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May 26, 2009

Let the squashification begin!

This year I planted little yellow crookneck squash before I planted the zucchini, and although I have never grown a yellow crookneck squash personally, I had great confidence that they would be happy and prolific like their zuke cousins. Look what I found yesterday:


Little baby yellow squash -- just three weeks after planting! Squash are truly amazing. If you can grow nothing and you feel farming is not in your future, try a summer squash. So little risk, so much reward.

And since squash are such prolific happy growers and they seem to like the scorching baking San Fernando Valley, I decided that this year I should grow my favorite squash. I like the little yellow ones and I'm OK with zucchini, but it's not my favorite by a long shot. My favorites are the perfect, rounded scallop-edged pattypan squash. I love them best rolled in cornmeal and fried like okra -- serve with some sliced cold tomatoes and that is a perfect summer dinner! So I planted two pattypan squash plants in large pots, since my Rodale's Organic Gardening
book says this variety are compact enough for containers. I love my container gardening!

Pattypan squash seedlings. Grow!

My raised bed garden is growing happily along:


And even though I had zero expectation of my little corn/pumpkin patch, seeing as how I basically dumped some dirt on the ground and called it a day, my cornfield and pumpkin patch is growing like gangbusters, if gangbusters were green and leafy:


My pumpkin is even producing babies already!
Grow, little fellow. Grow big and round.

Who would have thunk it? And the little pumpkin seedlings in the corner box are growing, too:

I shall have a pumpkin windfall this year!

My favorite herb right now is this spicy globe basil that has taken off and it smells SO GOOD:

I realized too late that I forgot to take a picture of the kitchen garden over by the garage door. The chili pepper plants have completely exploded into giant chili pepper bushes! They've grown at least two feet in the past three weeks. I guess they enjoyed the fertilizer! I'll have to take pictures later in the week ... no flowers on them yet, though. The nights are still cool here, down into the 50s and 60s, and the pepper plants don't seem to flower until nighttime temperatures are in the high 60s.

Finally, my upside-down planting experiment is science gone right -- so far. I worried at first because the little stems and leaves were curling upward and nothing seemed to be growing. It took a few weeks, but the upside-down topsy turvy cucumber is the BEST looking cucumber plant I've grown to date. The picture didn't come out well, but it's happily vining along.

The topsy-turvy tomatoes are lush! My cherry tomato plant is growing and even has little yellow flowers:


And the Roma tomato is lush and lovely dark green and the stem is so thick and healthy:


I'm beginning to think I may actually get a whole tomato out of this year's garden! I always plant a tomato seedling or two and I have yet to harvest an actual real red tomato. I've harvested zucchini that weigh 22 pounds, but nary a tomato has burst forth from my garden. I came close one year and I got a single green cherry tomato which promptly shriveled and died in a valley heatwave. One year I had tomatoes by proxy, a coworker whose thumbs are greener than mine had big, juicy perfect tomatoes and I begged her to bring me some green tomatoes, which she thought was crazy but obliged me and I made some fried green tomatoes, harbinger of summer. YUM. But I have not actually grown my own red (or green) tomatoes.

This may be the year, folks. This may be my tomato year.

Posted by laurie at May 26, 2009 10:07 AM