Update!!! Gardening, Family, Harvest...

biradarcm(7b)June 10, 2011

Dear All,

Sorry for not able to visit and post what happening here in my backyard and at home. I took day off today to catch up some of the long pending tasks at home, garden, etc...

Family Update: We have been running to hospital for Priya's regular checkup and many unheard tests almost everyday. Now thinks are seems to stable and Drs. have scheduled delivery next Friday (June 17), but warning any time now onwards! Our friend from, TX, NH, MD, NM, TN, OK, have been with us (one family at time) to help us til parents arrive. Finally parents are arrived a week ago, now bit relaxed... Now we are eagerly waiting for that big day.

Garden: Despite of my little attention, Garden is doing better than I expected. Watering was main issue for me due to this prevailing dry period with unexpected heat. Harvest lot about 3.2lb tomatoes, some are really big, some sweet, some tart, etc. Tons of Garlic (~10lb), Onions come out very well. Yellow (1015Y Texas Supersweet) and White (Contessa, Superstar) performed much better than Red (Red candy apple) However Hybrid Southern Belle Red is little better Red candy apple. We have harvest many green onions, planted along other flower beds.

Cool season crops not performed, especially radishes expect Chinese Red Meat. Spinach was also ok but bolted much early same with Coriander, Pokchoy, Mustard, Italian green. Dill is superb, harvest leafs many time, now they are flowering. Herbs are doing fine. All Kohlrabis is doing fantastic but sugerbeets are smuggling. No luck with artichokes, Jicama, mountain spinach all completely stressed out.

Strawberry produced very well beginning from April, everbearing has second crop now. So far harvested about 3-cups of blueberries, black and raspberry hardly produces any.

Grapes vines on the pergola set many bunches of fruits, they were doing just fine until last week.. now I see some of the fruits in the bunches turning black and dropping. Please any suggestion the save the grapes?

Sweet peas struggled but produce plenty (for my standard), unfortunalty I not get chance to keep track as we used to eat them in garden itself and my daughter love them so much, she used to run to vines whenever she feels hungry. Super Sugar Snap performed best followed by Suger Snap, Wando, Alaska. Little Marvel. Bush type was also not bad.

Carrots are doing just fine, but not that sweet. Lettuces were big hit; they produced enough to supply five families. My office colleagues enjoyed them very much. Fava beans are not doing well; they have big plant but few pods (2-5 per plant). Flowers tuned black, I don't know why?

Potatoes have done god job! We have blue, white, yellow and pink... all together weighed 23lbs. Done two times BBQ with fresh potatoes, they are awesome.

Corns stared flowing and already set some little cobs on early sunglow, sugar dots, not yet on silver queen. Baby corn is still small even though planted at the same time.

Tomatoes: They looks stressed out mainly because I may not watered them well and also planted quite close. But they keep producing fruits. But I not see much new blooms, some blooms started dropping. Harvested few times but different types. its worth growing many varieties. We enjoyed (ing) their unique taste and flavor which is completely lacking in walmart types. Gary's trail tomatoes making progress and some started blooms. It seems early planted tomatoes almost done? But will leave them growing till fall with some pruning later.

Pepper leaves were curly and kind of struggling, but new growth of leaves is looking good and harvested some hot and sweet pepper twice. I removed some blooms on some sweet pepper and some left keep producing, but I see no difference between the plant have produced and bloomed removed. So I am regretting removing the early blooms.

Eggplants are doing fine, started growing well after the heat up, some blooming, some already set fruits.

Sweet Potatoes are started producing new growth after the transplants. Same with Malabar spinach, zinger, betel leaf, stevia.

Sown southern peas in two batches two weeks ago and today, maily puple and green.

Okra started its growth rapidly after initial stall due to too early planting.

I have shared garden pics taken in the last few days at picasa (see link below). You are most welcome to comment in the picasa as well.

This is all for the time being. I am sure, I might have missed tons of noteworthy info here OK GW. I will try to catch up whenever I get chance.

Paula visited our place yesterday, Thank you Paula for stopping at our place.

My sincere thanks to you all, especially showering your kind wishes, concerns for Priya and also lot of thanks for sharing seeds (swap), plants (spling) and free advise (gw).

Regards -Chandra

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Update June 1, 2011

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Your grapes have black rot. Spray with a copper spray or bordeaux. If they are prone tothis disease you can count on it every year and will probably need to read up on it to know when to spray for your area. Back when I had a grape arbor it seems like I had to spray them 3 times a summer. It sounds like alot of work but it only took about 30 min. 3 times a summer.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:38PM
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Chandra, What a magnificent gardener you have become and it all looks fantastic. I think your little princess is getting the gardening bug also and she really looks like she is having fun. I'll bet she has enjoyed all of the company. Priya is such a small lady it just amazes me that she has been able to carry those twins so long. Those twins have a beautiful home and garden to come home to and a nice family to love them. Keep us posted. Carol

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:53PM
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cjlambert(6b Tulsa)

Chandra - you have a beautiful garden, and lovely family. I'm so sorry that I missed the fling, and meeting you and all the other gardenweb-ers. Next year!!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:57PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I truly hope you enjoyed your day off and were able to get a lot of those tasks done.

