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Growing Right Along…

Well I think summer is officially here.  It is now hot and we are lacking rain.  Even though it seemed like it would never stop raining and even if we did that we would still be well saturated for weeks, not so lucky.  When I went outside this afternoon to check on the garden, I noticed that the top of one of the pepper plants was wilting just the tiniest bit.  Yup, ground is already dried out and cracking.  You should be checking the garden daily to see if it needs to be watered.  The best time to water the garden is earlier in the day so that the leaves have time to dry off before it gets dark.  Often we see a lot of foliar diseases on plants that are watered too late in the day and the leaves are still wet when it gets dark and cooler during the evening.  If for some reason you notice your garden is in desperate need of water and it is late in the day and plants are wilting, don’t wait until the next day.  The stress on the plant due to lack of water is more important to address immediately. Just try to remember to water at the base of the plant at ground line then from above.  It’s actually always best to water at the base of the plant than overhead, but even I have my lazy days and just ignore all my own good advice.

Now that things have had the chance to dry out a bit and the temperature is more normal for this time of year, things in the garden are really moving on along. I can tell that the sugar snap peas have seen better days.

sugar snap pea plants that need to be pulled out of the garden because they are past their prime

Yup, they do not like the heat at all.  So they need to come out of the garden.  I could easily replace them with carrots.  If you plan things right you can have a garden that will produce until frost if you use staggered planting, intercropping, and a few other fun methods.

Even though the sugar snaps are done and gone other plants are starting to get ready to produce some really yummy stuff.  For example, the zucchini is sending up flower buds.

zucchini flower buds

The interesting thing about plants like zucchini, squash,  and pumpkins is that these plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant.  The male flowers are usually on a long slender stalk while the female flowers have a swollen area right below the forming flower bud. Often times these types of plants will produce male flowers only early on to help encourage pollinators to start going by them on their pollen collection routes so that by the time the female flowers are forming the pollinators are more likely to swing on by for a visit helping with pollination. Pretty smart huh?

I’m really excited to see the okra doing so well.  I have 4 plants and this is the first year that I’ve ever grown them so we shall how well they do.

okra plant

Okra have really pretty flowers as do eggplants.  I’ll make sure to post pictures of them both when they start flowering. Now to just have the patience to wait until they do.

The tomatoes and the cucumbers are also starting to flower which is a good sign.  Of course, I was a bit late in putting them in the ground as well as having smaller plants to begin with.  When I was up visiting my mom the other week her tomatoes already looked like this…

forming tomatoes

And what do I have as of today?

tomato flowerYup…definitely a bit behind the curve.  At least they’re healthy and growing so who am I to complain. In the mean time I just make sure to visit the farmer’s market to get my fresh tomato fix.  There is nothing better than BLT’s with fresh homegrown lettuce and tomatoes.  Super tasty. I even use turkey bacon instead and it’s amazingly good stuff and better for you than normal bacon, less fat and all that good stuff.

Hopefully your experiences in gardening are continuing to grow and be positive.  Next time I’ll talk about pruning tomatoes.  It will make a lot more sense with pictures.  It’s easy and not hard to do.  Until then, happy gardening!

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