This week the garden had special guests, human and non-human, and it decked itself out accordingly. Even more so than last week, the sunflowers are blooming like crazy and the cucumbers are producing so much fruit that I can barely keep up. And would it be a blog post if I didn’t include a mini-rant about rodents and pests?
The Sunflowers continue to amaze! They’re so tall, capturing good pictures of their blooms is quite a challenge, but my Grandparents, who visited the Garden this week, helped me capture a few more pictures for scale.
The first of the cosmos bloomed this week!
Early this spring, Molly got a wildflower mix from a Honey Nut Cheerios promotion. Let’s bring back the bees! At first, I thought nothing had sprouted, and as the weeks went by, I almost gave up hope, but this week I was happy to discover the bed is in bloom! There’s a wide variety, but I think the poppies are my favorite.
Some of the Marigolds are still blooming! I’m making sure to deadhead (remove the dead blooms) frequently to encourage new blooms. It warms my heart to see the garden attracting so many pollinators, and curious onlookers!
Squashing Squash Bugs
Of course, it’s not all blossoms and good times over at the garden. I’m still grappling with pests, known and unknown, and this week I saw some pests with my own eyes!!
I saw a rabbit in the garden four times this week! FOUR! I’m sad to say, it was a very cute rabbit. And a bold one. He or she ran RIGHT BY ME, with no shame. In the next minute, a particularly brave squirrel ran past me with a strawberry in his mouth (we have a couple of alpine berries, but so far the rodents are harvesting them before I can).
I’m at somewhat of a loss. The burrows are still present, though I continue to stomp them in. I’m finding new holes in the garden, of different sizes. Maybe I have multiple rodents? Rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, rats, voles, moles; at the end of the day, it means there’s less to harvest. But I’m starting to think that maybe that’s okay.
I found some holes near the carrots this week and, with great dread, I pulled a few up. I wasn’t too pleased to discover that someone had been munching on my root veggies while I was away. (More on that in the “Harvest” section of the post).
I’ve also been combating June bugs and Squash bugs this week.
Japanese beetles, nicknamed June Bugs, are, scientifically speaking, really freaking annoying. They’ll decimate/skeletonize an entire plant without batting a tiny malicous eye. I found an ALARMING amount of them fraternizing on my Okra this week.
I’m fending off the Japanese Beetles with Neem Oil and a Prayer. I’m also considering handpicking them into soapy water, but because they have wings they’re slightly more intimidating than young Harlequin Bugs. Until I get up my nerve, I’m sticking with the Neem.
If you want to learn more about controlling Japanese Beetles, check out https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D10154865549471871%26id%3D152984896870%26substory_index%3D0&width=500“>this facebook post by Doug Hensel, an expert from the Great Big Greenhouse.
I’ve also noticed Squash Bug eggs on my mystery squash (so called because it’s a volunteer and I have no idea what variety it is). I’m scraping eggs off of leaves as often as I can, but they’re persistent. Looks like I’m going to be spraying Neem on my squash as well.
This week was great for harvesting! We harvested carrots, cucumbers, okra, and our first tomato!
After pulling the half-eaten carrot on Thursday, I decided to devote a good part of the Saturday workday to harvesting carrots! I’m thinking that it’s better to have slightly smaller carrots than half eaten carrots/no carrots at all.
We have a lot of carrots! Luckily, I had a special helper. My little brother, who was visiting for the day along with my Mom, helped me dig up a bunch of these. What can I say? Gardening runs in the family.
The cucumbers are loving their trellises, and they’re producing fruit! This week we harvested ten cucumbers. You might notice that one looks different from the rest; it’s because they are different varieties. We actually have three different varieties of cucumbers growing this year! Yum Yum!
Luckily for me, people always seem to walk by when I’m harvesting, and people generally seem to like free, fresh produce, so my fridge hasn’t been overrun by cucumbers yet.
We harvested the first of the Okra this week! We harvested about 4 pods. I still haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of a food. Hopefully I love it, because I think we’re going to have a lot of it!
Continuing the week of firsts, we harvested the first tomato this week! Only one, but I’m sure there are many more to come.
In Other News…
Between all that exciting stuff, would you believe that the garden had more in store this week?
I want to take a minute to give a huge shout out to anonymous volunteer who mowed between the beds this week. I am extremely grateful!
Between harvesting and fending off pests, Lauren and I cleared a bed this week and planted some watermelon! I’m trying not to get too attached, considering the rabbit/groundhog/??? situation, but I’m excited nonetheless!
That’s all for now! Don’t forget to join us on Thursdays from 5 to 7pm and on Saturdays from 3 to 5pm. The cucumbers and tomatoes are just getting going, and you really don’t want to miss these beautiful blooms!
Hope to see you soon,