Friday, September 9, 2011

My Cucumbers From My Cucumber Plants

My cucumber plants got quite big! This was the first year of growing cucumbers for me and I learned a lot.  The first cucumbers I picked were a little small, I started enjoying them in the beginning of August.  They did not seem to get huge at first and me being impatient, I picked them early I guess.  I thought that they were just a smaller variety of cucumbers.  The small ones tasted quite good so I continued to pick them at that size.  I went out in the garden to check on the plants after all the heavy rain we have had and when I did, I saw some more cucumbers ready.  I picked them and looked at the tomato plants.  By chance when I moved some of the leaves of my cucumber plant to see some of the tomatoes (I learned that cucumber plants really grow and attach to everything), I happen to see a rather large cucumber! It was all the way in the back and hard to see, I missed it every time I went out there.  I picked it and it was a great and healthy cucumber! I have not eaten this one yet so I am not sure if they taste better smaller or big like this one yet.  Goes to show you can pick cucumbers at different sizes and enjoy them! Look at the difference in sizes:

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Green Caterpillars on my Tomato Plants!

I was out in the garden tending to my cucumber plants that starting getting so heavy that the bamboo they were leaning on started to fall over when I came across something disturbing.  After tending to the cucumber plant, I started to check on my tomatoes.  Between weather and that the fact that they got much taller then I expected, they too started falling over and bending in the main branch.  Well I was looking to see if I needed to prop another part of the plant up when I almost put my hand right onto a big green caterpillar.  When I saw it, I thought well ok I will spray later.  Figured one caterpillar wouldn't be so bad.  So then I looked at another part of the plant and there was another caterpillar!! Yikes, I don't like where this is going! Well I ended up finding a few of these green guys on a couple of the tomato plants.  So I googled them to see what they may be.  I found out that I have tomato hornworms or some are calling them the greenhorn worm.  It is a caterpillar that changes to be a nice size moth so I have read.  I ordinarily wouldn't mind the little green hornworms hanging out but from what I understand, they can do a lot of damage to the plants foliage.  I have read that the best way to get rid of them is to pick them off but I may just spray the plants tonight after the sun is off the plants.  Maybe I will pick off the ones I can see.  My plants are getting huge so I may not see all of them as they are hiding under the leaves.  So if you see green caterpillars like these, they can eat a good amount of your plant so I have read!

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

These are Healthy Cucumber Plants

I am learning a lot about cucumber plants this year, it is the first year I have grown them.  They are growing quite well and I have many little cucumbers on them.  I got to pick 3 off the plants so far.  2 were kind of shaped funny.  They didn't grow real long but they did grow wide.  They looked almost like a ball!  The third cucumber was perfect tho, it tasted quite yummy.  I am not sure what happened to the other 2 but I did not eat them.

The cucumber plants grow pretty tall and they have almost like ropes that grow on them.  Not sure the proper name but these "ropes" grab onto things and wrap around whatever it grabs.  It seems they do this to support the plant as it is growing.  I have found these little "ropes" wrapping around my tomato plants and the fence.  They are even wrapping around other parts of the cucumber plant! The plant is quite healthy tho and growing tall.  I have a lot of little cucumbers growing on it now.  This is a real low maintenance plant so I am sure I will be growing then again next year.  The only thing I really had to do with these is keep the little "ropes" from wrapping around other plants.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

These Tomato Plants Are Getting Huge!

Would you believe that in this picture is 2 healthy and big tomato plants? They are growing huge but one is not producing a lot.  The one on the right is a yellow cherry tomato and it has been producing a lot of cherry tomatoes.  The one on the left is a big beef tomato plant and I have a lot of flowers on it but only 2 tomatoes have been growing on it.  They have been getting big but not starting to turn red yet.  These 2 plants were the ones that got hit by the branch when we took the tree branches down so I have not done much with them to shock them.  I pretty much let them do their thing and they do look quite healthy given what they went through.  I could not believe how big the plants have been getting.  They pretty much smothered the pepper plant that is in front!! I will see if the one on the left starts to produce more.  It does have a lot of flowers so I am hoping it will.

They are looking great for a huge and heavy branch landing on them!
The picture doesn't seem to make these look as big as they are when you are standing in front of them!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brown Spots on the Bottom of Tomatoes

I saw this a couple times last year but not much.  This year I started to see it on every tomato that started growing to be a nice size on my one plant.  Only on the plant that is in a 5 gallon bucket.  The tomato plants that are planted out in the yard are ok.  Tomatoes look like they are coming in healthy.  I have been doing some research about this and found it is called blossom end rot.  I have seen a couple reasons for this happening so I am hoping that I am able to stop it from happening in this plant.  I have read that it can be a calcium deficiency and I also read that it can be from inconsistent watering.  The plant affected is in a big planter so it is possible that either or both could be the problem.  It does have holes in the bottom of the bucket to drain properly however our weather has been quite crazy lately.  We had a week of rain and then it got real hot and dry.  Now it is getting hotter and still dry-yikes! I am hoping this inconsistent water flow is what had caused it, but at least all the plants in the yard seem to be doing good.  The plant itself looks real healthy, it is just this blossom end rot!
If anybody has any suggestions, please feel free to leave me a comment.  Thank you :)
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Tomato Plants Faced Danger

Tomato plants are fortunately resilient! They can be very sensitive plants at most cases but somehow they can be somewhat resilient as well.  Tobacco on your fingers can give the plants a disease but yet the stem can be a little flexible.  Please do be careful with the stem but I found out today that they can also bend a little too.

