"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Bugs Bite Back, Weeds held in Check

This year has been a real battle against bugs. 

Last year I had a battle with cucumber beetles. They devastated squash and cucumber seedlings and spread disease in the garden. I made some changes to a few things and so far this year I have seen very few cucumber beetles.

First of all I covered all of my seedlings with fine row covers. This protected all my crops form cucumber beetles as well as from all kinds of caterpillars, and it really reduced aphid problems. Covers can be left on indefinitely for plants that don't need to be pollinated. The only thing I don't like about them is that it is more trouble to check your plants to see how they are doing. I like to check things everyday. To get around that I want to make some kind of hoop system that can be lifted up easily for checking plants.

My squash grew like gang busters under the row covers and did fine for a while after I uncovered them for pollination. Unfortunately last week I discovered hundreds of stink bus on my squash plants! These bugs can quickly kill a plant as tender as squash. I wasted lots of time trying to find some organic way to kill them (being a little squeamish about touching the stinky things) but nothing worked. Finally we resorted to hand picking and squashing the bugs (with gloves on.) The bugs have managed to kill two thirds of my squash plants and so far we have had no harvest. 
: (

This plot shows all that is left of once tall healthy, lush squash plants.

Friday, June 18, 2010

May Update

I see that I am very behind with my posts. This post will show what we were up to in May. The early spring flowers are gone, but now my day lilies are blooming.

Orange Day Lilies

Yellow Day Lilies

Plum Day lily

Gulf Coast Penstemon amongst the Louisiana Iris. This lovely little plant will rebloom for a long time if you cut the dead flowers.

Purple Coneflowers starting up.

Pomegranate Blossoms

Blackberry bush. I am buying three more of these in the Fall.

Figs are finally producing and the peach tree is also doing well so far this year.

The vegetable garden has not done so well so far do to the wet cold Spring weather, but we did get onions and garlic out in May along with greens and a little broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts.

A wheelbarrow full of onions.

Onion Braids in Pantry. I braid these with a string in one of the leaf bundles for strength. then I use the string to tie off the top and hang up the braid. This many onions wont last long around here.

Garlic harvest. This is my first year to grow garlic. It was super easy and fun to see a few bulbs multiply into many.

Some things harvested from the herbal tea garden. In the bowl chamomile, lavender, and borage blossoms. In front of the bowl chocolate mint and pineapple mint, beside the bowl is stevia, and on the end is some dill which a child accidentally "weeded". The dill made a delicious tarter sauce and the herbs made a lovely tea.

A funny thing about the tarter sauce, Claire wouldn't eat it because she said she did not want her fish to taste like pickles!