Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vegetable Garden Update - 3 Month Report

I can't believe that I started my vegetable garden 3 months ago!

I'm happy to report that using pest control in a responsible manner has helped to get rid of a lot of the bug problems. It was frustrating at first but I didn't overuse the treatments and I'm also happy to report that I still have regular visits from bees and butterflies, I have frogs and lizards and spiders, and my 3 wild turtles seem to be fine. I think a large part of reducing the bug population has also been the work on the lawn to finally get rid of the overabundance of weeds, and to build back healthy grass - an ongoing project to say the least!

My biggest bug problem has been the aphids. I kill them, but they keep coming back. They have terrorized my eggplant and every single one of my pepper plants. I can't seem to get rid of the things! Now, that has been frustrating.

I'm hoping that the tomatoes will start maturing soon - seems that they are behind - but we did have a few cold spells there at the beginning of my planting which caused some blossom drop, so the tomatoes essentially had to start over. I have no idea how to calculate when they should mature now, so I'll just have to wait on them! And maybe eat a few fried green tomatoes in the meantime. And pray they don't get harmed by slugs or other critters!

Despite killing by hand several squash bugs and borers the squash has been producing well so far. I'm happy about that since every other time I've tried to plant them, those darned buggers have killed my plants. I've had plenty enough so far for things like squash casserole and squash fries!

The peppers and the beans, two plants that have always performed well for me, haven't this year. The peppers have had the aphid fight and the beans, well that was really my own fault - overplanting, but more on that later.

Here's a look at how the garden is doing for those of you who are curious.

Below is a shot of both of the 4 x 4 foot beds. The one in the forefront has all the herbs - basil, oregano, rosemary thyme, dill, chives, cilantro & parsley, they're doing okay, not great. I think I'm probably overwatering them. There are also a couple of Big Beef tomato plants and a cucumber plant. Yes, that white thing you see is a container. Plopped right up in the middle of my raised bed. Originally there was a cucumber plant in this square but it died, and I had planted one of the extra cucumbers in this little white container. As it grew, the stick support I put in there started leaning so I just stuck the whole container into the empty square in the raised bed to level it and let it climb on the netting.

I've gotten quite a few large cucumbers already - they've made an appearance already in those lovely summer salads I posted recently.

Yes, that's the original dead vine still hanging there. I didn't want to damage the surviving vine which was intertwined with the dead one, so I just left it.

And even the poor pepper plants that have suffered so much at the constant aphid attacks, is still trying to produce some peppers. I nearly pulled all of these plants up not long ago out of frustration, but maybe they'll end up producing something. The leaves look awful don't they, but many of the pepper plants and even the eggplant have new growth showing, so I'm encouraged, even though I had to treat for aphids yet again, two days ago, and there were a lot of them. Arrrgh!!

This is the back side of the other 4 x 4 foot bed - as you can see, I've been trimming a lot of branches off of those tomatoes - for two reasons. One, I want larger tomatoes, and two, those darned leaf miners make an ugly mess of things. They have literally taken over all of my veggie gardens and are near impossible to get rid of, if not impossible altogether. They don't really interfere with fruit production I think, unless they mine the entire plant I suppose, but they make the garden so ugly!

This is what the Big Beefs are looking like. The plants are gaining height to the point that they are now climbing up out of the vertical support so I'm a bit anxious to see how I'll handle that! There are only about a dozen tomatoes between these 4 plants in the two 4 x 4 foot beds. The one leftover Big Beef I stuck in a container has about 8 tomatoes alone!

In that same bed, there is a cantaloupe plant, several bell pepper plants and a few green beans. The second planting of those beans, which I over-planted the first time and ended up pulling up every single one of them {see Bad #2}, did not take well. I think the seeds I used were too old, so I've planted some fresh ones today. I guess we'll just call it "succession planting!" That might actually work out better anyway. I also have several cantaloupe melons hanging - I hope they make it but it's so exciting to know that these came from seeds that I planted! I've never planted cantaloupe before, so I guess as they mature they turn that lighter yellow color we're accustomed to!

Here's another - I think there may be about 4 large ones, and several babies so it's still trying to put more out. They seem to be doing fantastic with the nylon netting so far, but I'm wondering if I should make slings for them anyway?

This is a slightly closer view of the bed with the cantaloupe, peppers and beans. There are a couple of replacement pepper plants that I bought waiting to be planted - it's just been way too hot and I've ignored them. I finally got those put in today.

These are the Bush Goliath tomatoes that are in a large container. There are probably about 16 larger sized tomatoes on this one plant right now.

More of the Bush Goliath - they are clearly the largest tomatoes so far.

The Roma is in a large container too, but it's not really putting out as much fruit as I would like to see. I may plant several of these next year because I'd love to put some away. I relocated this container today to see if that makes a difference.

