It has been really windy since Monday. So I really haven't done alot outside. But I still have been gardening.
Sunday evening I started transplanting my hot peppers, sweet peppers and eggplant. The cell packs that I started them in were too small. Some of them had started getting a little topsy turvy. The roots had pretty much filled the small soil space that they had. I put most of them into 3 inch pots. I think this is silly for me to be doing all of this transplanting. Next year I will do things a tiny bit different. I think that I will start out with 3 or 4inch pots, plastic or peat, then when I seed I will only fill it about 2/3 full of soil. Then if the stem needs a tiny bit of extra support when they get a little bigger, I can add a small amount of soil if needed. If that works then I won't have to transplant them and disturb the roots unneccesarily. I am almost done with the transplanting, (I have been doing a few at a time), I only have a few eggplant seedlings left to transplant.
Hot Pepper Babies
Sweet Pepper Babies
I did get outside yesterday afternoon to put in the flower seeds before the rain. I mixed up a bunch of different kinds of seeds that should be about the same height. I put sunflowers in the back of the area along with some Castor Bean. In the front I spread the mix. I am hoping that I will have an area FULL OF BLOOMS.
I also have gotten the last plants that I need to finish the front perennial bed. I will take before and after photos to compare. I have made out a list of all the plants that are going to be in the area. Some are already in place from last year. For the annual that will be around the edge I chose a pretty verbena. I am hoping that it does good through the heat of the summer.
20 Pink Verbena Plants in 3 inch pots
My husband has said that he really likes Calla Lilies...they should be a perfect addition to that bed as well. I love the white spots on the leaves of this variety.
The temps are moderating a little. I have miss being in the garden, working and feeling strong from the exercise. Frankly, the garden looks terrible!!! Since I've not been feeling well, and the heat so intense, I have just stuck mainly to housework. But when I got up this morning it was only 71F, so by the time I got back from taking my daughter to school it still wasn't too bad.
I went out to have a look around. Collected some eggs, eggplant, peppers and the first cucumber from my second planting.
My compost pile is ok to spread around in the flower beds, even though its not completely broken down, I did find the occasional egg shell. I even found a banana sticker. I spread four 4 gal. buckets around in one area. I will keep at it until the compost bin is empty of usable stuff. Then I will put in the spent plants that need to be cleaned from the garden. I can also start adding grass clippings again along with the fall leaves.
I also took the pitch fork and loosened around the eggplants, then pulled them up. They weren't doing very well anymore. Fire ants had decided that they liked them. They were climbing the stems, eating holes here and there. They especially liked the flowers and the fruits, right were they connected to the plant.
I set the sprinkler for the peppers and melons then came inside. It was good to get back to gardening, but enough for this morning.
If you look really close you can see a couple of fire ants in the center of the black area where they have been chewing.
There has been alot going on, even though it has rained a majority of the last two weeks. If it didn't rain in the morning it would later in the day. The temps have been great though, not over 85 and even had one afternoon that was down to 72 because of the storm passing through. Of course I couldn't take advantage of these nice temps too much because of the rain and soggy ground. The grass had gotten so tall it was kind of rediculous. Everytime I though I was going to be able to take out the mower.....I would go and check the radar on the comp. and there was a big green and yellow spot comin' right at me. So I just waited. Tall grass for awhile doesn't hurt anything. Just isn't that comfy to walk in, especially when wet. I haven't had to water the garden....obviously, very nice.
Some of the tomatoes have been doing great. The cherrys and the Brandywine especially. We have been harvesting beautiful tomatoes everyday off of the cherry and every couple of days off of the Brandywine. The Burpee Beefsteak has succumbed to some kind of wilt....it was supposed to be resistant! Oh well, just won't grow that kind again. I also plan to cover that area of soil with plastic so it can cook over the rest of the hot summer. Hopefully that will help keep it from spreading if it had the notion. The Rutgers would be doing great if it wasn't for the beefsteak next to them. Some of the leaves on the Rutger that is closest to where the beefsteak was have started to show signs of the wilt as well. They are so far along though I don't think it will have a drastic effect on the harvest though. I just harvested the first tomato off of the Rutger. ALL LARGE TOMATOES MUST BE HARVESTED BEFORE FULLY RIPE. The birds have decided that they are going to snack on them at breakfast if I let them ripen completely on the plants. Almost penny size holes!!! So I am just beating them to the tomatoes.
