The medium dark green Armenian cucumber is the melon’s version of a regular American-type cucumber. This cucumber is a C. melo and can be easily crossed with muskmelons. It is completely average in size and shape. However, it has a very nice texture, closer to the texture of a Painted Serpent cucumber than to the texture of a regular white Armenian cucumber.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
|Yamato Cucumber vine with fruit below|
|A vigorous Yamato vine.|
|My son, the pickle lover, with a Yamato Cucumber.|
Thursday, February 23, 2012
In the fall of 2009 I planted a few tomato plants that I felt would do relatively well over the winter. I kept them covered and they grew very well behind the plastic greenhouse I made. Unfortunately, the temperatures in the greenhouse during the daytime can get hot, and with all that vegetation and heat and humidity came disease.
|Tomatoes started in February and went through April|
I am still dealing with the affects of the bountiful crop I had that next February and March even though the fruit is long gone. I have utilized proper crop rotation, soil inoculants, growing legumes, soil solarization and many other techniques to eradicate this blight (Septoria) from my garden. Alas disease - in one form or another - persists. Initially I felt this to be a tragedy. However, as time has passed my diseased bed is turning out to be a real asset. Having an enclosed diseased space helps me determine which of my Siletz tomato plants are disease resistant enough to start out in a greenhouse. Even though disease has persuaded me to refrain from growing the full lifecycle of any tomato plant in my greenhouse, I have not given up using my greenhouse for growing transplants.
|Another crop of tomatoes from the greenhouse|
|Heat, cold, dense foliage and moisture all contributed to disease.|
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
|My Summer garden, which seconds as a winter compost pit|
|The cultivator looked like the other tools until the compost "digested" it|
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
|A well-kept Tucson Winter Vegetable garden.|
|February Tomato Blossoms.|
|A tomato plant producing tomatoes into February.|
|Large Indeterminate Cherry Tomato Plant in February|
|Beautiful Blossoming Broccoli|
|If you leave them for a while, Artichokes can grow quite large|
|A Chiltepin pepper - I think|
Why we actually recognize a day named after a rodent remains a mystery. Despite this, it seems that the groundhog may have been right in seeing his shadow this year. The winter rains have come, leaving snow on the mountaintops and perking my plants back up. My winter plants were looking quite sad in the recent heat. The wet cool weather enables their shallow root structure to access more nutrients than hot dry weather allows. Although I try to harden my winter veggies off when they are young, most winter crops do not develop a deep enough root system to allow me to water once a wee. In order to adapt to rain patterns I usually water once a week. In order to adapt to rain patterns I usually water by hand in the winter. However, this winter’s warm dry weather is testing my aspirations of being a lazy gardener.
|Finally - Winter Rains Arrive in Tucson|
|Mt. Lemmon is dusted with Snow!|
The Winter garden - rejuvenated by the winter rains.
|The rest of my winter garden.|
Saturday, February 11, 2012
During my search for just the right tomato variety I stumbled upon a gardening forum that mentioned Wintersown tomato seeds. Wintersown is a non-profit organization that provides almost free samples of tomato seeds. They have well over 100 different varieties of tomatoes alone. All that is required to take advantage of this wonderful offer is to send Wintersown a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with their order form (that you print out) and they will send you your seeds. As a matter of caution, you will have to be a proficient enough gardener that you can achieve a high success rate from seed to tomato, as they only provide between 8-10 seeds per small bag that they send. In any case, I made sure to donate to their cause by sending them some extra seeds with my order. I really appreciate the service that Wintersown provides to us gardeners who need a few more tomato varieties. Last summer I even grew a Rio Grande tomato plant from my Wintersown seeds. Considering all that I received by trying Wintersown out I decided it was well worth my time to send them an envelope. Besides, there was no beating the price considering I now have the opportunity to try out several tomato varieties for the price of a few stamps.
Note: I did receive permission to link to their nonprofit site before posting this.
