bean tower admirers

bean-tower

Several posts back I mentioned that the pole beans were growing rapidly. They have now topped out the bean tower which is 8′ tall. According to my calculations, we should be picking beans by Oct 30 and it looks like that’s highly possible. The other plant that’s showing extraordinary growth is the butternut squash. The vine is over 6′ long and sporting large, dark green foliage and a dozen or so small squashletts. At this point I’m wondering just how long the vine will grow. I have it covering the new area in the garden so it has plenty of room – at least I think it has plenty. I’ve not had much success with butternuts here so I’m hoping this year will be different. What normally happens, and what’s also happening this year, is that the plant puts out plenty of fruit but when they get about 3” long, they die off. I’ve found this to be true with most squash varieties but when the plants mature, the later forming fruit hangs on and ripens. My theory on this is that early on most of the plant’s energy is going into vine and foliage growth rather than the fruit. When it’s met it’s biological target for producing the plant, it’s energy goes to producing the fruit itself. This cycle has been a problem for me in the past because the nematodes have attacked and killed the plant before it gets to this last part of the cycle. I put all my expertise and time into making sure that doesn’t happen this year so I’m hopeful that my efforts will be rewarded with a load of butternuts. I have high hopes because the zucchini bushes are likewise sporting larger and greener foliage than I ever remember and the squash production is much higher already. Zucchini is a 50 day crop compared to 90 days for the butternut.

The other big harvest that I haven’t much mentioned is the jalapeno peppers. Last Monday I picked a bag that had to be 10 pounds for our friend Edna and her family. Yesterday another large bag, I’m guessing 5 pounds, for Joanne who is visiting with her granddaughters. Even this didn’t strip the 3 plants, if you can believe that. I need the space for an upcoming lettuce and spinach crop. It’s still too hot for those leafy vegetables but it won’t be for long and I’ll eventually have to pull out the peppers for a crop we enjoy even more.

The girls have been having a totally new experience for them. They are city folk and a couple days at the lake and in the garden is a big change. We hit the garden after they came and I gave them each a harvest basket to help me pick. I had avoided picking anything for a few days so they’d have plenty to do. We loaded the baskets with eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and the jalapenos. I had to help carry the loaded baskets. Then we hit the lake. They wanted a boat ride first so we trolled around, hoping maybe a stray perch would bite. No luck so they were bummed. Not to worry, we brought a piece of bread to the dock and baited the cane poles. Within a couple of minutes they were catching fish, squealing, and jumping up and down. They did a little swimming but the lake was a bit intimidating for these pool kiddies. The water had also cooled down to 85 which they thought was just a little too cold.
Sunday was planting day and they helped transplant a few cauliflower plants from the starter to styrofoam cups and planted seeds for plants that will hit the garden mid November. That would be Chinese cabbage, brussels sprouts, two varieties of lettuce and a few more broccolis. Ran a wheelbarrow full of leaves through the mulcher, distributed the chopped leaves into the garden and then turned the compost pile. So they’ve had a taste of everything from starting to picking and all things in between.

Wonder if it’s too late for Simon to transfer to FSU? Had to sneak out at midnight to pull down the Gator banner. Changed my orange and blue for black.

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