Friday, June 25, 2010

Community Garden Update

Today was my day off and my first chore of the day was to go to the community garden. Every time I get there, I am amazed at how much everything has grown and its easy to lose track of time while puttering around the garden.

My first chore was to tie the tomato plants to stakes. Instead of cages, we bought 8 foot tall cedar stakes and we are tying the branches to the stakes for support. The only problem with that right now is that our tomatoes are taller than our stakes. We have one big bushy variety that is growing horizontally, but the rest are growing taller every day. I have been trimming them back to try and encourage fruit growth instead of plant growth, but so far there is just a little bit of green fruit. Since this is my first garden, I am not sure how much fruit I should be seeing so far.

After trying the tomato plants, I decided to try tying the cucumbers and butternut squash. I had been wrapping the stalks up a trellis as they grow, but they were busing out and getting in the way. We don't have a lot of space in the garden, so when a branch is in the way, it often breaks when I am walking through the garden. I used the twine to more securely fasten the vine to the trellis. I think that the cucumbers will be easier to pick this way as well.

We planted purple string beans this year and some of their leaves has been turning an ugly shade of brown. I am not sure if they have some sort of disease or if a pest is getting them, but I decided to remove all of the affected leaves. I found a couple of grasshoppers sitting on the bean leaves. According the my garden book, they are voracious eaters, but so far the leaves don't look chewed on. I am not sure how to get rid of grasshoppers.

After trimming and tying, I picked my harvest. I picked half a bag of green and purple beans, 2 zucchini, about 12 pickling cucumbers and one jalapeƱo pepper. I ate about 5 currant tomatoes.

Next it was time to water. I have volunteered to water part of the exterior community garden every time I go, so watering takes about 30 minutes. When I got back to the car, I realized that I had spend almost 3 hours working in the garden without even realizing it.

I am hoping that I have enough cucumbers to make a small batch of pickles (I have more from earlier in the week) since to be perfectly honest, I am getting sick of raw cucumbers. I will also make another batch of dilly beans this weekend.

I have included some pictures of the community garden!!

I wish that I didn't have to wait for my tomatoes. This one is an orange-banana tomato (I think). We have lots of different varieties, but the sharpie ink has washed off the labels that we wrote.
Here are some pickling cucumbers. I am hoping to one day get enough to make pickles. We get about 15-20 a week and since they are small, they would fill one or two jars. My gramma suggested making refrigerator pickles though and I think that I will try that this weekend.
Tomatoes growing out of the ground squirrel fence. They are about 7 feet tall. Crazy!
We are still getting about 2 zucchinis a week from the plant!
These are some type of hot pepper from the hot pepper blend we got from territorial seeds. Maybe habaneros?
Here is another view of the fence Jason built to keep out the ground squirrels and the beans and squash growing up the north wall.

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