Community Garden, Part VI

Although our last community garden update was just the beginning of this month, things have changed so much that it’s high time for another update on our plot! As usual, we’ve suffered more losses, but are learning from them to have a brighter organic garden future. The biggest winner has got to be the zucchini for sheer production of fruit. Other big winners of this update are the corn (they won last time too!) and the watermelon. Both have yet to produce edible fruit, but we believe in them! Close runners-up are the lettuce, which has given us many salads, and the snow peas. We had to finally give up on the tomatoes, but have planted other things in their place! The garden goes on!

First, for those of you following along at home, we got around to drawing up the layout of our garden! It’s changed a bit since last time, as we’ll see…
Garden Plot.jpg

Here’s what much of the garden looks like as a whole:

And some pictures of us hard at work in the garden (I see more weeds than I do the plants we planted):

And now for the winners of this update… the corn! It’s now officially taller than Andrew. There are silks (from corn cobs developing) on several of the stalks now, and the tassels (seeds at the top of the stalk) are coming along too — we just hand fertilized some of our first developing cobs today!
The tassels:
The silks:
Probably a few more weeks before we can eat any corn, but we’re looking forward to it every day!

The watermelon is also now doing amazing! It has spread everywhere it can, and we have to constantly keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t overcome its neighbors.
And there’s even little baby watermelon developing now! We’ve since fenced this little guy off from veggie-eating predators…

And the rose is a huge winner too — we’ve hardly done anything to it except give it some rose fertilizer once and now it’s blooming like crazy. Wish it was labeled with a variety — I’ll have to see if a nursery knows what type it is…

Our zucchinis are still monsters, and only keep getting bigger — we now get a couple zucchinis a day from our three plants:
And from the back of our garden (the chard’s on the right):

The pepper plant hasn’t done much yet (it looks the same as it did when we bought it!), but we’re still hopefully — recently gave it some fertilizer and it’s got some buds.

The strawberries are growing well, although the first couple of strawberries somehow vanished just as they were becoming completely red… even though the plants are surrounded by chicken mesh that is held in place by bamboo poles… Not sure if we’ll get to eat many strawberries…

However, there have been some not-so-unexpected tragedies since last update. We finally gave up on the tomatoes — blight got most of their branches, which we removed, and they couldn’t recover… the blight continued to kill the rest of the plants, even the Celebrities. So, we took out the corpses and put in a 4′ by 4′ plastic raised bed some friends of ours kindly donated. We nailed some 1″ chicken wire to the bottom (which was open) to prevent gophers from getting in and planted a couple rows of beets and carrots in it. It’s also got two marigold plants on either end of it now — we planted them to be companions with the tomatoes, and they’re flowing nicely now.
The raised bed:
And the tiny beets and carrots sprouting! (Sadly, something munched on them a little today, so we put two layers of fencing over them now!!)
Blooming marigolds:

As you can see around the bed, the lettuce is still doing great and we’ve enjoyed several salads from it.

And the potatoes got struck by blight……. Apparently not that uncommon in places that are humid and never get warm! Now I see what the Irish had to deal with over a hundred years ago! Not sure we’ve come very far. So, we cut back all the blighted potato branches, which were most of the plant, and this is what we’ve got now — we’re still hopeful they’ll recover, but we’ll see:

And somehow the snow peas are being devastated… we know gophers got some of them, and rabbits probably chewed on others, but then some are just getting yellow and not looking so good. We’ve gotten a lot of tasty snow peas from them in the past couple weeks, but we were hoping for more… Not sure how much longer they’ve got…

And, well, gophers have eaten some more onions… We’ve found several wilted/dead plants with partly-eaten bulbs now. Andrew also planted some garlic in this area, but we haven’t seen any of it… At this rate I’ll be happy if we get to pick just a couple onions — they should be ready by the end of July. This is what we get for believing that gophers don’t eat onions… They’ll all be basketed next time!

And because several plants have had their leaves repeatedly chewed on, from just a few leaves to nearly the entire plant, we now put wire or plastic mesh around all plants we can (and put all new plants in gopher baskets).

Here’s Andrew protecting a cucumber:

Consequently, this is what much of our garden looks like now:
A honeydew we almost lost:

Our spaghetti squash plant is growing quite well, but got nibbled on:

Lastly, we just bought two pumpkin plants, wee-be-littles to be exact — these were the only pumpkins we could find in the area (think it might be getting late in the season), but we will surely enjoy them when Halloween comes around, even if they’re small!

Another recurrent problem during this update is that, for some reason, someone kept turning our water valve on… The drip system is all on a timer so when someone leaves the faucet on, this can cause our timer system to blow out (which it’s done once, and luckily we got it replaced from the store). About 4 times now we’ve come to the garden and found the faucet turned to full-blast… Consequently we put a sign on it to not touch this faucet (although it was still touched twice after that!) and a few days ago Andrew surrounded it with chicken mesh… Next time we’ll just remove the handle… Ugh!

Very lastly, we thought it was high time for some images of the community garden area as a whole. We bring you…

Our apple tree!

Andrew enjoying a plum from the local plum tree! They’ve just come into season and Andrew munches on these daily now…

A couple peach trees and apple trees behind our plot — the peaches are great right now too.

A garden by a neighbor of ours, Hiroko, who is a Japanese instructor at UCSB.

A pomegranate tree I helped prune and weed around a few months ago:

The run-down, large greenhouse (we raised our cucumbers from seed in it!).

A general area-shot of some people working in their plots.

A pond next to the greenhouse — it has several mosquitoe larvae-eating fish in it, and we’ve filled it a few times. We also added some male guppies when our aquarium at home got too full, and we see them still there!

The pond is quite old and has three concreted areas — one part of it must have a hole as it leaks when we fill it. There are cat-tails growing here that we tried to prune, but they’re not doing so well in the leaky pond…

There’s also a cat that lives in the community garden, usually by the greenhouse. Here she is — her name’s Lizzy. She’s only somewhat friendly…

And Lizzy by the pond:

And that’s it for now! Thanks for reading Community Garden, Part VI, and stay tuned for more garden updates!

2 Responses to “Community Garden, Part VI”

You’re really having to fight for your food! Your struggles are making me appreciate our situation more, where we’ve had a few hungry raccoons and birds competing with us over the years, but nothing we couldn’t solve with netting or motion-activated noise and light deterrents. Good luck! Hope you get to see our garden in August, and we should see yours in September!

Meg - July 1st, 2010 at 7:50 am

[…] we haven’t had a garden update since the end of June! I guess since we got back from our Germany/France trip this summer, things have been a bit busy! […]

Paradoxdruid’s Rants » Blog Archive » Community Garden, Part VII - November 14th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

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