The summer crops are coming in now: beans, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers.The summer squash are looking good so far. I have been using trap boards in the garden to catch squash bugs and then stomping them. They haven’t done a lot of visible damage yet and I have been hand-picking the egg clusters.
The Sunburst squash is still cranking out fruit. As others have commented, true to name it seems to produce a burst of fruit at the beginning and then takes a break for awhile. So far the fruit has been produced around the base of the plant near ground level. As the plant grows, it lies close to the ground and spreads outward from the center.
The Costata Romanesco, however, seems to grow skyward, Someone tried to describe its growth habit to me as enthusiastically upward, but I couldn’t quite imagine it. Now I’m seeing what they meant. The first fruit were produced at the base of the plant ground level, similar to a regular zucchini, as pictured below.
Now that those fruits have been produced and picked, flowering and fruit production is growing upward, several inches off the ground. You can see that below and notice that another cluster of flower buds is forming about 6 inches further up the plant. I might have to stake this one to keep it from collapsing if it sets multiple fruit at once.
Half the bean patch is now being picked. Below is a photo of Provider, which produces about a week before Fresh Pick. I usually plant a 4x4 bed with bush beans, half Provider and half Jade (or this year, Fresh Pick, a new bean developed by Dr. Calvin Lamborn, the breeder who developed Jade). Unfortunately, I miscalculated the number of beans I would need and soaked and inoculated only enough seed to plant 4 squares of each. So I decided I would plant the second half two weeks later. That way I would have four consecutive weeks with a quarter of the bed coming into production. Seemed like a good idea at the time. What I found was the first half of the bed grew rapidly and after a few weeks started flopping over onto the younger bean plants. I think it is still a good idea but next year I need to run a low fence down the middle of the bed to keep the two halves out of each others way.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Provider (on the left) and Fresh Pick. I wish I had also grown Jade so I could compare it to Fresh Pick. Compared to Fresh Pick, Provider is shorter, a lighter green color, thicker, easier to pick and about a week earlier. Despite its looks, it is a tender bean with good beany flavor. I like to use this one for dilly beans. Provider has dark colored seeds so it germinates better in cooler soils than Jade or Fresh Pick, which have white seeds with a greenish cast.
Fresh Pick is a darker green, long and slender. It seems a little easier to pick than Jade, which had very tough stems that sometimes required a scissors. Johnny’s describes Fresh Pick as being plumper and darker than Jade, with more disease resistance. Both beans tolerate hot weather and produce over a long period. I plant once and as long as I keep them picked, they produce well into cold weather in September.
This is an early picking of Provider, just a few beans to try them out.
This is a second picking of Provider, about a pound of beans. I also picked my first Jalapenos and an Aruba sweet pepper, plus a couple of Juliet tomatoes.
This is the first large picking of beans, each pile about a pound. That’s Provider on the left and Fresh Pick on the right.
The Jackson Classic pickling cuke is doing well and starting to climb the trellis. I wish the slicers would be a little more enthusiastic, they were all planted at the same time.
I already have two pickling cucumbers that will be eaten fresh. Tomatoes included Juliet and Sungold cherries.
I have also gotten a handful of tomatoes from my Black Cherry plant. They are large fruits, about an inch in diameter, with purplish shoulders, and are very tasty. I am also looking forward to sampling the Matt’s Wild Cherry, shown below. The plant is doing pretty good compared to what it looked like when I transplanted it. The clusters of fruit shown are actually smaller than they appear in the photo, maybe the size of the nail on my small finger.
The other tomato I am excited to try is Big Rainbow. The plant below has four large fruit set.
The tomato below is Cherokee Purple and it has two medium sized tomatoes set. The one at the top is now starting to color so I may get a tomato next week. Unfortunately, this plant is showing signs of being infected with late blight, so I may not get more than these two. Too bad because it is one of my favorites and makes a great slicer.
That’s what is happening in my garden. To see what other gardeners around the world are harvesting from their gardens, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions.