Garden Update – 7/24/11

This is my second year of vegetable gardening, and I’m learning some hard truths this year. Mostly, I’m learning what crops do well with our family’s summer traveling habits and the weather here in Maryland; I need to find crops that like the heat, don’t need a lot of watering, and can withstand neglect a week or two at a time.

Carrots seem to be just fine on their own, and they may be my best crop despite a destructive dog earlier this summer. I pulled a carrot out just to see how they were doing, and it came out surprisingly long, and delicious. It’s hard to tell, but there are three hefty rows of carrots growing in this box. I planted them on mounds and I think that was a good idea, because it’s helped them grow straight down into the soil.

The four tomato plants are not having a good time. Once the tomatoes started growing I should have gave them plenty of plant food and fertilizer, but we were out of town so this is what I came home to. A couple days later we left for another week, and came back to mostly dead tomato plants. The fruits sucked the life right out of them. I’m apt to think that this is all the tomatoes I’ll get for the year, since the plants are doing so poorly – however, last year’s plants lasted until November so I’m going to keep feeding them to see how they hold up.

The eggplants (center) are doing okay, although they’re shorter than I thought they would be. Each plant has a good-sized eggplant growing on it right now. The cantaloupe (right side) plant is growing well; this is my first time with cantaloupe but it seems to be doing what it’s supposed to.

This morning I harvested the tomatoes; even though I got a good amount of them, I had to throw out just as many as I kept due to dead vines and ants. I’ll probably end up canning this batch.

The strawberries are growing like mad, and I’m excited to see how much fruit we get this fall when they start to flower again.

The raspberries are doing fine, although there are some sort of bugs eating many of the leaves. I just hope they don’t enjoy the berries, because there are a lot already starting to show up.

So in the end, I think I’ll stick with carrots, strawberries and raspberries as crops that I can easily maintain. Tomatoes take too much time and attention, even if I get a good harvest out of them. I’m still undecided on the eggplant or cantaloupe, though. Lettuce is okay for a spring crop, but I think I’ll stick to romaine (and not as many rows next year).

8 thoughts on “Garden Update – 7/24/11

  1. I think you should try (or investigate) Arugula. It’s my new favorite lettuce. such a great flavor and you can pick it early for “baby” arugula or let it grow…I think….. and then, I can get delivery service for my share of this fantastic crop!


    1. we did a lettuce mix this year that had arugula in it…the problem was that we had a lot of bugs on the lettuce, and it was really tedious to pick them off each little leaf of the baby lettuce. when we did romaine last year it was a lot easier to clean off the lettuce since the leaves were much bigger. so, I guess laziness beats taste this time :(


  2. and how about some sort of bug kill for it vice just letting it be???! homework assignment: find a natural safe way to de-bug lettuce. go!


  3. hmmf, look how easy this was!


    Lettuce is bothered by very few pests and diseases. Slugs are its biggest enemy, and they can be thwarted by setting out a saucer of beer to trap them in, or by sprinkling diatomaceous earth or crushed eggshells around your plants. These sharp substances cut the slugs’ underbellies when they slide across it, and kills them.

    Aphids can also be a problem. If they are, try knocking them off with a blast of water from the hose or try a homemade spray to get rid of them. Cutworms can also be a problem, and the best way to protect against them is to install a collar made of thick paper or cardboard around the base of any newly-planted lettuce seedlings.

    If your pests are of the long-eared, four-footed variety, the best defense is to install a metal fence around the garden, or around the bed in which you are growing your lettuce. You can also try sprinkling cayenne pepper on the plants to deter the rabbits.


  4. I get so excited and want to grow so much and have decided to try to concentrate on the stuff we eat most of the STAPLES so to speak.. loved your carrots in the mounds … i did this also for the straight down effect. Wonderful blog.. enjoy your garden


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