Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (CVGP): Week 10 (April 23rd, 2016)

Hi!  We’re continuing to vigilantly do our plant maintenance, especially since we’ve got fruit/vegetables growing. OK, I know I’m being pedantic but a tomato is a fruit 🙂 The quality and amount of our gardeners produce is directly affected by how well they are doing their maintenance. They are doing a GREAT job and hopefully you are in your garden too. Right now we’re battling cucumber beetles, potato beetles, cabbage loopers, and roly pollies.   Here is a link to today’s agenda. Bug checks are the first things our gardeners do when they arrive, and those cucumber beetles can MOVE!  Here’s a picture of insect damage on a squash leaf:

s16w10.leaf.damage

…and a closeup of a squash flower with a cucumber beetle (and an ant) –there’s also a beneficial insect almost hidden there…do you see it?:

s16w10.bugs.closeup

(Yep, there was a small bee at the center of the flower.)

What are our plants are producing: TONS of green cherry tomatoes (and a few beautiful red ones), broccoli (which was harvested), huge cabbage heads, and small cucumbers and small squash have formed.

You can see in the pictures how the cucumbers and squash form at the base of a fertilized flower, and the flower remains on the end until it dries up and falls off. Did you know that both male and female flower grow on the same plant for cucumbers and squash? Click here for an interesting article about that as well as information about hand pollinating–which you won’t have to do if you have enough pollinators around.We don’t have to hand pollinate at the CVG because we do have a lot of bees and other pollinators in the area. Speaking of bees, click here for a great article from the Native Plant Society of Texas about native bees.

Remember that growing flowering plants to attract pollinators is good for your vegetable garden yield.   Click here for a link to a lot of interesting lists at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center website. Scroll down to the section called ‘Value to Beneficial Insects’ and you will see lists of plants for bees.   For each list, on the left, you can narrow it down to a location (TX) and some plant characteristics. Keep in mind that Texas is a big state, and check with your local nursery or gardening friends if you are not sure which plants will do well in San Antonio. Personally, in my yard, the bees always love salvia, a low maintenance perennial that blooms a lot.

The Whopper begonias are AMAZING! The row of them planted outside the garden fence look great, and look how large the flowers are in the picture below.   They also do very well as container plants; I bought a couple for home and have them in containers.

s16w10.whopper.bed

s16w10.whopper.close

Here’s our garden at the end of the day:

s16w10.end.of.day1

(Those are green beans are to the right of the cucumber trellis in the picture above)

s16w10.potatoes

(The potato plants to the right of the tomato in the picture above)

See you soon,

Lyn

Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners

Bonus Picture

Know what this is?

 

s16w10.artichoke

It’s a closeup of an artichoke that’s been left to flower! Artichokes are in the same family as thistles, so if you guessed it  was a thistle, good guess!

s16w10.artichoke2

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