The garden is growing amazingly well. I just completed the second major weeding yesterday, so let’s have a look at how things are going. The indian corn is nearing six feet tall. After the hurricane, much of the corn was knocked over. I stood them back up, tamped the soil down at the bases and hoed dirt well up around the stalks. The plants will develop a secondary root system higher on the stalks in the newly mounded soil to increase stability. Such an early hurricane is unusual here and neither the corn nor I were prepared. Now the corn is developing tassels and will soon flower.
In the right foreground of the photo to the right are the six wax bean plants that survived from the first planting. They are flowering and setting beans. Our first bean feast is right around the corner! The second bean planting is growing well. The plants are looking a little yellow. I’m going to side dress them with well-composted manure to see if they will green up a little. To be effective, the manure will be worked into the soil on both sides of the row and then watered well.
Carrots are surging, they love the abundant moisture we have been receiving. I will soon need to do the second thinning on them. The horses and bunnies can barely wait! Most of the baby carrots are about half the thickness of a little finger at this point. I may get some big enough for us to eat.
The weather has been mostly hot and humid, just what squash and pumpkins like best. The field pumpkins are beginning to vine. They will take over all the open space around them and then try to invade the tomatoes and corn. I turn the vines back from the tomatoes, but let them grow among the corn rows. Pumpkins and corn thrive together. In the background of the photo at right, three sunflowers are visible. They will climb to ten feet or more in height.
The dwarf pumpkins, called Jack-Be-Little, have a mixed progress. One hill is doing very well and the other hill is lagging. I have no explanation for the disparity. Both were planted at the same time in identical soil composition. The slower hill took longer to sprout, as well. These tiny pumpkins grow fast so there is still plenty of time for hill two to produce.
Finally, we come to the tomato jungle. Conditions are thick. I removed all the sucker growth I could find last week. The plants have set lots of fruit and some is beginning to ripen. I can hardly wait!Now we have to contend with the tomato hornworms, a real threat around here. One day the plants look lovely, the next day areas will be stripped of leaves, the branches sticking up like winter trees. Close examination will reveal fat, green caterpillars as big as a finger busily consuming the leaves. These pests must be stamped out quickly before they destroy the crop.
The Jerusalem artichokes are forming flower buds. A hill of winter squash thrives uphill from the corn. The row of radishes is gone. Three good servings of radishes were produced. What was left bolted to flower due to the heat so I pulled the plants and fed them to the horses. My horses enjoy anything I give them from the garden. I didn’t believe they would eat radish plants, but they gobbled them down. They must be epicureans!