2013 Squashes (end of season notes)

Powdery mildew – grow resistant varieties where possible
Squash vine borers – grow resistant varieties where possible, experiment with non-surgical methods
Cucumbers: did well, excellent yield (many dozens) – give a bit less real estate, grow pickling type on arbor next year
Pumpkins: disappointing yield (@ 12), lots of powdery mildew
Watermelons: good yield (@ 20), some vine withering, a few rotted and a few were harvested too late
Winter Squash (Delicata): disappointing yield (@ 12), lots of vine borers – give more space?
Zucchini & Zephyr (Summer Squash): good yield, compact plants worked well in space

Pesticides vs. Mildew

Mildew attacked the leaves of cucumber plants and zucchini (and other summer squash) plants this summer.  Despite this, we harvested abundant quantities of each, so one could just call this part of our ecological tithe, especially since we weren't eating the leaves.  Yet there was enough concern that we did try to address the problem.

We altered our watering, so as not to water from above near these plants (as well as the tomatoes, given the threat of tomato blight).  Water on leaves helps spread disease, and it's water into roots which counts.  We added a soaker hose in the area of these plants as well.

We also tried a couple pesticides.  The first was a dilute mixture of hydrogen peroxide.  The effectiveness was questionable, requiring multiple regular applications to seem to work.  The second was baking soda and soybean oil (vegetable oil) diluted in water:  about a tablespoon of baking soda with a half gallon of water; the oil helps the baking soda stick to the leaves.  A few days later, many of the leaves of the squash plants appeared free of mildew.  However, it is unclear how much of this is new growth unyet touched by mildew, since we cleared away the dead leaves.

Monster squashes

Last night, we took some more zucchinis, including a very robust, slightly curved specimen, and our first pattypans, a type of squash I've seen in the store but never purchased. One curiosity about them is that they look a little individual pot pies, but some have the stem coming from the middle of the dough, and some have the stem extending from the bottom of the pan (figuratively speaking, of course).

All the squash plants are massive and seem poised to provide an avalanche of produce.

Wednesday night harvesting

Last night's midweek gathering was sparse, damp, and sprinkled upon, but it was fun nevertheless — and because only Lisa, Alan, and I were able to make it, we got relatively large parcels of produce to bring home.

I got a big cache of snow peas and took the two small zucchinis, leaving a larger one each for Alan and Lisa. I also took some arugula (a new delight for me, which I owe to Elisabeth's passion for it) and a head of lettuce.

I also got a nice handful of beans, which I originally wanted to call "green beans," but we planted yellow (aka wax) and purple beans, too. The beans were long and shiny, and the bushes were well stocked, in contrast to the bushes I'm growing at home. I was quite jealous.

July 14 2010 harvest

Watch out for the little spines

I opened the garden for a couple of hours Tuesday.

Again, we had several Asian-Americans coming to visit, including one a couple who had just arrived from Beijing! The man practiced his English on me. They have different gardening customs, which I can't quite repeat. For instance they do not plant cabbages in the spring.

A little later, after Michael had come by with baby Joe, an Indian family visited — a dad and three kids who were very enthusiastic. They asked about several of the crops, including which ones were being grown for what was underground, and the elder girl (9 or 10, maybe?) warned that when we harvest the zucchini, we should be wary of the little spines that could hurt.

Their dad liked our garden and wanted to be in touch with us. He said he is psyched that we are adding to the town's culture, which he, himself, was also doing: He told us about a townwide Scrabble tournament at the library on Wednesday. Unfortunately for us, he said it was closed to those who had graduated high school. 

[Michael P. contributed to Oakes' report.]

Visitors enjoy the progress

I opened the garden for an hour and a half yesterday afternoon. Though there were dramatic rains in both Lexington and Boston, none here! Even so, the garden looked well watered.

A nice group of Asian-American mothers and children came to visit. They remarked on the eggplants (great purple blossoms), the amaranth, and the tomatoes. Earlier a mother with two daughters enjoyed finding the hidden zucchini. Several people took the cards.

I tried to draw the amaranth and the basil, impossible as usual.

Babies Growing Up

Zucchini.  Looking a bit battered- hopefully it won't make a difference when it gets a bigger.

Tomatoes changing color.  I think these are the grape tomatoes, in which case they are turning red, or maybe they're the Sungold cherry tomatoes turning yellow.

Peppers- these look like chili peppers rather than bell peppers.

Shell peas, finally.  Yummy.

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