The Backyard Produce Section 6/14/10

I’m a little late getting this post up this week because sadly, my internet has just gone down completely 😦 But for some reason, the downstairs computer is still working so I’m able to get it up now! As for the garden, it’s coming alive! Just look at it!

I don’t know what happened exactly to make it all start blossoming, but I’m just glad it did :p I have tons of blossoms on my tomatoes, but the stems seem to be too weak 😦 because the flowers have been cracking off. Maybe the plant just needs to mature a bit more because it had just bolted up. It’s quite tall and comes up to my stomach at this point. My beans are doing really well! They have flowers galore on them and I’m guessing that the flowers come after the beans. I also planted a bunch of garlic cloves last weekend and those have already sprouted and are fairly tall. Planted some green beans as well! And they’re starting to put out their first leaves. I didn’t think they would survive at first because their poor seedling leaves just got attacked by bugs 😦 We’ll get to the bugs in a second……*angry face*

In the main garden, I couldn’t be happier!! My peppers that I thought would never produce have tons of flowers on them now and they ALL have little baby peppers inside of them. So it looks like we will indeed be eating bell peppers this year. I’m just worried about my jalapeno plant because it seems to have stopped producing. What I’m most excited about though are my eggplant and okra! I had pretty much given up on them and they both gave me beautiful flowers this week. My eggplant gave me that beautiful purple flower and if you’ve never planted okra before, you simply must just for the gorgeous flower that it produces!! The flower only lasted about 3 or 4 hours before it fell off, but it’s so pretty…gorgeous light yellow with a dark crimson inside. And when it fell off, I had a little okra underneath that will continue to grow! Here’s pics of both that you can click to enlarge:

Perhaps the biggest SUCCESS of the week is that my cucumbers had sex! As in, I successfully went out there with a q-tip and had sex for them :/ I don’t know how long I’m willing to do this. Yes, I love you cucumbers, but come on. Can’t we get some bees around here!!! I learned that if you don’t have any bees around to pollinate your cucumbers, they’ll all shrivel up and die. Which leaves you to have to pollinate them by transferring the pollen from the male flowers (w/out a cucumber) into the female cucumbers (attached to a cucmber). Easiest way is to pick the male flower, swab all the pollen onto a q-tip and then gently rub it onto the female flower…preferably with some Barry White playing in the backround. It does indeed work….but it’s not 100% effective. But damn it’s better than nothing!! I thought I wasn’t going to get anything and now I have at least 5 cucumbers growing. Look!

The only thing left to talk about this week is bugs. Oh how I hate you bugs!!!!! The only main problem I’m having this year so far is armyworms. Particularly, yellow striped armyworms. And they are HORRIBLE! They pretty much destroyed my patio garden. They ate all of my strawberries, all of my mint and started going to town on my cherry tomato plant that hasn’t even produced yet. So I said enough was enough and started picking the suckers like crazy one night and putting them in soapy water and they’ve drastically decreased. But I still find them sometimes. I had to cut back my mint since it was destroyed and it’s started growing back healthy, I cut back my strawberries pretty much to the roots and they’re already putting out new leaves and my poor cherry tomato looks awful with all I had to cut off…but it’s actually putting out a few tomatoes. Does anyone know anyway to get rid of armyworms aside from just picking them?

Oh, and I’ll also share with you a recipe that I’ve been using that’s GREAT for something called “garlic fire spray”! Trust me, this stuff knocks out bugs very well! It’ll knock you out too if there’s a good wind when you’re spraying it! You need:

2-3 BULBS of garlic (yeah, it’s a lot)
6 large spicy peppers (whichever you prefer, I used red santa fe chilies)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil (Christina gave me a good tip though…you may want to leave this out as this will kill bees which will pollinate for you!)
3 squirts of liquid detergent
7 cups of water
1 spray bottle
Large Bowl
Strainer

Put the garlic, peppers (I chopped these up first), vegetable oil, soap and three cups of water into a blender and liquify it. Pour it all through a strainer into a large bowl. Put the remaining pulp back into the blender with the rest of the water and blend again and strain that as well into the bowl. Ladle the liquid into a spray bottle and save the rest for later use!! Spray all leaf surfaces with the mixture to kill bugs and deter! Repeat after rain as it will wash off. This has worked really well for me. It works on everything! And of course it’s all natural πŸ™‚ And it doesn’t hurt your plants! ButΒ  unfortunately it doesn’t get rid of worms or caterpillars 😦

Ok…that’s all I have for this week!!!

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14 Responses

  1. Garden is looking good, never would have thought of pollinating the cucumbers by hand — great idea!
    For your tomatoes that seem weak perhaps stick a few more groups of support sticks among them until they are stronger. It’s not that attractive looking but does the job well.
    When you say armyworms if you mean a caterpillar-like bug then the best way to get rid of them is welcoming other creatures into your garden that will eat them. Place birdfeeders (especially hummingbird ones) nearby. The birds will love the snacks and keep your garden clear! We keep our feeders pretty high though so that cats don’t stalk the birds πŸ˜›

  2. Oh Chris! That bug repellant! It’s amazing! O|o I am so trying that.

    Your garden is looking beautiful! I was going to go out and take pictures of mine, but I got wrapped up in the blog this weekend. Plus, it kept storming. Isn’t Mother Nature rude? I’ll try to get some this week. I am going to have tons of tomatoes and I cannot wait!!

  3. Yay for the cucumbers! And wow, your garlic spray sounds really potent. I’ve been using a basil spray to get rid of cucumber beetles (my nemesis here) but what works best for me is to just go out every night and pick them off. I never even heard of an armyworm- they sound scary!

