Urban Homesteading on a Small City Lot: Gourds
Showing posts with label Gourds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gourds. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Said It Was a Jungle Before? What Is It Now?


Okay, I admit it.  I am horrible about starting projects like this blog and not finishing them. I left off blogging about my jungle of a garden last year in June.  Obviously, there was a lot more story to tell.  I just didn't get around to telling it.  This post was left in draft stage with just the pictures imported in August. They were taken August 12th. You can see that the jungle just got more amazingly huge as the months went on.  August and September last year were the hottest driest weeks I've ever had to nurse a garden through.  Every day was over 85, with over half the days in the upper 90's. The more sensitive plants were not happy about it.  The runner and pole beans, pretty much shut down. No matter how much I kept them watered, they wouldn't flower of set any beans. Many leaves on the afternoon sunny side even got fried in the hot sun. (see below)


You might notice in the above picture the squash vines have wilted.  This is mostly due to the squash bug feeding, but I am sure the heat didn't help.


The beans that I planted around the chicken coup did help the chickens to stay cool, and some of them actually made beans in the shade of the coup.



All of the pumpkin plants died.  I had the most overwhelming infestation of squash bugs you can imagine.  I am also wondering if they carry a disease. I read a journal article about yellow vine wilt, a plant disease that is carried by squash bugs, and is fatal to pumpkin plants. It has not been documented in our state.  I read it too late to be able to send them a sample of my vines. I don't think I will plant pumpkins this year. They take a lot of room and work, so if they are going to die like that, it really isn't worth it. The butternut squash and the unknown hybrid F2 revert shown below didn't succumb to the disease, and did make a few smallish fruit, despite the squash bugs.



The mammoth sunflowers did reach 12 feet.  Some of them fell over.  I think that is because I plated them underneath the roof overhang and they had to lean out to get the sun. Some of them just got too heavy on the top to be able to hold that slanted orientation. Despite the constant occupation of the flowers by longhorn bees, about half of the sunflower seeds were empty when it came time to shell and eat them.  That was kind of disappointing.  The seeds that weren't empty were large and delicious.


The sunflowers did shade Molly's windows pretty well, but I think this year I will plant the runner and pole beans here on strings connected to the eaves.  It seams like a good cool shadier place for them during the hottest days and they should grow thicker and provide better shade.


The strawberries didn't produce much in their first year, but next year they will make loads, hopefully.


You can just scroll down through the rest of the pictures....


Mostly Peppers

Rosa Blanc Eggplant - I am not a big fan.


Hansel Eggplant - Awesome!



Gourds and cucumber
We did end up getting several dried gourds.  They have just finished curing and Molly is looking forward to crafting some bird houses, water bottles and pots out of them.



We did end up getting quite a few cucumbers despite the fact that I crowded and shaded them pretty bad.



The nasturtiums and marigolds really got big, too big.


I planted too many tomatoes, but it didn't matter because they were a huge disappointment:






It was very hard to keep them consistently moist like they like, so many of them got end rot.

The rest of them were fed upon by stink bugs like this one above

and this one.

Pretty soon the tomatoes looked like this. Gross! You can't see the inside of the tomato, but each of those marks on the outside means there is a white pea-sized tough mass on the inside.  The taste is bitter and the skin is tough. Just not yummy at all.

I did get enough good tomatoes to can 14 quarts and 7 pints, but with the number of plants I planted it should have been much more.  I will only plant a few tomatoes this year and I will mulch them heavily.  I have also installed soaker house systems to make the watering more convenient and therefore more frequent and regular. It is bad to grow tomatoes, peppers or potatoes in the same place you did the year before.  That doesn't leave me many options for this year.  I will have to do a better job planning for rotations this year.

RIP poor little comise pear tree.  For some reason, it died over the winter this winter.  It gave me three pears last year and some grafting experience. I will not be replacing it this year.


The rhubarb did recover after the ants and earwigs were removed, and I look forward to being able to harvest it this year when the strawberries are ripe for strawberry rhubarb squares and Rhubarb pie. Yum.


