Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Down on the farm - a Danger Zone update

After a slow start, our plants are thriving in The Danger Zone this year. Above is our first bounty, though there have been many more since this photo was taken. Right now we are able to pick swiss chard, mustard greens and lettuce at least twice a week. (My next plan for our swiss chard is this, found on pages 290-291 of my new love, the Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts book.)

This is a photo of row 1. The front part is green lettuce, carrots are in the middle, and red lettuce is in the back. We have been so tempted to pick a carrot early just to see the tiny little carrot growing underneath the leafy top, but so far we haven't done it yet. (I have come very close though.) Lettuce grows very quickly in comparison to the other crops, so we can replant it often to yield many batches. (I think we are going to have to throw a salad party pretty soon though in order to be able to eat it all.)

Tomatoes are in row 2. Last year we only had cherry tomato plants, but this year we planted tomatoes big and small, and of all different colors. These are the Celebrity tomatoes - they are getting so big already!

Peppers and eggplant are in row 3. So far, the eggplant plants have been plagued by little black bugs, though they are trying really hard to stay alive. We bought a (organic of course - we are in Ithaca after all) bug spray to try to salvage them, and they are flowering against the little bugs' will. I will post a picture of them on my next update. As you can see above, our pepper plants are now flowering and producing tiny pepper buds! These are growing bigger by the day, so the little pepper bud in the middle of this photo is now a mini-pepper.

Cucumbers and peas are in row four, and both are coming in now. This picture of the pickling cucumbers was taken after we first added our trellis. We also planted full size cucumbers this year.

These are the English peas, though we also planted sugar snap peas too.

We planted red (shown above) and green swiss chard in row five, which are doing amazingly well. Last year they were plagued by the little black bugs, but this year the bugs prefer the mustard greens and the eggplant, so that has increased our swiss chard quality. (Note to self - always plant sacrificial mustard greens!)

Our bean plants popped up rather quickly in row six, but haven't had much activity since. They were slow to produce last year, so perhaps they will be a little lazy this year too.

Also in these rows are collard greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts and potatoes. The collards, broccoli and brussel sprouts are all popular food for the bugs, so they are slow growing so far. The potatoes were a late addition after our onion seedlings (that accidentally got left in the car overnight before we planted them) failed to grow. Hopefully all of these will grow more in the next few weeks and I will have wonderful photos of them too.

Our last rows contain squash, pumpkin, sunflowers, and corn. The squash plants shown above are currently suffering from stem splitting and are not producing squash yet, but we are hoping they will revive and produce crops soon.

Our other plants in this section are rock stars! Shown above is one of our pumpkin plants. I was super excited to plant pumpkins because of my love of the Charlie Brown Halloween movie, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I am convinced we are growing a Great Pumpkin in our garden this year, and I may have to camp out in our garden with a blue blanket to prove it.

Our sunflowers are growing taller and taller. Right now they well above my waist and working their way to growing taller than me! I am thinking they will surpass me soon.

Our corn is growing like mad. We planted more seeds a few weeks ago because it is growing so successfully. Even though we routinely drive past fields of corn, seeing tall corn plants in our own garden is ridiculously cool.

Farmer David and I have done well this year!

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