Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fordhook Farm Open House

Today I took a short drive to visit Burpee Seed Company's open house at their historic test garden: Fordhook Farm. The gardens are open to tour only 3 days of the year.

W. Atlee Burpee and his family used the cottage on the farm as a weekend residence. The farm also served as the company's test garden for plants. Many plant varieties and hybrids were developed on the farm. You can read more about the site here.

The building to the left in the above picture is the seed house, the building on the right is the farmhouse.
There are several gardens on the property for both perennials and vegetables.

While walking through the kitchen garden I tried to take note of the various trellises that they were using for plants.
They used these red cages for almost all of their tomatoes:

The only exception I saw were these teepee type cages:

I like how they built teepee's for the sweet peas and then covered them with netting to better allow the vines to climb up the structure.

The next open house is in August and they will have tomato samples to taste test! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21st at the Plots

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks for me because I managed to hurt my back. I did manage to get the fence up around the new plot.
We are in the middle of a heat wave, so I went to the plot before work this morning to water everything.

Some more weeding will be done this weekend and then I can mark off the beds. 

The amaranth is growing well at the plot, but the leaves are still being eaten by some kind of pest, maybe flea beetles? The amaranth growing in the home garden has no pest problems. I tried some in a stir fry tonight and I like the taste. Some compare it to spinach, but to me it has a stronger herbal flavor.

Kidney beans seem to be growing really well. This is another experiment for me this year.

Black Krim Tomato:

The Romas:

The Romas have tons of tomatoes growing on them!

And the first tomatoes of the year: Principle Borghese!



The pumpkins are covered with netting to try to avoid a squash vine borer infestation. I've been hand pollinating the fruit.

Baby watermelon:


Summer squash:

I need to get better about documenting my harvests. I've started a notebook to keep track when I don't have time to jump on the computer. This week I've picked various herbs, kale, some baby carrots and a couple gherkin cucumbers. This weekend I'm planning to plant corn, beans, and pickle cucumbers.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Community Garden Plot in Early June

The plants are growing nicely at the plot. We've had so much rain lately that I haven't had to water the plot until today.

The eggplants were being eaten by flea beetles so I covered them with a row cover until they started to flower. Now they are uncovered and doing much better.

The bush beans were planted 2 weeks ago and now need to be thinned out.

The pole beans and butternut squash:

Ground cherries are forming:

And so are the Tomatillos:

The Roma Tomatoes:

The Better Bush, Principle Borghese and Black Krim all have baby tomatoes growing on them.

Watermellons and Pumpkins are growing fast:

Watermellon flowers:

The biggest pest in the garden so far has been cucumber beetles. I've been picking them off of plants every day. I've also seen some squash bugs, but the funny thing is that i haven't found any eggs.

I want to add row covers to some of the plants and I need to order some beneficial nematodes to kill any pests that are in the soil. 

2nd Garden Plot

I'm expanding my community garden growing area to include a second plot. We're in the second week of June and the gardener's on either side of me haven't started gardening. I mentioned that I was interested in more space if it became available. This week I was told I could use one of the plots next to my currant one. 

Here is my new plot! You can see that the grass and weeds were starting to take over:

I wanted to pull as many weeds as possible while the ground was still moist from all of the rain that we've been getting. I've noticed that the soil gets pretty hard when it dries out. Some of the weeds were vines and thistle, so I'm going back and breaking up the soil with a fork to remove all of the white roots. My first plot is the one you see on the right. That's my mom you see in the plot helping me weed the beds. She's been such a great help.

It's much more difficult to put up fencing now that the weather is getting hot. We managed to get up the front and side fence. I'm going to take down the fence in between my plots and reuse it in the back of plot 2.

The picture above is after 2 days of weeding. I'm going over to the garden this morning to pull up the rest.

Having 2 plots will be the perfect amount of space for my needs. I want to be able to rotate crops and also have room for fruit and asparagus.
The total size of the plots combined is approximately 40'X24'.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today's Harvest and Plot News

Today I harvested some Swiss Chard, Kale, Peas and a few green onions.

The peas are starting to be pulled to make way for cucumbers.

Cucumber beetles are everywhere at the community garden plot, so I need to make room for them at home. 

I'm very happy to report that I will be getting a second garden plot! It will be the plot to the left of my current plot. I was over there pulling weeds tonight. Tomorrow morning I want to get the fence up and the rest of the weeds out. I plan to plant beans there and I'm not sure what else yet.

I will take some pictures of the plot tomorrow. I have so many things to take there when I go over to work that somehow my camera keeps getting forgotten.

Monday, June 4, 2012

This Week's Harvest

I started harvesting the shelling peas this week. So far I've harvested about 2 lbs.

The vines were loaded with peas. Every evening I've harvested and then shelled the peas. I forgot how labor intensive the shelling can be.

We've eaten them with several dinners this week,

Also harvested this week were 2 Napa Cabbages. 

And the carrots that were started in a container indoors. These were the seeds that didn't want to germinate but finally did when the container was put outside. 

To see what other's have harvested this week head over to Daphne's Dandelion's.