Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First Kabocha Flower

Today,  my Kabocha plant produces it's first flowers.

The flower at center of the picture to the right is a female flower.  

The flower at bottom left corner is a male flower. 

It is very unusual for me to find a male and female pair of flowers.

In the past, I have noticed that the plants will produce only male flowers at the beginning before it starts producing female flowers.  When female flowers start to form, there are usually a lot more male flowers than female flowers.

The picture to the right shows the plant in the evening of the same day.  See the flowers have already faded. 

You can see the tiny fruit at the base of the female flower.

If the bees did their job pollenating the female flower the tiny fruit will grow.  If the female flower was not pollenated, then the tiny fruit will fall off in a few days.

Hopefully, bees will bring pollen from the male flower to the female flower and I will have a Kabocha fruit as a result.

Monday, April 20, 2009

First Lily Flower

Today,  my first Lily bloomed.

This Lily is always the first Lily in my garden to produce flowers.  

However, this year, the Lily bloomed almost 3 weeks later than it bloomed last year.

I think this is attributed to the fact that the Lily is almost a foot taller than it was last year.

It will be interesting to see whether the Lily will continue to grow taller (and bloom later) next  year.

The picture below shows the flower bed that contains this Lily today and what it looked like a year ago.  Notice that this Lily had already stopped blooming at this time last year.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes Forming

My Cherry Tomato plants have lots of flowers and have lots of fruit forming.

The picture to the right shows a couple of Cherry Tomatoes on my Super Sweet 100 plant.  These two Cherry Tomatoes are the most advanced that I was able to find in the garden.  They are about the right size to start turning red.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Modding Tomato Cages

I have a 3' x 3' Raised Bed that I am using to grow Cherry Tomatoes (2 Sweet Baby Girl, 1 Sugar Snack, and 1 Super Sweet 100).

The Cherry Tomato plants have been in the ground for 4 weeks now (see 3/14/09 blog entry).

Unlike the Cherry Tomato plants in my other Raised Beds (see 4/5/09 blog entry), I did not use Texas Tomato Cages to support the plants.

Instead, I used 54" Tomato Cages that I had bought from Home Depot a couple of years ago.

This particular raised bed is too small to put the Texas Tomato Cages in. Plus, the type of Cherry Tomato plants that I am growing here do not grow as tall or as vigorous as the Sun Gold and Sun Sugar Tomato plants that are growing in the other raised beds.

However, after only a month in the ground, the Cherry Tomato plants are already half way the height of the 54" Home Depot Tomato Cage.

I needed to extend the height of the Tomato Cages so that they will continue to support the Cherry Tomato plants for the rest of the season.

I have a lot of the Home Depot Tomato Cages left over from last year. I no longer use them because of the Texas Tomato Cages that I bought for the Cherry Tomato plants in the other Raised Beds.

I decided to invert another set of Home Depot Tomato Cages and place them on top of the ones already in the Raised Bed. This gave me a cheap and easy way to make my Tomato Cages taller.

I used 4" plastic cable ties to secure the two Home Depot Tomato Cages together (see picture to the right).

The combine height of the two Tomato Cages is over 8' tall. This is taller than the Texas Tomato Cages that I bought.

Of course, the Texas Tomato Cages are 2' in diameter and provide much better support.

I would not use this type of stacked Tomato Cage for Sun Gold or Sun Sugar Cherry Tomato plant. Last year, I used Home Depot Tomato Cages for Sun Gold and Sun Sugar and the plants toppled over (see this blog entry)

But at a fraction of the cost of the Texas Tomato Cages, I am quite happy with the how the finished product looks (see picture to the right).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Winter Melon and Kabocha Update

My five Winter Melon and one Kabocha plant have been in the ground for three weeks now. 

The growth has been slow.  

Only my Kabocha plant is growing well (see picture to the right)

One of the Winter Melon plants is in bad shape.  

Most of the leaves from this Winter Melon plant have gotten eaten by something.

I don't think this plant will make it,  so I have started another set of Winter Melon seeds.

The weather has gotten to the point where I can just set seeds outside, without the need of a grow light.  The seeds germinate in about a week.

These seedlings (see picture to the right) will be ready to transplant in another month.

Cherry Tomato Update

My first four Cherry Tomato plants have been in the ground for six weeks now.   

The plants have been growing well, with lots of leaves and flowers.

The growth has been somewhat uneven.  The picture at the top shows, from left to right, a Sugar Snack, a Sun Sugar, a Sun Cherry Extra Sweet and a Sun Gold. The Sun Sugar and the Sun Gold plants have grown much more fuller than the Sun Cherry Extra Sweet and the Sugar Snack.  I think this is due to genetics, as last year my Sun Sugar and Sun Gold plants grew to be giants.

One thing different this year is that I am not pruning the side shoots from the Cherry Tomato plants.  In the past, I had use Tomato Cages that I had bought from Home Depot.  These Tomato cages were cone shaped and were only 1' foot in diameter at the base. 

I had to prune the side shoots so that the Cherry Tomato plants would not escape the boundaries of the 1' foot diameter and lose their support.

This year, I am using Texas Tomato Cages that are 2' feet in diameter from top to bottom.  The Texas Tomato Cage easily contains the side shoots.  All I have to do is occasionally tuck the shoots back inside the cage if they escape.

As a result, I have much more flowers than I had last year.

I realize that eventually even the Texas Tomato Cage will not contain the side shoots.  But the shoots at the bottom of the plant will yield more fruit than shoots at the top, so it will not matter much if I need to prune the side shoots at that time.