bearing. I probably still have another 4-5 weeks and maybe longer before anything is ready to harvest (I should probably start reading the gardening book's harvesting section now).

Corn tassels are starting on two of the stalks.

These little yellow flowers are on the cucumber plants... notice the yellowing leaf to the right? I think this is due to me planting way too many cucumbers too close together in my ignorance at how freakin huge they would get and the lower leaves are starved for sunlight. Next year I will know better... the cucumber plants so far do not seem to be affecting the bell peppers as they do get plenty of midday sun... but those lower leaves of the cucumbers are in shade all the time now.

One of the green bean plants is now beginning to flower as well. Most of the others are about two weeks behind as this is the only green bean plant to survive the transplanting and the rest were replanted as seeds direct into the garden.

I guess now I know why it is called mushroom compost... the shrooms really like it.

I just threw this pic in to show that I finally completed both melon trellises and that the melon plants are all doing well (but still have a very long way to go obviously). The melon harvest will be the last I'm thinking... maybe even mid to late September so I am hoping for a warm early Fall.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quick garden update

Well I finished the watermelon trellis today (picture doesn't show the wire grid but its there now) and I put the frame up for the canteloupe trellis though it still need the wire grid. Below you see my solution to wind storms... we had most of the corn blown over at a 45 degree angle and in a few cases even lower. I was able to very gently straighten the stalks back up without breaking any. The nylon string is attached with nails and is pulled extremely taut (it's 35lb string) so it should hold the corn in place for the rest of the season.

Now, has anyone ever grown cucumbers?? Is this normal?? These plants are going wild... my thin little green wire trellis is bowing under the weight and they've moved on to the nearby tomato cages for more support. Also they are starting to produce small yellow flowers toward the bottom of the plants.

Tomatoes are all doing well and getting stronger and taller.

Below you can see the new canteloupe trellis as well as the canteloupe vines starting to spread a bit. Once they are 12"-15" I will start training them upwards to use the wire grid.

Well that's my Saturday... tomorrow if I get the wire up on the canteloupe trellis then I will call the garden officially completed as far as construction goes. Now I can only hope that my untreated lumber will last at the very least a couple or three seasons. It is by far the cheapest route for building these kinds of structures and since it is untreated and unpainted/stained the food should be of a higher quality. Maybe I will set up an organic veggie stand in my neighborhood.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Garden Post - Phase 3?

Well I put a good day's work in and for the most part beat the rain as we started early. I almost finished the watermelon trellis and got the beds mulched with cedar (heard it was good for keeping out some types of harmful bugs and doesn't keep any beneficial insects away, plus it should make the waterings last a bit longer by keeping the moisture in.)

Here are my helpers... they actually did a good job using the screw gun as well as hammering nails. I started the screws/nails most of the time but they were really getting the hang of it after the third frame went up.

I've probably explained this before but the trellis is for the melon vines to grow up. When the vines produce fruit and the melons get to about one pound then we are supposed to make little netting 'hammocks' big enough for the full grown 10 pound watermelons and tie them onto the wire mesh. This way the melons don't ripen on the ground and it avoids fungus growth as well as lopsided friut.

The individual frames were actually quite sturdy but I put the cross beams on as an after thought just in case.

The metal mesh is heavy gauge so I have no fear it will hold several 8-10 pound melons as long as they are somewhat evenly distributed... that of course presumes my plants will produce well.

The tomatoes are finally starting to develop thicker stalks and I am thinking they should do ok as long as the growing season is long enough... as I said before, I got them in the ground a bit later than I wanted.

The ridiculous cucumbers are skyrocketing! (that little green wire trellis is almost 4' tall.)

Now I'm going to take a break for the evening and for tomorrow as well (planning on enjoying some fireworks.) Monday I have the day off so I think I will tackle the canteloupe trellis then which will be the same design but with only two frames instead of three.