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okiedawn1

What's Happening In Your Garden?

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
10 years ago

It is late May and I hope that means everyone is seeing lots of flowers, veggies and fruit on their plants. So, what is happening right now in everyone's yards and gardens?

In our garden, the cool season crops are beginning to suffer from the heat. (It was 92 degrees at our house yesterday and is headed for the upper 90s today.) The broccoli sits there doing pretty much nothing, but is hasn't bolted, so I've left it alone. The cabbages are about the same.

I pulled out the sugar snap peas and replanted their trellised bed with a half-bed of pickling cucumbers and a half-bed of lima beans on the trellis itself which runs along the northern edge of the bed. Then I planted a double row of bush lima beans along the southern edge of the bed.

The onions look great and I think we're going to have a huge harvest this year. I haven't had a single one bolt, which is incredibly rare since many kinds of stress can cause bolting. The short day types are smaller, having suffered pretty serious hail damage early in their life. The intermediate ones have from 10-15 leaves each, and since you get one layer of onion flesh for each leaf, that's a good indicator of the size my onions will attain.

Pepper plants are blooming and setting fruit well. Tomato plants are going crazy, with huge amounts of blooms and excellent fruit set. We have begun harvesting large fruit from in-ground plants transplanted into the ground in early April. This week we harvested our first Indian Stripe tomato and I was so happy to see it (and eat it!). It is one of my favorite varieties. The tomatoes are piling up on my counter, and I am going to make a batch of homemade pasta sauce this afternoon.

The cherry type tomatoes are producing and ripening fruit well, so I eat handfuls of them right off the plants while working in the garden.

The potatoes are huge monster plants so I hope that translates into a good yield. In my clay soil, potato yields can be iffy, especially in a dry year, so time will tell. A couple of the plants bloomed really early, but none of the others have bloomed yet.

All the summer legumes (I think I planted about 8 kinds of lima beans and 8 kinds of southern peas) are up and are making good growth. They haven't been in the ground long because I wait for the heat to arrive for them, but I think I'll be harvsting the six-week pinkeye purplehull peas by late June from a May planting.

The green beans are in full bloom and are just starting to produce beans. It is likely we'll harvest our first round of green beans next week.

The okra plants are small but growing well. I planted them late as well. They are so slow in cold soils that I just wait for warmer soils.

All the squash vines are doing well and no sign so far of SVBs or squash bugs, although they already are a problem just south of me in Texas.

The herbs are huge monsters, which is typical of herbs in our climate. I love herbs because they grow so vigorously with so little attention.

The lettuce is bolting, and I've been pulling out the plants as they bolt and feeding them to the chickens. Today I'll pull the last plants from their cattle trough planter and plant something else into it, likely a few summer squash plants. The first summer squash plants are blooming so harvest is not far away. I succession plant new squash plants every couple of weeks to try to get a crop despite the SVBs.

I just planted winter squash and pumpkin seeds. They're another one I save for the really warm soils. Watermelons are up and are loving the heat. The earliest ones are already flowering, but they were planted before the main crop. I just planted muskmelons.

We have oodles of flowers in bloom. Some of the ones blooming now include angel's trumpets, Laura Bush petunias, larkspur, poppies, veronica, mealy cup sage, Texas hummingbird sage, chamomile (an herb that is a vey prolific bloomer), cannas, morning glories, four o'clocks, gladiolas, butterfly weed, plume type celosias, periwinkles, salvias, begonias, verbena bonariensis, moss rose and nasturtiums.

The hummingbirds have virtually stopped visiting the feeders because so many of the plants they like are blooming right now. In addition to all those I listed above, the desert willow, mimosa, coral honeysuckle, American crossvine and both the yellow-flowered and orange-flowered trumpet creepers are in bloom and are keeping the hummingbirds busy and happy.

In the lily pond, water lilies are blooming. In the pastures, many kinds of late spring wildflowers are blooming, including the clasping leaf coneflowers, green milkweed, Indian paintbrush, yarrow, wild phlox and the prickley pear cactus. The Texas bluebonnets are done.

The grass and weeds are growing like weeds. With a large area to mow and weedeat, we have had the lawnmowers and weedeater out in one portion of the yard or anther every day this week.

The fruit trees look sadly bare. We have a handful of peaches and plums, but every time it hails we lose a few more. I'm starting to wonder if any will make it to harvest at all. This year's fruit performance is the complete opposite of last year's. The blackberries have fruit in various stages and the strawberries are producing well.

We have wildlife in profusion. The first big wave of mosquitoes hit this week, followed almost immediately by the first wave of dragonflies. Oddly, the dragonflies are spending more time around the garden than the ponds, so clearly something they like to eat is hanging out in the garden as well. There's tons of cottontail rabbits but only a few squirrels. The biggest snake problem so far is water moccasins. We have lots of butterflies and bees and birds of all kinds. The frogs and toads are plentiful. The raccoons are too plentiful and are being a nuisance, as are the armadilloes.

That's the report from our yard and garden.

Dawn

Comments (85)

  • greenacreslady
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I got most of my garden started kind of late, but things are coming along pretty well. The first six tomatoes went in the ground the end of April and those are all green and thriving. Most at least have blooms, and the cherry varieties and the Green Zebra have all set fruit and a few cherries have ripened. Green Zebra just has one tomato though which has been there a while, and it seems to be stalled for now ... nothing since the first one. By the way, how do you know when Green Zebra is ripe? No signs of fruit yet on Black Krim and Old Germany. The 12 tomatoes from the Spring Fling went in the ground the middle of May and all have new growth on them, some more than others. Most have at least a few blooms, and I picked one ripe Mountain Magic yesterday but it was very tiny, I think it ripened early. It was really tasty for it's tiny size! The Early Goliath was huge when I planted it, and it had a lot of suckers so I tried rooting 3 of them and was successful with 2. I guess I can hang on to them and plant later for fall tomatoes? The other veggies from Spring Fling are doing well ... 5 peppers that are still smallish but blooming, dill, a zucheta, and a sugar pie pumpkin that's had one bloom. The other plants are basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, two Hale's Best cantaloupe (blooming), and 3 eggplants. The seeds went in May 17 and all the cucumber, squash, zucchini, and watermelon are up, most of the beans, limas, and okra are up, and a few of the beets.

    As far as flowers, the pansies are still beautiful but with the onset of this heat I wonder if they'll last much longer. Pentas, gaillardia, Flamethrower coneflower, gaura, salvia, impatiens, delphinium, and Laura Bush petunia are all blooming (the last 2 are from Spring Fling). I have several varieties of coneflower and most of them are about to bloom, but Flamethrower was the first. Some of them reseeded this year too. I saw a hummingbird on the pentas the other day. A couple of weeks ago Lowe's had a bunch of gauras on clearance for 85 cents each so I grabbed 3 more. Some of the moss rose from last year reseeded and is just starting to bloom. Moonflower, morning glories, and hyacinth bean (that one's from SF) are growing but all are still small. The morning glory seed seemed to take much longer than usual to sprout. I planted 3 packets of cosmos and almost none of them have sprouted! I don't know what's up with that. Oh, and I almost forgot the lavender .... it is gorgeous this year! From one small plant last year it has spread and at least quadrupled it's size and it just blooming like crazy. The bee balm really outdid itself, spreading from one small plant to an area several square feet. It looks like it's about to bloom.

    Jay, I'm so sorry to hear about the hail ruining your garden. You've put so much work into it!

