Sunday, September 20, 2009

Veggie Garden Update-September 09

Skeeter's Veggie Garden Update:

Since we had a late start with our Georgia Veggie Garden planting, we are still plucking goodies such as Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes and Jalapeno Peppers.

Unless a Cucumber is hiding amongst the viney mess I have in the garden, the last of the Cucumbers were taken to Virginia for the Saints parents to enjoy.

I am happy to say we finally picked our first Cherokee Purple Tomato! I am still finding it difficult to believe that I actually grew this tomato from a small seed passed along from Dan. The tomato was not as purple in color as I thought it would be as you can see in the above picture. The purple tomato is side by side to the Red Roma's. The taste was so yummy on our sandwich being juicy and mild in flavor just as we like our tomatoes. Thanks again Dan for the wonderful experience from your little gift to me!
Hopefully we will have more Purple Tomatoes soon as they continue to grow on the plant.
Another thing taking off in the Garden is the 2 Gourd plants. I have one Viney Mess in the veggie garden. As you can see, those two plants have taken over the entire garden and even trailed over the fence and in the open being vulnerable to the Rabbits and Deer.
I don't know if rabbit and deer like gourds but so far they have not touched them. I have many inside the secured fenced-in area so I know I will be making more birdhouses next spring. Yippee, as that was an awesome experience!
That Banana Tree continues to grow taller each day! It is amazing what a plant can do when placed in the correct spot.
I counted 7 baby Banana Plants popping up from the main stalk. Wow, that is one happy Nanner!

I am still plucking Basil in the Herb bed but the Parsley, Chives and Cilantro will not germinate for me. I have tried two plantings and am guessing, I have some old dud seeds... I will talk more about the Basil a bit later...

Now lets jump up to Tennessee and see what's happening at Tiger Gardens...

Tina's Veggie Garden Update:

I am not going to say this year's vegetable garden was a failure, but it was not the success it usually is either. I waited too long to plant my cucumbers and zucchini, the garden is shaded by the bananas, and I just did not keep good records on what I planted and have grown so I've been a very bad vegetable gardener. I need to fix it next year or just take it all out.

Nonetheless, we've been harvesting cucumbers. There are enough to eat fresh but I won't be making any pickles this year. I planted these on the first of July.
Here is long shot of one two of the A-frames. I am growing squash, gourds and watermelons (already harvested) on these A-frames. The other A-frame has the cucumbers growing on it. I made three A-frames and move them around as needed based on my bed sizes and how I rotate the crops. The A-frames are all sized differently and made in such a way that using them is flexible.
Here is one of the squash (possibly a gourd?) growing on the A-frames. I also have some cool white egg-shaped gourds growing here in this location. More on them later.
Here is another long shot of the bean bed. I purchased the nylon trellises and attached them between fence poles. These trellises have lifetime guarantees and are quite user friendly. I really like them for the beans. We've harvested many beans even with planting them half way through the season they are doing great. They look kind of short and that is most likely due to some shade in this garden-blame the bananas and trees. I'm not sure what I will wind up doing about this situation. Something has to give.
And finally, the first zucchini of the season. During the summer I usually eat zucchini daily and I've missed them this summer since I planted these so late. I dice these and fry them with onions in butter, then add an egg, fry it all up, and eat for lunch. It is a simple nutritious meal that my mother used to make for us kids.

I can't see any benefit in planting a late summer crop. The same diseases and the same pests still affect the plants. Next year I plan to organize the garden better so that I can get maximum benefit from just a select few crops. Either that or I am going to have find another spot for the vegetables. My trees are growing in faster than I would have ever thought they could. It will be just a few years before the entire garden is covered by a canopy.

We are still harvesting yellow tomatoes, some pear tomatoes, and tons of cherry tomatoes. The green peppers have gone crazy. We have plenty of them to freeze but not of the tomatoes. That is a strange thing. I will miss the fresh frozen tomatoes this winter but I'll adjust.

