Posts Tagged ‘squash’

2015 Garden Review

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Potato Blossoms

Potato Blossoms

The 2015 CobraHead Home Garden was a great success. The garden is never the same from year to year. Weather, seed and plant inputs, labor, luck, and a lot of other variables make each garden season a new experience. That’s an advantage for home gardeners. They don’t need perfection to be successful, and last year’s errors are only lessons for the future. I like to tell beginning gardeners not to worry. Plant enough different stuff and some of it will turn out great in spite of your mistakes or misfortunes.  We had some pretty miserable failures this year, but overall most plants did fine and we harvested as much as we could hope for.

Potatoes in Open Raised Bed

Potatoes in Open Raised Bed

200 Pounds of Potatoes

200 Pounds of Potatoes

We had our largest potato harvest ever.  We’re storing them in a straw bale cold storage structure I set up in the barn.

One Potato - Over Four Pounds

One Potato – Over Four Pounds

Sweet Potato Starts in Flat

Sweet Potato Starts in Flat

Sweet potatoes are a crop we are famous for, and this year’s harvest was among our best ever.  I’m continuing to start my sweet potatoes from sprouted old roots.  It’s really easy.

Peas Interplanted with Greens in Open Raised Bed

Peas Interplanted with Greens in Open Raised Bed

T-Post and Bamboo Tomato Trellis.

T-Post and Bamboo Tomato Trellis.

Squash Trellises

Squash Trellises

We continue to use T-posts as our primary trellis structure supports.  I like them because they are cheap, nearly indestructible, and they can handle huge loads.

Low Hoop Tunnels

Low Hoop Tunnels

Cabbages

Cabbages

We’re getting better at transplanting seedlings directly from indoor spouting to a low tunnel hoop house.  This eliminates time consuming “hardening off”  and gives us some really vigorous starts.

Giant Swiss Snow Pea

Giant Swiss Snow Pea

Radishes and Peas in the Pan

Radishes and Peas in the Pan

We grew a new (for us) snow pea called Giant Swiss.  It was prolific and delicious.  Here’s a frying pan with peas and radishes, the first time we’ve ever cooked radishes, which is something we should have been doing  a long time ago.

Harvest of Smaller Squash

Harvest of Smaller Squash

Boston Marrow Squash

Boston Marrow Squash

Our trellised smaller winter squash and our larger trailing vine squash were both super productive.  We are trying to figure out what to do with it all.

Mustard in the Pea Patch

Mustard in the Pea Patch

We’re getting more and more vegetables and herbs to be perennials or volunteers.  It’s our sort of stab at permaculture.  Mustard is now a weed in the garden, along with cilantro and kale, and several types of onions and garlic.

Comfrey

Comfrey

Big Yields

Big Yields

An inedible weed, but one I’m encouraging for its properties as a compost plant is comfrey.  I just have to be careful it doesn’t take over everything.  It’s too easy to grow.

Celery

Celery

One of our miserable failures this year was celery.  It’s looking great here in the picture, but I didn’t pay attention to its watering needs and ended up with a mostly unusable batch of hollow stems.

Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea

Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea

Leatherwing beetles on tansy

Leatherwing beetles on tansy

We write about our garden and show pictures on our blog, so I thought I needed a macro lens to help give us some cool photos.  I’m not into insect sex life, but the macro really gives some nice detail.

We’re still harvesting leeks, Brussels sprouts, and various greens as our unusually mild December draws to a close.  I would have to rate the 2015 garden one of the best ever.  Now we’ll see what the new year brings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trellised Squash Harvest

Monday, September 28th, 2015
Trellised Squash

Trellised Squash

We harvested about 40 small winter squash yesterday. They were trellised using T-posts and concrete reinforcing grid. The trellis is discussed here.

The advantage of trellising is space saving. These squash only took up about 60 square feet of garden space, grown in one 10 foot raised bed.

Harvest of Smaller Squash

Harvest of Smaller Squash

The big Australian Butter Squash in the back of the picture did fine, but it was really too big for the trellis. It should have been trailing along the ground with the Hubbard’s, large pumpkins and the monster Boston Marrow that we’ll be harvesting in the next couple days.

T-Post Squash Trellis Follow Up

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Squash Trellises

Squash Trellises

I posted on June 28th just after I set up a trellis system using concrete reinforcing grids and T-posts. Here is the post.

I’m happy to report that the trellis has so far exceeded my expectations. The plants have climbed well over the top of the 7 foot high trellis. They remain healthy and have set good looking fruit much of which is almost full size. Barring a catastrophic collapse due to disease or insects (always a possibility, but hopefully unlikely), we are going to get an excellent harvest of butternut, buttercup, acorn, sweet dumpling and several other smaller winter squash this fall. The un-trellised larger squash are also looking good, as are the melons, and we can barely keep up with the zucchini and summer squash. So far so good.

Anticipating the Main Harvest

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Here Come the Tomatoes

With this year’s warm weather, we’ll be picking things from the garden a lot earlier than most years.  I’m often late getting things started, but I did a good job of getting the tomatoes, peppers, and cole crops into the ground before the end of May.  The early start coupled with the hot weather is giving us veggies in July that we normally don’t start harvesting until August.  All in all, it appears we will have a good harvest as we go into late summer and fall.

Hot Peppers

This small bed holds most of the hot peppers.  In the foreground are Serranos and behind them are cayennes and some various Asian hot peppers.  Judy likes to freeze Serrano peppers.  She should have plenty.  The cayennes are exceptionally large this year and the pepper plants, in general, are taller than what I usually get.