    Dawn, I didn't know what chaste tree is so I googled it. It looks like a lovely tree. We need more trees, so I think this one will go on the list. I've linked an article about it from the Southern Living website below, in case there is someone else who is wondering about it.

    Suzie

    Here is a link that might be useful: Chaste Tree Is Pure Delight

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Suzie,

    Green Zebra can color up differently in different growing conditions, but generally it will turn from striped green (light green with darker green stripes) to pale yellowish/amber with green stripes to a somewhat golden amber with green stripes. Some people say they get the amber with green stripes and a pink blush at the blossom end, but I don't think I've ever had a pink blush on mine. I mostly pick them when they have begun to soften up and 'feel' ripe more than by the color since the color can vary. Some people like to eat them when they are greener and more tart, and other folks like to eat them when the amber color is fully developed and the tomatoes are sweeter. You'll have to experiment to see which way y'all like them the best.

    Cosmos need warm soil temperatures to germinate so they should germinate just fine once the temperatures reach the right range. Sometimes they are slow.

    Chaste tree is one of my favorite trees. It is very drought-tolerant and gives you blooms in a lovely shade of color that is not particularly common in the summer. The "flying things" love it. It anchors my butterfly bed outside my kitchen window.

    Dawn

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  • miraje
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Suzie, I love that blog that you linked from Southern Living. I found it a few months ago when I was researching chaste trees for my own yard, and now I read every new post from the Grumpy Gardener. He's hilarious! I especially appreciate that he shares my dislike of photinias. :p

  • bettycbowen
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    OK Dawn, I planted 4 cherry tomatoes yesterday! Vegies are 89 cents per three-pak at Atwoods right now, and they only had sweet 100, but that's ok.

    I tried the tapping on the blossoms and my first tap knocked the blossom off entirely, so I may just be too clumsy for that!

  • elkwc
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Betty,
    I'm not Dawn. But will give my 2 cents anyway. If the blossom fell off it was dieing anyway. And it would of fell off sooner or later. Many times if you look around the base of the blossom stem you will see a light yellow line that will ring the stem. If so it is only a matter of time before it falls off. I use a broom on mine a lot. Unless you get extremely rough you won't hurt anything. And I seriously doubt if you got that rough. Jay

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Betty, Oh my, and we didn't know you had homicidal tendencies. lol Like Jay said, that blossom already was going to fall and I don't think you could whack one hard enough to knock it off if it wasn't already preparing to fall. (Not that I'm suggesting anyone go outside and try to rough up tomato blossoms and make them fall off on purpose.....)

    I've never thumped the blossoms of bite-sized tomatoes because, in general, the heat doesn't affect plants that produce bite-sized tomatoes like it affects the plants that produce larger fruit. Having said that, I sometimes do see some cherries slow down a little bit in late July and early August but they never completely stop like some of the 'bigs' do.

    Jay, Texas gardening guru Neil Sperry used to suggest people could walk down a row of tomato cages with a tennis racket in their hand and 'whack' each cage as they walked by. That was an image that always made me chuckle.

    My latest thing to report isn't strictly gardening-related, but it is country living related. We have had crazy wind the last couple of days. Apparently the wind blew the door open, the 'house dogs' escaped and when I discovered they were gone, I called them and got back 1 of the 3. The other two were shortly thereafter engaged in warfare with at least one coyote. I'll spare y'all the details, but I could hear them and was frantically calling them and running back towards the woods trying to find them, but pretty sure they had left our property and were further away on someone else's place. The sounds I heard, especially the cackling of the coyote like a hyena in response to me calling the dogs, were awful. This was not the first time I've heard a coyote-versus-dog fight, but it was the first time I've heard one that involved our dogs.

    It all ended well except Honey had some scratch marks on her hips where it looked like a coyote had nipped at her and grabbed her hair, but didn't break her skin. Both Honey and Jersey were highly agitated for well over an hour after returning home...panting and breathing so hard that they were almost hyperventilating. They finally calmed down. The cats kept sniffing them (especially Honey's hips) all afternoon and all evening long, so I think the dogs must have had a bit of coyote scent on them.

    In the garden, I harvested about 15 lbs. of tomatoes yesterday and will harvest again tomorrow. Needless to say, it's my favorite time of the year. We have green beans about ready to pick too, a bit sooner than expected.

    We have a lot of raccoons around and it is Tim's job to get rid of the coons before they get the corn. There's too much wildlife around this year, and I know coyotes are coming right into the yard, but they usually run off if we're outside. The raccoons are eating tomatoes (a death penalty offense) and killing chickens (ditto). Nothing like living a nice, peaceful and quiet country life. Well, the peaceful and quiet part is mostly an illusion.


    Dawn

  • greenacreslady
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Dawn, that is just SCARY! I'm glad your dogs came out of the fight okay. The coyotes are right in our neighborhood this year, and as far as I know they weren't last year. We always heard them but could tell they were close but a little ways off. But a couple of weeks ago we heard one that sounded like it was very close, and sure enough our neighbor told us last night he's seen one in his yard and others just on the other side of his fence.

    I have a question about Carol's comment about putting compost on top of the cardboard. We have some bagged compost we bought from TLC last year and didn't use. I've been wondering if I could use it as mulch in the garden. I could just pile it on a layer of cardboard? Would it also be okay to put it directly on the ground next to the plants like I would other types of mulch? I didn't know if there would be any harm in it being right up against the plants.

    Suzie

  • greenacreslady
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Miraje, I didn't really look at the Grumpy Gardener blog beyond the one about the chaste tree, so I went back and looked at it further. You're right, it's great! He's very funny and informative. I've bookmarked it now and I'm sure I'll be looking at it often. Thank you for mentioning how much you like it.

    Suzie

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Suzie,

    The coyote population cycles up and down. They've been down the last couple of years around here, so I guess it is time for an 'up' cycle. Usually they aren't seen that often in the middle of the day. I'm just relieved the dogs came home in one piece.

    It is perfectly acceptable to put the compost on top of the cardboard. You also could put it on top of the ground. I usually keep all mulch about 1/2 to 1" away from all plant stems. You probably don't have to, but if the mulch is wet, it could keep the plant stems wet and sort of serve as a gateway for disease.

    And, regarding Southern Living magazine's Grumpy Gardener, Steve Bender has been at Southern Living for as long as I can remember and I read everything he writes. One of my favorite books is a book he co-wrote with Felder Rushing called "Passalong Plants". I've had it for a very long time.

    Now, having mentioned Felder Rushing, I have to link his website. He is the kind of eccentric southern gardener we all should have as an uncle or a neighbor.

    Dawm

    Here is a link that might be useful: Felder Rushing's Website

  • joellenh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Today's garden report: My grapes are infected. Again. SIGH.

    I thought it was anthracnose and applied lime sulfur in the very early spring (feb or march, can't remember), and yet it's back.

    But now I'm actually not sure if it's black rot or anthracnose and if I should just give up and pull this one vine or what. It's my oldest vine, one of the first things I ever planted when I moved here, and it produces a ton of grapes but they are all diseased. Grrr.

    I'll bring in some infected grapes tomorrow and see if I can't pinpoint the problem more precicely.

    Jo

  • greenacreslady
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Oh my goodness, just a quick look at Felder Rushing's website tells me I'm going to love it! And right off the bat the bottle trees caught my eye. I've been collecting blue bottles for a bottle tree, and there are tons of photos there for inspiration. Thank you!

    Suzie

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Suzie,

    I've been collecting bottles for a bottle tree forever. It takes a long time....

