Monday, July 14, 2014

Tomatoes harvest & hundreds of tomatoes ripening

The greens are in their final stages. After several months, the remaining leaves are bitter and have bug markings. This video here is from one of my last lettuce harvests.
The tomatoes and cucumbers are fruiting. Seems odd to grow lettuce for months without using your own cucumbers and tomatoes, then when your tomatoes and cucumbers do come on, the greens are already dying out! 
Well, I will be sowing new lettuce, kale, and spinach seed in the upcoming days. The greens will take less than a month for me to harvest them again, and I will still be harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers by that point--so I will be making many salads with all my own ingredients (with the exception of avocado).
After several weeks without rain, many of the plants stalled. Although I watered my pepper, sweet potato, and melon plants everyday-- my squash, cucumber, tomatoes, corn, and beans did not get rain for weeks. Last night was a soaking rain shower-- so my tomatoes and many other fruits may have started fruiting or ripening much sooner.

The yellow squash have been producing as well. The peppers and cucumbers are putting off but slow growing.

First of the yellow squash
Celebrity variety, pinkish color
Celebrity variety

Rutger variety
Here are the first tomatoes to be harvested from the garden. Considering I planted nearly 200 Tomato plants last year and received over 200 lbs of tomatoes, this year I expect over 300 lbs of tomatoes from the 300 Tomato Plants we have growing.

 On a final note, be on the look out for more posts on garden harvests. Within the next 7-14 days, I will be harvesting pounds of free food from the garden.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pepper & Lettuce harvest, Cantaloupe & Tomato fruiting (July 7th, 2014 Garden Update)

At the beginning of April, I planted several varieties of Lettuce, Spinach, and Kale. Within a month I was harvesting greens. Now that it has been several months, the lettuce and greens are aging-- it is time to sow a second Lettuce crop for a Fall harvest.
We recently purchased a large bag of Kale seed, several large packets of Salad Bowl and Grand Rapids Lettuce.In the upcoming weeks, we will be planting our greens, perhaps Broccoli and other root vegetables.

At this time, we are harvesting Peppers. We have three rows of Peppers, approximately 100 Pepper plants.
The peppers in the photo below are the Cowhorn hot pepper (long skinny pepper) and the Cubanelle sweet pepper (light green wide peppers).

Hot & Sweet peppers
The tomato plants are fruiting. I actually documented the Tomato garden in the video here, called "Tomato Army". Check out the other garden tour videos: garden 2 of 4 and garden 3 of 4.

I am excited about my Cantaloupe growing as well. It is growing larger by the day. This was a volunteer Cantaloupe that popped up in my Strawberry bed.

Cantaloupe growing in Strawberry bed
Another volunteer plant, the Pumpkin in my compost (picture below), is so large at this point it is taking up the space of my entire Compost bin. Volunteer plants do so much better in terms of quick growth, compared to plants you personally sowed from seed.

Pumpkin growing in Compost

At the second garden, my Cantaloupe and Watermelon plants are vining healthy. Some are flowering. Besides the cantaloupe in the strawberry bed, I'm not sure I will have any other melons this year. I have such a struggle with the conditions of melons. They're high maintenance--plenty of sunlight, plenty of water, fertile, loose, sandy soil.

100 Cantaloupe & Watermelon plants

Cantaloupe 2-3 ft long / got my shoes here

Row of Cantaloupe


Here are some photos of Bee Balm at my Grandmothers...there contains no smell to them, but they're quite lovely~

 Can you see the hummingbird in this picture? She or he is quite camouflaged in this photo. My Grandma finally bought a hummingbird feeder, so I stand like a statue around the feeder to snap a photo of these guys...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 23rd Garden update (Corn, beans, Melons, and Peppers)

I posted last week here, the progress on the Tomatoes, Corn, Beans, Melons and other fruits and vegetables. Within 10 days, the corn grew a foot as well as the Beans. The Tomato fruits are growing larger; The Cucumber, peppers, and Melons are blooming.

I am continuing to Harvest lettuce, strawberries, and blueberries. Today I picked the first Yellow Squash of the season. Soon I will be harvesting the first Tomatoes and Grapes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Cucumbers.

It's a possibility I will be Transplanting 100+ Tomato and pepper plants in the Gardens. It's also a possibility I will be tilling a spot for Beans and Cold weather crops (Lettuces, spinach, carrot, Brussels, Broccoli) in the following days. 
Here are some photos from the last couple of days...

