Friday, June 22, 2012

Two types of Cucumber Beetles

                                                               (Growing Heart Farm)

As it turns out, there are TWO types of cucumber beetles and apparently I have one. I've wondered for the past few weeks why I had so many yellow lady bugs! And for some strange reason, they REALLY like my cucumber plants. But every time I looked into lady bugs, I read that they are actual a beneficial insect. So I let them stay......

What my garden insect encyclopedia did NOT mention was that Cucumber Beetles can have dots instead of stripes. Also, despite that amount of Cucumber Beetles I actually have I'm surprised I do not have more damage than I do. Time to bust out the Neem oil.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Say it ain't so!


It appears we will finally hit 100 degree weather next Monday. Typically we hit this around Memorial Day Weekend, so I'm thrilled the cooler weather has held so long. In fact, today a year ago it was 106F according to The Old Farmers Almanac.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Garden/Yard Update

I've been meaning to take pictures of my Gladiolus that recently came up. I can't remember if I planted them this winter or last. Either way they are beautiful. I planted them in the front flower bed which faces south and they spend their days waving at the neighbors that go by.

Below is a shot of one of my garden beds which has been infested with Yellow Nut Sedge. I had attempted to grow beans in this bed, but as you can see they were dominated by the sedge. I've been reading online and it appears that Yellow Nut Sedge is one of the hardest weeds to get rid of. 
They spread by Rhizomes (runners) and Tubers (underground seeds). So even when you pull them they continue to reproduce through the Rhizomes and Tubers. I've read the only way to get rid of them or reduce the population is to hand weed deep and try to get all Rhizomes and Tubers out. 

As you can see, I made a small dent this morning in the bed. I planted Tomatoes in this bed last year so I know it needs nitrogen. I believe I will continue to work away at the Yellow Nut Sedge and then either do a late summer planting of beans or start on Cereal Rye which I was planning on over wintering for a compost crop.

My pumpkins are doing well. This is the Dill Atlantic variety and its really loving our sunny, but cool weather so far. The other three varieties are doing well too.

The Zucchini plant is great as ever. It produced two more Zucchinis this week which I did not take a picture of. I've been harvesting pretty quickly, while they are still small to keep the harvest coming. 

Also, I have some more female Cucumber Flowers growing (above and below). I expect to have more Cucumbers soon!

The Tomatoes are doing OK. I ended up replacing three out of the five with store bought varieties after they starting dying off. They seem to be doing better their predecessors, I've been giving them plenty of John's Recipe as a liquid nitrogen fertilizer.

I planted my Goblin Eggs last weekend after sprouting them in a plastic bag. They are holding up well and I look forward to plenty of cute eggs to decorate with this fall. See what they look like below. 
                                               (Sew Liberated)

Carrots are still growing. This was my second planting sometime in late March, early April. They should almost been done. This bed tends to not to drain as quickly as the others. I'm curious to know if this has affected the Carrots at all.

I recently noticed another Surprise watermelon plant. I had one in the exact same spot last year, next to where the Zucchini is this year. I believe this variety makes a pretty good size melon, which is great since the varieties I planted this year are smaller.

Last weekend, I also planted Gords along with my Goblin Eggs to add to my festive look this fall.
Its going to be a great harvest!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday's Harvest

I have to admit, if it wasn't for the Zucchini I would be off to a disappointing start in my garden. Thank You Lord for the never ending Zucchini Harvest!

I am excited though that I spotted another Cucumber girl flower and a yellow squash girl flower. So I should have Cucumbers and Yellow Squash growing soon. This morning I discovered that the Onion Sets I have planted in March and forgot about grew! Only two survived, but it is exciting none the less. Each year is getting better and better!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weather Update

YAY for more rain! Its been keeping those Texas Temps at bay and I really enjoy not having to hand water my garden as often.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Girl Flowers

One of the most interesting things I learned last year was the difference between boy and girl flowers. My first time growing pumpkins was in the summer of 2010 and each morning I was really excited to wake up and see beautiful deep orange flowers in bloom, knowing that baby pumpkins were on there way. But none ever grew. It didn't make any sense to me.

