August 5, 2016

Oh my goodness. The garden has lost it’s mind. And I too almost. It is staggering to look at the photos that were taken about a month ago and compare them with now. Here’s the rundown on the update.

Yellow squash has pumped out the squash big time and we have enjoyed many a squash meal and frozen some. The plants got so huge we cannot get through the walkways. Gene and I have been hand picking squash bugs and eggs near daily and have been able to avoid any chemical pest control. But it sure has been a lot of work. Fewer plants next year and further apart.

This is after we pulled out three plants succumbing to squash bugs in spite of our efforts.

This is after we pulled out three plants succumbing to squash bugs in spite of our efforts.

Zucchini; I could talk about summer squash all day long. Really. They have given me fits of unimaginable proportions. But FINALLY we have gotten a few zucchini and they are sooo goood.

Zucchini, edamame, Little Gem muskmelon, okra and the spent sunflowers in the back left. The Mexican sunflowers are still doing great.

Zucchini, edamame, Little Gem muskmelon, okra and the spent sunflowers in the back left. The Mexican sunflowers are still doing great.

The Cushaw looks good with four decent size squashes maturing. We have trimmed some of the nonproductive vines back so we don’t have to check them for squash bugs. One Cushaw is near ready to harvest. Using the combined efforts of Gene’s brilliance and Jill Henderson’s ingenuity we found what is likely the perfect system of “squash bug checking”. Check out Jill’s blog post about it here. It’s a combination of duct tape and long handled mirror. Presto done in a flash.

One of the four forming Cushaw squash.

One of the four forming Cushaw squash.

The potatoes were dug a few weeks ago and are real tasty but small and not a very good return. But you know it’s all a learning experience.

Bush bean; a short row was planted a couple weeks ago where the potatoes had been. Looking forward to the fresh beans again!

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Tomatoes! They did get late blight. After the aphids finally gave it up. A few tomato hornworms but I believe the birds got most of them. Overall I only picked about six hornworms all season. The plants have given us a good crop and continue to pump them out but I think we can do better next year. Some of the Celebrity’s and Black Krim weighed over a pound each. There was enough Green Zebras to make green salsa. The Japanese Black Trifele are a huge disappointment – no flavor. The Black Krim branch I planted and shaded with the cardboard box is doing well and loaded with smallish tomatoes. Unfortuneately the newest squash – zucchini – is walking all over it.

All the onions and garlic were pulled many weeks ago. The marigolds by the tomatoes are three feet tall! Probably helping with pest control too.

The Red Marconi in the pots like their new location on the west fence and in the pots. We are eating a few green peppers so far. The Jimmy Nardelo are spitting out a lot of nice peppers also. I put cardboard “collars” around the base. Six inch cardboard boxes with the top and bottom cut out and filled with additional soil. They were getting too spindly. This seems to be helping them bulk up some. The Thai rat turd pepper is loaded with cute little peppers and the pablano is thinking about setting fruit.

HERBS; The lemongrass is huge and makes a nice tea. The dill is all gone to seed and drying. Mint is filling up the pot. Parsley is still arguing with me. Rosemerry is lush! Chives have been lush also and we have made several batches of chive pesto. I will dry some oregano soon.

Gene took the tomatillo out and contributed it to the compost pile. I did not realize they won’t set fruit unless there is more than one plant. Next year!

The okra is now giving us handfuls of pods daily. I am also allowing one pod per plant to grow as large as it will and will cut and dry them later for decoration. The plants are about five feet tall and quite happy.

The poor pole bean trellis/gateway… So aggravating to have so many bean plants, so many bees working them and hardly any beans. We have trimmed it way back in order to keep the microclimate and bee haven it provides but it has been a bust. Next year I will plant cucumbers there and switch to Rattlesnake pole beans which I prefer anyway.

Cucumber! I didn’t know cukes could be so productive. We are eating cukes every day and I have been able to make a couple batches of pickles all from  6 plants.

Surprising how many cukes from these few plants.

Surprising how many cukes from these few plants.

Genovese basil has been nearly smothered by the overgrowing squash. Who knew everything was going to get so big! It is time to make a batch of pesto as soon as I can find the time.

Thai basil has been amazing! I cut part of the patch and harvested two pounds of basil! which was turned into Thai pesto. Very yummy. Currently I am looking for a home for what will likely be about four more pounds of fresh Thai basil. Anyone?

Part of the Thai basil crop

Part of the Thai basil crop

Little Gem melon; this thing one day just broke out! It has mega vines and mega fruits. Hopefully we will be eating melon soon.

Eggplant has been a disapointment also. Maybe I will not grow it next year. It’s been a constant battle with the flea beatles and no fruits in a very long time.

Edamame is all grown up and loaded with bean pods. We are just waiting for them to fill out so we can harvest.

The corn. Oh my gosh the corn. Nine feet tall, loaded with forming ears. The second batch is silking. Couple more weeks to harvest the Bodacious. All this in spite of the wind tossing it about a few times.

Bodacious a couple weeks ago.

Bodacious a couple weeks ago.

No changes in the Hugelkultur. We continue to add a bit of this and that on occasion so we can plant on it next spring.

The giant sunflowers are gone. Boo hoo. They were so beautiful and stately. I am going to let the birds have the seeds this year. Meanwhile the Mexican sunflowers are still loaded with thousands of blooms as are the marigolds. The ageratum never could hold it’s own! But the zinnias have done just fine. Overall, a great first year flower garden.

Just today Gene placed these thornless blackberries in the ground. Hopefully we will get a few next season. Thank you Marideth!

Far from done Gene had his work cut out for him this morning in the high humidity. At least they have their little feet in the soil. Blackberry canes.

Far from done Gene had his work cut out for him this morning in the high humidity. At least they have their little feet in the soil. Blackberry canes.

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All I have time for. Good night!

-S

 

 

 

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