    Felder Rushing just cracks me up. He knows everything there is to know about gardening and he does both some of the latest things (like his green roof) and some of the older things....like his tire planters and bottle tree. When I go to his website, I just get lost in there....looking at the latest photos and reading what he's been up to lately, etc.

    Dawn

  • piscesfish
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My tomatoes have had their thrip infection cleared up, so they are doing well. I have 10 small fruits on my Jellybean and Choc. Cherry plant. I haven't had any fruit set yet, but I bet it will happen soon. I've been shaking cages and thumping blossoms.

    My three pumpkins are growing like crazy and so are all of squash plants. This morning I picked two good sized yellow straightneck squash. My swap pattypans are putting out blossoms and so is the zuchetta. I have two summer squash growing in the back bed. They've put on a lot of growth, but haven't flowered yet.

    My bush beans are starting to make flower buds. My pole beans have put on a lot of growth, but haven't started climbing yet. I think it's almost time to pull my peas.

    My peppers are blooming and setting fruit all over the place. They don't look good--the plants look all chewed up; the leaves are curly and brittle, but with the weather change the leaves are looking better.

    My sole surviving cabbage is heading and cupping. My watermelon, delice melon and golden cantaloupe look great.

    I planted four winter squash today and will plant two more tomorrow. I have some New Zealand Spinach and okra started.

    I'm looking forward to being able to eat more from the garden. But that's the progress so far. :)

    Kelly

  • Julie717
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I don't have much of a garden, more of a "yard". When I moved here last year it had hollies in front of the porch, privet out by the alley, a long row of naked ladies down one side of the house, a big red rose next to the backyard gate, I think it's a Blaze, and three crape myrtles I always forget are mine because they're outside the fence. No trees.

    I still haven't planted a lot. I planted daffodils that have bloomed and now my daffodil bed is overrun by the volunteer petunias that pop up all over my yard. The hollyhocks I planted from seed last fall are blooming by the back porch, only two of them but they're so huge they look pretty impressive. It's the first time I've planted hollyhocks and I was surprised they kept growing and stayed green all winter, even after the blizzard they only had partial frost damage. I also planted a hyacinth bean vine, its a few feet tall. I moved the volunteer cypress vines that popped up around it to better spots against the wooden privacy fence and made trellises for them. Last year I grew them both on the same trellis and that looked like a mess.

    Then I've got my little tomato patch, six plants, doing fine but they need to hurry up already. I planted basil seeds around the tomatoes but they are still tiny.

    The dogs keep all the animals away except for birds, including hummingbirds (I plant the vines for them), moles, and my two cats. The dogs try to get the moles but usually just make giant craters in the lawn. My cat Louis catches them sometimes, thankfully the birds are too much work for him.

  • soonergrandmom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I cut three small heads of broccoli today. I am going to use them raw in a very large pasta salad. They probably would have gotten a little bigger, but they appeared to be spreading apart just slightly so I just cut them. I soaked them in salt water and didn't see any worms or any insect damage at all.

    My peas won't last much longer either. Some are starting to get brown near the ground and the taste is not as good as it was earlier. Of course, maybe that is because I have eaten a couple of handfulls everyday. LOL

    I read with great interest when all of you began talking about squash and cukes when mine are just getting their first true leaves. Of course, I direct seeded them but until yesterday we haven't had much hot weather.

    Several of my peppers have lots of blooms and if each one made a pepper, I don't think the little plant could hold it up. My summer crops have just not taken off yet. They have all germinated just fine (except the okra) but then they just set there. I'm hoping they are doing something under the ground because I'm not seeing much on top.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Kelly, I'm glad you got the thrip infection resolved. Now, maybe some fruit will set.

    My pole beans have just started climbing. I have more varieties to plant for fall once all the cool-season crops are harvested and I have more space available for fall beans. I think the pole beans were waiting for rain. Then, after we finally had some rainfall, it was wet and cold and they sat there and sulked until the ground dried up enough to suit them. Now that it is hotter than you-know-where, they're really growing well. The bush beans are in full production now. Every bush bean variety is blooming and setting beans, and today I harvested enough for a nice big pot of green beans to go with dinner. I think it had 4 or 5 different types of beans....Contender, Roma II, Marconi, Royal Burgundy and one of the striped ones from Seeds From Italy whose name escapes me right now. I also 'robbed' a handful of new potatoes from a couple of plants to cook with the beans. In another day or two I'll pick a lot of Tanya's Pink Pod beans that are about 2/3s their full size today.

    In the flower bed, my crinum lily began blooming today but other than that, there's not much new there.

    Carol, My broccoli hasn't done anything this year, but at least the Piricicaba is hanging in there and still growing. The Packman has stalled so many times it isn't even funny. It is like it got to a certain size and 'froze' there...not getting bigger or better and not getting worse. I think that when we were hitting the 90s in March and April, the broccoli just stopped trying. You'd think I'd at least get buttonheads or flowerheads or something...but nothing at all.

    We were too wet last week and now the clay has dried and is cracking outside the garden. In the garden it isn't quite cracking yet (it better not be with all the amendements I've added over the years) but it is dry and crusty on top. There's no rain in our forecast for at least the next week, so I guess summer is already here.

    I pulled out my peas and put County Fair cucumbers in their place. They now have one true leaf. It isn't much but it is a start. Sometimes I feel like some things are late because I have to wait for the cool season crop to come out before I can put in the warm-season crop.

    My pepper plants always form peppers while small and those are usually the peppers I harvest at the end of June or in early July. Even when carrying a load of peppers while still small, they don't seem to have a problem continuing to grow and enlarge and set many more peppers. I do stake all my peppers because otherwise they get top-heavy and just fall over on the ground. The big pepper harvest, and all the salsa-making and pepper canning doesn't really start until mid- to late-July though.

    I assume your soil is still wet so your plants are stalling while they struggle to overcome all that rainfall you've had. If it ever dries up/warms up, they'll probably take off and grow like mad. With the hot weather in y'all's forecast this week, everything should be getting the heat it needs.

    Today we found three ears of corn that had been pulled, nibbled and tossed---typical raccoon behavior. The corn is silking and tasseling right now, so the ears aren't even fully formed yet. I reminded Tim he had promised me a corn cage this year and was running out of time, so he spent the next couple of hours putting up a corn cage around the early corn. We'll see if it keeps the raccoons out. If it does, we'll take down the cage and move it to the mid-season corn as soon as we harvest the early season corn. If it doesn't, we're likely to have a bad corn year here.

    A few tomato varieties in the ground are pumping out good early harvest of tomatoes: Sungold, Black Cherry, Mountain Magic, Jaune' Flammee, Fargo, Taxi, Indian Stripe, Cluster Goliath, Early Goliath and Brandysweet Plum are some that come to mind at the moment. Most of the others have great fruitset, except for a handful of 'backup' plants that I planted the first week in May, along with three plants I brought home from the swap, after we had our last frost and I couldn't stand the idea of putting perfectly good back-up plants on the compost pile. They are growing well and will catch up with the others eventually.

    I removed a turtle from the garden today. He's been eating tomatoes wherever he can reach them on low-hanging branches, so he just has to live somewhere else. I put him down near the small retention pond. A raccoon or possum, or maybe a skunk, has been eating tomatoes from the container plants on the patio. The wild things are awfully hungry this year.

    We have several frogs or toads who appear to be living in the veggie garden. They are in there all the time. I hope they're having fun...and I think they must leave from time to time because there's not a water source in there for them. I assume they hop in and out through the fence so they can go to one of the ponds or creeks for water.

