What’s up in the garden!

20140403122458-Meraviglia-di-venezia-a-grano-biancoStill catching up on what’s up in the garden. I planted a new bean called Climbing pole French Bean – Meraviglia Venezia that I bought from Franchi Seeds. It’s a Romano type of bean only yellow in color. I wonder what it will taste like. I also planted Emerite french filet pole bean from John Scheepers Vegetable seeds and a Chartreuse leaf colored scarlet runner pole bean which I grow for looks as the bright yellow-green leaves look fantastic against other greens.

 

Detroit Red beets, Craupadine beets and Atomic Red carrot seeds were planted directly in the garden. I put row cover over all of them to keep the birds from eating the bean seeds and to keep moisture in the ground for the beets and carrots.  If you’ve had trouble with birds eating germinating seeds, put row cover over them till they get about 3 inches tall. The Detroit beets and carrots are coming up nicely but the Craupadine beets are not. They are so hard for me to germinate compared to other beet seeds-still I try as I love the flavor of them.

cuke transplantsCucumber seeds planted in 2″ pots in the greenhouse at end of May, have germinated and will go into the garden today-June 15. The varieties are: Poona Kheera cucumbers (best tasting slicing cuke ever-never get bitter), Parisian cucumbers (I will make Cornichon pickles out of them), Boothby Blonde cucumber seeds will become Bread and Butter pickles and National Pickling cucumber seeds which will become dill pickles. Can’t wait to make pickles!

Pillbugs_(Armadillidiidae)Last year and every year before, I planted cucumber seeds directly in the ground but roly polys ate my cucumber seeds as they germinated last year in the soil. Roly polys, sow bugs, pill bugs, potato bugs are sort of interchangeable names for Armadillidiidae. They are actually good composters of horse manure so they are great in a compost pile but can damage small seedlings as they germinate in your garden when you plant seeds. Last year, I thought it was a cut worm eating all my seedlings, but found the roly polys instead to be the culprits. I had to plant 3x before I could get enough up and only after I sprayed them with Neem did I have success. This year I pre-started them in the greenhouse in 2″ pots to get them a little bigger. I find when seedlings are bigger, the roly polys don’s bother them anymore. They only like the young tender seedlings as they emerge.  If they do eat some of my other seedlings that are direct seed planted, they will be toast as I will spray Neem Oil on the roly polys on the soil where they live to get rid of them.

Rogosa-Violina butternut

Rugosa Violina Butternut Squash

The winter squash varieties I’ve planted are Rugosa Violina Butternut and Waltham Butternut. I grow Butternut squash because it doesn’t attract squash bugs! It’s the winter squash to grow if they are a problem.

 

 

 

 

calabacitas squash pic

Calabacitas squash

I’m also growing ‘Tahume’ Calabacitas squash which is really a winter squash picked very immature-we eat it like summer squash out here in Santa Fe especially in the dish called Calabacitas, which is a mixture of sauteed onions, corn, Hatch green chili and calabacitas squash. I got this from Botanical Gardens seed company. Very yummy!

 

 

 

costata romanesco

Costata Romanesco zucchini

Summer squash varieties I started are Costata Romanesco zucchini (best flavor ever) and ‘Bennings Green Tint’ patty pan. If I hadn’t had such trouble with the rolly polys last year I would just plant the seeds in the ground and you should too if they are not a problem for you. The soil has warmed up nicely—over 70°F which is perfect for squash seed germination.

 

bennings-green-tint-scallop-squash

Bennings Green tint summer squash

Should be done with all veggies planted this week. So if you think you are behind in the garden this year, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

PS: More on the dreaded squash vine borer

I just posted about the squash vine borer and a gardening friend, Gene, mentioned that his squash is smaller than in the video in a comment in the earlier post on squash vine borers. I forgot to mention that while the squash is small before they blossom, I keep them covered with row cover which keeps both the SVB and the squash bugs out but once the plants are bigger and blossoms, we have to take the row cover off for the bees to be able to pollinate them-that’s when we should use the foil.

My favorite summer squash to grow

I like summer squash but won’t grow varieties that I can find in the stores or my farmers market. Why grow something I can already buy? So I’ve tried a number of different types of summer squash and definitely have my favorites. So here are my three favorite summer squashes.

