Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I love my garden

I've been playing on the computer this morning. I figured out how to superimpose labels on the photo I took this morning of my garden. I know that I've been posting a lot of pictures, many of them perhaps redundant. I figure this January when temps are hovering around zero and everything is covered with white, I'll sit and browse through all these pictures and remind myself of the garden in full swing.

A few days ago, Martha left a comment on one of my posts asking how big the garden is and what I plan to do with the leftovers. The vegetable garden is 20' X 24'. As big as it is, lately I've been feeling like it isn't big enough. Of course, I live in surburbia so I am lucky to have what I have. I'm not complaining. I find myself already thinking about how I can manage the space better next year. As for leftovers, I'm not sure. I will can and freeze what I can, and I have family nearby. My father used to garden when I was a kid so my parents love homegrown veggies. But they don't garden anymore. Dad has already asked me to give them any extra zucchini when they start getting backed up.

In another comment Molly Day asked about hand pollinating. I first read an article about it in my paper copy of Mother Earth News (sorry, I can't remember which issue, but it was from earlier in 2008). Then I've been reading the gardening forums at gardenweb.com. They have a forum devoted solely to Pumpkins, Squash, and Gourds. Recently there has been a discussion about hand pollinating and there have been several helpful pictures posted. Basically, a male blossom has a single stamen inside. It looks like the tip of an orange Q-tip and it is covered with a yellowish dust (pollen). Here's a picture I just ran out and took:
A female blossom looks very different inside. It has several whorled tube-like structures called the pistol. Here's a picture (although I apologize that it isn't clearer):
Another way to identify a female blossom is that it always has immature fruit behind it. So the female zucchini has a small zucchini fruit behind it, the pumpkin has a small round yellow ball behind it, the melons have a small green round ball behind it. Here's that same female zucchini blossom with a small unfertilized zucchini behind it:

Today's local weather:
High temp: 85 F
Low temp: 70 F
Humid with chance of thunderstorms this afternoon


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Katy Eagles said...

I grew up eating fresh vegetables straight from my father’s backyard garden as well. His garden is not a big as yours, but we had all the staple crops (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.) grown in there. It was an easy way to save money and also a great way to spend quality time with my family.