Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two weeks since planting my veggies...

... and I have some good news and some bad news. Let's start with the good news, shall we? How about a little before and after?

The pictures above are from the day my gardening assistant (my mom) and I planted. This is my zucchini (I see lots of gardeners call them zukes - who knew!?) There were two seedlings and I planted them in one of three large round tubs I purchased from the flea market. Did I mention I only paid FIVE DOLLARS for all three? I brought those babies home, drilled some drainage holes in the bottom, and voila! Containers for my veggies! Here's a garden-dummy moment for all you gurus to laugh about: when I bought the seedlings, I deliberately chose some with blooms. In all of my excitement to grow vegetables, I assumed having blooms meant the plants were in some way closer to bearing fruit. Of course, as it was pointed out to me by a friend's very garden-savvy father, that in summertime in Texas, if you're foolish enough to plant this late, you've got to at least make your plants THINK it's not late. That meant I needed to pinch off those blooms so the plants would focus their energy on growing rather than blooming, because as small as they were, they weren't really ready to put out any fruit. I've also put my container in a spot where it will only get partial sun and will be in the shade during the very hottest time of the day. This, again, is to try to fake more spring-like conditions.

And now, two weeks later, here are the 'after' pictures.

So, have I convinced my zukes to grow?? You betcha!! They have not bloomed again since about the fourth or fifth day after planting but instead have really filled out nicely with lots of new leaves.

On to the less-good news. Below you'll see planting day for yellow squash. My squash has had a tough go of it thanks to The Very Hungry Caterpillar I discovered last week (see this post.) Before I figured it out, the little critter completely stripped one of the two plants bare.

So, two weeks later:

Either because of, or despite this set-back (the caterpillar), these plants haven't had the growth that the zukes have. They're not in bad shape, just not growing at the same rate. I am encouraged though to see that the squash that was eaten has started to put out new leaves again, so maybe it didn't suffer too much shock. Time will tell if it makes it afterall.

And now the bad news. I planted in the third round tub two green bell pepper seedlings. My mom also donated her empty Topsy-Turvy planter for a third bell pepper seedling. Here they were two weeks ago on the day they were planted:

Here they are today.

I need to research about bell peppers to see if I can glean any clues as to why they've not done well. I can't see any detectable growth on the two in the round container, and have only just found one or two new leaves on the hanging planter in the past day or two. If anything, it seems like the hanging pepper plant has just kind of drawn itself up, which makes it look thicker, but really I don't think it is. There is clearly something amiss, but in the end this is all a big learning experience for me, so my objective is now to figure out what is wrong. By next year, I'll be a little more experienced and a lot more in-the-know.


  1. Well, when you find out what's wrong with the bell pepper plant, let me know. I planted mine in early March and they have maybe doubled in size since then, producing very diminuitive fruit (and that's after I pinched off the tiny peppers hoping for the plant to flourish). I never thought of a bell pepper plant growing in a Topsy-Turvy. You may be on to something here! Oh, and two thumbs up on the zukes;)

  2. My peppers are always very slow here, but I always thought it was because we just don't have the heat that they need.
    Your zukes do look good! Hope you gets lots to enjoy.

  3. I wonder if the pepper in the topsy-turvy might be getting too much shade? Like Catherine, my peppers are always very slow and I (well, everyone here in Saskatchewan, I imagine) do whatever I can to keep the pepper plants as hot as possible, with as much sun as possible. They take a long time to get established - they just sort of marinate for a month or so, with no real noticeable growth. I keep mine under plastic pop bottles (cheap bell cloches with a mini-greenhouse effect) well into June, when the temps are hitting 78-86ish here; so it must be considerably warmer inside the pop bottles. Once they do start growing, they do well. I don't know how they are expected to do in Texas but my guess is that they just aren't ready to grow more yet. I wouldn't worry too much.

    Do you know what variety of zukes you have? They do seem to be doing very nicely for you :-) Good luck with the squash! If it's letting out new leaves it'll be just fine.

  4. @Mandy - it sounds like peppers just may be slow growers. I will say after fertilizing, mine are starting to come around!

    @Catherine - thank you! If it's heat they need, iz gots it!

    @Jacki - hmmm, I think I'll be experimenting in the future with the plastic pop bottles (or milk jugs?) I'm not sure what variety of zukes I ended up with, but whatever they are, they seem to really like it here!