    Usually the turtle eats potato beetles but there aren't that many this year and the few that are around are being eaten by the spined soldier bugs. Maybe that (plus thirst) is why the turtle has been eating tomatoes.

    Tomorrow is June 1st and time to start fall tomato seeds. Wow! It seems like time is going by so fast this year.

    Unfortunately, along with the hotter weather we have chiggers, mosquitoes and buffalo gnats.

    Dawn

  • soonergrandmom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I hope I get a few seeds planted tomorrow also. I am going to plant a few bush beans and some cowpeas. I hadn't really thought about tomatoes. That is always hard for me to do because I still have plants that look good now that I didn't plant with my spring plants but still haven't thrown away.

    I think I left about 4 plants that came up as volunteers scattered across my garden. One was in the onion bed, but it didn't seem to be bothering either plant so I just left it there. Most of the plants I planted last year were OP so it should be OK. I planted more hybrids this year than normal.

    My Goliath tomato plants seem to be doing good. Are you happy with yours so far? The peppers are going to have to get in gear if they expect to get a complement because so far they haven't shown me much. Of course, I'm a long way from harvesting peppers or tomatoes. In fact, I will probably be later than usual. You will already have had your fill, and be exhausted from 'putting food by', and I will still be craving tomatoes.

    I have a frog that stays in front of the bunkhouse door every night. There is a sensor light that comes on at dark and stays on all night. All the bugs come to the light and I think he just waits until one makes the mistake of landing within his reach. I wear sandals all of the time and he has scared me more than once by hitting my bare feet.

    That is surprising that your broccoli hasn't headed up at all. I guess that would have to be weather. Mine all has heads but they range from about 2 inches to 5 inches. The ones I picked tonight were only about 5 or 6 inches across. I have them planted where most of them don't get sun until noon, but the ones that got the most sun are the biggest plants and the biggest heads. I had planted them there thinking that the hot weather would come early and the shade might be beneficial. Well, that might have been the case if it had been warm, but instead it was cool and wet. In addition, I planted the plants very close together so my problem is probably operator error.

    I haven't spent much time in the garden this week because I really needed to work in the yard. Al mowed and I did some weed eating, tree trimming, and moved a copy of plants that came up in strange places, and planted an oregano plant and a half dozen begonia plants.

    Tomorrow I plan to goof off some and do a little dutch oven cooking. One of my neighbors had some trees taken down a couple of weeks ago, but kept the wood. The service took the branches, but he kept the rest to burn in the wood stove in his shop. His shop is kind of the 'man cave' of the neighborhood and the place we all know we can find our husbands when they disappear without telling us. LOL He is renting a splitter tomorrow and Al and another neighbor are going to help him cut his wood. Al did that all day in Joplin last Saturday, so I guess he decided he could do it here too. LOL I told him I would cook lunch for them, so I'm going to do it outside in one of my many dutch ovens. I made a big bowl of macaroni salad tonight with fresh sugar snap peas, fresh broccoli, roasted red peppers, onion, bow-tie macaroni, a few baby carrots, S&P, and a dressing of olive oil and lime.

    I have been using TrueLime and TrueLemon and I like it. Have you tried it yet?

    I'm going to do King Ranch Chicken tomorrow, and probably a quick desert. It may me a Boy Scout cobler if I don't decide on anything else. I just need a goof-off day.

  • boomer_sooner
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Been picking and eating tomatoes, peppers, onions, green beans, and new potatoes.

    Zukes, cukes, and summer squash has been blooming. Corns only about a 18 inches high, but I got it in later than I wanted. Okra about 8 inches high.

    Tomatoes are all doing really well, should be a bumper crop this year.

    {{gwi:1101107}}

    I'm trying Borage this year because I read that it is a deterrent for tomato horned worm, but it seems to be a slow grower.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Carol,

    My Goliath plants are performing very well. Cluster Goliath ripened fruit earlier than Early Goliath, which is sort of funny. Early Girl is never early for me either, which strikes me as odd. Early Goliath has bigger fruit though, so I am thinking its fruit will beat regular Goliath to the breaker stage even though it didn't beat Cluster Goliath.

    I planted a lot more hybrids than usual, and have been sending bagfuls to work with Tim and Chris. (I haven't sent any of the heirlooms, just the hybrids, which was one reason I planted all the hybrids.

    I planted tomatoes in spurts in between adverse weather and fighting all those spring wildfires, so it seemed like I got each of my three tomato sections in the big garden planted about two weeks apart....or at least each section was finished about two weeks after the previous one. The section of tomatoes that went into the ground in earliest April has plants approaching 6' in height and they are simply loaded with fruit. In that bed, I know I've harvested from Cluster Goliath and Indian stripe. The next ones to break likely will be JD's Special C-Tex, which also produced really early (considering the large size of the fruit) last year.

    In the second bed that was finished a couple of weeks later, most of the plants are around 4' tall. I've harvested from Black Cherry, Mountain Magic, Brandysweet Plum, Taxi, Jaune Flammee' and Matt's Wild Cherry in that bed. I have a lot of the Brad Gates' Wild Boar Farms varieties in this bed and they are flowering and setting fruit very well,which pleases me because sometimes varieties that originated on the west coast don't like our heat. I noticed a small volunteer tomato plant this week at the end of one of the rows. It is near where Tess's Land Race Currant was last year, so I left it there in the hopes that it is Tess. This year I planted Matt's Wild Cherry and Hawaiian Currant and then later wished I had planted Tess's too, so maybe Tess planted herself. We'll know when it sets fruit.

    In the third bed, the plants have really struggled. They went in fairly late and have more wind exposure plus reflected heat from the driveway, so they haven't grown as quickly as the plants in the two other beds. That bed wasn't "finished" (and the way I keep sticking plants in the ground here and there, sometimes I think it isn't finished yet) until maybe a week before the Spring Fling. Then, when I brought home 3 plants from the Fling, I added a new row that included those three and some leftover back-up plants I didn't have to use as back-ups. I still have a couple of back-ups that I want to put into the ground. I think they are 1 Sungold, 2 Dora and 1 Hawaiian Currant. Even though this bed went in late and has struggled in the heat, some of the plants already have fruit. In fact, the back-up Jaune Flammee' that went into this bed has a ripe tomato I'll be picking today, but the plant is still really small.

    I hope to start fall tomato seeds today or tomorrow if I can sit still long enough to dig through my seed crate and pull out the seeds I have on my mental list for fall tomatoes. Right now, if I had fall tomato plants, there wouldn't be anyplace to put them. By the time the transplants are ready to go into the ground, I should have the area currently occupied by onions, potatoes and early corn available....and maybe even the area occupied by mid-season corn. And, if SVBs are as bad as usual, the squash plants will be dead or dying and I can plant fall tomatoes there.

    Up in the Peter Rabbit Bed, I have nine tomato plants, but they were the early tomatoes (except for 1 Fargo) so have been producing a long time and are starting to look a little tired. The earlies are Big Boy, Better Boy, Husky Red Cherry and Big Beefsteak--two plants of each. They have provided a huge harvest already and if they died tomorrow, which I don't expect, I'd be perfectly happy with how many fruit they've provided already.

    You have a smart frog. The ones in my garden scare me that way....hopping madly out of a row of plants as I'm passing by, hitting my leg or foot and startling me. If they'd just stay put, neither of us were be scared by the other.

