Friday, June 7, 2013

Greening Moon - belated full moon update

I'm back! Last week we went on vacation to the Big Bend area, and before that I was really busy with final exams and getting final grades in, so May's full moon post is about two weeks late.

May is supposed to be our wettest month, and we did get around 3 inches of rain, which isn't actually that much, but better than we have been getting.

Lots of things have been happening in the garden that probably deserve their own post. First the neighbor's chickens were causing a lot of damage digging up things in the front garden, then while we were on vacation the deer found it! I also got my sweet potato plants from Duck Creek Farms and planted them. I've been harvesting a few paste tomatoes, but I think the deer are eating a lot of them too. That makes comparing yields from the different varieties I planted difficult. I might have to leave out that bit of data this time around and just compare things like plant vigor and heat tolerance.

I knew I was risking things by planting my Rattlesnake beans in the front, and sure enough, the deer have been eating the leaves off of them. The funny thing is it looks like my deer are lazy, and are only eating the leaves in the middle of the vine, not bothering to bend down to eat the ones near the ground, or stand up to reach the higher ones.

The chickens dug up a lot of the beans, so in their place I planted the rest of my Waltham Butternut squash seeds. There were from Seed Savers Exchange in 2009, and I guess they were getting old because I was having trouble getting them to germinate. I went ahead and planted all the rest of my seeds in the ground before we left, and when we came back some of them were sprouting.

The deer are also eating the ends of the shoots on the tomatoes and peppers. I guess the new growth is more tender. Some of my peppers are getting fruit anyway, but I'm sure the deer have eaten a lot of the blossoms.

Weirdly, they don't seem to like the eggplants. The remaining eggplants I have that didn't get dug up by the chickens are making fruits now. This variety is Fengyuan Purple, and the eggplants growing on it are really long and skinny! The biggest one I have so far looks like it's over a foot long. Guess I need to make some more Thai Green Curry paste to make these into curry with.

The tomatillos aren't looking so good. I've harvested a lot of them, but now it looks like they're starting to die down. I don't know if it's because they aren't getting enough water or something else. The deer haven't bothered them either, even the ones outside the wire cage my husband made for them.

I should be harvesting lots of tomatoes now, but the deer have been mostly beating me to them. When I got back from vacation there were hardly any ripe ones to be found, except for a few that look like this. This is a nice big Red Brandywine with a big chomp out of it. Another annoying this is it appears deer don't know the difference between a ripe and an unripe tomato. Maybe because they're colorblind? I found lots of green tomatoes, including a really nice Opalka that was the size of a Poblano pepper with bites out of them.

The only thing I have left to plant is my okra. Some of them took a really long time to come up, which isn't that unusual with okra. I got three varieties from Native Seeds/SEARCH, all from Texas: Beck's Gardenville, Eagle Pass, and Hill Country Red. I know I'm a bit late on okra planting, but okra can really take the heat, so I think they'll be OK.

Taking a quick look at the herb garden, the Esperanza is starting to overwhelm things again, like I knew it would. The other plants aren't doing too bad though. Herbs really like being in the ground much more than in pots. Once I planted all my herbs in the ground, ones that had been in pots on my apartment balcony for years, they really took off. In the background here is the Mexican oregano flowering like crazy. To the gnome's right is marjoram, while to his left is thyme. Elsewhere in the herb garden I've got Greek oregano, rosemary, peppermint, orange mint, catmint, catnip, lemon balm, yarrow, skullcap, horehound, parsley, and now a few different kinds of basil.

I'm still waiting on the potatoes to die down. It's taking longer than I thought it would. I also haven't harvested the garlic or shallots yet. The garlic still doesn't look good, but the shallots are still pretty green.

This is Tatume squash, a Mexican heirloom that is in the C. pepo species but is supposed to be more resistant to squash vine borers. I planted five, and it looks like the borers already got one, but the others are doing pretty well, so we'll see.

The Moon and Stars watermelon plants are also doing well. I planted four of them. I also just planted three Melon de Castilla plants, a cantaloupe from Native Seeds/SEARCH. 

The Christmas Lima beans are in the back, so the deer aren't eating them, and they're doing great. They're just starting to get blossoms.

Here are my sweet potatoes I just planted right before we went on vacation. They probably deserve a post of their own. They've just gotten settled after transplanting and are starting to grow.

The fava beans just aren't doing too great though. It started getting hot just as they were making pods, so I think they just didn't have enough time. This fall I'll have to plant them much sooner.

OK, that's my update. By now I should be getting my summer crops in if it wasn't for the darn deer.

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