This is a front view of the Better Boy tomatoes in the larger 4 x 8 foot bed. I'm not sure how many tomatoes are on these plants - maybe about 30 or so.

This is a back view of the 4 x 8 foot bed. I totally love and highly recommend using the nylon netting and building vertical supports. It does a great job, way above and beyond those cheapo cages, certainly better than stakes, of supporting the tomato plants and I'm glad we took the time to build these.

Except for those tomatoes all along the back row, the squash have all but taken over the 4 x 8 foot garden. The original pepper plants that were in the center, 2 of which remain but might get pulled up too, haven't done well at all anyway thanks to constant attacks by aphids.

And here's the original Tomato in a Bag, still hanging in there, growing taller, and it actually has a few blossoms on it! Considering I planted it back at the end of April, that took awhile didn't it? Hey, I'm just happy that it's alive. And yes, that is another tomato plant you see on the other side, replacing the one that I drowned.

The original Tomato in a Bag even has some baby tomatoes starting to show up!

And, on the other side of the original tomato in a bag, I ran across what I think is an heirloom tomato, called Mr. Stripey, so I bought it! This is what Mr. Stripey looks like at maturity, so I really hope I end up with a few.

So here's a close-up of Mr. Stripey on the other side of the Tomato in a Bag. No buds or tomatoes showing yet, but I'm keepin' my fingers crossed.

And, yeah, I went and did it. After I broke that last tomato in the Topsy Turvy, I know I said that I wasn't gonna try another. But the Mr. Stripey plant had a volunteer so I split him and put one of them in the Tomato in a Bag and the other in the Topsy Turvy.

Well, that's it for the veggie garden update. Hopefully soon I'll be reporting on some mature tomatoes!

Click HERE for all the Year One 2009 Square Foot Vegetable Garden Updates


  1. I voted! You have the most delicious recipes!

    Hmmm, your garden looks GREAT and your cucumber looks like a REAL cucumber and not a pickle! And I can't believe the cantaloupes and the tomatoes. Mr. Stripey is a really great-tasting one.

  2. You garden is looking really good. I wish I could say the same for ours--we have had so much rain I think everything is drowning!! One reason I wanted the raised beds is that I can't get out in the garden when it is so wet--I just get stuck in the bright red North Carolina clay!!If we had raised beds, I could just walk around the outside of them and take care of the plants. Huh--maybe that is a good point to make to my husband to get him to try the raised beds!
    I voted for you too--love your blog. Sheila in NC

  3. Girl! I am so envious! My maters are just now blooming. But we had a crazy cool spring up here (up...hee it it feel weird saying that living in the south:) Typically, if I am lucky I get my first tomatoes by July 4th (if not within a week). Shoot, I will be lucky if I have them by 8/4 th!

    What use is all this heat with out the veggies???!!

  4. oh wow is everything looking fantastic...voted for you....Happy SITS day

  5. Let the tomato feast begin! Your garden is lookin' good.

  6. I love the garden! I wish I had some raised beds...you have so many wonderful plants! I'm jealous ;)

  7. Wow!! I love it!! Everything is growing so well. It's a lot of work, but fun, isn't it? I better hurry and get my post up for the week.

  8. I'm so impressed! Your garden looks wonderful. I want some cantaloupes in my garden! Maybe next year :)

  9. I just voted for you and you are doing well with that! Congrats!

    You garden is coming in great!

  10. I'm so jealous of your garden it's sinful!

  11. Thank you Penniwig! I am honored!! I hope I do get some of the Mr. Stripeys - I've heard that.

    Thanks Sheila - I dealt with the same thing before with regular in the ground row gardens. I LOVE the raised beds - what a difference!! Thanks for the vote also.

    Mommy Gourmet - I know.. we had a taste of that late spring cool weather blast - I covered everything with blankets!!

    Thanks Noah's Mommy for your vote!

    Thank you Mary - can't wait till they start ripening. I love 'em just plain, but I'll end up giving some away I hope.

    Debbie, it really is a good bit of work, but I've been enjoying it. Except for bugs LOL!!

    Katherine, thanks so much! Loved the Tchoupitoulas fish and yeah, I knew how to say that. It's like the Tchoutacabouffa, Chickasawhay and Escatawpa - you almost have to live here to know how to say those!

    Sherri, don't be! I'm just a silly amateur gardener showing my trials and (many) errors to the world! If I can do this, ANYBODY can do this believe me!

    Thanks everybody for your compliments on the garden, and for your votes! Y'all are the best.

  12. Looks good! I think I saw in one of your photos a banana in the corner; are you growing those as well and if so have you gotten one to fruit? Again beautiful garden :)

    1. Hi Daniel & thank you! We have since moved from that house, but yes, I did have some banana trees growing and in fact did get fruit from them. The babies that came from the Mama tree never bared fruit, but the first plant did. The variety was called "Ice Cream."


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