Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bowl Full of Squash

We had our first big crop of squash this weekend. Golden zucchini, Black Beauty zucchini, Early prolific straight neck squash, and Fanfare cucumbers. This is only round one, so we will soon be forcing squash on everyone we know. I only wish the tomato plants would show signs of producing. Hopefully it is only the heat that slows them down. It's been 95 or so for two weeks, and we've been that long without rain, as well. Apparently it rained last night, but not much.

The zinnia seeds I planted are sprouting everywhere! Not so the bluebonnets. Only two germinated and the neighbors dog destroyed one of them. Grrrrrr.

Golden zucchini grow at the base of the plant, and are very hard to reach through the huge leaves. It's fun raising the big leaves of squash and cucumber plants to see what treasures are hidden beneath them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

We staked the squash and cucumber plants about a week ago and they have doubled in size since then. I find that tomato cages, though quite useless for tomatoes, are perfect for squash and cucumbers. This is my version of square foot gardening where everything grows up so there is space for more plants. It is also easier to find the produce when it is dangling in the middle of a cage instead of sprawled all over the yard (not that I've ever let that happen). Anyway, we should have yellow squash ready in just a few days! The cucumbers seem to be taking their time.


  • Longfellow
  • Fanfare
  • Lemon Cucumber
  • Chinese Yellow


  • Black Beauty Zucchini
  • Lemon Squash
  • Early Golden Crookneck
  • Early Prolific Straitneck
  • Golden Zucchini
I started these indoors in mid-May, from seeds I got from Baker Creek. Fortunately, these kinds of seeds germinate and grow rather quickly, since I started them and planted them out later than normal. They don't seem to do well when the weather gets really hot, which unfortunately has already happened this year. The temperature was 95 today with a heat index of 102. Believe me, it felt like 102! Hopefully we will get one good crop before the plants wilt.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Well, I know I'm about a month behind, but I finally got some flower seeds planted yesterday. My BFF in San Antonia sent me some Texas Bluebonnet seeds, so I planted a patch next to the melon plant. Then I planted a patch of Green Envy and Violet Queen Zinnias in the spot where the edamame are supposed to be but somehow never happened. I started weeding another patch of the same garden bed so I could plant more flowers when a giant spider happened along. Now, I don't do spiders AT ALL. So I tried to scare it away by banging my trowel next to it. It didn't budge; it just sat there and looked at me. I blinked first. Obviously, we could not both be in the garden at the same time, so I packed up my things went inside for the evening. After all, I thought, tomorrow is another day and the beastly thing can't sit out there guarding his spot forever.

Sure enough, when I went back out for another try today, all was clear. I planted two more varieties of Zinnias in the section of the plot previously owned by the spider. Then I got busy planting Zinnias in the front, two different border mixes on either side of the day lilies. It wasn't until I had finished planting that I realized I had accidentally planted one border mix and one giant mix. Great. Now I will have a lopsided garden. I just can't seem to manage any kind of curb appeal.

I took the daisy picture at Tyler's Bend hiking trail along the Buffalo River. I thought it was a decent picture until we got home and I saw it up close on the computer. Since lasik surgery, I don't always see the small stuff, which is how I unknowingly took a picture of a spider!

We had an inch of rain Sunday morning. I ask you, what would a garden journal be without an occasional weather report?

Flower list 2009
  • Texas Bluebonnets (lupinus texensis)
  • Zinnia, Lilliput, Mixed colors
  • Zinnia, Giant Flowered mix
  • Zinnia, Burpee's Bright Border Mix
  • Zinnia, Envy
  • Zinnia, Violet Queen
  • Zinnia, Benary's Giant

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Dreams

We had a bumper crop of tomatoes a few years ago. Aah, those were the days. Since then it's been too much rain or not enough, in addition to worn out soil. I don't have enough beds to rotate everything as often as I should, so the tomatoes have been planted in the same place for about five years now.

This year I eliminated an old herb garden and planted fewer tomato plants in this smaller location. Eight tomato and four pepper plants, to be exact, in a bed approximately 8 x 10. This means I absolutely have to keep after the suckers; no slacking this year! If I don't pluck the tomatoes everyday, the tomato bed becomes a jungle faster than you can blink. With fifteen plants, I just did not keep up. I'm hoping the smaller bed (also closer to the house) will make the job manageable this year.

Tomato plants for 2009: Golden Pineapple, Gold Medal, Pineapple, Snow White Cherry, Pink Grapefruit, Pink Brandywine, Henderson's Crimson Cushion, and Rose.

Pepper Plants: Alma Paprika, Napoleon Sweet, Chinese Giant, and Purple Jalapeno.

Pink Grapefruit and Pineapple are the only new varieties I tried this year. Snow White Cherry and Brandywine are staples that are required in our garden every year as we can't seem to live without them. No new pepper plants this year; I'm just hoping they will finally produce some peppers, for a change. I amended the soil in the new bed, so hopefully we will have an abundant crop like we used to have.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Long Beans

Chinese long bean, Asparagus bean, and Chinese Green Noodle are just a few of the monikers of this versatile bean. Although it is best not to let them grow longer than two feet, we let a few keep growing to see how long they would get, and the longest one measured three feet. At this point, they are no longer edible but are good for show and tell.

Sow seeds directly outside around mid-May and seedlings will appear in about two weeks. I have also had numerous volunteers show up from last years remnants, usually in places where they were no longer wanted. The long bean plants like to vine and sprout sweat pea-like flowers that are beloved by ants.

Long beans can be used in stir-fry, soups and salads, or just about any recipe that requires green beans. Plant a few more seeds every couple of weeks in order to keep harvesting into early fall. Eventually, the plants seem to tire and stop producing.

Long beans are a staple at Asian markets and are now frequently found at farmer's markets, as well. Next year I plan to grow a variety of long bean called "Chinese Red Noodle", available at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.