In keeping with the ’90s* rap theme from last week’s post which was inspired by Notorious B.I.G., this week’s post is inspired by LL Cool J. I was sure my garden was in decline, but I was very wrong!
I’ve had some recent issues with my squash and cucumbers. The leaves on both plants were changing colors and dying. It also seemed like they were producing less. Based on a master gardener recommendation, last week I used fish fertilizer around the base of the plants. Looks like the extra TLC made a difference; the plants are now thriving.
I’ll have to remember rather than panicking and jumping to worst case scenarios, to instead take a step back and be optimistic. This problem is why I concluded that Steve had early-onset Alzheimer’s when I saw he was watching the same movies over and over. I thought he’d forgotten that he had already seen the films. After calming down, I realized that he just likes watching his favorite movies multiple times. This is something I’ll definitely continue working on in the future.
Anyway, photos of my growing squash and cucumbers below.
*Notice how the decade for the 1990s is properly notated at the beginning of the blog post? 90’s here would not be correct since the usage is not possessive. Just a slightly unrelated rant because I recently saw “Stop in and try our hamburger’s” on a restaurant sign. When did plural become possessive?!?!?
New squash coming in
Thinned cucumber plant
Thriving cucumber plant
Abundance of cucumbers
I planted my strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers in mid-April. All the labels stated the period to peak harvest was 60-90 days. While a few strawberries have been ripening here and there, my tomatoes and cucumbers aren’t quite there yet.
Basket of lettuce from my garden
But my lettuce came in! I was really excited to enjoy something from the garden. I had to rinse of the lettuce before I could put it in a salad. I thought a brief rinse would do it, but the dirt was hard to get off and a thorough wash was needed.
I’m so used to buying grocery store produce that I forgot that that the fruits and vegetables are cleaned and packaged before they ever hit store shelves. Produce from the garden doesn’t work the same way or look quite as perfect. On the plus side, I know my garden produce is fresher and pesticide free.
See below for the delicious salad I made with my lettuce. (Cucumbers and tomatoes store bought.)
Delicious garden salad with homegrown lettuce
I’m excited to have my first produce of the season! I recently picked my first strawberries of the plants. The strawberries weren’t as sweet as I hoped, but they should reach their peak in the next couple of weeks. Even though I’m starting to see the results of all my work; I’m facing a familiar problem as last summer.
Garden pests! The villains of every garden. They are the equivalent of the character in a Lifetime movie who shows up and then everyone starting getting killed. Fortunately this isn’t a Lifetime movie and I realize what’s causing the problem.
Strawberry eaten through by a pest
Last week, I found a rather plump slug having a feast on a strawberry and removed it from the garden. The slug had had done this to the berry. See the photo to the left. I actually found it kind of impressive that the slug had hallowed out the fruit. But also very annoying.
Last year, I solved the pest problem by building a fence around the garden. The fence still keeps critters out, but now I have to worry about insects inside the garden.
This calls for a visit to the local gardening center so I can find organic pesticides that will keep my fruit and vegetables safe. Check the next post to see what kind of advice I receive.
I had high expectations for this blog when I started this venture- I was going to post twice a week, build a community of gardeners and the blog was going to catch on. Well, that didn’t quite happen or even come anywhere close. Due to summer travel, the World Cup and taking on a couple of new volunteer projects, I’ve barely managed to keep up. Such is life, I suppose. Unfortunately, this is going to be the end of the road (Boys II Men chorus going through my head) for the blog this year. Well, maybe one more post after this. Gotta tell you what I learned!
Cucumbers in produce basket
Let me start off with the good. I finally got edible produce from my garden! I pulled two cucumbers from my garden which you can see on the right. One is a healthy green and the other is yellowish. That’s because we got a TON of rain over a week to week and a half period. Too much or too little water can cause the yellow color.
I didn’t care; I finally got to use my produce basket! On the other hand, with all of the money I put into the garden, the cost for each cucumber averages out to about $100. Not exactly cost effective. I cut up the good cucumber and put it in a salad. Delicious if I must say!
That was the mostly good. The bad was that one of my watermelons split open. I believe that this was a result of the heavy rains as well. The garden became saturated and the soil didn’t drain well. I’m down to one watermelon. I’m waiting for it to fall off the vine. I’m sure it will be delicious though.
Next up- telling you what I learned from maintaining my first garden
Salad with my garden cucumber
I made an error last week and scheduled this post for publishing before I got it done. Below is the post in its entirety.
Weed or Vegetable?
I know some of you were probably thinking that I was referring to a certain type of weed in my title. No, this isn’t Colorado or Washington; I’m referring to a typical garden invader. I’ve got something growing in my garden and I’m not sure if it’s a carrot I planted or if it’s just a weed that needs pulling. See picture on the right.
So, new game- weed or vegetable? Anyone who can tell me which it is will receive fresh produce from the garden! Well, when the produce comes in. Looks that might still be a few weeks away. I’d go ahead and pull whatever it is but I’d be upset if I pulled a carrot before it was fully grown. The garden is not exactly spilling over with produce.
On the other hand, my cucumber and watermelon plants are growing like weeds. They’re starting to take over their corners of the garden. When I went out there to check on how things were progressing, I noticed that one of the cucumber plants had reached out and had twisted one of its tendrils around a stake. I thought it was pretty cool.
Watermelon taking over a corner of the garden
Cucumber plant twisting around a stake