    This morning there is a very large turtle in the back yard, likely planning to scratch up some soil and lay its eggs. Personally, if I were a turtle I wouldn't choose a bermuda grass lawn as the spot to lay my eggs, but if it lays eggs there today, this will be at least the 5th year in a row. I'm assuming this particular turtle lays eggs up here close to the house in the hope that the eggs and young turtles will be safer here than they would be down by the big pond on the edge of the woods We usually put a wire cage over the egg area to keep the raccoons from digging them up, which is the fate of most turtle eggs laid down by the big pond. This particular turtle is larger than a dinner plate and I assume it is the same one every year because it lays the eggs in about the same spot. When they hatch out, I have to keep the cats inside for a day or two so the little turtles can make their way to safety without becoming cat toys.

    It is a weird year here for cole crops. The cabbage also stalled forever, although some of the cabbage plants have finally resumed growth and look like they will head up. I've never had broccoli and cabbage just sit and not do anything at all like they have this year. It is bizarre, but then the weather has been bizarre too. This plants have been exposed to temps in the 20s while young, then highs in the 90s in early spring and back into the 30s in May and then back into the 90s. Why wouldn't they be confused?

    The onions are ridiculously large and performing very well. A few have 13 or more leaves and even Red Candy Apple, which never approaches the size of Candy, has some really large onions this year. I think they were helped by the early heat more than they were hurt by it, and this is the first year in 6 ot 8 years that I have not had one single onion bolt. I did cover them up with row cover during the couple of nights in May we hit the 30s....not because I feared they would freeze but because I wanted to keep them warm enough that they wouldn't stress and bolt. I'll have enough onions to completely fill up an entire freezer, and I don't want that many, so we'll probably give some of them away.

    We did nothing but yard work earlier in the week, but today I plant to spend more time in the garden. I need to dig out some Johnson grass and bermuda grass that are trying to creep into the garden at the eastern end. I want to dig them out and put down cardboard right along that fence line and cover it with mulch to try to keep the grass from repeatedly creeping in.

    I hope you have fun with your Goof-Off day. Your macaroni salad sounds yummy. I haven't tried TrueLime or TrueLemon yet...and don't even know what they are. I guess I'd better go google and find out. lol I need a goof-off day. Maybe I'll take one on Sunday or Monday. By then I should be caught up on all the weeding and mulching. Each week there's more mulch and fewer weeds, so I'm winning the war. With no rain in our 7-day forecast, there shouldn't be many new weeds sprouting since there won't be new moisture falling to encourage them.

    We are arriving at the tomato overload stage, but I'm not complaining. It is a blessing to have too many tomatoes, and with all the plants that we plant, it would be a truly horrid year indeed if we didn't have 'too many tomatoes'. It is getting so hot so early though that I think fruitset is quickly going to become an issue. Most of our nights lately haven't dropped below about 73 or 74 at our house and the highs have been 92-95, putting us in the danger zone for fruit set. Hopefully we'll have an occasional cooler night or day so the larger-fruited tomatoes can continue to set more fruit.

    Dawn

  • MiaOKC
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Last night, I divided a big hosta into 7 respectable sized hostas and moved them to a new bed, moved two nandina bushes that were in the area I'm making my zuke/cuke/pumpkin/canteloupe corner, added compost and manure to the corner and made mounds, planted three containers with home-grown coleus (my favorite annual of all time), potted up some sweet potato vine cuttings I've been rooting in a glass of water, planted one hardy hibiscus in the waaaay back so I will be able to see some flowers in that area from my patio chair, cut back the carolina jasmine on my fence that is trying to eat my neighbor's house, and caged some tomatoes. Whew! Oh, and my hubby helped, too! This was our night "off" from the renovations we're doing at our newest rental property... but as DH pointed out, any night that has to end with a shower does not really count as a night "off."

    I ran out of tomato cages, so put them mostly on the cherry/roma plants because they are the biggest plants right now. I'm going to try and get some more for the slicer sized plants, but in a pinch, which is the priority to get caged? I bought the folding triangle shaped cages, but do the standard round ones work as well?

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My peas let loose with their first blooms yesterday! Finally! Yay!

    Other than that, nothing new & exciting is happening. We made absolutely no progress on further bed prep for the tomatoes over the weekend. I did manage to rearrange my plans and find a spot to squeeze in all of the chiles. 88 chiles planted and cages made & placed for the majority of them.

    I gave up on boots yesterday and waded out barefoot in the still-pooled pathways, up to my ankles in mud, and started weeding. Yuck. To the weeding, not the mud between the toes.

    Diane

  • kfrinkle
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    After taking two days off from the garden, I returned to see that the ants had moved in a completely covered several of my kale plants in aphids, and SVBs had gotten into three of my hubbards and a zucchini. Pole beans are climbing nicely, even starting to flower. My bhut jolokia peppers are flowering now (after starting them indoors at the beginning of January). Cucumbers are starting to vine out a but finally. My okra have also been hit pretty hard by the ants + aphids, and I even planted mustard and osaka purple greens all around them.
    For me, the bugs are just killing me this year. Aphids are running rampant (ladybugs were out earlier this year, and are now nowhere to be seen).

  • fatboyreptiles
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well this being my first actual year from start to finish after getting here from Montana .I can say I am having better year so far I mostly have tomatoes and peppers that are doing great and tasting great.I tried some fooled ya peppers which have the flavor of jalapinos but no heat .The patio tomato has been doing great also have yellow pear,yellow boy,juliet ,big boy,roma all in containers as we are still renting but hope to be home owners soon.I planted most tomatoes with basil which seems to have kept the bad stuff back so far.Well thats all from me but very glad to be here but also hope for no more tornado scares 3-6 blocks was close enough for us...we are in Guthrie...Mike

  • Lisa_H OK
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My daylilies are starting to bloom!!! They've been in the ground long enough now that that each plant has reproduced (mostly!) and gives lots of blooms.

    I'm fighting an endless battle with the morning glories, both the weedy, perennial white type and the others that I planted on purpose :)

    My butterfly host plants are huge and doing well, but no butterfly action yet :(

    Lisa

  • miraje
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I think there's a toad conspiracy, because I had one scare the daylights out of me just a few days ago as well. They love to hang out in our fruit bed and dig down into the wet mulch and soil when the temperature starts to get really hot. That's just fine by me, because they can eat all the insects that live there, too.

    My new shrubs were looking a little wilty and pouty this past weekend in the heat. I know we got over six inches of rain not long ago, but it looks like everything has dried out already. Summer watering season has begun. :(

  • seedmama
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Mike,
    I grew Fooled You last year. I know how dumb this sounds, but I was initially disappointed when they lived up to their reputation. I was expecting LITTLE heat, and I got NO heat. Duh! The big surprise was how absolutely delicious the sweet slices are on home made pizza. I fully intended to grow them again this year, but with 98 other peppers already in the ground, I've just flat run out of space.

  • soonergrandmom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Dawn, It sounds like your onions are going to be fantastic. Mine are not going to be like yours, but I guess they are OK. They looked great until the 3 days we had wind, hail, and 8 1/2 inches of rain. The ground was so soft that some of them just fell over. Not the mature soft neck kind of fall over, just ground too soft to hold the plant upright.

    I ordered the 4 types shown for Intermediate Days; Red Candy Apple, Candy, Super Star and the Sampler. So far the largest onions I am seeing are white so it is looking like Super Star is going to be the best for me, and Red Candy Apple the smallest. I used lots of compost in the beginning but didn't fertilize again because I thought they had enough stress just in dealing with the wet soil.

