Monday, June 30, 2008

nasturtium - observations

VERY easy to grow! just put the seed in the ground, water well (at least until it sprouts), and watch it grow. you don't even have to put soil conditioner in with the seed - just right in the clay.

if you plant 2 seeds in one hole - just to make sure something grows, make sure to snip one away if both shoot up. otherwise, both plants will be stunted in growth.

it does trail on the ground - easy to train if you start changing its direction as soon as you see it going in a direction you don't want.

height of the plant gets to about 1/2 a foot to a foot tall.

leaves are very spicy - like eating a radish. flowers are also spicy but nowhere near the potency of the leaves. shred up the leaves and put it in a salad. plant will shrivel up if too hot.

if the days are getting hot, the leaves and flowers on nasturtiums will crisp and burn. i would suggest planting it in a semi-shaded spot, or somewhere, where it won't get more than a few hours of direct sun. where i am growing this nasturtium in this picture, it gets full sun exposure.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

broccoli - observations


grows well. watch out for grey aphids. they swarm on the plant if allowed. i usually dust them off or (if there are too many) i just remove the infested areas. also watch out for caterpillars!

this species grew to about 2 - 3 feet. i bought the seedlings from a store. don't plant two plants in the same hole - it stunts the growth of both plants. this species also, once the main broccoli head was cut off, grew smaller broccoli heads from different parts of the plant. perfect for bite-sized cooking/eating.

this is also a cool-weather crop, but this species (i bought at store so i am not sure what kind of broccoli this was) did well during our hot days in may.

August 2008 - I am growing calabrese broccoli from seed this time. so far they are doing well. i grew them in peat pots and transplanted them, 3 weeks later, in the ground.

sugar baby watermelon - observations

growth seems to slow down A LOT if not watered enough. this one needs daily waterings. once this is met, it grows at a nice, constant pace. this plant is currently no where near how big it needs to be before growing fruit, so i will need to get back to this as this plant grows.

August 2008:

the sugar baby watermelon plant really took off (growth-wise) after being watered daily. the vines can grow up to 6ft in all directions. when ready to be picked, the grow spot (the spot where the watermelon lies on the ground) should turn from a light green/white color to a yellowish/creamy white color.

don't be too quick to harvest the watermelon!! another way to see if a watermelon is ready for harvest is that the few leaves nearest to the watermelon should start to die. i harvested one way to early...the flesh inside were white with just tinges of red. it was edible - very juicy and sweet, but nowhere near as sweet as it probably could be.

the fruit start off as a lighter green with dark green stripes, and turns to this very dark green color.

note that this variety has a lot of seeds. i, personally, don't mind this since i swallow it all anyways, but for those who dont care for too much seeds, i would recommend not growing this variety.

japanese long cucumber - observations

won't easily climb a tomato cage (the cylindrical one). best to use a wide trellis if using this. it was more inclined to grow along the ground. it keeps to about 6 - 8 inches tall from the ground, making a high ground cover. like the zucchini, it has male and female flowers.

it doesn't take very long for this plant to show flowers. make sure to water these often - usually 1 inch per week. otherwise the fruit will become bitter.

August 2008:

it is still producing fruit! this cucumber grows nice and long if you can have it hang down from a trellis, otherwise on the ground it tends to curve.

i will probably be pulling out this plant, since it seems to be under stress of some kind...maybe i've been watering it too little? maybe it as past its prime for giving cukes (i have harvested well over 100)? but because it is under stress, it has been showing signs of powdery mildew. it could also be the heat and humidity around here lately.

sugar snap peas - observations

please only plant this one during early spring or fall - it likes cold weather. although it has produced a lot of peas and it grew very well during may and june, the sun burns its foliage very easily - making the foliage crisp up. i think the peas would also taste better.

it does a great job with fixing nitrogen in the soil though - it helps the plants around it a lot. till it under when no longer used or producing.