Our neighbors have a huge (and I mean huge) maple tree on the property line.  The tree has been a bit of a nuisance for us as it takes a lot of sun light away from us and I think that has been half of our problem with the ticks and other various bugs you can find in our yard.  Well I sprayed my garlic spray on the tree last week and today the opportunity came up for the tree to get trimmed, well at least the branches across our yard.  Even tho it is not our tree, we have the right to trim off branches that come across our yard.  Well another neighbor had a power saw and a long ladder and came by and did it for us today!! Yes that made me quite happy.  Of course I took most of the day cleaning up pieces from the tree in the yard.

Well to get to my point of the tomato plants, the long branches that were cut came crashing down.  When they did, my biggest tomato plants happened to be in line of fire.  It was the biggest and heaviest branch that happened to land on them.  The way the branch landed, most of the weight did not land on the plants. Enough weight to snap a couple of the small tomato branches but no major harm was done! Some of the plants are now looking a little limp but not bad.  I believe that they will recover, I will see tomorrow once the sun hits them.  It looked almost like the stems were flexible enough to bend but not break.  These plants were getting big and had a lot of tomatoes started on them so I am very hopeful.  At least the plants did not get totally destroyed given what they went through today.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Deer Ticks Are Here, Trying to Get Rid of Them

Image showing appearance and relative sizes of...Image via WikipediaMy youngest daughter happened to have a deer tick on her the other day.  Not sure if it was from our yard or if it was from the playground that we took them to.  My guess would be from our yard tho.  A lot of neighbors have dogs which I have heard attract the little buggers (along with fleas) and some of our neighbors have not kept up with the weeds in their yard which I have heard can be another big problem.  

I found the tick on her while getting her in the shower.  The deer tick is very small and it looked almost like a sunspot on her.  I barely noticed it was a tick.  I had a Dr remove it so that they did it without breaking the head off.  The head was embedded in her shoulder.  No worries, the Dr does not think that she was exposed to this little pest long enough to contract any diseases.

So of course now after finding a tick on her, I panicked about how bad our yard might be.  I did a lot of searching to see what the best thing to use would be and what I kept seeing was people using garlic.  Supposedly the ticks don't like garlic and it will kill them.  Yup, you know what I did! Went out and bought plenty of garlic.  I soaked minced garlic (from the jar in it's own juice) in a big jar with water.  I soaked it overnight.  I got a spray bottle and used the water from the soaking garlic.  It smelled pretty strong so I think I should be good.  This was used on the fence surrounding our yard and as much of the trees and leaves I could get with the liquid.  I sprinkled a bunch of garlic powder all over (and I mean all over) the yard.  I covered the yard first, then did the trees.  This way any pests falling off the trees would land in the garlic :) Of course my yard now smells like a pizza but all is good.  It is supposed to help against other pests also.  The best part is, this is non toxic to your kids, yourself and your pets.  Oh and it won't hurt your garden either, just don't spray directly onto a plant that you plan on harvesting within a couple days.  I am sure it will taste like garlic! 
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are Bugs Eating Your Plants?

Our weather has been a little crazy here the lately so our bug population will probably be a little higher this summer.  My Mom saw a product at Lowe's on her last trip there for something.  This product is an eco friendly garden insect killer, she got me a bottle to use.  Fortunately I used it before the bugs started getting out of hand but I did see a couple little nibble holes on just a couple pepper leaves before using this.  After using this, I have not seen any more insect nibbles on any of the plants.  It has been working great, I love it! I notice that a couple of the weeds just outside of my garden have quite a bit of insect nibbles on them ( you can tell the difference by if the leaves have little holes in them or if they have been torn apart, little holes are the insects and torn apart is an animal such as my cat.)  All the plants that I have sprayed have gorgeous leaves while the bugs are now forced to eat the weeds :)  I highly recommend this product to everyone! It is non toxic so it is safe to use around kids and pets.  It is all natural oils, you can spray it on and harvest the same day.  No harsh chemicals at all.  Only thing I recommend (it will tell you on package) is that you do not spray it on plants in the middle of the hot afternoon sun as temporary leaf burn may occur.  It does not take long at all to dry, you can spray in the morning before the sun and before the heat comes.  I can honestly say that this is the best insect killer spray in my opinion.  It really works.  You can find it at Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart and I am sure there are other places as well.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Cucumber Plants

I don't know much about cucumber plants yet but I will be learning this year! These are my cucumber plants.  They were not started from seeds, they were given to me already started.  I think they are happy in the yard tho, I have a bunch of flowers growing on them.  This picture was taken yesterday and I already have more flowers on them since these pictures were taken.  I was a little concerned at first as when I first planted them, they looked like they were not taking real well but it must have just taken them some time to adjust.  They are doing great now! I am hoping for some nice cucumbers this summer, with no wax on them like the ones in the store.