    The foliage appears to be getting brown on the reds, but they are still growing. I may not plant that red one again since I have seen several comments about it not getting as big. I've never really grown large onions anyway, but some of the white ones are looking good. Even if they are small, I should have plenty becaue I planted more than I thought I needed.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Carol,

    I keep hoping that they'll continue their breeding work on Red Candy Apple and get it to where it can size up more consistently. This is the first time I've had big Red Candy Apple onions, but they aren't all big. One will look nice and big...bigger than baseball size, which is really good for this variety because in the past they often weren't even half that size....and the one right beside it will be 1/4 that size. I remember that Bruce Frasier wrote in either the catalog blurb or one of his newsletters that Red Candy Apple needed to be 'pushed along' with high nitrogen to get it to size up. Even though I don't normally give anything high nitrogen, I decided to give it a try to see if I could get Red Candy Apple to size up, and it worked, if inconsistently. I wouldn't have bothered, but the flavor of Red Candy Apple is just so good. I like it more than Southern Belle, which is the short-day red type that Dixondale carries, and since Red Candy Apple got extra nitrogen, some of them are even bigger than Southern Belle. We have so many big onions that I'm at the "oh no, what in the world will we do with them" stage every time I look at them. I have no idea what we'll do with this many once they are all harvested, but already have been pulling and using them as needed and wished we had pulled and eaten more as green onions because we certainly had plenty of them. Yesterday when I sent tomatoes to work with Tim to share with some of his coworkers, I picked out some nice big onions and sent them along too.

    A good onion year has been rare for me in recent years. The inconsistent weather has caused bolting every year for the last several years....so much so that I don't even know what to think when I have a rare year like this one when nothing bolts.

    The high wind earlier this week broke a lot of the onions necks, perhaps prematurely, but quite a few are still upright too. In terms of size, I could pull them all now and be perfectly happy with them, but I need to leave them in the ground until their foliage withers and yellows and their necks thin out so that they will store well. I might pull half and chop and slice and freeze them, and leave the rest to dry down and cure properly for fresh use.

    I planted so many because I always lose so many to bolting, which didn't happen, so it looks like I went on some wild and crazy onion-planting binge. I cannot even imagine what people think when they drive by and see row after row after row of onion. They must think we are either (a) crazy about onions or (b) just plain crazy.

    I have had years where excess moisture makes the ground so soft they fall over too, but not as much moisture as you've had this year. I do only plant mine in the highest of the raised beds because if we get monsoonal rainfall, they'd rot in the lower beds.

    Dawn

  • soonergrandmom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My onions are in the ground and started out with the soil raised about 3-4 inches above the paths, but that is hard to see now because of all the rainfall. On the plus side, I only watered when I put them in the ground for a day or two and they stayed plenty wet after that.

    One year I planted a lot of onions and had so many that I let them over winter and a few go to seed the next year. I didn't even think about freezing them. This year I hope that I can freeze some. I don't exactly remember how much grocery store onion cost was a few years ago, but I once considered them cheap, but not anymore. Of course, in our town it is hard to tell about prices. Al said he bought gas in Jay today and it was 20 cents a gallon cheaper than Grove. We fill-up in Tulsa, Joplin, Bartlesville, Jay, or just about anywhere except in our own town.

    I planted four Dixondale bunches but I had a lot more than 60 onions in each one. I guess it is actually time for the onions to be falling. I looked at the web site yesterday and it said 90 days for RCA and 95 for the other two I planted. I didn't write down my planting date but I think it was the first week of March and given my extra number of cloudy days this year, I guess it is about time. The necks aren't dry but they are showing signs of maturity. I hope they put on some more size tho.

    I picked broccoli again this morning and I think I will freeze this batch since I can pick a fresh head about any day I need one now. Although they were all planted the same day, location, location, location, has made the difference. The sunniest spot has the largest heads. None are very large, but they taste great.

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Aaaaand.... Another inch of rain this morning. Just a few miles north of here, they got 7" this morning.

    I noticed one nice size head on the broccoli yesterday and several other small heads. I can't wait for fresh broccoli! The other brassicas are doing well, too.

    I finished getting the entire main garden weeded. There are still a few nitpicky spots I didn't get but the majority is done. Hilled up half of the potatoes again. Need to finish the rest today but I'm so laaaaazy. I've got in-house things to do but I can't even bring myself to do that.

    *yawn*

    Diane

  • joellenh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Fooled You peppers sound right up my alley! I love peppers but cannot tolerate heat (very bad reflux). If anyone is saving seeds this year, I'd love some and would be happy to buy them.

    Jo

  • joellenh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I retract my request for Fooled You seeds...Just found a thread that saved seeds won't grow me the right pepper. Boo! Guess I will try to find an internet retailer for next year.

    Jo

    Here is a link that might be useful: fooled you /hybrid

  • seedmama
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Jo, You are correct Fooled you is an F1 hybrid. The seeds always seemed high to me, factoring in postage and the fact that I wasn't buying anything else. I found very reasonably priced plants at K&K nursery last year. K&K is just down the street from where we had Spring Fling. Pmac says she's not hosting again next year. She also said she wasn't going to grow enough tomatoes to use all her CRW cages, and I know how that ended. LOL.

  • Lisa_H OK
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    She should get K&K to host the Fling...and then we could all buy seeds :)

    Lisa

  • owiebrain
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I planted painted serpent melons/cukes and rampicante squash several days ago. Then it turned cold and very wet for an extended period. A couple have come up but most, I'm afraid, are a no-show. So, I just placed an order with Baker Creek for more of both seeds (plus a couple of chiles for next year). As soon as my card is charged, I'll walk out and see every last "rotted" seed pop its healthy, green head above ground.

    I just came in from more weeding and potato hilling, followed by plopping my sweaty butt in the kiddie pool, thoroughly entertaining the electric company crew on the road.

    Diane

  • soonergrandmom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We must have been a really bad group this year if Paula is giving up on us. LOL Thanks for two years Paula. They were great!

  • sheri_nwok
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've been shaking and thumping my tomato plants the last week, I forgot that we are suppose to do that. I too was was sad and thinking the good times were over after our first 100 degree day a week or so ago. So it was a relief to be reminded that we can still get some to set on.

    My 5 or 6 bigger tomato plants I planted at the end of April have some small tomatoes set on. The beefsteak, earlygirl, Cherokee purple, and lemonboy all have a few. Brandyboy-not yet that I can see. I lost one Brandyboy to a cut worm I guess. I found it laying on it's side wilting away, stem looked severed under the ground. But now the one of the early cherokee purples I planted it seems like all at once is light green and leaves curled up, and seems to be withering away...the main stem seems loose but didn't see where it's severed. Maybe a mole or cutworm deeper down in the soil?? I've also just noticed the German Johnson is light green and leaf curl, but it hasn't hardly grown either in comparison with ones around it. Same for Omars Lebanese, but it's probably only been planted about 3 weeks and I did not give any if the plants that small any tomato miracle grow yet, since its best to wait until they flower right?
    Other than that, most of them are growing and looking pretty green. Few here and there seem auite a bit lighter green than the ones next to them.

    I planted transplanted watermelon into their hills. Amended with humore and peat moss yesterday. Orangeglo, takki, cream of sckatchewan, blacktail mountain, will do another hill of blackmail mountain and golden midget tomorrow, I'm going to try to trellis them, unless anybody knows any reason I shouldn't. I had already planted a hill Of moons & stars, georgia rattlesnake, sugarbaby with 2 plants per hill.

    Cantaloupe or muskmelon I guess- I have a hill of hales best and Sierra gold, another kind of common type, can't think if the name. 1 Minnesota midget I found at the local nursery, all on tiny hills last week- as the mantis didn't want to start that day, so they a lazy handdug version of a hill. The crenshaw seeds still haven't sprouted that planted over a week and half ago into jiffy mix, after soaking 24 hours.

