What’s Up Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Yes, the legend continues! I celebrated 6 months of blogging on The Accidental Pumpkin! And, another Accidental Pumpkin is now growing in my garden – well, sort of. Again, I didn’t plant it. I just let it grow. Teeeeeny itty bitty pumpkins are already forming! I’m very excited. This bodes very well for continuing the blog. Oh, and all of you reading – thank you for your comments and support. I don’t think I would have made it this far if I thought no one was following along…

Here is a shot of where it popped up – right NEXT to, not IN, the raised bed garden box. Interesting.

Here it is, in all its glory. Accidental Pumpkin, 2.0!

What’s Up Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What’s up and OUT this week is: garlic!

Garlic, one leave wilted. Taken about a month ago.

I got some seed garlic from Azure Standard last fall, planted it near the end of October, if memory serves (maybe it was even later, as it was quite a warm fall) and then thrilled when, after anticipating, searching, scratching away the newly-warmed ground this spring, I saw the first green shoots coming up!

I’ve never tried to grow garlic before, but I think it will be on my ‘must grow’ list henceforth. Reason #1: It gives some hope the the loooong winter (ok, so this winter was seasonably warm, but still – it gets to seem long!) and something ‘to do’ in the garden just when the season of growing is wrapping up, and Reason #2: Its incredibly easy. I suppose its possible it was just beginner’s luck, but man – awesome!

There are whole farms devoted to selling and developing seed garlic! And, judging from the blogs and message boards I scanned as I was deciding between the couple of varieties offered, people are REALLY into it. Like, scary into it.

And I thought *I* liked garlic!

Anywho, garlic should be harvested when the bottom 3 leaves die back and turn brittle. Harvesting too late or too early can prevent the harvested bulb from having a long shelf-life. I harvest a couple of bulbs when there were just 2 leaves that had wilted (these were planted in a different part of my garden, in a dirt mound that was left over last year.). I wondered how much difference a couple of weeks and one more wilted leave would make. I harvested the rest yesterday, and yes, a little on the early side, as I have a friend who will use the ‘garlic bed’ to plant some veggies for herself. I was delighted when I saw how much bigger the bulbs had gotten! The picture of my hand holding two bulbs shows the difference in size between the smallest and the largest that I harvested yesterday.

Successful garden experiment! Hooray!

What have you grown that was a success (or not) this year or in year’s past? How often are you able to follow through on a ‘new variety’ or ‘experiment’ urge in your garden (or life)?

What’s Up Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What could be worse than mildew? Powdery MILDEW!

Yes, it is a problem with my plants. I noticed my zucchini plants were suddenly sending up lots of shoots. I thought, great! Productive! But then, I noticed the, for lack of better description, powdery-looking white patches on the leaves. A quick google search later, and the diagnosis – powdery mildew. I think this is what affected my zucchini plants last year!

How I’m trying to get rid of it:

I made a concoction based on this .pdf from the Appropriate Technology Transfer from Rural Areas (Attra): in a little less than a gallon container, I combined 2 Tbl. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, 1 1/2 Tbl. kitchen baking soda, 2 bags strongly brewed chamomile tea, and a little olive oil – maybe 1 Tbl. roughly. I shook it up, put it in a sprayer I happened to find (I didn’t think I had one! My original plan would have been to gently sponge the leaves), and after I watered the plants, I sprayed the leaves well.

I may have to cut off all the affected leaves, I will monitor it the next day or so, and see what happens.

I do this for the love of zucchini, yes, but also to just know more about what is happening, and how to grow healthy plants. Other things I could have done to prevent this: heavy mulching around the plants, and when watering, avoid getting the leaves wet. The mulching helps prevent the spores to get contact with your plants and leaves, and the leaves staying dry? Well, they just prefer it that way.