Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring harvest so far

It's about time I started posting about my organic garden again, so I will start chronicling the harvest so far to begin with.

Today I picked a half pound of blue lake green beans.  I will be adding this to the half pound I previously picked on two different days last week.  Total beans = 1 lb.  I can tell that the sequential planting of seeds every two weeks is going to give me great dividends.  This part of the harvest so far has been from the initial 6 plants.  The other 15 plants are in various stages of development with the next row of 4 ready to start harvest by the end of this week.  I predict about a pound or more a week for some time to come.

Cajun Belle Pepper

Last week I picked 2 pounds of sweet peppers from four of our six plants.  The other two plants are a little slower in maturing their fruit, but should be ready by next weekend.  Since pepper fruits are slow to set and mature, I see these producing about 2 - 3 pounds per month.

I have harvested 3 pounds of the yukon gold potatoes.  This was my first real effort with this type of potato in a garden bed.  I have had previous random success with volunteer potatoes found in the compost pile and enormous success with sweet potatoes.  I think there is another 3 to 6 pounds left to harvest and I have set the date for that as June 1st.

The cucumbers are vining like mad but as yet I have only seen one or two female blooms.  No fruit set, but if the 40 plants of various types start to produce this year I think we will be buried in cucumbers this spring.

Creole Tomatoes

The tomatoes are brewing with multiple fruit set on all the plants, but no ripeness yet.  This year is well behind the past two years in fruit development which I blame on the cool and pleasant spring.  The varieties I am growing this year are - Creole, Homestead, Arkansas Traveler, Grape, Roma and Early Girl.

Butternut Squash

We have butternut squash on the vine, but already I had to dig out a squash vine borer from two of the vines.  If they make it we have at least a dozen butternut squash.  The Tatume squash is growing but no signs of female blooms.  I wish I knew what that volunteer squash needed in terms of conditions to set fruit.  We always get something from it - last year 3 pumpkin sized, but it also is touted as a summer squash if you pick the fruit early.

My technique for squash vine borer removal

  1. Look for a disturbed part of the vine.  It will look like the vine has split in multiple lengths along the vine and the area will look a little pulpy.
  2. Use scissors and cut parallel to the vine from the start of the disturbance to the fresh vine part.  This part of the vine will be hollow since the borer is eating the pulp.
  3. Use your scissors to dispatch the borer.  Sometimes you don't even see the critter, just its nasty guts as you 'unbore' your vine.  Sometimes if the borer is more developed and the vine larger you will be able to pluck the little grub out.  Show no mercy.
  4. Cover the cut part of the vine with sand or compost.
  5. Hope like crazy the vine will recover.

This technique has worked for me in the past if  I got to the plant in time.  This year I was alerted to the threat when I saw one of the very pretty squash vine borers flying around.  Ah - if only I had some amazing speed I could have snatched that beautiful, nasty bug from the air.  "I'll get you my pretty and your little grubs too..."  As you can tell, my years of organic gardening have left me calloused to the plight of the garden pests.

And oh yeah, onions too...

Okay, I think that about covers it - except for the eggplant and okra... and sweet potatoes... and do you want to know about the dill, mint and stevia?  Well, there is always next post.

... and lots of pretty, pretty flowers... 

- back to the dirt pile...

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