Checking out My Vegetable Garden

Since we were gone for a few days one of the first things I did was check the vegetable garden's progress. Things are shaping up even if it is a bit unkempt. The tomatoes need tied off again. I'm using bamboo stakes and twine to tie off the plants as they grow. I could easily have used store bought tomato cages or cut my own from concrete reinforcement wire but I like the simplicity of a stake. A bamboo stake is easy to put in and take out and seems to work for me pretty well. Besides storing a stake is a whole lot easier than a tomato cage!

Nearly all the tomato plants are producing fruit (yep fruit, tomato is a fruit, definitely a fruit). Here you can see our cherry tomatoes forming on the vine. They are Sweet 100's that I can't wait to try in a salad or just to pop one in my mouth. Mmmm.

I think I've gotten rid of the aphids that were on the tomatoes. Multiple treatments of an insecticidal soap combined with fast blast of water from the hose and a follow up visit by a battalion of ladybugs did the trick! Aphids are no match for the orange and black polka dotted tanks. They were all over the tomatoes last week which caused the leaves to begin curling. They didn't do any permanent damage but they did cause me a little mental anguish.

The squash is gigantic right now. There's probably too much nitrogen in the soil and consequently I'm getting a little blossom end rot on the ends of the squash. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. The extra nitrogen prevents the squash from absorbing the calcium it needs for good fruit growth. I bought some pulverized lime today that I'll give to the plants. Lime's primary element is calcium so it should help but it could also change the chemistry of the soil so it is best to do a little at a time. I plan on mixing about a tablespoon of lime in a gallon of water once every week for the next couple weeks. I'll monitor and adjust with more lime as I need it but I don't want the pH to get too high (alkaline).

Speaking of the blossoms here are a few more too admire! Squash could almost be an ornamental plant if only the flowers were above the canopy of the leaves rather than below.

Here's another blossom, but this time it has one of my little employees buzzing around the garden. I offer the bees all they can eat in exchange for their pollination duties. I haven't received any complaints from my work force. To meet OSHA standards I lay off the pesticides and go organic as much as possible. Any insecticidal soap spraying I do occurs when the bees aren't active.

We have bunches of beans. I'll be harvesting a batch of these for dinner tomorrow. The more you pick then more you get, not a bad deal right? That holds true with the summer squash as well. These area bush bean variety which means that they really don't vine. I have a trellis for them but they seem happy enough without using it.

You can see some of the beans that are ready for harvesting.

Here' s a bean flower ready for pollination. Bean flowers can be very attractive as well. These are white but you could plant scarlet runner beans that are a beautiful red color.

One more look at a bean!

Here are some other vegetable garden posts:

Companion Planting Vegetable Garden Layout
The Benefits of Gardening in Raised Beds
My Vegetable Garden Layout
My Vegetable Garden Layout Part 2
Building My Raised Beds
A Vegetable Garden Update
A Rad Harvest (Radishes)
Here's the Squash

I'll get back to my talking about my weekend work tomorrow. The upcoming posts will include: The results of wood chipping, a makeshift tool for weeding patio cracks, and a woodland shade garden.

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