Costata Romanesco-picture courtesy of uprisingorganics.com

ZUCCHINI TYPES:-#1-COSTATA ROMANESCO: This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE of ANY type of summer squash. Costata Romanesco is a ribbed zucchini from Rome, Italy and a famous Italian heirloom. Often considered to be the best tasting and best textured zucchini.  The flavor is sweet and nutty. The long fruit are fluted with medium, green-striped skin. The cut slices are scalloped. They are popular fried whole with the flower still on when still small. They are very flavorful and a perfect, gourmet variety. Pick this variety when it is 7-10 inches long.

Lungo Bianco

#2-LUNGO BIANCO: This variety is a light-green-cream heirloom zucchini and another popular squash from Italy. They are smooth skinned, mild and sweet. Pick this when it is 6-8 inches long

Bennings Green Tint-picture courtesy of sustainableseed.com

SCALLOP TYPE: BENNINGS GREEN TINT: My FAVORITE SCALLOP variety of summer squash is Bennings Green Tint which is a light green scallop squash. It stays tender longer and is extremely flavorable and not bitter.  Very nutty like flavor. I’ve tried golden Custard, yellow types, white types and striped types but ‘Bennings Green Tint’ tops them all for the scalloped variety. I like the colors of the other varieties but the flavor is missing. Pick this when it is 2-3 inches in diameter.

Calabacitas breakfast

Breakfast Calabacitas With Egg

Here’ a recipe to make a southwest favorite here in Santa Fe. I add an egg on top for a complete breakfast.

(6) 6-8 inch zucchini
1/2 of onion chopped
1-2 ears of corn kernels
1 tsp cumin
Northern New Mexico green chili sauce

Slice zucchini or any summer squash and chop onions. Saute in olive oil till soft and liquid has evaporated. Cut kernels off fresh corn and add to mix. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of cumin (more or less to taste) on top and stir in. Cook a few more minutes till corn is cooked but doesn’t ‘pop’. Cook an egg in another fry pan and put on top of mixture on plate. I add warm green chili on top of each plate to each person’s taste-some like it hotter and some like a little.

Summer Squash-Scalloped ‘Golden Custard’, Lungo Bianco,’Costata Romanesco’

Female flower closed- 'Golden Custard' summer squash

I am growing 4 varieties of summer squash this year that are all new to me. I have two varieties of scalloped summer squash. Here is the first of them called ‘Golden Custard’ which will turn more yellow with time. The other scallop variety I have is Bennings Green Tint which is a light green scallop squash. It is a little behind and I don’t have picture of one of the fruits as it is all leaves so far.

The first picture is a female flower with the baby ‘Golden Custard’ squash attached.  Golden Custard has bright yellow fruit and rich mellow flavor. This is a rare native American squash that might predate Columbian times. I’ve never tried it before and can’t wait to taste it. The female flower has not yet opened to be pollinated. In all squashes, winter and summer, female flowers have the baby squash attached and if they don’t get pollinated, they will drop off.

female squash flower open

The second picture is with the same female flower open.

The third picture is a male flower with a straight stem and no potential baby fruit at base.

male squash flowerThe third picture is of the male flower which has a straight stem and stamen.

The next picture is a Costata Romanesco summer squash with the flower still attached. This one was definitely pollinated as the baby squash has grown to edible size. This is good eating size (about 5 inches) but left on the vine it will get larger and still can be used. Costata Romanesco is a ribbed zucchini from Rome, Italy and a famous Italian heirloom. The long fruit are fluted with medium, green-striped skin. The cut slices are scalloped. They are popular fried whole with the flower still on when still small. They are very flavorful and a perfect, gourmet variety.

Costata Romanesco

Lungo Bianco is a light-green-cream heirloom zucchini and another popular variety from Italy. They are smooth skinned, mild and sweet.

I did a taste test of the Lungo Bianco and Costata Romanesco tonight and they both are wonderful. Both were picked when they were prime-about 5 inches long and had no bitterness. I sauteed them in butter and put a little  Parmesan cheese on them at the table. Yum!

baby pictures

Here are some pictures from the garden today. There were lots of flowers and baby veggies just starting. Won’t be long now before they really take off! I can kinda cruise for a little bet now. Just got to watch for disease and bugs and make sure things get watered and fertilized. Sounds like a lot but that is nothing compared to spring planting and fall harvest. With all this free time, I think I’ll go for a ride on my scooter tomorrow! ZOOM! ZOOM!

bush bean flower

baby bush bean

baby cucumber with flower

baby tomato

summer squash flower

vegetable garden pics 07-09-10

rattlesnake beans growing up arbor

cukes growing up cage

Fairy eggplants

shishito and padron peppers

summer squash adn bush beans