Archive for August, 2010


As promised, a lot has happened recently in the garden.  The biggest change…..the corn….is gone.  We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 360 corn plants each with between 2 and 4 ears of corn.  Now, all that’s left is a tiny, tiny fraction of that.  Say hi to everyone’s favorite garden pest…the rat.  Upper left is what the corn planter looks like now while upper right is what the typical damage looked like.  It gnawed through the husk of the ears of corn and ate about a quarter of an ear on each one.  Traps are out and set, but thus far no luck.  Additionally nothing else in the garden has been touched.  Great shame because the corn was successfully growing (unlike last year) and we were going to have a load of sweet corn to share with my readers.  We’ll be planting again soon to try once again.

In other interesting news we harvested our carrots today.  Upper left is the haul.  Keep in mind that there is nothing to reference for scale and most of these carrots are between 1 and 3 inches in length.  Nothing huge, but still quite a nice little harvest.  We’ll be seeding again soon to try for a fall harvest.  Upper right is a picture of what happens when you plant carrots too close together.  Carrot seeds are tiny and hard to evenly space.  You’re supposed to thin them when they come out of the ground, which we obviously didn’t do quite well enough.  Interesting effect though.

Upper left are the newly emerging green bean plants.  You’ll recall they were planted during the previous update.  You’ll also notice a new layer of straw on several of the beds.  With the weather getting so hot and dry some mulch becomes helpful for more than just weed control.  Mulch will also prevent water loss and help keep the root zone cooler, conserving water by preventing the need for additional watering.  It also protects some vegetables and fruits (watermelon, pumpkins, etc.) from rotting due to sitting on wet soil.  Upper right shows our red onions.  Still not quite red, but coming along nicely.  Again, these were planted too close together and may eventually hinder their growth.  Only time will tell.

Upper left, our largest watermelon.  For scale, you can see a smaller watermelon towards the bottom right.  It is roughly the size of a softball, so obviously this one is quite large.  Believe it or not, this one also managed to hide from us until only a couple weeks ago despite it’s size.  Upper right are our pumpkins.  The plant looks like it’s suffering, but it isn’t.  For any of you that have ever been to one of those pick-your-own pumpkin patches you know that the pumpkin vine always seems to look partially dead when it’s time to harvest.  Unfortunately these pumpkins aren’t going to make it on the vine until October (we’ve already picked one).

More to come in the coming weeks as the garden will gradually begin to shift from a spring/summer garden to a fall/winter one.  I’ll be trying my best to keep up better with the updates.  We’re still harvesting loads of produce every week with more on the way.  Along with lots of cherry, roma, and heirloom tomatoes we’re still getting lots of cucumbers, zucchini, and squash we just had our first ripe honeydew and our first few bell peppers.  We’re also starting to see flowers and fruit on our raspberry vine which will be getting attached to the iron fence around the patio as soon as it’s large enough.  Until next week…

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Well, I realize that it’s been almost a month since mt last garden update.  I’d blame it on an overwhelming workload but the reality is that’s it’s because of my own procrastination.  These pictures are from July 19th and will be followed by a post showing the garden as it is presently on August 4th.

Plenty has happened over the last month.  Some good some bad.  Upper left, we pulled out all of our green beans and added them to the compost.  They had begun drying out and had stopped producing a plentiful crop.  Given their quick growth period though we planted seeds in their place and should begin getting green beans again in the late summer or early fall.  We also succeeded in trimming back the lemon cucumbers into a much more manageable size.  Upper right: a case of powdery mildew popped up on some of the melons (both water and honeydew) which resulted in us having to immediately tear out the afflicted portions and dispose of them.  Note: do not compost anything suffering from any pest or disease.  You are simply inviting it to continue, and perhaps spread.

Upper left: a picture of our heirloom tomatoes.  Heirlooms come in many, many types, but ours grow to be small to medium sized tomatoes with a very wrinkly, mutated appearance and slightly pinkish red coloring.  As of July 19th the heirlooms had only just started to ripen.  Upper right:  the cherry tomato plant is thriving.  At this stage we are able to harvest cherry tomatoes almost daily and get probably 20 to 30 tomatoes per week from the one bush.

Upper left: the dry, hot weather has begun to take it’s toll on the garden as well.  Many of the larger leafed plants tend to wilt in the midday sun…at least until they receive water.  Then they tend to spring back by the end of the day only to repeat the cycle again the next day.  Our pumpkins are ripening and although large it doesn’t appear that any of them will get quite large enough to carve them.  Upper right: our giant sunflowers are all now open.  They are certainly impressive looking, but will probably start to wilt fairly quickly once the flower opens up.  Although we probably won’t you can harvest and season your own sunflower seeds from these giants.  To harvest the seeds you want to cut the entire head off the plant and hang it upside down in a cool, dry space.  After letting them thoroughly dry out you can then remove them from the flower and salt or season them as you wish.

Be on the lookout for a more current update to see several changes that have swept the garden.

Melaleuca nesophila

Pink Melaleuca

Not to be confused with Melaleuca quinquinervia (the Paperbark Tree) the Pink Melaleuca grows naturally as a small tree between 15 and 20 feet tall but can be used in a wide variety of instances from clipped hedges, to a large screen shrub/tree, as an accent tree, or even as a shade tree.   The Paperbark Tree is the common Melaleuca everyone thinks of and that is seen all over with its distinctive peeling, spongy, whitish to light brown bark.  The Pink Melaleuca doesn’t share this annoying trait with it’s brother although it does have interesting, swirling bark.  A very tough tree that can take abuse, ocean spray, heavy winds, high heat, and poor soil and come out the other side looking attractive and thriving.  It has unique, attractive flowers that appear as feathery globes on the branch ends throughout the year.  An additional reason for it’s use is its growth habit.  Often developing a gnarled, sprawling appearance it can easily provide a very interesting visual addition to the yard or garden that can even evoke a sense of banzai at times.