Jun 16, 2011
Published in Vegetable Gardening

We're well under way now with our spring garden and have been enjoying fresh squash, zucchini and cucumbers for a few weeks now.  This picture was taken about one month after our first planting.  We started the squash and zucchini on the right of the picture first, and the watermelon and cucumbers a week or two later.  A few of the squash and zucchini were started from seeds in pete pots, then transplanted to the garden.  The rest of the plants were started from seeds, directly in the garden.  

Dec 30, 2010
Published in Yardstead Blog

With 2011 right around the corner, We have spent some time reflecting upon the events of 2010.  This always leads us to making some resolutions for the new year to come. As yardsteaders, we tend to mark time by seasons and we began thinking of resolutions to match the seasons. We didn't want to just go with the typical resolution of "plant more next year".  All the vegetables we plant each year such as zuchinni, heirloom tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, onions, garlic and so on were all popular in my kitchen this year, and we intend to devote more space to these crops next spring. But to be honest, we haven't planned well in years past and we don't have something planted in our garden through each season.  I think in Florida with our climate and mild winters, this is probably almost gardening criminal.  So our New Year's gardening resolution? Plan, Plan, Plan a four-season garden and make more space in the garden to grow more unusual varieties of heirloom vegetables and fruit! 

The Yardstead wishes you much Happiness, Health, and Prosperity in the New Year.  As always Happy Yardsteading to you and your family in 2011!

Aug 11, 2010
Published in Vegetable Gardening

It seems that we have had a powdery mildew infection on our squash and zucchini plants every spring for the past 5 years.  Since I wrote this article last year about measures to take to prevent powder mildew ,  we have been powdery mildew free!  In reallity we were probably helped out this year by the weather, as well as our preventive measures.  We followed most of the guidelines already, but I wanted to share a couple of things that seem to make the biggest difference from my experience. 
     Here in Florida our sub-tropical (seems to be getting more tropical every year) climate makes a nice environment for many fungal infections.  Hot temperatures and high humidity combined with nice green cucurbits like zucchini, squash, pumpkins, and gourds,  make a very inviting environment for podwery mildew.   The spores travel on the wind, and when they land in such an ideal spot, they try to set up camp.  I believe that cucurbits have some natural resistance to fungal infections, but if the fungus gets even a slight advantage, it will win in the end. 

Aug 11, 2010
Published in Yardstead Blog

Well it's been quite a while since I've posted anything here at the yardstead.  Kathleen and I have been very busy and just haven't  taken the time to post.  We had a good productive spring.  We grew a bunch of sqush and zuchinni as usual, along with a few new varieties.  This year we tried some seminole pumpkins and cuban squash.  Both were very prolific, but we haven't given them the taste test yet.  We also added 9 new young hens and 1 rooster in with our mature birds.  We were down to 3 laying hens and one rooster due to a dog attack earlier in the year.  We still only have three hens laying, but the new additions may start laying by the end of the summer.  Lots of other things are growing great and we will be posting some updates (along with pictures) on our fruit trees.  Our bamboos are doing great as well as Kathleens water chestnut.  Anyway, stay tuned for some updates of our doings over the spring.  I will be adding some new pics to the gallery this week as well.  You can click on any of the pictures in the gallery to see a detailed view and description, or watch a slide show.  Feel free to leave us a comment anytime, we like hearing from you.

Aug 21, 2008
Published in Vegetable Gardening

 

 Powdery mildew is a fungal disease which affects many types of plants.  Cucurbits like zucchini, squash, pumpkins, melons and gourds are all succeptable to powdery mildew.  It usually appears on leaves as small round white powdery spots which quickly spread and cover the entire leaf.  In our garden here at the yardstead we've lost many zucchini, squash and pumpkin plants to powdery mildew.  This year powdery mildew killed all of our zucchini and most of our paty pan sqash and yellow squash.   
It is usually easy to identify powdery mildew by its appearance on the top of the leaves.  It usually looks like white powder on the leaves.  Infected leaves usually turn yellow and wilt after just a few days.  Powdery mildew usually appears in our garden on one or two plants then quickly spreads to all the other zucchini and squash plants.   The infected plants usually don't die completely and frequently send out new leaves and flowers.  We have been able to recover from powdery mildew in the garden a few times, when we caught it early and sprayed all the plants with neem oil.
On a few other occasions I applied the funigicide ...........

 

Apr 29, 2008
Published in Vegetable Gardening

Our spring garden vegetables have been planted about 1 month now and we are starting to see some flowering and fruiting.  We planted tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, straight neck squash,   pattypan squash, cucumbers, okra, habanero peppers,  and watermelons.  Almost everything we planted in the garden has done well, and the plants that didn't make it have something else planted in their plots.  Our plan to control weeds by adding a 6-8 inch thick layer of mulch is paying off.  We have not had to pull many weeds and the ground stays very moist underneath the mulch longer, which has reduced the amount of watering the garden has needed.  We have been pretty lucky getting some rain just about every week since we planted.  I have only watered the garden about once a week.  The tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers are all starting to flower.  The flowers turn into fruits and we can already see small tomatoes and zucchinis forming. 
It looks like the zucchini is going to be the first veggies harvested.  We already have a couple that are about 3 inches long and growing fast.  We usually harvest ......