Figurines are keeping birds away from strawberries

Harvesting strawberries
Birds are finally staying away from strawberries

Cantaloupe growing in strawberry bed

cantaloupe plants

Nearly 300 Tomato plants putting off Fruits

Corn, 2-3 feet
9 rows of Corn
Black eyed peas / Lima beans

One of my other gardens, at my Cousins, contains a second crop of Corn and Beans, Cucumbers.

In the photos here are Corn, Beans, and Melons growing in the same Garden, at my Grandparents.
Row of Melons in the garden
100 Melon plants

Other  Watermelon plants (approx 15) are growing alongside my Tomato and Pepper garden. We purchased these because one plant was already blooming.

The watermelon in the photos below are the Yellow Watermelon variety. I haven't tasted this variety before, and it would surely be a treat to try it for the first time from my own garden!


Row of Watermelon mounds

Peppers were purchased last week. The Cowhorn and Jalapeno peppers are already fruiting. The other Green peppers are blooming. When I transplanted these peppers, I added some compost as well.

Row of Pepper plants

Three rows of Pepper plants, rows of Smaller & Larger plants

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13th Garden update (Still transplanting & still harvesting)

I have had lettuce, spinach, kale, and peas sown since the beginning of April, so towards the middle of May I began harvesting ]varieties of lettuce. Below are recent photos of lettuce harvests. I expect to harvest from my lettuce garden for another month. I will plant more greens at the end of the Summer to harvest a Fall crop.

Around the middle of May, we transplanted 60 Tomato plants in one of our gardens. Recently, we have added over 100 Tomato plants from our compost bins/Strawberry beds. As of now we're growing over 200 Tomato plants in the garden (below).

160+ Tomato Plants

Finally fruiting!

Several days ago I tilled, hoed, and transplanted 50 Cantaloupe plants in the second garden at my Grandparents. As you may be able to see in the photos below, I have 9 rows of Corn and three rows of Beans, and 8 rows dedicated to Cantaloupe.
I have 50+ other Cantaloupe plants as well-- I relocated over 20 Cantaloupe plants near the Tomato garden; and intend to Transplant the remaining Cantaloupe plants at my Melon/Bean/Corn patch.

8 rows of 50 Cantaloupe plants
8 rows of 50 Cantaloupe plants
Cantaloupe removed from the patch, Transplanted to Tomato garden
20+ Cantaloupe plants near Tomato garden


As I relocated the Cantaloupe plants, I replaced them with Sweet Potato plants (in the photo below). Our neighbors happened to have over 60 Sweet Potato plants, so we're experimenting to see if they'll produce this year.

Relocated Cantaloupes to sunnier spot, then replaced with Sweet potatoes
Here are pictures of one of my Strawberry beds filled with the Unidentified Squash or Melon plants. From all three of my Strawberry beds, I made time today to take out the Tomato sprouts and put them in water (till I find another spot for them).

Unidentified Squash or Melon plants between Strawberry plants

Unidentified Squash or Melon plants
Below are the Tomato sprouts I dug out of the Strawberry beds. The Sweet Potato Sprouts were in the ALE8 box, and the Cantaloupe sprouts were in the green container in the right side of the photo below.

Tomato, Sweet Potato, and Cantaloupe sprouts
The Zucchini and Yellow Squash plants have grown much larger, as well as the Cucumber, Pumpkin and Butternut Squash plants. The Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Cucumbers, Pumpkin, and Cushaw plants are in my main Garden, at my Grandparents, while other  Squash plants are growing around my Mother's yard.

Yellow Squash bloom

4 rows of Zucchini & 4 rows of Yellow Squash plants

4 rows of Yellow Squash

4 rows of Zucchini plants


Row of 200+ Cucumber
Row of Butternut Squash

Row of Pumpkin
Some Squash plants or Cantaloupe are growing in my Strawberry beds, so I will be Transplanting these into my Cantaloupe bed at my Grandparents.
One Butternut Squash plant is growing outside of the Strawberry beds, while others are growing in the Compost bin, as you can see below.

Butternut Squash outside of the Strawberry beds
Squash plant in Compost bin

Below you see what I have left to Transplant to the gardens. Much of that is Pepper and Tomato plants. I will use the rest of the Tomato plants to grow in pots, and eventually transplant the Pepper plants near the Tomato Garden.
I had assumed the Pepper plants would be big enough to transplant several weeks ago, but I have refrained. Last year I made the mistake of Transplanting the Pepper plants too early, at a smaller size. Beside my Tomato garden and row of Cantaloupe, I have a double row for the largest Pepper plants. So far I have Transplanted 10 Pepper plants to the garden.

100+ Pepper plants

Pepper plant
Pepper plants
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