May 2009 Gardening Update

I have settled into a routine of watering the garden on Monday and Wednesday evenings during the week.  I usually don’t take a look at the garden on Thursday night, so by Friday morning I haven’t seen the growth and activity for a day and a half. I was so excited on Friday morning to see all the squash flowers.  Squash Flowers

There were fifteen! Only one was a female flower, the others were all males. But that’s a good thing, there needs to be plenty of male flowers blossoming before the females begin to blossom.  I pollinated the one female flower and hopefully it took and within a few days I’ll be able to pick my first squash. The squash flower you see in the photo below is the one I pollinated. If you don’t have a lot of bees or other pollen collecting insects in your area, you might find that your squash doesn’t grow past the infancy stage. That is almost certainly because it isn’t getting pollinated. I don’t want to risk not having my squash grow, so I pollinate whenever I have the opportunity which is the days I’m home in the morning early. The flowers close after it begins to warm up so early morning is the time to pollinate. I just pluck a male flower, remove the blossom and then brush the pollen from the stamen onto the pistils of the female flower.

Female Squash Flower

On Wednesday evening I also worked to shore up the tomato plants.  I put them in cages, but this year I planted too close together. I had to stagger the cages and place one around every other plant.  Only the every other plant that wasn’t within a cage was starting to grow outward.  If I had unlimited room in my garden that wouldn’t be so much of a concern, but if I allow my tomato plants to sprawl all over the designated paths I won’t be able to navigate through them.  It took about an hour, but I am very pleased with the tidy look. Some books recommend pruning tomato plants to one stem, but I have never tried that method because tomato plants in the desert of Arizona do much better when you grow them upward in a cage, and keep tucking the leaves in the cage.  This provides shade for the tomato plant and keeps the tomatoes protected from getting sunscald. This photo below shows how the tomatoes were scraggling out all over the place.

Out of control tomato plants

This photo shows the tomatoes shored up and more orderly.

Tomato Plants Under Control

And yay! Finally some tomatoes are growing! It has gotten so hot that I have been seeing a lot of blossom drop.  When the blossoms drop off, that means the flowers (blossoms) weren’t pollinated, and that means no tomatoes! But look at these babies! I saw three tomatoes on Wednesday evening, but by Friday morning I counted more than ten! Here is a bunch of four.

Tiny Tomatoes

My eggplants are growing like crazy. No flowers yet, but plenty of growth on the plants.

Eggplants

My corn has tassels and silks on most stalks, but I am worried I won’t get many ears of corn. I fear this bed didn’t get enough water at crucial periods of growing because the stalks should be at least five feet tall.  There is another opportunity to plant corn in a few months so I will try again.  There is such a small amount of vegetables to grow during the heat of the summer that I think I’ll do an extra large space of corn.

Corn

The cucumbers in the same bed (as the corn) took forever to get going, but are finally growing heartily and producing flowers. I hope to see some wee baby cucumbers soon.

Cucumber Flowers

I have four watermelon plants that I’m growing upright and they are sending out climbing branches all over the place!

Watermelon Plants and Sunflowers

My sunflowers are nearly a foot tall (seen in the photo above behind the watermelon plants) and soon I’ll need to remove the protective chicken wire covering so they can grow taller.

I harvested the last of the beets and Swiss Chard since it is getting too hot to leave them in the ground, they will bolt and go to seed becoming inedible.

Beets

Big Pile of Swiss Chard

I also harvested all the carrots from one bed, there is still another group of carrots growing in the corn/cucumber bed.

Real Baby Carrots

I steamed the baby carrots and they were so tender and sweet.  AJ tried them and asked me what sweetener did I use?  I only drizzled a little bit of butter over them. They were so delicious.

How is your garden growing?  🙂

Mrs. Accountability

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5 comments to May 2009 Gardening Update

  • Oh wow, you’re garden is doing well. You’re much further ahead than we are in North Carolina. We’ve gotten lettuce and some green onions out of our garden so far. I’ve been cutting up grilled chicken and making some nice salads. My goal will be to get some pictures to share this weekend.

    Our potatoes are doing great. My husband had to replant some peas as they didn’t come up that well. I haven’t looked at the garden this week, but I’m guessing the corn came up after the rain we had. I’m hoping our beets do well this year. I’m really really wanting to can a bunch to use later in the year. I like to make pickled eggs a good bit and it takes 1 can every time I do. There is nothing better than growing them yourself to save money. 🙂

    Our tomatoes have no blooms yet.

    Thanks for updating about your garden. I can’t wait to start getting stuff out of ours. We have a neighbor that I know will really appreciate some fresh veggies too.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi K, yeah our seasons are quite different here in the desert southwest as opposed to many other states. I’ve been here all my life so it’s all I know. Will you put your pictures up on your blog? I would love to see them. I got to go to a friend’s house on Tuesday to see her garden, that was fun. I have red potatoes in my garden but about half of the plants died a couple of weeks ago. It’s too hot for peas. You are lucky to not have to visit your garden for an entire week! Less work and bigger surprises after a week’s absence. 🙂 I have never had enough beets to consider canning – actually I’ve never really done much canning. It sounds like your garden is doing very well, good luck! Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂

    [Reply]

  • K. Cleaver

    I’ll put the pics in my blog, but I’ll come here and post so you know they’re up. When it rains I can’t get into the garden anyway so I just let it go. There is a lot of weeds in there, but it’s too wet to hoe them. In the summer it will be so dry nothing will grow. LOL

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Neat! I can’t wait to see! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Thanks for your post. Im still learning all about tomatoes even after growing them for the last 20 years! My favorite tomatoes are the Yellow Butterfly variety, tasty and sweet!

    Growing Tomatoes In Containers

    [Reply]

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