Monday, August 1, 2011

Vegetable Garden Progress

Today's Weather: High of 81 Fahrenheit, 60% chance of rain

Although I've forgotten to comment on it, the weather this summer has been okay. We had a week of heatwave (along with the rest of the country) but ever since it's been in the low to mid-80's with tolerable humidity. I would prefer just a bit more rain but it hasn't been too dry.

Although this year's flower gardens have been doing well (for me - I'm still not that good a gardener) the vegetable gardens have been pretty hit and miss. Two of my one of my hanging tomato plants failed - it turned yellow, produced a tiny tomato that quickly rotted and died. One of my hanging pepper plants did the same thing.

Unfortunately, my remaining two tomato plants aren't doing all that well either.

Cracked Tomato
As you can see, one of my three tomatoes (the third is on a different plant) is cracked. I have no idea why - I don't think it's been over-watered. It's in one of the two remaining hanging baskets so I don't see how it could be from over-watering.

I did have a fourth tomato, but I found a bug hole in it yesterday and had to toss it. It wasn't one of the dreaded Tomato Bugs (hornworms) but whatever it was, it was super effective. Argh.

The squash, on the other hand, are doing quite well. I've already harvested a crookneck squash and I'll have two more by tomorrow. The Buttercup squash are doing well, too. The one pictured below was the first and is a pretty good size already. I have two more that are well on their way to becoming a part of our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Buttercup Squash
The cucumbers are being very slow this year. This is the first one to grow and it's been much slower than I'm used to.
But then, there's the peas, which have done amazingly well. Just look how tall they are! And they're covered with pods. Peas are one of my favorite vegetables so this is making up for some of the other disappointments.
And speaking of disappointments...I planted these sunflowers in hopes that I could harvest the seeds and roast them (I LOVE sunflower seeds) but it turns out I bought the decorative kind, which doesn't produce seeds large enough for eating. Oh well, there's always next year.
And here's a little oddity. Remember those pumpkin seeds that sprouted from the pumpkin I threw in the garden last fall? Well, I'm not so sure that all those seeds were pumpkin. Take a look at this.

It looks like a Pumpkin plant got cross pollinated with a squash plant. It's hard to see, but the fruit is bumpy like a crookneck squash. I've never had this problem before, and since Pumpkin leaves and Crookneck squash leaves look almost identical, I think I have both planted in the same spot and now I have this wacky hybrid. My biggest problem is knowing when to harvest it. Crookneck squash mature quickly, but pumpkins take months.

If worse comes to worst, I'll just have some tall, skinny, yellow jack-o-lanterns this fall.

Future stir-fry ingredients
Overall, the vegetable garden is doing well. My biggest disappointment are the tomatoes, of course, but hopefully there's still enough time in the season to fertilize a few more flowers. I think that next year I'm going to stick with keeping tomatoes in the ground and putting Peppers in the hanging baskets.

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