Sunday, June 28, 2009

a little more each day....June 28 09

Today's take from the raised beds: 2 zucchini (one Organic Dark Green, one giant Fordhook), two straightneck yellow squash, one Burpee's Pickler, one White Wonder x Marketmore F2 cuke, 2 Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes (a few never made it to the deck), five Viva Italia tomatoes, two Homestead tomatoes! Tonight's menu features Zucchini & Tomato casserole with cucumber salad and homemade Sourdough Rolls!

On the left, a Burpee's Pickler cucumber on the vine. On the right, some Viva Italia hybrids on the vine (note the lack of foliage on the bottom of the plants - thanks, early blight!).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

TYLCV - the HIV of tomatoes...June 27, 2009

Challenging year for the garden. TYLCV on many of the tomatoes, but getting ripe tomatoes already (before July 4th!) from the Sweet 100 cherry, Viva Italia and Homestead tomato plants. As I have learned through talking with the extension office here, corresponding by email with the agricultural specialists at NC State, and researching on the web, TYLCV is no picnic. I have ordered resistant variety seeds to trial this summer, and have taken suckers from the healthy plant to start new ones to fill in as I pull out the infected plants. Luckily the virus does not affect fruits already on the plants or the seeds, for a couple are rare to find heirlooms that I do not want to lose seed for! The squash, zucchini and eggplants are producing nicely as are the cukes- already have several pints of pickles and chow chow put away - if I can keep the pickles from my youngest son, that is! Starting to see squash bugs, Japanese beetles and still battling the whiteflies that brought the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl in from a greenhouse, and am still trying to stay organic. So far the homemade soapy spray using Pantene Pro-V Clarifying Shampoo and water seems to be keeping the whitefly population in check but not eradicating them, so I will try Neem spray interspersed and see if that will take care of the little suckers.

Still with all the tribulations, there is nothing like going out and picking some fresh food that you have grown yourself for dinner!

Monday, June 15, 2009

1st Tomato...June 14, 2009

Ok, its just a cherry Super Sweet 100, but still - a ripe tomato in the first half of June! I had to pick it and just admire it... Now if someone can tell me why the pics keep loading sidewise we could all admire it.

Someone said if farming were easy all farmers would be rich... I am learning by fire and trial this year. As you can see, I still have yellowing
of leaves on the tomatoes. The tops of several are still yellowing and curling. I have researched and it could be anything from overwatering (wet spring and summer here), overfertilizing (doubtful - they have only been fertilized twice in two months) or some type of virus. Sigh.

Successes this year so far with the squash and zucchini - last year we had no squash as the vines were killed by vine borers while blooming. Have already picked 8 or 9 yellow squash and 4 zucchini. I tried wrapping foil around the stems and on the ground around the squash and as the stems grew, I have been adding soil over them. Fingers crossed this continues to work. The cucumbers are curly since they are from the bottoms of the vines - the upper ones are coming in nice and straight.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

... and the living is easy...June 12, 2009

Summer is here and the garden is producing... We've enjoyed sauteed squash, radishes and onions, squash and zucchini casserole, fresh carrots and radishes with ranch dressing, and finished off the last of the sugar snap peas which lived up to their name. Our tomatoes are still suffering from whitefly, but I dare to hope we may be winning the battle. Cukes are coming in every few days - won't be long now til homemade pickles!

For others in the south suffering from the extra rain after two years of drought, I am trying a cornmeal *tea* to ward off early blight - 1 cup plain cornmeal soaked in a gallon of water for 24 hours, then strained into a spray bottle. Also I am adding 2/3 of a plain, uncoated aspirin per an article I found on the web about aspirin increasing plants' resistance to disease. Will keep updates coming on the progress (or lack thereof)...