Sunday, April 3, 2011

My garden at the end of March

Yes, I do know that it's April now, but I took this picture a few days ago. The garden is still doing pretty well. We currently have Roma tomatoes about the size of small grapes, cucumbers (from a volunteer plant, so we'll see whether they turn out to be edible or not) about 2 inches long, teensy little ears of corn, cabbages about the size of softballs (from seeds I planted back in November!), and occasional yummy peas (I definitely need to plant more pea plants).

I've got lettuce plants going to seed, lots of garlic sitting around doing nothing special, some newly planted beets, radishes, and onions, and a second batch of corn just starting.

I let some of my green beans stay on their bushes until the seeds were big, and then I tried planting the seeds. So far, nothing has sprouted. Either I didn't let them mature enough, or something else went wrong . . . or maybe if I'm just patient a bit longer, something will come up.

This is the very worst of the dry season, so it's very hot, very sunny, and very dry. I'm watering the garden multiple times each day, especially when I have new seedlings coming up. So far I'm planting all my seeds directly in the garden, and that's been working out okay, except for the seeds I've saved from previous plants. Clearly saving and using my own seeds are skills I still need to work on.

I'm continuing to have to fight off grasshoppers and leaf cutter ants. If I were trying to garden without the use of pesticides I think I'd have to give up. I am trying to use the pesticides sparingly, however. Generally, if I can keep the bugs from eating the tiny newly sprouted plants, then when those plants get older they do okay even when they are somewhat nibbled. If the bugs attack the tiny new plants, though, those plants tend to just die. Oh, I had an attack of leaf cutter ants of a different variety than I'd seen before, and they were eating only the garlic plants. I specifically planted garlic because it supposedly repels most insects, so I thought this was kind of funny. Anyway, I won that battle, and at the moment things are under control in the garden . . . at least the last time I checked, a few hours ago. However, I never know what I'll find when I go out there!


Cory & Kris Thede said...

Do you have any Moringa trees in the area. The leaves are very good for you and the young seed pods taste great too. You can get seeds from the ECHO [Educational Concern for Hunger Organization] organization in Florida. They also have very knowledgeable people and information about growing plants all around the world. If you describe your soil and weather they can advise you what will do well. Fauche

Laurie Matherne said...

I like your raised beds. I started a garden with some chldren and volunteers last year, but it died without the TLC it needed. I think raised beds like yours is one key to success.

Brenda said...

Pick the seeds off of the plants just before it looks like either the pod is ready to burst open or the seeds look like they are ready to fly away, depending on the plant seed form.
Let them dry some more inside and then when totally dry, wrinkly and hard,store them.
Germination rate will stay high if they are stored in a cool,dry place until the next year. I used to put one of those silicon moisture catching things they put in pill bottles, etc.,in the bags with the seeds to keep any moisture from going into the seed.
If you want to plant them right away instead of storing them, as soon as they are really dry, hard or wrinkly depending on the seed they should be ready to grow for you. An immature seed will not grow of course.
If you want to test whether the seeds will germinate or not put a few of them between layers of wet paper towels in a plastic bag. Check them in a few days to a week or so depending on the germination rate of the seeds and if you see a tiny little growth coming out of the seed then you know they are viable seeds and you can plant the rest of the seeds with confidence they will grow or at least some of them.
Have fun with your garden.

Trish said...

Hey Kris - I'll have to look into Moringa trees. I haven't heard of them, but I wonder if we have them, and call them something else here? Thanks for the info on ECHO, too!

Thanks Laurie - I'm liking the raised beds, but there's still a ton of work involved in keeping the plants alive, especially during the dry season. I still have a lot to learn about fertile soil, as well. Sigh. There's really a lot to learn about gardening. Happily, I'm still enjoying it, though.

Brenda - thanks so much for the seed saving advice! I'm pretty sure I didn't dry the green bean seeds enough, and some may not have been mature enough when I pulled them. I'll keep trying!

Randall and Rachel Beita said...

Beautiful garden!!