The Squash PlantsThe above picture is what is left of my patch of yellow squash. Earlier in July I had a serious battle with powdery mildew which really took a toll on the squash plants. They made quite a nice comeback, gaining some regrowth, and still producing some squash. During its peak, the nine plants were producing about four to six squash a day. After the powdery mildew devastation the plants slowed to producing about 4 a week that were generally much smaller, but definitely usable. While looking over the squash and snapping the pictures, I noticed an odd thing. If you look at the above picture closely you will notice that the leaves on the plant near the middle, right are slightly wilted. I found this peculiar because we just had 3 days of rain. I had a suspicion of what the culprit might be....... The split in the vine and the orange-colored mush are the sure signs of a squash vine borer. I had a feeling that if one vine had this terrible critter, more probably were affected as well. After splitting the vine open to investigate, here's what I found lurking inside.... Sure enough... there sat a squash vine borer. I knew at that point that it was time to pull up all the squash plants, and get ready to plant some fall crops in their place. I eventually found three squash vine borers in all, but there's no telling how many there may have been at one time or another.
Tomato PlantsThe tomatoes are producing pretty well - I have 13 plants and have picked around 45 lbs of tomatoes thus far. The good thing is they are not done yet, there are plenty of green tomatoes left to ripen. One thing that I have learned from dry farming the tomatoes this year is that it does produce great tasting tomatoes, but they are smaller in size. I think next year I will go back to regularly watering them. This will reduce some of the blossom end rot and cracking issues I have had this year. Growing tomato plants that do not become a mini-jungle has always been an issue in my garden. I have used cages and stakes, like in the pictures, but have always had tomato plants that have gone out of control. I plan on using a trellis system like the one featured at Veggie Gardening Tips. Hopefully, it will make growing tomatoes a bit more organized. If you are interested in checking out some really cool tomatoes, then head on over to Tomato Lover. Sally has some great pictures of heirloom tomatoes grown in containers, as well as some yummy tomato recipes.
EggplantI have been very pleased with the eggplant so far this year. The six plants have produced a mess of eggplant so far this year. There was about a two week period when I wondered if the eggplant had quit on me. They stopped producing and stopped flowering. Then all of a sudden, the blooms started popping up and so did more fruit. As you can see in the pictures, the leaves of the eggplant have been hit by flea beetles. They are what's causing all the holes in the leaves. Usually flea beetle damage isn't enough to really worry about. They are only a concern when the leaf damage becomes heavy enough to cause the leaves to die. At that point they should be dealt with.
OkraThe okra has produced like mad this year. Okra seems to absolutely love the hot temperatures we have had lately. I am able to go out and pick anywhere from 15 to 25 okra pods a day off of 15 plants. They are really beginning to get tall now - with a couple plants well over six foot in height now. I have also found a bunch of strange insects around and on the okra plants. The above picture is of a couple cucumber beetles that were hiding inside an okra bloom. These two guys didn't make it very far after the picture was taken I'm afraid. Cucumber beetles won't get far if I can catch them. Above is a big, black wasp-like insect that I found on an okra bloom. I have no idea what it is, and I really didn't want to find out. He was mean looking! Here is a "normal" looking wasp on an okra bloom. There were several wasps hanging on the blooms - I'm not sure why they were there, but I didn't get too close to find out.
Future PlantingsI had some zucchini planted in front of the tomatoes that I pulled up about a week ago. I plan on planting some kale and a little spinach in that area. I have the area pretty much ready and will plant those in a couple weeks. I'm looking forward to fall planting and have already gotten a jump start by planting some turnips. These turnip seedlings will be thinned out in a few days, and will hopefully have some tasty greens before long. Well that's just about it for now, I will keep everyone posted in the coming weeks on what is going on in my garden. I would love to hear about your vegetable garden as well!
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