Please tell Priya how much we are thinking about her and hoping that all goes well for her with the pending birth of your twins. She is so tiny and petite and I am amazed that she has carried the twins so well and so long. She must be amazingly healthy to accomplish that!

Tanu looks so darling surrounded by the veggie harvest. I hope she is enjoying the wonderful harvest and her wonderful play area in the backyard too.

Your entire yard and garden are a masterpiece. Every area looks so good and so right and so beautiful.

I hope you have been able to enjoy the visits from all your sweet, loving friends and family who have visited to help Priya in these last few weeks before the babies arrive.

Now, to address some of your gardening concerns:

Watering: This has been a big concern for most of us, except for Carol, Michelle and a few others who have had plenty of rain (in fact, too much rain at times!). Just do the best you can and don't fret over it too much. Remember that infrequent slow, deep watering is better for the plants than shorter, more shallow waterings done more often since it encourages the roots to go deeper. If life gets too crazy after the babies arrive, you can put soaker hoses or sprinklers or drip irrigation systems on a timer.

Red Candy Apple is a little hard to manage as it can be slow to grow and doesn't size up nearly as well as Candy grown in identical conditions. It has superb flavor but seems to be a slower grower. I read Bruce Frasier's advice on the Dixondale website to northern growers to give Red Candy Apple extra nitrogen to push it to perform better and grow bigger, so I tried it, even though I'm obviously a southern gardener. I gave Red Candy Apple a standard pelleted all-nitrogen lawn fertilizer (33-0-0) sometime in May when we were having all that rain. They really increased in size, for the most part. I think next year I'll try to give them more nitrogen earlier in their lives. Some of my Red Candy Apple onions were the same size as some of the big Candy and Super Star onions, but not all were. That difference in sizes might be an indication that I didn't distribute the pelleted fertilizer evenly. I normally don't use pelleted chemical fertilizers, and I just scattered it by hand. Still, I was pleased with the difference it made, and think using it earlier next year will make an even bigger difference, so I'll likely either rototill it into the soil before planting or will top dress it after the onions have been in the ground 3 or 4 weeks.

Cool Season crops have suffered greatly from the very early arrival of abnoirmally hot temperatures this year. We get a second chance with cool season crops in the fall, and all we can do is hope for the weather to be better in the fall or next winter.

Blackberries and raspberries may have had issues with late freezes freezing their blossoms. Or, if you just planted them next year, they just need to make some growth and ought to do better next year. It wasn't a great berry year here either.

Telow gave you great grape advice. I'll try to pull up the OSU grape growing guide and post it in its own thread. It is incredibly hard to grow grapes here without preventive spraying for diseases.

The peas had the heat issues to deal with. For comparison's sake....last year was a great pea year in our garden because the weather stayed cooler longer and we harvested about 35 lbs. of sugar snap peas. This year, we got maybe 6 or 8 lbs. We got too hot too early this year, and all the rain in May also caused some disease issues (mostly powdery mildew) for some Oklahoma gardeners with their peas.

Carrots that mature in warm weather do lack sweetness. When carrots are able to mature before the heat arrives, they will be much more tender and sweet. Lettuce performed really well here too. Remember that you can plant it again in the fall, and some people grow it indoors in the winter. I think you can grow it in containers this winter in your greenhouse if you want to.

I don't grow fava beans but I think Mrs. Frodo (Andria)does. Maybe she'll see this and tell you her secrets to growing fava beans. I think they are cool season and may need to be planted in the fall. Likely the heat is what is damaging your fava bean blossoms.

It has been a great potato year here too. I am glad you got such a good harvest. If you had any small potatoes that you didn't use for eating purposes, you can save them to use as seed potatoes for your fall crop.

Your corn sounds right on schedule. Silver Queen is a very late corn and I imagine it will tassel and silk soon.

Tomatoes: My feeling is that I don't care how the plants look as long as they are producing. Tomatoes get every foliar disease that comes along, pests love them and the high temperatures are hard on them, but as long as they are flowering and setting fruit, all that other stuff doesn't really matter. High temperatures can impede pollination, fertilization and fruit set, but that doesn't mean it permanently shuts them down. Whenever we have a day with highs less than 92-95 degrees and lows less than 72-75, you'll still have some fruit set. Patience pays off. Some summers I've seen my plants sit there and drop blossoms for 3 or 4 weeks, but then a cool spell comes along and they do set fruit on whatever flowers they have at that time. The plants that produce bite-sized tomatoes are not affected by high temperatures nearly as much as the varieties that produce larger fruit.

