Saturday, July 10, 2010

The plot thickens..

I know i'm going to regret wasting that title so early in the season. Ok, so maybe its not as catchy as i think it is.
But in any case, i went out and looked at my string beans.  Looks like "Provider" will turn out to be a well named bean.  My plants are covered with clusters of growing pods.  I only planted about a 4'x6' area but i'm going to be up to my ears in beans.  Which is fine because i like string beans.

I also planted those purple podded beans on July 4, and they are up now.  I planted them between the rows of corn that didn't germinate so well and are still way behind.

Tiny watermelon, this is a Pony Yellow

I think i have convinced myself that this is Swamp Milkweed and not hyssop like i was told.  That's ok because i prefer the milkweed to hyssop.

I like the idea that every plant in this year's garden came from seeds i planted.  It dawned on me last night that though i have spent plenty of time in hardware stores this year, i have not bought any vegetable seedlings. 
I think i can reasonably exclude the horseradish and JA tubers, grapes and berry plants- though i am trying to grow some of those from seed.  I'd like to start collecting my own vegetable seed and see if i can grow a totally independent garden some day, but from what i have read i don't have enough space to grow the number of plants to have a proper gene pool for each variety.  I am trying to use open pollinated types when i can, they are usually heirlooms and i am drawn to the history of these plants.  For now i can be happy to be a part of the financial support of the companies that offer these seeds.

^ Friday afternoon

Saturday morning:

So, i guess we are supposed to get some good rain today.  It has been over a week since we have had any and the heat was fierce for this time of year and area. I don't think we actually broke any records but we definitely met a number of them that had been set more than 30 years ago.

I watered the garden pretty deeply yesterday. I knew rain was in the forecast for today but where it was so warm overnight i wanted to have stuff watered deeply and early enough for the soil to warm back up.  I read in "Gardening When it Counts" that plants grow at night.  There is actually a bit of a  formula that can be used to estimate plant growth based on night time temperature.  Here is the excerpt from "Gardening When it Counts"

I don't know what i am going to do with my birdhouse gourd plant... well, i won't really be doing anything actually, but it is growing and spreading so rapidly.  It has already escaped its row and has made good headway into the next. I tried to train the vines to head out along the walkways, but the plant is so lush that its hard to walk in the paths without stepping on it.  I'm  thankful the leaves it grows are so soft and velvety.  I think if i grow it next year i will have to plant it against a trellis or i will have to put any defensive garden  fencing well away from it.  It invaded the electric fence wires about 3 days ago.  I haven't had the fence on lately anyway.  Last time i grew this plant was in my parent's garden when i was home from College.  My parent's garden is almost the size of the entire "New Yard" lot  we purchased.  A birdhouse gourd plant looks much smaller in a garden that size than it does in mine! :o)

I ordered some lawn edging from Ace Hardware yesterday. Its this stuff.  I was thinking of using landscape timbers or 4x4 posts like we did in the front flower beds. The drawback is that they need painting or staining most years. This terrace board stuff is ready to use, and its a nice brown shade. I usually only see lawn edging in black or what Thalassa Crusoe called "poison green".  I also didn't want wide edging since i will be literally standing in the mulch to do my work in the grape and berry row.  A wide board will probably get in the way and probably won't be easily secured.  The terrace board is just over 5" high and set in the ground a few inches and held with 10" spikes it should hold up pretty well.  Its also something i think i can handle installing on my own. Timbers or 4x4s would be too awkward and heavy and i'd have to borrow my dad's truck and rope hubby into helping me load and unload.  If it works out well i think we will nix the front boxes and install this stuff.
I do need to grab 4 of these so the ends won't pop up and i can get a nice neat shape.  The boards will be in next week.
I also used an Ortho product on the weeds where i will be extending the row. They are thick enough that it might be hard to get the landscape fabric to keep them at bay... even though i plan to till the area before i cover it.
Only issue with the Ortho product is that hubby bought it for me and i didn't read the label . It is a "season long" weed killer, which i guess means it is made to stick around longer. I did some research on the active ingredients to understand a little about how this works. The Glyphosate is the stuff that is a post emergent herbicide. Meaning that it damages stuff that has set its leaves.  The other ingredient is Oxyfluorfen, this is both a pre  and post emergent herbicide used mainly on annual weeds.  Glyphosate is generally used on perennials i guess.  Since it is billed as a "season long" product- the part i missed, i wasn't sure if i was even going to be able to plant there this summer!
I was kicking myself.  I always read labels.  I'm such a stickler for label reading that i get teased for it at times...  this time i didn't...  But when i did read the label it didn't answer my post treatment question, though the info on the label would have stopped me from using it there.  I emailed Scotts' customer service and they did reply with useful information:

If you used the Season Long ready to use formula:  (which i did)
TREES & SHRUBS - 2 Weeks
ANNUALS* - 4 Weeks
If you used the Season Long CONCENTRATE:
TREES & SHRUBS - 4 Weeks
ANNUALS* - 8 Weeks
*Sensitive annuals, such as be begonias and petunias, may NOT recover if transplanted into treated areas to soon.

If you wish to plant a sensitive annual, you may want to test your soil with a radish test. The radish seed is a very fast germinating seed, and when planted in a treated area, the seeds will germinate in 7 - 10 days if the area is clear of herbicide. If the radish germinates, it is safe to plant your sensitive plants. Do not eat radishes grown for these testing purposes.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact us and for your interest in Scotts. Please feel free to contact our company anytime we may be of assistance.

Using radish seeds to test the soil is a great idea.  Only thing is that by the time they emerge, the area will be ready for me to plant anyway.  I used the stuff sparingly and i'll be tilling the area under, so i'm sure that will help.  The berry plants won't be yielding anything edible for another whole season at least so i'm not really worried about contamination.

I did a short crop walk of my own this morning before the rain came and i took some pictures.  I love having a blog to record all this stuff.  I get to compare growth photos from one year to the next and the blog setup allows me to easily recall the information by date or keyword.
Ok, so here are the pics:

One of the Aurora Mix French Marigolds
I swear these weren't this big yesterday before i watered. I wish i had a yardstick to put in the pictures to independently gauge the daily and weekly growth.
Birdhouse gourd,  trying to take over the world. I tried to use a broken baby gate to see if i could direct its march, i think i only encouraged it.
Horseradish plants recovering in the absence of woodchucks.

I did it.... i pulled off the flowers of Marechal Foch....  here is the proof.

Here are the row-by-row pictures. Looking East

Tomato and corn (and now purple string beans) row.
Kale, cabbage, and stuff. A couple lettuces still hanging on.
Parsnips, onions, shallots, a couple swiss chard plants, fennel.

Carrots, beets, rutabagas and bush beans.
Cucumbers, winter squash, melons, watermelons and gourds.

Asparagus from seed look pretty good now.  But the weeds are totally taking over again!

Jerusalem artichokes are behind the horseradish.

From the other direction...

The corn end of the Tomato and Corn row

Peppers and eggplant at the end of the cabbage, broccoli, kale etc. row.

Burdock, globe artichokes and summer squash.  Beyond is the fennel, onions & shallots and parsnips.
Salsify, rosemary, whats left of the Brussels sprouts and purple cauliflower, then string beans, rutabagas, beets and then carrots.

I never did write down the name or company the purple string beans were from, so i remembered now.
 Rhubarb.  Never did move it to the perennial corner of the garden.

Just picked these before the rain gets them muddy.  First of the summer squash today. :o)

I did end up digging out the Suffolk Red grape and i put it in a 5 gallon bucket. I'll try it as a container plant this winter.

I think that's pretty much it for now.