Note: I did receive permission to link to their nonprofit site before posting this.
|Some of the tomato seed varieties I received from Wintersown.org|
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Though I have been gardening but a few years, as I have been doing so I have noticed that the climate here in Tucson is warmer than the catalogues that said “Zone 8” on them stated. Other than last winter when we had an unseasonably cold 15 degree Fahrenheit Temperatures (and all of Tucson was having their non-insulated pipes break) the temperature usually only dips near freezing at night for a couple of weeks. Given what I have experienced the last couple of years it is about time the USDA changed their map to better reflect more recent climate trends.
Given the unseasonably warm weather this year and finding that the weather forecast had no chance of freezing any time soon, I decided to transplant three of my tomato sets into the summer garden to see if I could get a jump on the season. I set out two of the plants with plastic around them to heat up the ground and the third I did not cover, but just set a milk gallon jug full of water next to it. The sun is now coming up before 7:30 so it should be warming up, right?
|Left plant-was covered, Middle Plant-covered, Right plant-no covering.|
Wrong. Just the other morning I found that the cold had really nipped at a couple of my tomato plants. So I cut them back. Then I noticed something else. The plant with the water next to it had no effects from the freezing while the other two did. I have noticed in the past that little tents or conches do little to stave off the effects of freezing and I have noticed that clear or opaque water containers help tomato plants from freezing but I have never seen this so clearly demonstrated. The practical science behind this is that the water bottle absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night. The more water in containers, the more balanced temperature should remain.
For future reference - I will definitely make use of soda pop bottles and milk bottles (filled with water) to get an early start on the season. I’m glad that I could make this mistake so that others (and hopefully I) can learn from it.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
|Painted Serpent plant growing in a pot lowered in the ground|
|Armenian, Painted Serpent (Longest) and Yamato Cucumber|
The first thing you notice when growing this variety is that it grows slowly. 80-90 days can be a very long time to wait to see your first cucumber. It requires a long season and can take a while before you see your first female cucumber flower. So be patient – it will be worth it. On the other hand, disease resistance for this variety is phenomenal. It can often resist the powdery mildew and mosaic virus that plague other melon varieties. No melon variety is bullet proof, but this one can be exposed to a lot of diseases without succumbing to them. This cucumber variety requires much more fertile soil than its light-colored counterpart and will reward you well if you will consider saving a patch of well-composted dark soil for it.
The fuzz factor on this variety is slight to mild. Not as much as some other cucumber-melon varieties but definitely more than the regular Armenian cucumber.
|When mature, Painted Serpent Cucumbers exhibit minimal fuzz.|
Do not let the season length keep you from growing this variety. Plant some regular Armenian cucumbers next to this variety and don’t let the regular Armenian vines shade out the Painted Serpent. When the regular Armenians start dying out this variety will begin pumping out the fruit. (When doing this for seed saving, cut back the regular Armenian cucumbers as soon as you see the first Painted Serpent female flower).
|Sliced Painted Serpent Cucumber|
If you take good care of your Painted Serpent cucumber vines the total amount of fruit throughout the season should be comparable to that of the regular Armenian cucumber and, in my opinion, even more delicious!
|More Painted Serpent Cucumber Slices|
|This mature cucumber will produce lots of seeds.|
Update: I now sell this, and many other varieties like the Painted Serpent Cucumber at Cucumbershop.com.
Carrots do not always come up evenly and can often be frustrating to grow because of the gaps in seedlings if spaced correctly without thinning. Additionally, some seedlings come up weak and need to be pulled out to keep from causing problems for future populations of carrots. Thinning enables strong, vigorous plants to continue growing into future generations while eliminating the less desirous ones. At times I do transplant thinned out seedlings, if I have room for them. Though root crops – such as carrots – do not adjust to transplanting as well as other crops, such as lettuce. If you want to thin and transplant and would like to keep plants from going into shock I would advise doing so on a cool, humid, or wind-free day. Though we can sometimes get attached to our seedlings, they often grow better as a group when we give them the space they need to thrive.
|Though it may be sad - I do thin carrots|