Here is a picture of the last double yolker I got from my girls. They quit laying in November for about four weeks while they molted.  I got a bit worried when it was daytime highs of 18 degrees Fahrenheit and they were molting with some bald spots, so I knitted them some sweaters.  What a comedy that was.  They hated them and promptly got out of them, or mostly out of them after I had to struggle to get them on.  I settled for rubbing coconut oil on their combs, feet and exposed skin regularly.  They started laying slowly in December and then were up to full speed, about one egg per chicken per day, by the middle of February.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Middle of June Already? Where Did the Spring Go?

My rhubarb is very young, only having been planted this spring, and having had to overcome ants and earwigs feeding on it, but it is doing so well that I went ahead and harvested two very large stems.  It was exactly enough to make my favorite dessert: strawberry rhubarb squares.  We served it up at one of our latest barbecues with my aunt and uncle along with some creamed peas and new potatoes.  I will post both of those family recipes on the recipe page as soon as I finish this post.

The strawberries I used for the strawberry rhubarb squares were also from the garden.  The recipe calls for 2 cups of each: sliced rhubarb and sliced strawberries. I know I won't have enough strawberries for jam, but I had plenty for this recipe from one day of picking.

My pears are doing well.  The tree looks healthy, and the pears are getting bigger and bigger every week.

The peas are almost done. If you have been reading my blog all along, you know that I planted two different plantings of peas two weeks apart to stagger the harvests.  I also planted three different types of peas in hopes to have different harvest times and make the pea harvest last longer.  Yeah. So.... That didn't work out for me at all. The warm weather lately has forced all the peas to ripen together.  I think that the weather around here can be counted on to do this to me every year.  I don't know why I even try.  Oh well.  The peas have been delicious.  Only one of the pea varieties I planted has edible pods.  My daughter really likes those.  There have been enough of those for her, and enough of the other shelling peas for me to make four dinners for us and to give a whole 2 cups to my grandparents whose peas are just flowering now. My peas are pretty much done now, though.  I will pull them out later today and put in some more tomato plants that are getting very tired of being in pots.

There are still a few new pea pods, but the weather is supposed to be in the nineties again tomorrow, so the peas are done.

The peppers, however, are really thriving in the hot weather.  They are starting to flower.

The carrots are starting to look like carrot plants.  I love carrots.

Molly's gourds are flowering.  I have never grown gourds before, so when these beautiful flowers opening I was very pleasantly surprised.

Here is another flower on another type of gourd.

The Hansel eggplant is making flower buds even though it is still very small.  It is having a bit of a challenge with aphids.

The potatoes are dealing with aphids and leaf hoppers.  You can see a leaf hopper feeding on this flower.

There are so many lady bugs and lady bug larvae around.

The fava beans are so huge.  I have to do some reading about what to do with these when they are ripe. I want to try making falafel.

My first round of cilantro has become coriander.  By that, I mean that it has gone to seed.

It is a good thing I have been planting more.

Here are the hens.  They are getting to be really grown up hens instead of chicks.  I let them out into a round pen mad of chicken wire when I am outside.  They love it.  They eat bugs and weeds and talk all about it. They can also fly now.  They have flown out of the round pen a few times, but they don't go far and because I don't leave them out there by themselves, it is easy to round them back up.

The zuccini plant is just about to flower with it's first fruit.  I haven't seen any male flowers yet, so I am not sure this fruit will be pollinated.  I could pick it right now and eat it as is.  Mmm, embrionic squash.  My husband loves zucchini.  He can't wait till we start  getting to eat it.

Also, since my last post, the broccoli heads developed and were harvested and eaten.  They were very tasty.  The secondary buds on the sides have also been harvested and eaten, except this one, which it appears that I missed.  Don't worry.  I won't let it go to waste.

Look at these little guys.  The brussel sprouts are starting to form.  I think they will really thrive once I pull out the peas which are shading them and encroaching on their space quite a bit.

I notice this little gourd this time when I walked through.  It is so fuzzy and cute.  If it is pollinated it will grow to be a pretty large gourd.

Over all, the garden is turning into quite a jungle.  I have been out there several times with the pruners to trim things back and keep them under control.  I have trimmed the onions, garlic and the tomatoes.  I have thinned out the kale and carrots.  I have been training the pumpkins and cucumbers to have a single vine in one direction, and I have been trying to keep the gourds under some semblance of control. There is also a bit of weeding to do, especially between the raised beds. I guess I better get to work.