Friday, June 18, 2010

Week of June 14 2010 : Blossoms, fruits and tassels.

(Here is a picture of a Satsuma sweet bell pepper. This is an orange pepper with the traditional four lobe pepper shape. Of course it has thick crunchy walls so it will add color, texture and flavor to any dish. The plant in the foreground is a victim of sunset photography; the flash causes the plant to look chlorotic but is healthy.)

Wednesday night was a very casual night. We were caught up on transplanting, pruning and trellising and there were no disease or fungus threats. So we casually toured the fields to review our hard work.

Since the recent days have been perfect growing weather, and the night time temperatures have remained unusually warm, we are accumulating growing degree days quite rapidly. This translates to early blossoms and fruit set. We were expecting to see fascinating things and we were not disappointed.

Not surprisingly, the snap peas and zucchini are already setting fruit.

The cucumbers, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes are also setting fruit. Usually the first tomato clusters have blossom end scarring known as cat facing; but the warm nights have allowed the plants to set fruits that are blemish free. Even the late season heirlooms, which are notorious for disappointing first fruit set, have set clean clusters.

The cantaloupes and watermelons are also in blossom but we have yet to scout any significant fruit set. Watermelons are such a fickle plant. During the seedling stage they are very sensitive to temperature; any variation will stunt growth. The seedlings do not have thick fibrous root ball so transplanting must be done very carefully otherwise the transplant shock will also stunt growth. Next year I will line the plug trays with Jiffy peat pots.

Of course we need to give some press to our sweet corn too. The corn is beginning to tassel! So much for the old adage, knee high by the fourth of July. This corn will be silking by the fourth of July. Last night we planted our sixth stand; still two more stands to plant.

Yeah for healthy plants. And yeah for healthy food!

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