Saturday, July 24, 2010

Everyone's Got Issues

Seems like everyone has issues these days, including my plants, though I suppose 80% of this blog discusses my plant issues. Something's always going wrong! At least it's still fun and seeing new problems forces me to learn more about gardening in order to try and come up with solutions.

Today, I went up on the roof and the first thing I saw was the shriveled and rotten looking tomatoes on this plant! They look fearsome!
And it's not blossem end rot because it didn't start from the bottoms and in fact, the other tomatoes on the plant are fine.
When I tried picking the branch off the plant, the larger rotten tomato smashed to the ground with a disgusting splat. This came off and upon inspection, a round little hole... Must be some kind of insect! WAH! I bet it's still eating up my tomato from the insides. I guess I'll just hope this doesn't spread. I don't have that many tomatoes!
Another issue I found was that the zucchini and squash I saw last week have shriveled up and died! The yellow squash is a total goner. This zucchini is larger but shriveled. I don't think it will ever look right. My suspicion is inadequate pollination, once again. It was a problem with the watermelons and these related cucurbitae also require large amounts of pollen to grow fruit properly.
After some googling, I have learned that these flowers can be hand-pollinated in the mornings. This yellow squash is probably a goner, as the flower is already dried up and I don't think there are any pollinators around. It's probably not too late for the little one next to it, though. Another issue could be that the plant is stressed from the heat, inadequate nutrients, or other issues and the female flowers are not opening up. I will try to get on the roof early every morning to check the status of the flowers and hand-pollinate if things look right and sexytime. Another alternative I may try later is planting lots of bee-attracting flowers (though that may not help if the bees are too lazy to visit the cucurbits and if the flowers themselves are not opening because they are stressed). I could also start a bee hive, though that seems a little scary!! I wish my neighbor had a bee hive I didn't have to take care of... =) (sorry about the blurry pic. I was standing awkwardly and couldn't see what I was shooting at.)
This blueberry plant is still making tasty berries! The only issue here is not enough berries!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weedy July, Ground Cherries!

Life didn't used to be so busy =) Now, it's a regular thing to go a month without visiting my garden! Sad! But, thank goodness for automatic watering systems. From far away, the garden looks green and growing!
Close up, though, it's clear that a LOT of the green is grassy weeds. But, the good thing is that most other things are growing despite the weeds, including all of my berry plants! Not a single one died from the drought last time! Here, you can barely make out the basil among the tomatoes and the grass. Grass weeds are the bane of my garden's existence...
But, this tomato plant managed to grow mostly weed free. Pale tomatoes... I wonder what color they'll end up? The options are pink, red and blackish. Maybe these will be pink! They look too pale to be the red ones.
But this plant is also with pale tomatoes! 9 of them, to be exact =)
Strange things have also been growing in the garden. Apparently after a few years of runners and seeds or whatever goes on with the strawberries, they start going feral. Tiny strawberries in the middle of July! I didn't eat this one, but maybe I'll try it tomorrow.
Blueberries in July, too! I did eat this slightly damaged blueberry, the first I've ever tasted from my garden. And let me tell you, it was good...
More to come! I wonder if they are supposed to take this long to ripen.
And remember that strange volunteer I posted about last? Well, it looks like a little tomatillo plant! How odd! Still no idea where it came from. But, some of the husks fell down, meaning their fruit are ripe.
And inside, a yellow fruit! Kind of like a tomato or cherry. When I came down to google, I decided it might be a ground cherry. One has to be careful with nightshade plants as some are poisonous. I ate this one though, and it was good and I'm not dead yet. Not even vomiting.
I'll won't eat them all at once though, because I'm a little nervous...
Also growing well, my squash and zucchini! The watermelons didn't make it and their pots are full of grass weeds, but these look like they're doing fine.
My first yellow straightneck squash. I think the timing is just about perfect as the seed packets usually say 45 days.
My first zucchini ever! I hope it grows nicely =) I want some yellow and green stir fry.
Gardening is good for the soul. I didn't finish cleaning out all the weeds today. Didn't want to get too tired in the heat. I'll do the other half tomorrow and maybe figure out what to plant in the several empty buckets I have at the moment.