What Watermelon When?

Farmer Mike gave us a great tip this week on how to know when it’s time to harvest watermelons, so you aren’t just wasting them until you finally get it right:

NotReadyWatermelon

Mike says, to know when an indivual watermelon is ready for harvest, look at the first two tendrils (little flexible things that grow from the woody parts of the vine and wrap around trellises or wires or sticks or anything to do pullups on) on the vine, above the stem.  If they’re brown and dried out, it’s time to eat.  If they’re still green, leave it be.  The tendrils in the photo are brown and not quite dried out, so this melon is almost ready to eat, but we’ll give it another week or so.

Tendrils

Leaf Footed Bugs

LeafFootedBug

We’ve seen leaf footed bugs on veggies lately, especially tomatoes.   These pests feed on ornamental and wild plants.   They also fly, but are slow to move so they’re easy to grab and kill, if you don’t mind a little stink on the fingers.   The Bug Book says healthy biodiversity will prevent leaf foots from becoming a problem.  I’ll show you healthy biodiversity.  We might try a little orange oil to see if it helps, and will continue to enjoy the rewarding crunch and squish audibles of manual control.

Fonda Progress – May

Junior

We’re just about done with planting for the summer season at the Fonda garden.   Which is a good thing, cuz there’s a six-foot thorny weed in the back corner, assembling an army to take over operations.  I think the big one threw a rock at me last week.

Early this month, Fonda inspiration and author Diana Kennedy visited the garden and gave us some pointers for what we should and shouldn’t be growing.  Most of the stuff we planted this month was her recommendation.  A run down of what will soon be appearing on Fonda plates and tables:

  • Squash – Ronde De Nice, Straightneck, Zucchini;
  • Tomato – Sun Gold, Creole;
  • Pepper – Early Jalapeno, TAM Jalapeno, Poblano;
  • Dill – Hercules;
  • Sweet Marjoram;
  • Thyme;
  • Mint;
  • Cinnamon Basil;
  • Cucumber;
  • Watermelon – Sugar Baby, Crimson Sweet;
  • Purslane;
  • Zinnia;
  • Hoja Santa;
  • Epazote;
  • Chard;
  • Random edibles running wild throughout the Fonda landscape

Density Buffalo Grass

Density

Buffalo grass is weedy.  The time spent mowing, fertilizing, watering, and bugging in other turf grasses is compounded and concentrated into just one simple task for Buffalo:  weeding.  This is especially true for highly disturbed sites, and which sites aren’t?

But after a tip from Jon Ahrens, we tried out the ‘Density’ variety from a grower in Poteet (south of SA, esay) on a recent project in NW Austin.  Already, the ‘Density’ is much thicker than other Buffalo grasses, so we’re hoping the fur chokes out nut sedge and other stuff that we woke up when amending the soil in preparation for planting.  If it works out, we’ll have another solid alternative to non-native turfgrasses in our little green tool box.   Go us!

We Prune, We Weed, We Ride

Jose Sr., The Cobbler, Roberto, Some Little Kid, and Rich

Jose Sr., Lance Armstrong's Stunt Double, Roberto, Some Little Kid, and Rich (photo by Mike Martinez)

Last Friday, part of the BG crew celebrated National Bike to Work Day by strapping an electric weedeater, propane blower, weed bags, and hand tools to our backs and riding to perform our weekly landscaping duties at Austin City Hall.  With some bikes borrowed from the best bike team in town, we enjoyed free breakfast tacos and pastries at the City Hall tent set up that morning exclusively for bicycle commuters, and wrapped up the day as Grupo Fantasma took the stage during the weekly Live From the Plaza event.  As the interviewing reporter from KLBJ so cleverly observed while fishing for the perfect sound-byte, our “green thumbs were a little greener” that day.