It is time to begin planting some fall crops. I intend to seed some carrots, radishes, beets, and lettuce. I've already planted starts of lettuce. I love fresh lettuce and can't seem to get enough of it during the winter, but I endeavor to work on that issue....

in the garden....


  1. I had never seen a purple tomato, so thanks for the introduction. It looks somewhat oblong but still juicy. What does it taste like? I like my tomatoes as ripe as possible and big and beefy.

    Cracking cucumbers, by the way.

    Greetings from London.

  2. I love seeing all the veggies. My tomatoes are struggling but hanging on, I *finally* have one tiny eggplant, and the onions didn't do much. The zucchini was gangbusters for a while, but about two weeks ago it rained four days in a row and it died--by drowning (which looks the same as if it hadn't gotten any water)--apparently the pot drainage hole wasn't big enough (which I've fixed now).

  3. I love that 'nanner'! Yes, a happy home makes all the difference! And that is the sturdiest A-frame I've seen! Picked all my 'green' tomats yesterday as the night temp was down to 39...lucky you with all that great harvest still!

  4. I am with Lynn, The A-frame is very nice and stury looking. Is it out of cedar?
    You may have better luck with your zukes next year. At least you got some maters. The squash looks good!
    I need to try that zuke recipe, today!

  5. Looks like lots of great produce from both gardens! I am impressed with the A-frames.
    I was really not into getting my veggies in the ground this year either...window boxes with spring and fall lettuce and about 8 tomato plants...that's it!

  6. Tose veggie photos are beautiful. Makes me hungry. :) I keep hearing the same lament from gardeners all over the country=strange year for veggis and fleowers. So I guess we are lucky to be getting what we got. Have a great week.

  7. Morning all!

    ACIL, What does cracking cucumbers mean? Sounds like a saying from your part of the world?

    Monica, Bummer on your plants dying by drowning. It is odd they look the same as if they suffered from drought for sure.

    Lynn, I was surprised you guys in the northeast had a frost warning already, but then I realized it is September already-sad to see it all go. Your tomatoes will ripen inside so you can still enjoy them.

    Rosey, The A-frames are made from plain ole pressure treated lumber. I posted on the building process. They work super great in the garden. Do try my mother's recipe for the zukes-nice and easy and yummy.

    Janet, Windowboxes with lettuce close by would be purrrfect! I may even try that.

    Beckie, It is my hope that next year's veggie garden starts looking better. I am frustrated but we gardeners know...there is always next year:)

    Skeeter, You have more veggies than me! Looks great! Bananas will continue to grow as long as it is warm so expect them to reach the rooftop:)

  8. Everything looks great, I didn't get many zuchs either and I'm disappointed about it, I love them fried too! Durn! I'm going to keep my eyes open for a palm, nanner-like tree for up here, think I'll have luck?

  9. Dawn, You can grow bananas in a pot, but they will not be hardy in your zone:(. I saw one in Indiana that was grown in a pot and let me tell you, that baby was blooming and had bananas! So it can be done-but not by me as I am not good with pots. I think if I had one in a pot I'd get a nice red one.

  10. I potted my trumpet this week, it didn't have long roots because mainly where it was planted, all rocks is seems. It never even wilted, I'd like to take some cuttings to keep it going year to year but the leaves are either real big or small. I sure am impressed at such a pretty plant being so sturdy.

  11. Dawn, take cuttings making sure to get a stem tip, cut the leaves in half and strip all but one or two. Dip in rooting hormone and put a few cuttings in a window box and you'll have TONS next year. They are easy, don't worry on big leaves. Just trim them.

  12. I'm not sure what you mean, are you describing 2 different methods, one with 1/2 a leaf in rooting hormone then submerged in the soil? And the other that will callous the mother plant? I'd like to foster the mother plant too, especially with a short season. Maybe I'll talk to a green house person. I'd like about 5 for next year.