Sweet Peppers

In front of the asparagus is my second pepper bed.  The small plants in front are Poblanos.  They are loaded with fruit.  The rest of the bed contains various sweet peppers.  I have a lot of Nardellos, the American-Italian heirloom that we like a lot.  Those too are very heavy with peppers.  Behind and to the right of the peppers are two potato beds, one red and one yellow.  Both are doing well.  I’ve already snitched a few red ones.

Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potatoes are loving the heat.  I can’t see what’s going on down below the vines, but I’m hoping for the best.  I’ve been covering the vines with ag fabric to keep the deer from munching on them.  The deer love sweet potato leaves.

Sweet Corn

We ate our first sweet corn, yesterday,  I only have one bed this year.  Most years I get two beds planted.  I’m inter-planting the corn with two heirloom pole beans that have traditionally been grown using corn stalks for trellises.  One bean is called Turkey Craw, the other is Missouri Wonder.  The beans in the corn have a long way to go, but they look just fine.

Leeks, Pole Beans, Tomatoes, and Onions

Here is my main bean crop, with leeks in the bed to the left, tomatoes, tomatillos, and eggplants in the bed to the right of the beans, and onions to right of the tomatoes.  You can see another bed of tomatoes in the back right and in front of those are two blue barrel rings holding some fingerling potatoes which I just planted.  It’s my plan to keep adding soil to the rings as the potatoes grow to try to get a larger yield.  I haven’t done this before, so we’ll have to see if it works.

The pole beans in the front of the picture are trellised onto four tripods.  Behind them in the same bed are bush beans.  They are just flowering but I expect good production.  Last year we had a similar size set up that got somewhat eaten by deer and we still had a huge harvest.   I expect a lot more beans this year.  We are getting Japanese beetles in the beans, but I’m able to keep ahead of much damage by cleaning off the beetles using my funnel trap, which you can read about here.

Ripening Egg Plants

I went overboard with the eggplants, I just didn’t have the heart to cull out the nice seedling starts, so we have 16 eggplants.  I normally grow four to six.  They are looking great.  We’re trying to figure out the best way to freeze them – any suggestions?

Three Cabbages

Here are three good looking cabbages in one of two beds dedicated to cole crops.  The other bed is under ag fabric.  Most of this bed was used to grow kohlrabi and we’ve already harvested about half the planting.  Judy talks about using kohlrabi in her recipe post.  I’ve been spraying my coles with a neem oil, soap, and seaweed mixture and that seems to have really made a huge difference on damage from  cabbage moths.  The moth eggs hatch but the caterpillars die when they eat leaves  containing neem oil.  While the neem spray hasn’t done much for the squash it seems very effective in the coles.

Zucchini #2

Here is our second zucchini.  We picked the first, yesterday.  We’ll have lots, I’ve got five healthy plants.  The squash, melons, cukes, and zukes all got a late start.  While the zucchini are doing well I’m really having some major problems both with cucumber beetles and squash vine borers.  I’m definitely going to lose a few squash and melon plants.  I always tell people starting out in gardening to grow a lot of different stuff.  Some will always succeed and even if you lose an entire crop of one vegetable you’ll still have plenty of the others.

Mammoth Sunflowers

These Mammoth Sunflowers are already ten feet tall and they aren’t done growing.  Their stalks are like tree trunks.

Unfortunately, this could be a year without basic root crops.  No carrots or beets in the ground, yet.  It’s not too late for either for a fall crop if I can get to it, but in any case, we’ll get plenty from the garden, this year.

Zucchini Heaven or Hell?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

It definitely depends upon your perspective.  For us we’re at the beginning of the summer squash season, and so far so good.  I’ve been very diligent in checking and picking the young fruits every day.  Yesterday morning I looked to see what we’d have for dinner & decided to pick the zucchini just before cooking.  I’m positive that the earmarked one was twice the size from morning ‘til night.  Well…at least 50% bigger!

They will get ahead of me, they always do.  But I will be drying the slices to use in winter lasagna and whatever else sounds good.  In the meantime they are a must have in ratatouilles, veggie kabobs, soups, potato-zuke hashbrowns, and pancakes, to name a few.

On the other hand yellow crookneck squash seem to be more amenable to freezing and being somewhat more palatable when thawed.  Maybe the lower moisture content has something to do with it or the softer, less acid flavor.  This squash is easily blanched and frozen in bags to make cold weather cream soups.  Just cook with a little onion and broth & whiz in the blender.  Makes a meal in a hurry!

Counting Cucurbits Before They Hatch

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I commented earlier that this year I cleaned off my compost area and stuck in some squash and melon starts.  I didn’t start the seeds until the second week of June, but as you can see from the first picture, the plants are doing quite well.

For a while I was worried that I was getting all foliage and no fruit.  That is not the case.

I counted well over a dozen relatively large squash and pumpkins hiding under the leaves and several are very close to maturity.  I also have several smaller melons and butternut type squash budding out on the trellised vines that you can see in the back of the first picture.

Taking inventory and taking these pictures was a daunting task as the almost tropical rains of the last couple weeks have caused the mosquito population to explode.  I truly had to give blood to get these pictures.  On top of that the high humidity kept my lens, LCD screen, and view finder fogged up.

I know you can’t count on anything until it’s off the vine and into the house, but the plants are healthy and the fruit is close to becoming a reality.  We’ve already been eating lots of summer crookneck and zucchini that are performing extremely well in one of my beds.