Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How does my garden grow?

So far, pretty darn good. I started all my vegetables indoors under fluorescent lights early this spring. I got tomato, sweet bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, yellow beans, cucumber, winter squash, leaf lettuce, and eggplant seeds from Johnny's Select Seeds, and used seed starting mix from them as well. I discovered that the cardboard egg cartons make good seed starting pots, and transplant quite well into a larger pot or the garden. Here's a picture of my "babies" during their hardening off period (slowly increasing the plant's time outdoors to acclimate it to the weather).
seedlings I also used paper bathroom cups for some of the seeds, then moved up to plastic yogurt containers as the plants grew. If their roots get too cramped it can stunt their growth.
I'm a totally organic gardener, so I don't use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. I make my own compost from kitchen and yard waste, as well as newspapers (worms LOVE newspapers). I will apply an organic vegetable fertilizer 2 or 3 times a season, as well as organic slug control. I've had slugs wipe out an entire bed of lettuce in no time. Now I use Escar Go and Sluggo Supreme. They've improved their formulas to include slugs, snails, pill, bugs, and several other pests that would eat up your harvest. The nice thing is that it's completely safe and won't hurt anything but the intended insects.
My veggies have grown by leaps and bounds in the last few weeks. It's finally warmed up a bit and we've gotten rain when we needed it. Here's a picture of my summer squash and my zucchini plants. I've got a few that are about an inch or so long now. And a close up of one of my baby zucchinis.


zucchinibaby zucchini
And then there's my tomato plants. So far, they're looking really good. When I transplanted them into the garden I stripped off the lowest set of leaves, then buried the stem up to the next set of leaves. This way they develop a really strong root system all along the buried stem. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but these plants have really thick stems as well. I planted them inside Wall 'O Waters to keep them warmer and more protected. You fill the plastic sleeves with water, then the sun heats the water during the day and releases the heat to the plants when it cools off. It's a very effective system.
tomatoes09
My yellow bush beans are doing well too. I had my couple of beans yesterday, and they were very good. I plant "patches" of beans in different spots around the garden in order to confuse bean beetles. They can really devastate a crop of beans. This way, even if the bugs find one "patch" of beans, there are still several undiscovered (and unmolested) "patches" left for me. I've learned that "bug confusion" really does work. I do a lot of interplanting of vegetables, as well as adding flowers amongst the veggies. I usually have marigolds throughout the garden, as well as a few other varieties of flowers. Here's a picture of my beans. I also have catnip growing in front of them. (The cats really love me!)
beans
Then I have my eggplants. This year I decided to try mini eggplants. Of course a day or 2 after I took these pictures the eggplant's beautiful purple flowers opened up. I'll have to get pictures of those after it stops raining. The flowers are so pretty you could grow them for decoration alone. The whole plant is really very attractive and has soft, velvety leaves. You have to watch out for the thorns around the flower though. I learned that the hard way when I first planted eggplants. I can't wait to see what the veggies look like, not mention how they'll taste.
eggplant
Now I'm hearing thunder, so it's time to shut the computer off. I'll be sure to take more pictures and keep you up to date on the garden's progress. Hopefully I'll have a nice big harvest. I've been eating my lettuce for months now and it's still doing great. Happy gardening to all!
-Michelle

2 comments:

  1. I wish I had a green thumb like that!! It all looks so very wonderful :D

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