Sunday, May 04, 2008

Green Thumb Report

My garden is now fully planted for the year, and I'm sitting back waiting to thumb my nose at the local Giant and Safeway herb and produce prices. After last year, when my motley collection of herbs took off like a runaway experiment from a 1950's sci-fi movie, and with the price of food going through the roof, I decided to cast my agricultural net wider this year.

For 2008, I'm doing plots and pots: revitalizing the two herb plots from last year, and adding seven pots of various vegetables...

Here's the status, as of yesterday, of plot #1:

The parsley in the front came roaring back from last year, and is farther ahead than anything else. Behind it are the chives I'd given up for dead, which are also nice and big, but which don't seem to be spreading. To fill up the empty space I added two marjoram plants in the back center, another tarragon in the back left corner, and a token cilantro up front next to the parsley. We don't use much cilantro, but I figured I'd give it a try and see how it does.

Here's plot #2 as of yesterday:

That's basil on the left, rosemary on the right, and in the center, back to front, tarragon, dill, and thyme. These plants have now been in for about three can check their progress by comparing them to the pictures I posted here back on April 14th.

You may recall that last year my #2 plot was overrun with tomatoes I didn't plant...they grew from seeds that had been in my mulch pile and eventually choked out everything but the basil. This year, I decided to plant tomatoes on my own terms, along with a few other things. Here are the pots that go with the plots (the house and the two plots would be on your right as you look at this picture):

These pots contain red and green bell peppers (which we use lots of), straight-neck yellow squash, zucchini, and two types of tomatoes. If things go well, I plan to put up trellises behind the pots and train the vines to grow along the fence.

One of my goals is to produce a zucchini to match the famous "Bubba" grown by my friend Katherine (who comments here occasionally as "KKTSews") a few years back when we all lived in Germany...she proudly brought Bubba into the office with a fork lift to show him off, and he long ago went to that great ratatouille in the sky. If this works out, you'll see the pictures here.

Gardening is a fair amount of work, and a large amount of fun. There's a grand sense of accomplishment when you can eat something you grew with your own hands, and with food prices being what they are, I figure that by the end of the summer I will have easily made back the money I spent on the plants. Next year, I'll try to grow from seeds.

After all, seedy person that I am, what could be more appropriate?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

It looks fantastic!

OK Mr Greenthumb, perhaps you can help me out:

I've had these two zucchini plants for nearly two months. Plenty of leaves and flowers but no fruit. Finally, the leaves started to get a whitish 'fur' on it and I decided to cut those off. Now...the plant is dying. Any ideas?

2nd questions: How long does it take tomatoes that are green to turn red? I have heaps of green ones but they have been that way for nearly a week and a half.

Thanks for any advice!

KKTSews said...

LOL, I can't believe you remember "Bubba"--that was almost 20 years ago! He WAS rather scary (all others: we're talking a HUGE zuchinni, about 18" long and 10" around). I've never grown a sucessful zuchinni since, though, so I suspect his size was due to residual nuclear fallout from Chernobyl that was in my compost, rather than any skill on my part. I may just try again this year with Zuchinni, inside my fenced area to keep away the nasty rabbits.

Amanda, tomatos need several days of 70-degree plus temps to turn red. As tempting as it is to pick them now before some critters get to them, try to hold on until they are at least a good solid orange, or protect them with netting.

Bilbo said...

Amanda, I'm not sure I'm qualified yet to answer your questions, since this is my first year at trying to raise zucchini. Perhaps if Katherine is reading, she'll have some ideas. As for the tomatoes, if they're getting enough water and sun (which, in Palembang, I would imagine they are), I would think they should be turning red within a week of reaching full size. What will probably happen to you is what happened to me last year...the tomatoes were all green forever, and then all turned red at once. Go figure.

KKTSews said...

Amanda, I think the zucchini problem (see...I CAN spell) is a fungus. I had the same problem two years ago and offer no solution. As I said above, I've never had good luck with zucchini since Bubba, for a variety of reasons.
You might check with a local garden center that has plant-smart folks on staff rather than just stockers/cashiers; take a sample of the leaf w/ the white stuff on it if you have any left.
If you plant again next year, plant in a different location as fungus spores will stay in the ground. Also, don't put any of those plants into your compost heap for the same reason. Good Luck.

Mike said...

I think I read somewhere that gardening was the number one hobby in America.