Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Small Steps in the Garden

My first garden is doing well-- I don't know how high my standards are, but I'm pleased with my first attempt. My zucchini are HUGE, my lima bean is tall and stretching towards the chicken coop. My lemon cucumbers just exploded and are all over the place. My second seeding of tomatoes is growing strong, and my Golden Calwonder Pepper and Cayenne Pepper are both showing promise. My Contender Beans are tiny. They are only about 10 inches tall, they have beans but aren't getting taller. I have to check and see if they are a compact variety or what.

I planted salad twice and both times they sprouted and disappeared. I figured out that they don't like the sun and heat. I'm going to try one more time, in a shady spot with a shade cover too. I don't know. I thought salad was easy!

One of my hens is injured. We separated her from the rest so she didn't get picked on, or further injured. She seems to be better, but not well. I don't know what I can do besides keep her separate. She's in a rabbit hutch about 3 X 2 and 15 inches high. She has plenty of room for herself, and her own water and feed. So, hopefully her leg will heal and she can walk around easier and go back with the rest of the flock. Animal husbandry 101!

I've started to compost our kitchen scraps. The chickens eat alot of them, but the rest I'm putting in a pile and covering with yard trash, or dirt. I was raking aside a half-attempt at compost- we just threw our yard waste in one area- and man, it was full of beautiful dirt!! Tons of june bug grubs, fat and transparent, that the chickens love. And I also found 6 or 7 fat worms and a toad that I put in the garden.

It was time to put a layer of hay and mulch on my potatoes, in the hopes that they would set out a new runner (ie, potato). Then I noticed a fat, ugly, green caterpillar had eaten away all the leaves on one. Dang! The chickens enjoyed him, and I hope my potato survives.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!


suek said...

Is the "fat, ugly, green caterpillar" the one in the photo?? If so, that's a tomato hornworm. They become luna moths, I think. Devastating on tomatoes, so watch out for them. Best method is to inspect daily or so, hand remove and feed to your chickens. Did you know that tomatoes and potatoes were related? guess your potatoes came up first!

My tomato nemesis this year is white fly. Can't seem to get rid of them...

This might interest you, if the link still works...


mama4x said...

It is the same one... I thought potato leaves were poisonous but I guess just to humans. Too bad! My tomatoes were up but not close to my potatoes. Good thing! I'm getting grumpy- I have big plants and no fruits.

suek said...

It's still early. I put mine in about March/April. We're in zone 9, but although we have plenty of tomatoes, none are ripe yet.

I put in all Ace this year. Last year I had Early Girl and Ace 50/50. The Ace plants did better than the Early Girls, but I don't know if it's the plants or the location. So this year, all the same. We'll see. It looks - at the moment - as if it's the location, but the year is early yet!

If you have no fruit setting - do you have blossoms? I understand that they won't set if the night time temps aren't above 50*

If night time temps are above that, or if you don't have blossoms, you may have a soil imbalance. I can never remember which is which, there's one of the contents of fertilizer that causes plants to grow lushly but never blossom. Is there someone you can ask? Or online...online _is_ a resource!

suek said...

Here's a good place for gardening questions. Dave was on a newslist I was on before I moved over to the blog world. He died, but I think his wife continues to run his nursery. The link worked last time I tried it, but I don't keep up on them all the time.


mama4x said...

I was talking to someone about it today and it might be that I have no bees... need to get out a q-tip and self pollinate.

suek said...

Apparently nix on the q-tip. Supposedly just a light shake of the plant might do the trick. Or do both - it couldn't hurt. How many bushes do you have?

Have you seen any bees? Come to think of it...I don't think I've ever seen bees on tomato plants. And bees aren't the only insects that pollinate...

Research time!!