In the center area where I had the Giant Pumpkin.....The watermelon has completely taken over. There aren't even hardly any weeds popping up because the vines are so thick. I have some of the baby watermelons getting some good size on them. They seem to just jump in size overnight. I am encouraged that the melons themselves are getting bigger. Being that they were seeds saved from an unknown cultivar I had no idea what they would do. Here is a picture of one of the bigger watermelons.
The fig tree has about 40 little figs on it and has started to sprout some new growth as well. It also has some tiny red dots on some of the leaves. I need to put some more fertilizer stakes around it. I am hoping to train it as a bush and keep it about 6ft. tall. If I have to trim it after that I want to try to sprout the pieces I trim to grow more.
The eggplant have continued to do good. There are a good amount of baby eggplants on most of the plants, and I have harvested a few more. I don't know what is a GREAT crop for an eggplant but I am happy with what is there. Three of the kinds that I started from seed stay on the smaller size, like a large orange. The ones that I tasted have been delicious. Now there are some of the Black Beauty ones swelling in size, here is a picture of them. Very shiny and dark purple.
The way my compost pile is set up, is just not working. Its not cooking very fast. I don't have it covered, its in the shade and I don't stir it. LOL, It will get there maybe by this fall. We cleaned out the chicken house yesterday and added all of the waste and old hay to it. I also sprinkled over the rest of a bag of "compost maker" that I had left. It doesn't seem like that stuff works very fast though. Maybe I haven't added enough of it. Yesterday at church I was talking to a farmer that said someone told him that RidX works great on a compost pile. I have no idea whats in that...don't know if it would be considered organic or not. I am going to make sure it is all piled up really good and then cover it with a black tarp that I have, maybe that will help it along as well. I don't think letting the rain just wash through it the last couple of weeks has helped either. I am hoping that by this fall it will be broken down enough to use on the perennial beds. Don't want to use it on the veggie garden because I add grass clippings from the back yard, which is where the doggies have their outhouse. ;)
The asparagus is doing better than I expected. It is still sending up shoots, very surprised about that. It also has put on seed pods on a few ferns. They are still green though. I accidently broke the tip off of a new shoot awhile back....so I had to taste it, it was very yummy. Now I can't wait until next spring. The only thing bad that has happed has been puppy damage. Before I sold 3 of them they got into one of the beds and were running around. They broke off a few of the ferns. Aggravating!!! Only one puppy left to sell!!! Thank God she is calmer now that the others are gone. I think that I need to make some kind of support frame to go around the ferns though. They are really leaning in some places. That can be a project for early winter. Next spring the ferns should be thicker too which should help as well. Here are a couple of pics. #1 is ferns on the Jersey variety and #2 is new shoot coming up on the Purple Passion variety.
This is the first year I have grown eggplant. I got a mixed pkg of seeds which included
Applegreen, Blue Marble Hybrid, Snowy and Millionaire Hybrid
I had trouble starting out because I didn't realize how important it was for the seeds to have heat to germinate. The heat requirement is much higher than other seeds I have started. I also started them out late as well. I thought after I planted out the seedlings, that just to be sure, I would grab a pk of already started ones from the store. Now mine are all almost as big as the ones from the store and mine have set on fruit first. Actually, I have noticed that the store bought ones have had some flowers open and then fall off onto the ground. Strange.
I have now already started more to see if we can get a second round of fruit later in the summer. They germinated very fast because of the heat of the summer. I also would like to see if any of these that I have would have seeds that would come true. Not the hybrids of course. If so how would I go about collecting ripe seeds?
All of the Eggplants have been eaten on by flea beetles on a regular basis. It doesn't seem to bother them except when they are very young.
There is a picture of a really pretty flower on one of the eggplants in my Eggplant and Peppers Album.