Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blooms & bugs

We got lots of rain here in Roanoke on Tuesday, so I stopped by the garden yesterday afternoon to check up on some things and do some weeding while the ground was soft. About 5 minutes after I arrived, Talisha and a friend of hers drove up. [Talisha works with Jesse Griffin in the community service office and agreed to keep track of the garden over the summer. She said she goes every Sunday and Wednesday in June, if any of you want to join her in the future!]

Talisha and her friend (whose name I never did learn) went to work picking potato bugs off of the potato plants and then drowning them in buckets of water. Meanwhile I staked the tomato plants that fill about 3/4 of the first bed, which they helped me finish after taking their revenge on the potato bugs.

Since the start of summer break Talisha (and others) have planted these tomatoes as well as peppers, sweet corn, onions, potatoes, and some other things that I couldn't identify (squashes or cucumbers or zucchini, perhaps?) in the first three beds. All of the produce from these three beds will go to the food bank, and from the looks of it we'll be sending them a sizeable donation!

Lots of onions coming...

Most of the tomato plants have several blossoms!

Potatoes fill more than half of one bed. Here's one of the plants that the potato bugs really got to. Luckily, most were not this badly munched..

After we finished staking the tomatoes, Talisha and her friend left, while I stayed a little longer to get some pictures and check on everyone's individual plots in the fourth bed.

Mike has a huge zucchini plant with a couple of zucchinis coming. Here's the largest one:

Both Ryan and Colin have large patches of radishes that look a bit overgrown. I've no idea what to do with them, but I can dig them up (?) if you guys want me to.

The tomato plant in Matthew's plot is loaded with fruits! The largest (at the top of the following picture) is a little over 2 inches in diameter.

This was in Eric's plot. I think it might be a cucumber? There are lots of other blossoms, too.

One of Claire's bean plants has some pods developing! I didn't see any pods on anyone else's bean plants, but most had some blossoms.

I didn't harvest anything that I saw today, but I certainly can when it's time and if you guys would like me to do so. Just let me know! Also, if anyone can identify some of the things I'm unsure about, that would be greatly appreciated!

~ Kim


  1. Thanks for the awesome post Kim! Glad that everything is coming along nicely. I will be back on campus Aug. 25 to work on the garden and hopefully deliver some goods to the food pantry:)

    the radishes can definitely be pulled ASAP and the beans look like they're about ready to be picked as well...and probably the cucumber as well.

    I'm jealous of the tomatoes! I have to wait until late July for them here in NY.

  2. Also- do you know if the fence is working properly?

  3. I don't think the electrical part of the fence is working. I saw a bird sitting on one of the wires when I passed the garden today. Talisha said that it was working at one point though.

    I don't think the tomatoes will be ready for picking any time soon, at least not the majority of them. There are really only 2 or 3 plants with fruits on them so far.

    I'll harvest the radishes & beans & cucumber the next time I'm out there. Probably this weekend. The only thing is...what should I DO with them??

  4. I am thrilled to see that the garden is doing so well. (Aside from the poor spuds) It is good to see that the seeds of gardening are still alive at Roanoke. I am excited for you. Raising a garden provides you with a vital skill, and a renewed sense of awareness about the possibilities and the vulnerabilities of our food supply. There is always something gnawing at me when I see the root cellar devoid of stored food.

    I would also like to commend you on your progress and chime in and point out a few things if I may. The fence could still be fine even though the bird is not being zapped. He would have to be grounded to get popped. My dad used to make me test the fence by touching it with the back of my hand. (you can test the current with a simple bulb and wire) You can pull the potato bugs off one by one make certain that you mash the orange clusters of eggs on the undersides of the leaves. Getting the adults is good disrupting the cycle is much better. Also, a little white powder lime (not the fruit) will deter the bugs organically and it acts as a fertilizer. The radishes will keep for quite a while in a cool place, the beans can be cooked and eaten immediately or they can be canned (my favorite). The cucumbers you have look like great pickling cucumbers. I usually put them in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator for 4-5 days until I have gathered enough to make pickles. (I have a very easy dill pickle recipe).

    Anyway that's my two cents. Have fun!

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  6. Ahhhh sooo much excitement! I loved this update. Kim, I realllyy am going to try and help you at some point this summer, lol. Promise. Hold me to it, okay?!?!

  7. Haha will do, Rachel ;) There's not actually a whole lot to be done right now. Mostly some weeding here and there, and of course potato bug management. Once things start ripening there will be more to do.

    Philip, thanks for the tip about the potato bug egg clusters. I'll check for those next time I'm there.