    I planted seed for okra yesterday-stewarts zeebest, hill country, and star of David. I just lightly tilled a small amount of peat moss and humore in, and tilled a shallow line, then planted them about 1/2" deep. I guess I just need to keep the ground sprayed and damp now until they come up? I soaked 24 hours in a light chamomile tea solution prior to sowing.

    I'm going to plant seeds for purple podded pole beans, and mcasklan 42 pole beans, has anybody grown either of these? I have a few Kentucky wonder going from the first may- they are only out 6-8" tall. They look like they've grown a little since I gave them some tomato miracle grow last week.

    Cucumbers- I have about 6 plants not growing very fast- called Mideast prolific. Anybody grown these? I'm wondering if they will be good for slicing, salads etc?
    This is really good for me, I try planting other stuff here and there, but never this much, so I'm really proud of myself this year.

    Oh the squash ate looking pretty good, and just got 2 zucchini planted yesterday.

    As far as pest- the squash bugs have been here about 3 weeks or so. I've been spraying them with a solution of 1/2 water, 1/2 alcohol, tablespoon of ivory dishsoap. It looked like I burned up the leaves on a couple of them, but it's killing the bugs. We have moles as always, I thOught I may try the juicy fruit gum on them. It doesn't seem like anything else has worked. Grasshoppers are the thickest that I've ever seen. I hit them w some semaphore a few weeks ago and will again this week. I'm probably try that other stuff dawn was talking about as they are probably getting too big now for any good results w the semasphore.

    That's all I have going right now. Still have a lot of tomato plants to get planted for the fall group- I guess. I started in April with them and peppers and just keep adding to them as I kept starting new seeds up until 2 weeks ago.

  • joellenh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Oh no, we scarred Paula for life! I'm sorry Paula. :(

    If you tell me what is involved I can possibly volunteer to host next year. I have a large fenced in back yard and plenty of room for lawn chairs and folding tables.

    Jo

  • boomer_sooner
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Do cucumbers need bees for pollination?
    My plants have been loaded down with blooms for 3 weeks but still no cucumbers.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Having hosted for two straight years, I think Paula's certainly earned the right to get to go to the Spring Fling as an "attendee" and just enjoy herself. Thanks, Paula, for two great Spring Flings!

    Jo, there's no "how to host" guide, but basically you plan and organize it and provide the location. The last Saturday in April is kind of the traditional date, but that's not engraved in stone either. I think it would be fun to have one in your neck of the woods.

    Boomer, Cucumbers usually require bees for pollination. In some research studies, they found that around 30-35% of the cucumbers pollinated/fertilized in the total absence of bees and other pollinators, but I don't know if the average person could replicate those results.

    First, look at your flowers and make sure you have male flowers and female flowers. Male flowers will be plain flowers and female flowers will have tiny cucumbers at their base. Usually, the male flowers show up in great profusion a week or two before the female flowers show up.

    You'll always have more male flowers than female flowers. I think you generally see 8 to 10 to 12 male flowers for every female flower. This is to ensure that there's enough pollen available to pollinate each female flower.

    If you have both kinds of flowers but pollination and fertilization still are not occurring, you likely do not have bees or other pollinators around.

    You can hand-pollinate your female flowers. There are several ways to do it. You can remove a male flower and 'dab' the female flower with it to transfer the pollen, or you can use a small paintbrush (the ones that come in children's watercolor sets are the perfect size) or Q-tip to transfer the pollen from a male flower to a female flower. Hand-pollination works best if done early in the day, but can work at other times too. It is just the female flower is most receptive to the pollen in the cooler, early morning hours.

    If you see the female flowers falling to the ground, that means pollination is not occurring.

    Today in my garden, I finished digging potatoes. A lot of potatoes. A whole lot of potatoes. The potatoes produced like crazy. I guess they wanted to make up for the poor production by the broccoli, cabbage and sugar snap peas.

    I am going to go back out to the garden just before sunset and pick tomatoes and beans. I ran out of time this morning because I was busy digging the potatoes, and then replanting that bed with okra, bush lima beans and melons.

    Dawn

  • joellenh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well, I can plan and organize pretty well, and my lawn (flat, large, fully fenced) would be a great place for a fling. My fenced backyard is probably 2/3 of an acre.

    People could bring their kids and their dogs and they could roam and play safely.

    My biggest concern (before I officially volunteer) is budget. I know that Paula provided the main dishes and the porta johns...I have no idea how much it cost to feed meat to that many people and rent the potties, but it could not have been cheap.

    My DH just took a new job at a significant salary decrease, so we have budget in mind at all times.

    If I can host a party for under $100 or request that each family contribute a few dollars ($3-$5) for the party fund (meat and potty), I'd officially volunteer. I will still of course provide a couple of sides and the kiddie goodie bags.

    If that is tacky, would decrease participation, or be a hardship to folks in any way, I will respectfully bow out and let someone else step up :) I realize that gas and travel alone to these things can be a big expense. I spent $45 in gas round trip to Paula's, so hosting a party hopefully wouldn't break the bank much more. :)

    Jo

  • soonergrandmom
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I don't believe that anyone expects to have one person provide the meat, and Paula just volunteered to do that. The porta-potty is nice to have and she got a few contributions to help with that, but I'm sure it wasn't enough to cover it. Maybe she will comment later.

    Just pot luck is fine and it always seems to work out well. I loved having it at Paulas because the only other time I went it was at the park and several people walked in and took plants and left. The bathroom floors had standing water and weren't nearly as clean as the porta-potty. It was still fun to meet everyone but it wasn't the relaxed atmosphere that we had at Paula and Kens.

    I'm sure it is a lot of work and it is hard to believe someone would do it two years in a row like they have. My thanks to them.

    Jo, do you have room for parking? That would be a probably for some of us.

  • joellenh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I wouldn't really have too much of an issue with most people using my own bathrooms as long as they were respectful. I just thought the porta potty was a great idea for convenience, although it wouldn't be a deal-breaker if I couldn't afford one.

    I do have room for parking! A developer built a dead-end street adjoining my property, and so far no one lives there. He has been trying to sell his lots for 5 years, so I don't see that changing anytime soon. I'd say there is room for 50 or more cars on that street. My front yard could hold a few more (not many, maybe 5-6).

    Jo

  • p_mac
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Rest assured, I'm not scarred!!! LOL! You ALL are too kind. We enjoyed hosting and will consider it some time again in the future, but I want to get to go visit somewhere too!!! As those of you that came could see, there's really not much reason for me to travel anywhere since we've got a pool, space and quiet country living. So I take any opp at a road-trip to go visit people!

    Jo -I'll PM you with some things I've learned and some of the costs involved. Then you can roll it around for a few months. We ususally don't start planning until around the time we start our seedlings of toms & peppers.

    I've got tomatoes & peppers on most of my plants!!!! I've been taking a nightly stroll around the tomatoe cages and giving them a loving *whack* as I go by! I planted vining beans at the end of each raised bed and they're up about 5" (thanks, George!!! I know these came from you in the swap!) All the other limas, edemame, cowpeas, cukes and squash in the OG are going gangbusters! Just got melons & okra planted this weekend. Well - DH did. I'm hoping if I don't touch the okra seed this year maybe it will sprout ok (last year I was okra-challenged). And I'm harvesting onions out the WaZoo!!!! May have to step-up the installation of a cellar simply to use for root crops!!!

