Monday, July 23, 2007

Garden Report

You can't tell from the photo, but this year I am unusually ahead of the weeds. I tilled once, late by my standards, but after the first flush of weed seeds sprouted, then again in mid June. I also weed when I'm emotionally agitated, so the wedding gave me plenty of motivation. We had no rain between June 4 and July 10, so I didn't have much weed growth in the areas where I wasn't watering.

There has been a lot of noise this year about the disappearing honeybees, but we have been seeing them in our yard. My beekeeper's helper friend tells me that this year is not very unusual from his perspective. I have seen other insects disappear this year, although nobody is going to panic if the rose chafers or Colorado Potato Beetles don't show up. Wasps are down this year, too, after being quite the prolific nuisance last year.

I planted a lot of potatoes, more volunteered, and with no beetles to fight it is turning into a nice harvest. Tomatillos did well, too, although I planted most of what I have as bait plants for the potato beetles. I will can them alongside the tomatoes. The squash bugs did show up and I spent a lot of time scraping their bronze egg arrays from the underside of the zucchini plants. Now I am rewarded with a nice crop of zucchini, although I still had one batch of squash bugs hatch out. I fully intended to kill those with rotenone, but there is a big toad living under the plants, so I guess I'll let it go. Maybe the toad will develop a taste for squash bugs.

The basket tomato plants that my neighbor gave me bore nice cherry tomatoes starting the second week of June, but they have succumbed to wilt right now, probably from the stress of living in pots. Maybe if I cut them back they will bear again in winter. I have a dragon tongue pepper plant that is in its third year of production. I let it lose its leaves in the fall and then prune and repot in January.

The tomatoes in the reclaimed land across the driveway are doing well. After getting so many people coming to this blog looking for info on deer and zinnias, I decided to stick the rest of the zinnias in there and see if the deer will eat them. So far, the answer is no.I put the rest of the reclaimed land under a cover crop of oats and buckwheat with some sunflowers to help break up the hardpan underneath. I'm looking at the price of chicken feed and trying to devise a way to turn sunflower seeds into feed.
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