Garden Update 5-7-10, or Life and Death Among the Vegetables
Soul Food

June Garden Update

I can't believe a month has already passed! So much stuff going on lately, and hardly the time to get things done...

I've been working in the garden almost every single day, and still loving it! Below are the latest photos. Sorry about the washed out quality of some of the pics...it was a very bright day.

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My garden has really exploded with growth this past month - particularly the cucumber plants!

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Cucumber blossom:

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They've outgrown their trellis and are starting to move to the deck railing. I'll have to read a bit and see what I need to do next. Is too much expansion bad for the fruit? If I start curbing the growth, will it focus better on making fruits? And do I need to pinch off the suckers like you do with tomato plants?

As for my tomatoes...well, the upside down planter was a big failure. In an attempt to save the 'maters,  I've taken the planter off the stand and flipped it over onto a pile of extra potting soil.

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I doubt they will make it, but I couldn't bear to just yank them out and send them to the compost heap. That is chocolate mint on the left, oregano on the right.

I bought some new tomato plants and put them in a new EarthBox, since the cucumbers have done so well in theirs. Those boxes aren't cheap, but they do a great job!

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I had to move the peppers that I had originally planted next to the cukes, so I went ahead and bought a few more and made a homemade earthbox using the original as a model. We'll see how well it does. The two transplants are a bit droopy in this photo, but are starting to perk up again. Each plant is a different variety...I can't wait to see what each one does!

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I've finally planted my beans, too. Bush beans and pole beans. I am a bit surprised by how quickly they are growing now that they have sprouted. They look bigger every time I see them! These are the bush beans, after about 3 days growth:

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I've been pleasantly surprised by the lovely flowers that my chamomile is producing right now! The flowers are so tiny and perfect! I will have to do some research to find out when and what I should harvest to make tea. I am going to do a taste test between my chamomile and store-bought to see how they differ.

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I just love these blossoms! 

Oh! And my onions! They are really getting big. The greens aren't as bushy as I expected, but the bulbs are pushing out of the soil in their expansion.

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I've also noticed that some of my onions (among other things) are disappearing. Methinks I have a thief! I suspect the chipmunks.

I've hired a small crew of toughs to keep an eye on things, but they seem more prone to idolatry than scaring away pests. I suppose that's because they are ceramic.

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A good gnome is hard to find, so I have to make-do with what I've got. This lot came from Florida. My mom's friends gave them tattoos (my favorite one: "Keebler Sucks") and cigarettes, and started hiding them in the yards and gardens of unsuspecting friends. My mom was their latest victim, and I begged her to let me take them home with me on my last visit. We are going to send photos to her pals, along with a story about their new, "reformed" life here in Georgia...

I've settled them in a nook of what will be my pole bean trellis. I tried to make a teepee trellis (which you can sort of see in the photo above) out of branches from some trees my husband cut down, but when it was finished it was so sad looking and wonky that I was afraid it would fall in a stiff wind, so I am starting over using a tinker-toy-like tomato trellis system instead. I think it will answer suitably as a Gnome Home, once the beans get going.

And now for my big disappointment. My raised bed is just not doing well. Nothing in it is growing. It's like all the plants are in suspended animation, just staying the same size. Some of the plants look sick, too. The okra leaves are turning yellow...is it too much water? Do they need fertilizer? The SFG book said it wasn't necessary with the soil mixture (see previous post for more info), but maybe the manure I bought was not as good as it should be...I'd appreciate some advice in this matter, because I am at a loss.

Here are some photos - aside from the three new plants I added, this box looks exactly the same as it did last month:

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I think I will add some fertilizer and let the bed dry out a bit more between waterings and see if that helps.

All in all, I can't complain. I've got more lettuce than I know what to do with, and a bounty of good things coming along nicely.

In fact, today's lunch will be a salad with lettuce and onion from the garden topped with bacon and a dressing made with avocado, bacon drippings, white balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper. Mmmm! I'd better get on that immediately.


(a little bit later...)

Lunch

Started as this:

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And with a little bacon magic became this:

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Delicious!

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