Peppera often have foliage issues and there are several diseases that cause the puckering and curling of foliage. I generally just ignore it and it either corrects itself or the plants just keep on producing anyway. I don't see any difference in production between plants with perfect foliage and plants with puckered or distorted foliage. I don't pinch off blooms usually because I don't think it is strictly necessary. In our climate, I try to let the tomatoes and peppers set all the fruit they want before the heat shuts down production.

Eggplants are virtually indestructible, at least in summer heat. Just watch how they perform all summer. One year, during exceptional drought, I stopped watering the garden in June. Despite that, the eggplants produced until the first frost in November in an almost total absence of rainfall and irrigation, which I think is remarkable. I fully expected them to wither and die after I stopped watering.

All your "hot season" crops like sweet potatoes, okra, etc. ougt to be exceptionally happy in this weather!

Thank you for sharing all the beautiful photos of your garden with us. I am so proud of you and so proud of how well your garden is performing this year. I know you spent many, many hours on research and never hesitated to ask questions and to carefully read the answers and glean from them all the info you could. Your efforts certainly have paid off as you have a fantastic garden.

Your garden must be giving you great joy this year, and I am happy that so many of your friends and family members have been visiting y'all this spring and summer and have been able to see your garden and enjoy it too. The beautiful rainbow of crops in many colors that you're growing are something to be proud of, and just think.....a year or two from now, Tanu will have to share those sugar snap peas with the twins, so you're going to have to plant a lot of them!

Happy Gardening to you, and give my best wishes to Priya for a restful, quiet week and for a happy delivery next week (if not sooner).


    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 7:49PM
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You guys - Chandra's pictures don't do it justice! I got a "brief" tour, but it still took us an hour to walk around everything, checking out each crop and talking about it progress, taste, etc. Chandra showed me his first garden spot - which was about an 8 x 8 square. It's now one of the strawberry beds. Then he showed me where he expanded last year. It's slightly larger than my 24' x 36'. And we all know how many raised beds he added this year!! It's just a beautiful place with flower-planting intermingled with all his vegetables and herbs!!! I could have spent hours in his back yard.

I met Priya's parents and they are lovely people. Priya is moving around surprisingly well considering she said the babies are almost 6 lbs. each now. She said her legs hurt a little sometimes, but otherwise she says she feels fine! I'm amazed. Half of her body wieght must be the babies!

Chandra sent me home with some extras of Gary's sweet potatoe slips and a huge bundle of garlic!!! My biggest treat of the visit was made by Priya. She made Dhokla for me (thanks, Chandra for the spelling!!!). I'm sure it was made with the spices and herbs from their garden. It is an Indian snack/appetizer. It is also the most wonderful tasting thing I've put in my mouth since Jo's lavosh & hummus!!! I told Chandra I'm now addicted and must learn how to make it myself! Maybe later I can just go over to hold the babies and play with Tanu the next time Priya makes it!! LOL!

Thank you, Chandra, for the slips, the garlic, the snack and your hospitality!!! I'm so happy to have a GW neighbor like you & your family.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:43PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Chandra, wow it sounds like you have been eating a ton of produce out of your garden!

I am thinking about your family and hope Priya has a peaceful delivery.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Its a Boy and a Girl! born this early morning (06/11/2011) at 1.37/1.38am weighing 5.5lbs each. Both Momma, and TWINS are doing great!

Thank you all for your kind wishes and heartily blessings.

Chandra, Priya, Tanu and the TWINS

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:18AM
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Congratulations. What a great way to start your weekend. Glad to hear all are doing well. Jay

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:55AM
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Dear All,
Thank you very much for encouraging words!

Telow: thank for the info block rot in grapes. Last I dint not have this problem, harvest few bunches without any spray. I will try Neem oil this what Paula told soon after looking that my grapes wines.
Dawn, thank you for providing explanation to all my doubts. I am slowly learning to ignore little problems in the garden.

Carol: Thank you. Tanu loves gardening, at least in harvesting (cutting)!

Paula, Thank you. Yes we quite close neighbors... keep touring each other gardens.

I watched southern peas this morning, all second and third leaves are curled... i not see any thrips or insects. what would be the problem? Should I go ahead and apply BT or spray neem oil.

Jo and Jay, thank you

I have posted pics of the twins on another thread. Kids and Priya are doing fine. Still at hospital, will go home tomorrow.

regards -Chandra

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:09PM
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