August 2008:
I believe I removed all of the sugar snap pea plants in early/mid July. they were growing WAY to big for the tomato cages that i set up (they grew around 5 ft, if not more!) so they started to bend and break in the occasional gusts of wind. they also succumed to a mildew. great harvest even until the end. i am currently growing them for the fall.

soybeans (shironomai) - observations

gets to be able 3 feet before showing any blossoms. very beautiful and bushy foliage. dark small spots may show up on the bottom leaves - this is due to backsplash of water onto the leaves from the ground causing some fungus or discoloration. (not a huge problem to worry over).

fixes nitrogen from the air (like other beans and peas).

i believe it is the planting of this (and sugar snap peas) which had dramatic effects on the plants that were planted around them.

August 2008:

All of the soybeans were picked during late July / early august. verrrrryyyyy tasty! keep in mind that the harvest time for soybeans is a very small window. so when you touch the pods and you find that the seeds in them are fairly large and close to eachother (like you can not fit much of your pointer finger between two seeds in the pod, they are ready for harvesting. i read that all the soybeans on one plant would be ready for picking at the same time. this was not the case for me. i did a few harvests before picking them all and putting the rest of these plants into the compost bin.

zucchini - observations

when planting, leave about 3 - 4 feet between plants within a row. they become very hugh and wide. about 3 plants is enough to give you a lot of fruit.

the fruits are very sensitive and can easily be scratched, even by the small spikes on its own leaves. be very careful when removing.

growth is dramatic when the weather is very sunny.

the fruit normally shows whether it has been pollinated or not just after the blossom dies. once blossom curls and the fruit was pollinated, you can probably pick it off the plant.

August 2008:

these plants really do produce a LOT and grow HUGE. big mistake was trying to plant four of these zucchinis in a very small area. i should've only planted one row of squash (instead of 2) back there. it is growing SO close to each other that some are growing ON TOP of the other. this is causing some mildew problems due to bad air circulation and high humidity.

i have been pruning back the leaves/stems that show this mildew every weekend, but this weekend i may actually kill some of these plants. all four have produced over 100 zucchini for me this year and i think its passing its peak health period. although the mildew is not much of a problem (it is more of an aesthetic problem really - the veggies are not hurt) it does eventually kill the plant. so before it spreads to the new veggie plants i planted near it, i think i will just kill it.

it was a great plant though!

blue lake bush beans - observations

the leaves of the blue lake bush beans seems to be very flexible and maneuvers itself in certain angles depending on the weather. i believe when the weather is too hot, it pulls its leaves up vertically to the ground. other times, it "opens" the leaves up horizontally to the ground.

i am interested to see how bushy (the diameter) of the plant will be.

August 2008:

so the diameter of the bush bean plant looks to be about 3ft and the height looks to fall between 2ft and 3 ft. the leaves are large and the beans grow under the leaves to shade it from the sun. once beans start to be produced, you will probably be harvesting beans every other day. for a family of 2, probably 4 plants will do (for omnivores).

these plants are really neat to watch at different parts of the day. the leaves change their position on the plant in very dramatic ways. i will try to document this one day.
right garden

i planted the 4 2nd-succession planting of bush beans (blue lake) this weekend. two of them i planted in the plots where i will be planting my cool-crop veggies later on. the bush beans will help fill the soil with nitrogen, making the plants that later grow in these plots fuller and healthier.

the other bean plant is planted the next plot over...

the dark spot below the mint is where i planted small sprouts of german chamomile.

top garden

the little "bud" under the green knob is what i believe to be a soybean flower. not sure yet - it is taking a while to open up

the japanese cucumbers are growing!

a small nasturtium plant to the left, a small green bell pepper plant to the right

i also got to plant most of the carrot seedlings into ther ground. nearby i also planted one of the 4 blue lake bush bean plants

here is that bush bean plant that i planted in the ground near the carrots

and here is the 4th bush bean plant...between the watermelon and the almond tree


left garden