                                           (The Pumpkin Project)

Then last year, I set aside my pumpkin seeds and decided to try yellow squash instead since I had heard they grow easily in the DFW Metroplex. Easy? I needed easy (still kinda do)! Then while reading posts on a gardening forum someone mentioned having only male flowers. I read further and it turns out that there are boy and girl flowers and the two must pollinate in order to produce fruit. You can tell the difference because the girl flowers have a miniature version of the fruit just below the stem and the boy flowers have just the flower and stem. I know, I'm really not sure why this didn't occur to me before!?!

So I was thrilled when I spotted my first Girl Watermelon Flower from my surprise (volunteer) watermelon plant.  I took it upon myself to help it pollinate, but the flower dropped the next day. However, not long after I began spotting them the yellow squash and the watermelons! I'm still not sure why my pumpkins didn't do well in 2010. I had three plants, but never noticed any fruits. Since I now have a better idea of what I'm doing this year I have planted four varieties of pumpkins this year:

Howden - a jack-o-lantern type variety
Lumina - a white variety that I think will look cool on my doorstep
Sugar Pie - small pumpkin for cooking
Rouge Vif D'Etampes -  a Cinderella pumpkin from France

I'm excited to grow pumpkins this year, because by the time they are ready to harvest I will be in "fall" mode and ready to decorate and make some pies (hopefully that taste good). 

                                          (The Charmed Life)

How they plant a tomato

I came across this blog post on Pinterest and found it interesting:

How We Plant a Tomato

They put a lot of stuff in that hole. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012


When I think of my beans, growing in the garden this is what I see:


 BUT, this is what mine actually look like:

Come on Beans, Grow!

By the way, its 91F degrees right now. According to Farmers Almanac, it was 96.1F this day last year. Although, it felt like 110F degrees.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Monday's Harvest

Three Zucchinis and a cucumber - the same cucumber I showed you last week, it grew really fast! Plus, we got some heavy rain today. Thank you Lord!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Squash Bugs

Spotted my first squash bug of the season today. Then my 2nd and 3rd. Isn't it a bit early for squash bugs? Last year I didn't spot them until mid July. Of course last year was the first time I grew something worthy of their attraction, so I could be off. After murdering the first three I began a merciless hunt for their children, the eggs. Ironically, I didn't spot any !?! Perhaps I got to them that early.
(David Rhodes) I must admit, they do lay their eggs very neatly. I looked into this a bit further and according to The University of Minnesota the females begin arriving in early June. Right on time! Then they begin to lay their eggs, which produce nymphs (baby squash bugs) and they take over the world......or just your plant.
Last year I was able to get rid of them by pushing them into hot, soapy water and submerging their eggs as well. I had four yellow squash plants and lost two as causalities. I will need to keep an eye on my Zucchini plant for further developments. In other news, its 95 degrees as I type this and no additional rain yet. Come on rain!

More great weather

This time last year we were in the low 100s with a drought. Praise God this summer is off to a better start!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Garden Update

North Texas has had AMAZING weather the past week. Warm sunny days in the high 80s and cool, rainy nights....every night. Its been Great! So far we've had Carrots, Zucchini and Cucumbers growing. The Zucchini is holding true to its reputation "One plant is all you need" as it has taken over my compost area. YES its just one plant.
So far its produced five Zucchinis, although the plant itself has taken a beating from the nightly storms.
The cucumbers are doing great. Orginally, I bough what was labeled an Okra plant and turns out....Its cucumber. I have a total of three plants growing, two in the picture below. Last year I grew my cucumbers with my tomatoes and they did not do well at all. This year they are planted with beans and they already seem to be doing better, the beans haven't quite taken off yet.
Check out that tiny Cucumber! There are more like this one around each plant.
The tomatoes haven't taken off quite like they did last year. In fact, by this time last year they were several feet tall and had unripe tomatoes already growing. This if the first time I've transplanted from seed and I'm wondering if I'm dealing with transplant shock. Not sure - If you know, please tell me! :)
This is my backyard, a little messy and in need of mowing (lots of weeding too). The nightly storms have been so powerful they managed to blow over my cement bird bath (back right). I can barely lift that thing myself!
The raised bed my husband built for my birthday. He dug about 2 feet down below the ground surface so it has good depth.
Today, I thinned my carrots and harvested another Zucchini. Also, I've planted four varieties of pumpkins on Monday and I plan to plant watermelon and some more beans this weekend. Its going to be a GREAT summer!