    OH!!! This year I have blooming daylillies!!!! They were left-overs from the 2010 Spring Fling. They are the prettiest pink with purple flecks! Never seen anything like them! I think they came from either DevilWoman (Debra) or Lisa_H. To whomever - thank you! They're beautiful!

    Paula

  • newhippie
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Jo-that would be awesome if u hosted!!

    I LOVE reading everyone's experiences in their gardens, since school has been out we are busy bees and I hadn't been online in over a week.

    Our peas are done, and I have learned I need to plant about 5 times as much next year if I want to actually freeze any, since the girls eat them like candy while we are working out there.
    We've eaten yukon gold potatoes, waiting on reds to finish up. We've had green beans and fresh onions, herbs on every meal and are excited to see tomato blooms finally! Cucs and squash are all coming along, except rampicante died...I will replant, I have great expectations for that bad boy. And I have killed about 100 squash bug eggs and several bugs. Grrrrr.....
    CArrots are pretty much a no show, can't wait til I figure those out. Got good broccoli (that we ate and loved) and a few cauliflower, but got sickly and left them on the counter for a few days, so had to throw them in the compost.
    Red cabbage looks done, but since I don;t know what it should look like or how to cook it, I just shrug my shoulders at it when I walk by, HA! the leaves on it are ridiculously huge, but the heads are small.
    I left rocket lettuce to go to seed to attract pollinators and just waiting to collect some seed.
    Peppers and eggplants are getting big, it just amazes me that I may actually have eggplant growing in my garden!! Can't wait to grill some.
    This week I need to plant more bush beans and freeze onions, get my hands on some edamame and plant that and some canteloupe. We are also putting old carpet down between our rows until I decide on a final design.
    The girls planted watermelon and after replanting since Chris mowed it down, we may have some good plants!
    And we've also been busy with our newest addtions to the garden..the bantie hens. The coop is all setup and secured, and the chicks just love it out there. We can go in and sit down, hold them and I have had several nephews come and experience "farm life" for the first time. Our 3 laying hens should arrive in the next 2 weeks,I am really enjoying my garden this year.
    Jammie

  • miraje
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I was so excited to pick and eat my first ripe Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. There were two that had just starting changing color this past weekend, so I was going to let them ripen on the vine. I went out to check on them last night, and a friggin bird ate about half of my biggest one. I figure it's a bird, because the tomato was hanging several inches off the ground and looked healthy except for the gaping hole in it. Birds love to perch on the tomato cages and fence around them all the time, too. The tomato wasn't even close to being ripe yet. Gah! I picked the other one and brought it into the house even though it's still various shades of green and yellow-orange. Hopefully it'll ripen a little more in the safety of the house.

    I guess I need to make a trip to Lowes for some bird netting. :(

  • boomer_sooner
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    As of yesterday, I have all of my bird netting installed. Been picking Jelly bean and Tess's land race currants for 3 weeks now. I noticed last night that the big slicers are starting to turn orange. YAY!

    My potatoes are done, I'll be digging them this weekend.

    Picked my first zucchini. Picked green beans last week and need to pick again now. I've noticed small cucumbers on my plants. :)

  • Catherine Smith
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I LOVE reading about everyone's gardens!! I am so jealous of everyone that has giant backyards and acerage! I have a tiny, extremely tiny, townhouse concrete back patio so I live in a world full of containers and upsidedown containers. Suprisingly, my eggplants LOVE the upside down containers and they're producing more than the ones in my containers are! I think they tend to dry out less.

    I Q-Tip pollinate my squash everyday and I just picked my first squash ever the other day and it was nearly a foot long!! I was shocked, and it was delicious!

    I had no idea about shaking tomato plants to pollinate them, but i will be trying those with mine! I've only had a few set with tomatoes, so i am sure this will improve their production a lot!!

    My favorite new item I am growing this year are Yummy sweet peppers. Two just turned an apricot color today and I am so excited to try my first one!! I am a first year gardner, so this is all very new and exciting for me!

    Good luck everyone! :)

  • chickencoupe
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Upside down eggplant! What an interesting Idea!

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    At our house, the harvest is hot and heavy right now. We have potatoes and onions curing everywhere, on every flat surface available. Today I'm going to start slicing and chopping onions to freeze for later use in cooking, and then the rest of the first batch of cured onions will go into tubular net bags for storage. The second onion batch needs to cure for at least another week and then they'll get the same treatment. I'm going to send 10 or 20 lbs. of onions and the same amount of potatoes to work with DS on the next day he works, which I think is Thursday, because I've promised his fire station chef a steady supply of fresh veggies.

    I am picking tomatoes about every other day, and we have more than we can handle at this point, which is a great problem to have. I don't think it will continue to be such a great tomato year for too many more weeks though, because our temperatures are well above the range at which flowers set fruit.) We need a cold spell here. By cold, I mean any weather with highs only in the low 90s and lows in the low 7os. We have enough tomato fruitset that I think we'll be harvesting all we can handle through mid-July but am not sure what we'll get after that.

    Yesterday we were down in the metroplex shopping for a few hours and we dropped off two Wal-Mart bags of tomatoes for DS's crew at the station which generated a lot of excitement among them, and saved me from having to do any canning yesterday. (I didn't have time.)

    On Sunday afternoon I put up 8 quart bags of green beans in the freezer, and I'm going outside in just a few minutes to pick beans again. I was hoping it would be nice and cool this morning, but our low temp for the night was 80, so we're starting out kind of warm already and the sun isn't even up yet.

    Yesterday morning we harvested the early sweet corn, which was the variety 'Early Sunglow'. We got about 75 good ears and a few bad ones that either had been 'sampled' by the raccoons, had poor fertilization because of the heat or something else that resulted in unusable ears. I gave the bad ears (less than a dozen total) to the chickens who were delighted with them, and put the rest in the refrigerator. We ate some fresh last night and will have more today, and I am going to blanch and freeze the rest this afternoon. Some years the raccoons get all the corn, and there's rarely a year in which we beat them to all of it, so I'm very happy with our harvest. I hope we're able to get as many ears from the mid-season corn and the late-season corn, but we'll be fighting both the coons and the corn earworms and European corn borers, so who knows what we'll get from them.

    Our garden is in the transition stage, where the last of the cool-season crops have just come out (I finally yanked the broccoli and cabbage because they just weren't doing anything at all) and have been replaced with hot-season crops so we'll have something to harvest in July and August. With highs in the upper 90s and lower 100s already and lows in the mid-70s throug low-80s, our weather here feels more like late July and August than June, so I am concerned about the effect of the heat on the garden---but there's nothing we can do about the heat except go with the flow. The bigger issue is the lack of rainfall. There's been no rain here for about 3 weeks our last rainfall was a half-inch on May 24t), and no good chance of rain anytime for us anytime in the foreseeable future.

    With 100-degree heat and no rainfall, everything here is rapidly drying out and turning brown, and we are starting to see grassfires. I'm already wrestling with the decision about whether to water or how much to water. We did run the soaker hoses to water the soil/foundation area yesterday, and I'm going to run a soaker hose in the garden today to water a couple of beds, but I am not doing a lot of watering. The problem with trying to keep a veggie garden green in this kind of heat is that the garden becomes an oasis that attracts tons of bugs when everything else is browning out, and we have a lot of wildlife (deer, raccoons, possums, skunks, rabbits, etc.) trying to get into the garden every day and every night. It is going to be a long summer.

    We have a surging spider mite and grasshopper population too, but also have lots of ladybugs so I'm not overly worried about the mites. The hoppers may be a problem, but only time will tell.

    Dawn