Saturday, July 9, 2016

July Garden Update

Despite all the spring rain, this has not been my garden's greatest year.  I think I started everything just a little too late. I have only picked half a dozen tomatoes or so, with some of my six plants not producing any :o(. My beets and garlic never developed, and most of my carrots died. I just spent the last few days weeding and mulching the bed in preparation for the hot summer ahead.

So, now we start the hardest part of the Texas gardening year.  Here's where I am at:

I have another six tomatoes still on the plants, but most of the plants are yellowed and looking quite dead.  I am hoping I can get them to hang on long enough to get those few tomatoes off!  The cherry tomato plant is struggling, but it has quite a number of small tomatoes that will soon redden.

After learning this year that it is spider mites that cause my cucumbers to get yellow and crackly and then die, I have been spraying them down each week with BioNeem. Last year, I sprayed them with Serenade, and that didn't help much...  As a result of the BioNeem, my cucumbers are actually much healthier looking then they normally are.  I have pulled a good dozen off, with many more (hopefully) to come.  Unfortunately, I didn't start the pickling process quick enough, and many of those that I did pick have gone moldy inside.

I have quite a number of small melons on the vine.  Many years in the past, I'll get these small fruit, but the hot summer and dry ground somehow always win. We'll see if I can bring any of them to maturity this year.  I read on one webpage that it takes 35/45 days to mature from germination, so I figure I just need to keep them watered and healthy for one more month ;o)

Sweet Potatoes 
My sweet potatoes are doing great... I think.  I tried growing these last year in the outdoor bed, but something ate them to the ground soon after they were planted.  And by the time they re-leafed, it was the heat of summer, and they just sort of withered. These, in contrast, are doing much better! The time line indicates I should be able to try and harvest in another month.  Fingers crossed!

I do have two or three carrots growing.  I'll keep them watered and see what we get. Most of them died soon after sprouting.

The eggplant is in bloom, hopefully we can get one or two off of it this year.

The squash vine borer strikes again. I noticed the typical quick wilt of the plants, and saw the scarred stems, indicating the squash vine borer larvae were killing my plants. I did try and dig them out, but I am not hopeful that they will survive. There were multiple spots with the telltale scar... Interesting enough, I saw a large lizard hanging around the plant. I am hoping that he is able to reach into the crevices and eat the larvae - before they kill my plant.  

I am just about to pick my first jalapeño, with a few more growing on the bush. My one plant is doing well, but the second is very small.  In the future, I think I need to plant more bushes, as getting one jalapeño at a time doesn't get me a nice batch for poppers :o)

The strawberries are doing well, and putting out runners. I know in Texas, the plants are annuals and I should pull them up. But right now, I just don't have the heart to kill something that is doing so well!

Unknown Plant
I planted a bunch of zucchini seeds, but what came up was certainly NOT zucchini. I must have gotten my seeds mixed up. The flowers are much too small.  They look more like cucumbers, or maybe melons. But I have this one fruit appear, and it looks like crook-neck squash.  I don't like crook neck squash, so I don't know why I would even have seeds for it.  But, there it is.

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