  4. Sooo sorry to hear about the armyworms. If the fire spray doesn’t take care of them, I don’t know what will. It makes me hurt just looking at the recipe.

  5. Ohmygosh. That pollination paragraph had me nearly doubled over (“preferably with some Barry White playing in the background” ROTFLMAO!). We had hundreds of bees on our Chinese tallow tree, recently. I took a little video of them and you would just love it; it’s so cool. You can stand beneath the tree and listen to the roaring buzz of hundreds of bees, hard at work. They don’t bother you — they’re not interested in some stupid human standing there with pollen raining on her head. They’re too busy working. It is so cool.

    I’ve never encountered army worms. Lucky me, then, eh? I’ll have to hang onto your recipe. Your cucumber is adorable.

  6. You are becoming quite the gardener!!!

  7. Okay I have to say I cracked up so hard when I read the Barry White comment. That reminded me so much of Jason!! He can do the best Barry White voice. πŸ˜€

    Armyworms. Grr. I have no idea how to get rid of them, though. The only organic bug repellent that I know of uses ground rhubarb leaves which are naturally poisonous. I don’t know the recipe, though. If you’d like it, let me know and I can email my mother in law to ask her. She might have advice about army worms too, but i don’t know because she’s done most of her growing in the north and midwest. She only had a garden down here a couple years.

  8. Joanne, Thanks πŸ™‚ I would’ve never thought of hand pollinating the cucumbers either! But when I noticed they were all shriveling up I went and researched it and found out about hand pollinating and it’s working! I definitely think my tomatoes may need some more support because they’re getting wild! I’ve been tying them, but they’re branching out. And as for the bird feeders, that’s a great idea πŸ™‚

    Heather, I had fun making the garlic fire spray πŸ™‚ I love making organic stuff. And it works really well! I can’t wait to see pictures of all of your stuff!! I’m getting lots of tomatoes too. Glad to hear you are πŸ˜€ Mother nature can indeed be rude, lol.

    Jeane, I was so happy when I lifted the leaf and saw that cucumber πŸ˜€ I’m finding more like that now!! Oooh, your basil spray sounds good! I’m going to have to ask for the recipe if I get the dreaded cucumber beetle around here :/ Hope they leave you alone soon!! I’ve been picking off what I can too. I thought the army worms were cute at first, but now….not so much :/ Go google them “yellow striped army worm” They’re now my worst enemy \_/

    Andi, LOL…yeah, it hurts pretty bad. The first week I used it, my brother managed to somehow get the stuff in his eye and it was not pretty :p But it washed out ok with water. But yeah…you don’t want to spray 6 peppers and 3 bulbs of garlic in your eyes :p

    Nancy, I was going for a bit of humor there :p And it truly does make the pollination process a bit more fun to hum some Barry White, especially when you’re out there in 100 degree heat :p Oooooh! Send some of your bees over here!! I could so use them!!! That sounds amazing! Shoot, you should start keeping some of them and get some honey out of them :p It sounds really awesome. The army worms are just relentless 😦 They eat everything they can find 😦 Like I said though, I seem to have gotten most of them as I’m not seeing too much damage now. I watched one go to town the other night on a leaf though and it ate the whole thing in like 4 minutes!!

    Staci, Thanks πŸ˜€ Though I’d hardly agree :p I’m having so much fun trying to be though!

    Amanda, Like I told Nancy, I was going for a bit of humor there :p Glad you enjoyed it!! I would LOVE to hear Jason’s Barry White voice, lol. Aren’t armyworms horrible???? Oooooh I hate them so much! I’ve seen the rhubarb leaf recipe some where. If they turn back up again in mass amounts I’ll go look for it again. Sadly, I’m not growing any rhubarb though…I could always go get some from Whole Foods though. Hope y’all are having fun!

  9. I love your garden. Kudos for doing what you can to grow your own products. When I lived in Idaho, we used to grow a huge garden, and I miss it. Now I trip around so much during the summer that I miss a lot of the growing months. Sad, sad, sad. When I get back home at the end of the summer, I am going to put up some vegetables from the local farmer’s market. I’m excited about that at least! πŸ™‚

    Best wishes with your garden! I love your pictures.

  10. I just can’t get over how pretty your garden is!!! You will surely laugh when you get a look at ours…seriously. πŸ˜‰

  11. Looking good Chris. πŸ™‚

  12. It works against some other bugs too, but I mostly use it for cucumber beetles. It’s really simple: crush some fresh basil leaves and stems into a clear jar of water, leave sit in the sun for a day or two. Filter out the solids and spray on the plants in the morning (so it can dry off by nighttime) Repeat after rain. That’s it!

  13. glad your garden is growing well. My cherry tomato plant is now as tall as i am! Ok, I’m only 5 ft 2, but that’s pretty big for a vegetable plant! I haven’t seen bees but these weird red wasps seem to be having a great time pollinating for me.

  14. “Easiest way is to pick the male flower, swab all the pollen onto a q-tip and then gently rub it onto the female flower…preferably with some Barry White playing in the backround.”

    This made me laugh out loud such that my husband had to ask me what the heck was going on. πŸ˜› I’m so glad to hear about all your flowers! RE: bees for pollinating your cucumbers, a plant I have that works very well to attract them is blue salvia (such as: http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/flowerseed/salviaa/victoriasalvia). Bees like blue flowers. Once they’ve been attracted to the area, you may find that they move over to the cucumber flowers, which I believe have ultraviolet markings that the bees can see even if we can’t.

    Another thought to consider: build a bee house ! Mason bees don’t sting, and they don’t make honey, but they do pollinate. http://www.yesmag.ca/projects/bee.html I am hoping to try this one myself, but I haven’t yet so I don’t know if it actually works.

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