  13. One method Dawn. Cut about 6 inches from a branch tip. The stem could be maybe about pencil sized or smaller. Then can be from a side branch or the top shoot. I usually cut from side branches. Strip all but the top one or two leaves. If the leaves are huge, cut them in half, throw away the half you cut off. Dip the six inch cutting in hormone then put the stem part in good quality potting soil (I mix mine with perlite and peat), and pack the soil firmly around the stem. Keep moist and in a shady area. In about two weeks it should be rooted. I winter my cuttings over inside the garage. They stay above freezing and do well. I only water when dry. Enough to keep it moist. Now is a good time to take cuttings. The mother plant will be fine and won't miss the cuttings at all.

  14. Hi Tina and Skeeter,
    I guess I'm not the only one who won't be getting many more cucumbers. I forgot to mention in my update that I have found a few larger cucumbers, and a huge yellow summer squash that decided to quit hiding.

    Hey, I have CNN on, and Jacque the weather reporter talked about the garden she had this year. She also got powdery mildew on her zucchini, like I did. She thought that was the reason she didn't get any zucchinis, but I don't think that's why.

    Anyway, your updates are similar to mine, with some good, and some not so much.

    Skeeter, your gourds and tomatoes are pretty. Tina, I like all of your structures. That looks like a butternut squash to me, and not a gourd. I make something similar to your egg dish with zucchini, and also include onions, chopped tomatoes, and peppers. I'll use other summer squash at times, too. I haven't gotten any made this year, though. I don't see your link to other posts. I can't remember if you do it in your sidebar or what. I'll come back and see.

  15. Your veggie gardening enthusiasm is contagious. I know flowers have their place, but for me, growing what I eat provides a satisfaction flowers never will. My favorite heirloom is Brandywine, which actually does have a darker red color. But apparently, I'm not destined to grow them. Fortunately, I have a local farmers market where more determined growers offer many lovely purple and heirloom tomatoes.
    Your banana and it's babies are lovely. I managed to plant one the summer before San Diego had a record-breaking killing frost that murdered it. You're right about the secret being finding the right place for the right plant.

  16. Things are looking good in both of your gardens. I love the gourds and wish I had the space for them. Not much is happening in our veggie garden. We're still getting a few tomatoes and zucchini, that's about it. Sweet Pea planted some peas from the vines she pulled up earlier this summer and they already started sprouting. I was very impressed!

  17. Both gardens look great & producing quite well. I have another gourd forming on the vine that decided it wanted to climb a dead tree. Both that I have are different shapes. I'm glad.
    Tina, that looks like a butternut squash. They are good. Sure wish I could grow them here. Any squash would be appreciated.
    My bush beans planted 2 weeks ago are up & looking good. The beets are up also. Just hope they don't drown.
    Was about 90º a little earlier so guess I'll wait a few days before planting any cool weather veggies.
    Happy gardening all.

  18. Skeeter, I am sooo jealous of that Cherokee Purple tomato! I had one plant that survived my indoor seed sowing, but it has succumbed to the blight. Yours looks so healthy! And the "viney messes" look good, too:)

    Tina, for a minute there I thought you were giving up on vegetable gardening next year! I was glad to read on and realize it's just a matter of finding a sunnier spot. Your zucchini/egg recipe sounds interesting and an easy lunch to make--I might have to try that. How do you use your fresh frozen tomatoes? I've frozen so much juice, I thought I might freeze some wedges with the rest of the tomatoes.

    I'm a little late today...I hope to have my veggie update post up early tomorrow morning.

  19. I'm glad other people had trouble with veggies this year. I did too. I wasn't sure if it was weather related, or something I did. I always enjoy your updates tho. It still seems like you've got a lot harvested.

  20. Sue, That mildew has been a real problem for so many-it's here too.

    WS, Sometimes I think a farmers market is the way to go-cheaper and less agonizing when things go wrong. And they often do for some crazy reason.

    Catherine, I bet Sweet Pea is most happy to be having more peas grow-it will be great to have fall peas.

    Lola, I am going to take the dive and cut that squash thingy. I am hoping it is squash as I've never eaten this kind. Still so hot down there-frost is hitting some parts of the U.S. hard to believe.

    Rose, I peel and chop my tomatoes, add some green pepper and maybe onion and simmer them for a few hours then I freeze in ziplock bags. When I make spagetti sauce I just pull them out. They taste so much better in spagetti sauce than the canned ones. I'll catch your post in the morning. Weekends are pretty slow anyhow and we even debated whether we'd post this today or tomorrow.

    Kathleen, That seems to be the word with veggie garden. A good amount of folks have not had good luck-myself included. Sigh. Maybe next year.

  21. I like those A frames! I also like the idea of adding an egg to the zucchinis and onions.

    We're still getting some tomatoes and a few eggplants. I can't wait until someone comes out with a highly disease resistant black tomato -- with all of the taste!

  22. Tina, I take a butternut squash cut it in half lengthwise, clean out the seeds, then I sprinkle a brown sugar for diabetics then put butter on it & microwave it till it gets soft. We like it that way. I think even sweet & low might work. Or just sprinkle regular sugar on it.
    Let me know how it works & if you like it.

  23. I forgot to say that if you fix it that way it leaves you the option of spooning it out or just eating it in the skin.

  24. Sweetbay, Thanks, they've been most useful in the garden.

    Lola, I'll try it and let you know. Sounds good! And thanks because I did not know how to cook it.

  25. Nice harvest you have there Skeeter. I'm still picking a few bell peppers & tomatoes from my lingering veggie garden. Soon it will gone. :( Tina, I love those A-frames (I've mentioned that before). I need to come up with something similar next year. It's nice that you are still picking some cukes & squash. Mine are long gone now.

  26. Everthing looks great girls. I wish I had some matters but the blight got them. I had 20 plants and 16 were killed by the blight and the remaining 4 I had to pull and dispose of. I think that was the hardest thing I ever did in a garden. Sigh, boo hoo!!! My cukes and spinach did nothing but I have had plenty of beans, carrots, squash, pumpkins, turnips, radish and peas. Cabbage has not made any heads but the leaves are growing like weeds so I may get some heads yet. My onions did an awesome job. Only going to have a few peppers. My corn was loaded and the racoons had a great feast on it in 1 night!! STINKERS I have not dug any taters yet but will before long and if the blossoms all turn into taters, I will have an awesome crop.

  27. Oh Tina I forgot but I also cook Butternut the same as Lola only I also add a little butter, salt and pepper. I also put a little water in the bottom and plastic wrap over the dish with a vent if cooking in the microwave. Sometimes I do it in the oven and then I use tin foil.

  28. Sorry everyone, I have been out of town this weekend on what was to be a single over night that turned into a weekender....

    Tina, you have so much still growing in your veggie garden. I too believe that to be a butternut squash. I have never eaten one but they sound yummy the way Lola and Jean make them. I hope you find a good spot for the nanners to thrive and have more success with the veggies next year. Although, I think you have had great success this year! Funny how one may feel no success while it sounds as though you have great success to others... lol....

  29. Skeeter, you must try the Butternut Squash. There is nothing like it. I don't use salt as it is bad for me. I too put the Saran wrap over it like Jean & add a little water to. Just forgot to mention that part.Acorn Squash is good too. Sometimes you can fill the hollow with goodies.
    Jean did you ever try the Acorn Squash stuffed? Hmmmmmm

  30. Hi Tina & Skeeter - I always enjoy seeing your veggie gardens. Skeeter, glad you got your mouth around the purple tomato - I got a few this year too! So yummy! And your gourds look gourdeous.

    Tina, glad to see the A frames working out well. Even when we don't get the results we want, at least we have a better idea of what will work next year. I'm gonna have to try that zucchini/egg/onion fry. Maybe even right now!