Crazy Weather Here But Plants Are Doing Good

The weather here has been quite crazy! At least my plants are doing great tho.  The tomato plants that I started from seeds have been growing finally (it got cold and rainy for a while right after planting) and my pepper plants have been doing quite well.  The tomato plants that I bought already started have grown to a nice size over the last week and a half.  I think they like the soil here in my yard better then the miracle gro soil that I had plants in last year! I had one plant that actually started getting a tomato growing (one of the plants I bought not started from seeds) but the wind was a bit much I guess.  The little tomato fell off, either that or something ate it off.  The ones I planted from seeds have more then doubled in size from when I planted them now.  Next year I may just try planting the seeds right into the yard.  Experimenting with gardening still, I am sure I will have it perfected in time!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Have a New Challenge-The Cucumber Plant

My Mom has given me some cucumber plants.  We love cucumbers in my house so this should be great! I may even try to make pickles with them, but I can't get ahead of myself yet.  This is the first year I have grown cucumber plants so I do not want to make big plans for them until I know that I can successfully grow them.  I did plant them in the yard yesterday but have not taken pictures yet as we have been having rain (all but Saturday) for the past week and a half.  I planted them Sunday, as it was originally supposed to be sunny all week this week.  Well now it looks like rain for another week! They had to be transplanted tho, she just gave them to me but they were way too big for their container.  Hopefully I will get some sun and will be able to take some pictures to share of my plants.  So far I have tomato, pepper, cucumber and 1 cabbage plant.  My onion plants died before getting them outside.  Not sure about why the onion died but I will research them, never grew them before.  The cabbage plant is my daughter's school project.  It is the first time for us with cabbage as well.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Nice and Healthy Tomato Plant

Here is one of my tomato plants.  This is not one of the ones I started from seeds, I did cheat and buy 2 partially grown.  They both started out to be about 6 inches tall and have been growing quite nicely! So far they have over doubled in size since I planted then just after Easter.  My babies are coming along, well the ones that my cat couldn't get to since he likes the leaves of the baby tomato plants.  I am hoping to have some yummy tomatoes soon! If all my plants survive, I will end up with enough tomatoes to feed my neighborhood I think.  Being still pretty new to the gardening thing, I decided to start out with more plants then what I expected to survive.  So far they are liking the soil from my yard.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Most of My Plants Are Now Transplanted!

I got some of my plants transplanted now.  A couple of plants I did right after Easter and a few I did a couple days later.  I am trying something new this year.  Last year I really couldn't use my yard as there were neighbors dogs using my yard as a potty (was not very happy with this but it was bad!) This year we get the occasional cat coming in and pooping but nothing like last year.  I decided to plant some plants in the yard up against my fence, I am hoping that they see enough sun as our yard is mostly shade (the other reason why I couldn't use yard last year.)  The soil should be quite good tho, nothing has been planted there in at least 4 years.  So far a couple of my tomato plants have been quite happy with the soil and the strawberry plants that were in planters last year have really been taking off! I am getting quite a few flowers on the strawberry plants.  Of course I still have some plants in a planter, so yes it is still my deck garden.  I put a tomato plant in a planter, 3 pepper plants in a planter and I will be using my topsy turvy this year for another tomato plant.

I noticed last year that putting 3 pepper plants in a planter (as long as the planter is deep enough) is ok.  They produced quite a lot of peppers.  Tomato plants need their own planter tho.  Their roots grow deeper and bigger.  Hoping that my plants in the yard turn out to be great! Oh yeah and we also have a cabbage plant in the yard.  It is a school project for my daughter.  None of the animals have bothered it so it must not smell or taste good to them.  Young tomato plants are subject to the cats eating them but once they get a little bigger and start to get the adult tomato plant smell, they are no longer appetizing to the cats.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Started My Plant Seeds Indoors

I started my plants in a little greenhouse in the beginning of March.  They need about 6-8 weeks inside before transplanting so now was a good time to start them.  Here in New Jersey the threat of frost is over by May 15th but I will probably plant them outside a little earlier.  I started onion, pepper and tomato plants this year. These are the tomato plants, the others have not sprouted yet.  I did 3 kinds of tomatoes: Big Beef, Early Girl and Yellow tomato plants.  The onion I started is a sweet onion and peppers will be whatever color you allow them to be.  All peppers start out green and as they ripen more they change colors.