Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Appearance of Corn

Before I left for my vacation, little ears of corn have started to appear in my garden. I don't know if they will actually grow successfully, but for now, I think it's pretty exciting!

I know several of you have had difficulty growing corn in the past. What should I expect in the weeks to come? Do I need a scarecrow to scare away any critters that might want to take a gobble?

Below: The baby corn
I had not expected the corn to come this early. Actually, I had given up on growing corn. My plants lagged behind for the longest time, and they were yellowing. on the edges. I figured death would come upon the corn sooner or later. And I'm so pleasantly surprised that my plants are actually starting to pick up.

Below: SFG Box # 3 in which the corn is planted. It's filling out very nicely.

Before I sign off, I must leave you with pictures of my first days in Ocean City, NJ. It's located near Atlantic City, and my hotel is within walking distance of the 2-mile boardwalk and the beautiful ocean! Of course, birds are everywhere, and if you're not careful, they will poop on your head. Ha! But that's the fun of the bird walk.

It gets very cool at night, and I had not expected that. Sometimes in the afternoon, it feels like you are sitting in air conditioning. The weather is so cool. If only Cam didn't have to work. He would love it here. Gorgeous days and cool nights.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tomato Harvests and Not So Fun Surprises

It is harvest time in the garden. Several of the large tomato varieties have started to grow at a tremendous speed, and they are ripening on time. BLT sandwiches with tomatoes from my garden are just what I crave!

Below: Tomatoes from the Garden

I try to pick the tomatoes when they are a light to darker orange color, and they ripen to a perfect red in the window sill. Sometimes, however, I get busy with life and forget to harvest the tomatoes... and the birds decide it's fun to poke holes in the delicious fruit.

Below: The damage from the birds. Grr....

The tomato is still good to eat. I just cut off the part that was damaged by the birds. Sadly, the owl that I had bought to keep the birds away hasn't helped. It was supposed to ward off predators, but they figured out it was a fake.

And now the harvest from the garden. Cherry, grape, and Whopper tomatoes. (And other large varieties that I don't have the name of...)

Below: From the windowsill: The Ripe

The newly harvested. Will ripen in several days.

I'm off to Ocean City, New Jersey! I don't know how often I'll be able to post, but you may see more pictures sooner than later.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

First cucumbers!

After a very slow month, my garden is really starting to come to life! First the watermelon started to fruit and now the cucumbers have decided to grace my garden. I'm going to have so many cucumbers to harvest... I don't know what to do with it all. I guess I'll have to learn how to make pickles! Or eat LOTS OF SALAD! Or make a cucumber and tomato sandwich. Yum!

Below: My cucumbers at my parents' raised bed garden

Because cucumbers have a tendency to spread, we decided to use bamboo sticks to help them grow vertically. The bamboo sticks (above) come from my parents' very own bamboo bush. My mom and I ventured into the bamboo "forest" in the backyard and cut down the larger, stronger bamboo stalks to use on the cucumber plants.

Below: The bamboo "forest" in the backyard

Bamboo also has a tendency to spread like crazy. You have to work very hard to maintain it. Each spring, we go into the backyard and dig up the shoots that form outside of the designated area. It's hard work to keep the bamboo forest in its correct location, but the bamboo is very beautiful and very useful in gardening.

Below: The cucumbers that have started to form

These cucumbers are best suited for salads because they will end up having smoother skin. The flowers are beautiful, and the cucumber itself is lovely to see. For several weeks, the cucumber plants have been growing with only male flowers. It's refreshing to see the female flowers and the cucumbers.

Since my plants have started to give birth to vegetables and fruit, I've been able to determine which flowers are male and female. In the beginning of my garden adventures, I was completely clueless. And now I can spot the different types. A very cool feeling to know a little something about gardening!

Below: The cucumbers in the square foot garden

At Cam's house, I also used bamboo sticks to allow the plants to grow vertically. These cucumber plants were replacements that we bought after our first batch failed due to illness. So far, no disease (the roots are not split in two), and these plants have also started to have female flowers.

The variety of cucumber is the picklin' type. They have rougher skin and I believe they are called pickling cucumbers. Anyway, there are so many cucumbers growing in this square. I'm excited about the possibilities!