Thursday, April 1, 2010

Update on the Vegetables

Defoliated pepper  (Capsicum annuum) seedlings

About two weeks ago, I had healthy seedlings of peppers planted in my garden.  Now they are all defoliated like the picture above.  Finch birds have been eating them.  Last year, they ate my eggplant seedlings too.  I had to replant them and covered them with clear large soda bottles until they got tall enough for the finches.  I could wait for these poor seedlings to leaf out but that would be wasting too much time.  I will replant and make sure to protect them.  The birds also ate all the radish and bok choy seedlings which my daughter Miriam started from seeds. 

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

These cilantro are planted next to the peppers.  Can anyone argue if I say that finches are a little bit picky when it comes to their salad?  They don't seem to like cilantro leaves.  However, when the seeds called coriander are ready, it will be a different story.  Anyway, I'm very pleased with the way my cilantro are growing right now.  I just hope that they will not bolt quickly.

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum 'Better Boy Hybrid')

Although finches also like tomato leaves, these plants were taller than they can reach.   One tomato plant behind these two is a smaller and they managed to eat its lower leaves.  These tomatoes are just waiting for the temperature to get warmer now and they soon will leap.  'Better Boy' is an indeterminate hybrid tomato.

Indeterminate plants are those that produce flowers on the lateral buds allowing them continue growing for extended period of time.  As long as they continue to grow they will still continue to produce flowers and fruits.  Determinate plants bear flowers on the terminal buds.  Once flowers begin to develop, the plant stops growing.  The life cycle of a determinate plant is shorter than its indeterminate counterpart.  Since we have a long growing season in California, I prefer indeterminate varieties.  However, in other years, I planted determinate tomatoes and then planted a different crop during late summer or early fall.

Mint (Mentha spicata)

These are spearmints that I started from stolons three weeks ago.  Since they are very easy to propagate, I often start new plants every year and replace the root-bound plants from last year.  Unless you are growing mints for commercial purposes, it is a good idea to keep your mints in pots.  Once in the ground and left unattended, it will take over your garden. 

Potato (Solanum tuberosum)

I planted potatoes once and every year since then we have volunteer potatoes in the garden.   They come from the tubers that were left unharvested from the previous crop.   I could pull them out or wait for another month and we'll have young potatoes for boiling.

Other vegetables that a in the ground but have not emerged are basil (Ocimum basilicum), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris 'Maxi') and luffa (Luffa cylindrica). 

Well, I need to stroll in my vegetable garden more often and try to outsmart the birds.

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