Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vegetable garden update




If you were reading my blog back in May, you might remember that I built a few raised beds at my mother's house and planted some vegetables. Michael and I have always grown a few tomato plants and peppers here at our house and they do quite well considering that they are planted under a dogwood tree. Nevertheless, they get enough afternoon sun to produce nicely.

I wanted to grow other things though and mother has plenty of room and tons of sun. The project has been hit and miss with more misses than hits. First of all, my mother lives near Russellville, about 25 minutes from Florence and I only get down there about once per week. Vegetables need more attention than that and I know it would be more successful if I could tend to it daily. My sister has helped - otherwise I'm sure it would have been a complete failure.

First, in the upper photo, cantaloupe growing on a trellis. I planted squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon and cantaloupe. Cantaloupe has been the clear winner. Just look at this! There are 4 cantaloupes on the vine at the moment and it looks more to come. Here's the kicker - I don't even like cantaloupes! Michael loves them though so if I can grow a nice one for him, I'll be happy.






After weeks of just sitting there, one of the cucumbers has taken off all of a sudden.



The squash (I don't have a photo) did fairly well. My sister picked a few for several weeks but all of a sudden, the entire plant collapsed and withered. As for the zucchini, I don't believe they even came up!

The herbs have done great!



I know that one problem was probably the fact that I planted too late and it has been a hot sweltering summer. Next year I plan to be ready early and get the seeds in the ground much faster than I did this year. Over the winter, I hope to build a compost box, fence in the garden, and clear the pathways. And I do hope to have a fall garden. Hopefully, by the time we get to build our house there, the garden will be ready for some serious attention.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

24 comments:

  1. A friend of mine is a melon farmer. They start their plants indoors then set them out as soon as they can. She says they shouldn't be watered after they are established because they are plants from africa and like it hot and dry. This probably doesn't help you now but I thought I would throw that in. Your raised beds should be ready for some serious crops by the time you get moved out there.

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  2. Enjoy the successes. My cucumbers are being slow too. Sounds like big plans for the off season. Just think how much better next year will be!

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  3. I'm also not wild about cantaloupe. The wooden beds and trellises look nice, though! I need to plant garlic--it's something I actively like and use a lot of. Also, more poatotes this year than last.

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  4. I love your raised beds! You made those trellis? How do you get them to stand up so tall? Do you nail / secure it to the box? It's great!

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  5. Hey meemsnyc, the trellis is not really attached to the box. I just put the posts in the ground on each side of the box and nailed the supporting posts to them. Jeff's blog (Our Engineered Garden) has a lot of information on how to build them.

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  6. Sounds like you did better than me! As for the squash, there's this stupid little worm (don't know what it's called) but it eats a small hole in the stalk, then eats the plant from the inside out. I don't know how to get rid of them, as I have lost my squash the past two years! I can't give our garden the attention it needs. By this time of year the grasses and weeds grow entirely too fast for me to keep up with.
    ~Randy

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  7. Hi Phillip

    The trick with melons is to not overwater once established as it dilutes the fruit. Give them a feed with tomato fertiliser.

    Good luck.

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  8. Commuter gardening isn't easy. I know that just from trying to help with my Dad's garden ten miles from my home.

    Somehow I will always grow fresh tomatoes. That is the only homegrown veggie I cannot live without.
    Marnie

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  9. Squash vine borers ~shudder. disgusting little creatures. I laugh when I hear about people having too much squash since as soon as ours start to produce the borers kill them. :( This year I planted a 2nd crop. Just yesterday pulled out the infested ones and I've got fingers crossed the newer one's don't succumb. Time will tell.

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  10. I think watermelon are hard, hard. They like a lot of food and attention, but not at first. They like it only "so hot." Cantanloupes on the other hand (which my son loves not me) are easier to live with. I love that first photo. Are you as hot as we are? Sheesh.~~Dee

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  11. Have had more luck with the tiny fruiting varieties. they seem to give lots of little fruits and do great when hanging from the vine.

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  12. I really like your garden structures. Too bad about your crops though. The summer has been hot all over. We got corn much earlier this year, so many vegetables are off schedule. Your plans over winter are interesting, I will keep checking in.

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  13. You can expect the first year growing vegetables to be hit or miss. The melon looks great!

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  14. I really like the trellis you built for the vine plants. I may have to make something more permanent like that myself. Our cucumbers didn't do so hot this year. I replanted last week to try again!

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  15. I like cantaloupe. My mom & I grew one once, at a rented farm plot. We got 1 fruit. It was a big ceremony the night we brought it home. We all sat and watched as my dad brought it to the kitchen table and flourished a big knife. He cut into it, dropped the knife & screamed as a big black bug came out. I have never heard him scream before or since. No surprise here - I don't grow cantaloupe. Enjoy yours, just watch out for the bugs.

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  16. Phillip, I'm with Lisa and Monica~your
    trellis and raised beds are wonderful and you'll be ready for spinach and lettuce this fall! gail

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  17. Really like the trellises. My one cuke plant didn't do so well either, so I finally trashed it. I'm starting to wish I had more raised beds for veggies.

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  18. I think you actually did quite well considering this year's weather! Remember our winter that lasted long into spring - wet and cold - and then the sudden gallop into August in June? I was so pleased with my new flower garden - it was raining every time right after I planted something. Well, that only lasted long enough to make the hot dry weather rather heart breaking.

    Barbara H.

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  19. Phillip, beautiful melon! and congratulations. :)

    This year's gardening season has been stranger than I can remember. We have 4 large (about a pound) green tomatoes on one plant and only blossoms on another; next to that is one with practically no foliage; hot peppers coming along nicely. Go figure! After about 30 years of gardening, I cannot.

    The 'greens' have all produced abundantly; leeks are amazing and need to be dug soon; and for the first time I planted melons and have 2 little ones coming along.

    Sorry about your heat and storms; we have our usual 'no rain' for the second month. Enjoy your weekend.

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  20. Wow, that cantelope vine is beautiful trailing out of its bed like that.

    All melons are unattainable for me in my cool-summer climate. I fantasize about growing them in my next garden where it will be much warmer, wherever that is.

    Odd that you succeeded with melon but failed with so many others. I think it must be the heat. Melons like it hot, but other vegetables not quite so much. Did you add lots of compost to the planting bed? I'm told they will grow best planted in pure compost.

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  21. For me the cantaloupe is the best part in your garden. You did a good start on your garden than my start. I have problems with worms and birds eating my fruits. I hope that nets covered to my plants can solved my problem.

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  22. Your melon is really awesome! It is so big, healthy and delicious on the picture. Your garden is well organized and all of your veggies are doing well.

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  23. Wow. That is a whooper! I love melons but I tried to grow some before but what came out was just melon.....not MEEELOOON! LOL. Not really that gargantuan in size. Anyways, t hanks for sharing this post. By the way, one quick question. How often do you water them? Do I need to water them thrice a day?

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  24. Congratulations for your new baby produce if you think that it is still a baby. Lol. That melon is really big and I am jealous of not having my melon big such like that. I just hope that you can give me some tips in how to grow melons like that.

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