Friday, April 3, 2009

The planting of the Zucchermelons and a garden update

With all the recent talk of chicks, badgers and travel blogs, I've completely veered away from writing about gardening this week. I think the best way to end the week is with a gardening update so that you can see I'm still toiling away in my sad little plot of dirt, even if my blog doesn't reflect it.

Last week we planted some potatoes and I'm giving them about a 10% chance of turning into potato plants. We couldn't find any seed potatoes around here, so I decided to get some store-bought potatoes and put those in the ground. I had some regular ole' new potatoes and some super funky purple potatoes that I thought would be fun to try. I'm convinced I cut the new potato pieces too small before putting them in the ground and I've heard that people have poor results with store-bought taters, so my expectations are low. It should be obvious by now that the threat of poor results doesn't dissuade us from moving forward with something. So a line of taters is in the garden.

Next the boys and I made a teepee from some bamboo poles and planted some green bean seeds around the bottom of each leg. Aidan was really helpful to his little brother and was very patient while trying to show him where to plant the little beans. I thought it was such a sweet brotherly moment until I heard them muttering to each other about climbing the beanstalk when it grows to see the ogre, so I think it was a self-serving planting experience for them. It wasn't so much to help mom and embrace the gardening experience, but more the chance of climbing to an alternate universe, battling a giant ogre and stealing his gold. Won't they be disappointed when our beanstalks don't grow through the clouds? Won't I be disappointed if the boys try to climb them anyway?

Today I decided that some of the plants I've been growing in little plastic cups on the patio were ready to go in the garden. The paperwork Farmer B picked up from the Extension Office says that when plants get about four "real" leaves on them, they're generally good to go. I found a few watermelons and zucchini seedlings with four nice-sized leaves, so off to the garden they went. If my past is any indication, these seedling should be dead brown sticks within 10 days.

Although… on my way out there I noticed that one of the cups had a zucchini sticker AND a watermelon sticker on it - and one cup had no sticker. I looked at the leaves to distinguish the plants - no luck. So I don't know which plants are which. I'd like to extend a special thanks to my sticker-switching children for this fun moment. So we're calling those two rows zucchermelons, since we don't know if they're zucchini or watermelon.

Finally, I was feeling up my tomato plants in the garden and noticed something weird going on with the bottom leaves on my two beefy plants. I have two beefy tomato plants and one small one - the rest are still teeny-tiny seedlings on the patio. The bottom leaves have sort of a yellow variegation in them and are a bit curly - not super curly, but the edges are curling up. The top 3/4 of the plant looks completely normal.

I looked this up online and it turns out that almost every tomato malady involves some sort of yellowing and leaf curling. Once again, I don't know what to do to fix this mystery. One of my major gardening Achilles Heels is having a problem and not being able to diagnose it by looking at pages in a gardening book. Hopefully I can figure out what is going on with my tomato plants. They both have nice yellow flowers on them, but the bottom leaves must be indicating a problem.

So there you have it. Turns out I can fight off a vicious badger and still find time to play in the garden too :o)


Dani said...

Hmmm.... don't know what to make of the tomatoes. Mine usually get struck down by mosiac virus. It makes the leaves curl, but no spotting like yours has. Very strange.

Daphne said...

I've found that with tomato diseases too. It never really looks like any of the diseases, but always sort of between the two. Kinda like your zucchermelons. I always treat them the same anyway. I take off the infected leaves and mulch heavily below so the soil can't splash on uninfected leaves. Does it work? Well no. More leaves always get infected, but I like to think it helps.

whiterice said...

The melon and zucchini plants look really healthy.

engineeredgarden said...

Kate - I think your tomato plants have a magnesium deficiency. The leaves in the picture are history, but you can prevent any more from doing that. Work some dolomitic lime into the soil around the plants (with your hands), and it might do better. (Dolomitic lime has magnesium in it)


Hannah said...

I'm gonna call your mystery plant a zucchini plant. None of my watermelon leaves have ever looked like that. It looks typical of a zucchini though

Carole said...

Your Zucchermelons sound really great, knowing you they will be funny, interesting, and different.
Will they be round or long!!!! or maybe a combo of both!. Maybe they are not Melons or Zuccinis at all
Maybe your boy's switched the seeds
The mind boggles

Mactutis UP! said...

A couple words of advise with your potatoes:

1. buying from the store is a great way to get seed taters, but you might have to get them in the natural section to assure that they aren't sprayed with anything to cause them a prolonged dormancy (like they do with onions and garlic.)

2. pick smaller potatoes (about the size of golf ball or maybe a hair bigger) and instead of cutting them (which opens they up to the possiblity for disease)leave them whole. Set them out in the light (not the direct sun) so their eyes will grow. Once you have some plump buds in their eyes, you can plant them in your trench, barely covering them with a scattering of dirt at first (so the buds stick out at the soil line.)

Good luck with your gardening endeavours!

Kelly said...

I second the mag deficiency, though this is my very layman opinion. 8)

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