Friday, June 30, 2017

June's Garden (2017)

If I had to assign a theme to June's garden, it would be "progress is being made."  Since the busy season has ended at my job. I have begun working in the garden. I will begin with the successes.

I HAVE A WATERMELON!  I HAVE A WATERMELON!  I HAVE A WATERMELON!  Nevermind I am the world's worst at knowing when to harvest them at peak flavor, but I HAVE A WATERMELON!  I HAVE A WATERMELON!

And since I am bragging, here is my AWESOME compost pile!  In previous years I would have already dug it up and moved the dirt to the garden by now.  However, since I am behind on everything, the impatient compost pile decided to plant itself.  Everything growing is a volunteer.

The other side looks a bit disgusting, but we will ignore that fact because...

look what I found when I parted the leaves!  Tomatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another success is the blueberry bush, which Bill wrapped in the cloth I used for the winter garden hoop houses. He saw mockingbirds helping themselves and decided to do something about it.  Although looking out the bedroom window at night, it looks like a ghost and causes Scooter to bark when the wind is blowing.

My yellow squash plant looks like a success, but I am reserving judgment.  Squash vine borers are a HUGE problem for me and last year I gave up fighting them and went one whole year without growing any squash to (hopefully) cause them to die out.  We shall see.

Squash vine borers, emerge in May and June from cocoons which have wintered over in the ground.  The moth then lays eggs on the stems and the larvae bore into the stems, killing the plant.  They have two life cycles here in Tennessee.  Covering the plant with fabric does not work because they emerge up from the soil inside the hoop house. Spraying does not work because they bore inside the vine and the poison will not reach them.  Unless you happen to spray, in the right place at the right time just as they begin to bore, they continue to survive.  Sometimes they are on the underside of the stem which never receives poison.  I have tried EVERYTHING.

This is what I am trying in hopes it will deter them from getting to the stems.  This is under the leaves before I did anything.

I cut off the outer leaves, sprinkled poison on the stems, pulled the blooms off so the bees will avoid the plant for a few days, then covered the stems with cut grass.

Hopefully, the moths will not be able to get to the stem to lay the eggs.  However, they have probably already done that since it is the end of June.  Normally I get a good harvest for a  few weeks, then the plant dies.  I will plant more seeds and try again, but usually, it happens again.

Commercial farmers are able to rotate their crops from one huge field to another huge field and keep the moths from finding all of the plants.  Rotating from one side of my garden to the other does not seem to work.  They just fly over.  This is my big experiment for this year.  Maybe???? they died out last year.

This is the area by the field fence and it was the first spot planted in the spring.  It has beans and a few okra.

This is the middle of the garden, out of control weeds.

This is the area closest to the house which was the last to be planted.  It has peanuts on the left (with quite a few empty spots), bush lima beans, tomatoes in the center and sweet potatoes on the far right.

This is the area by the back fence.  It will be my winter garden this year, carrots first, then kale and swiss chard.  

I looked out and saw four of these catching bugs in the beans.  I was quite happy.

As I watched they wandered to the sweet potatoes and began munching on more bugs.  I was even happier.  

Then one waltzed over to my strawberry bed and PULLED THE NETTING OFF!  I DIDN'T KNOW THEY COULD DO THAT!   There are no pictures of the following events.  I was too busy running out the door, screaming, waving my hands, and being obnoxious to slow down to take a picture.  A startled Scooter ran behind me barking loudly.

As I examined the strawberry bed for damage, untangled the netting and secured it firmer, Scooter decided to join me.  He plopped down on top of the strawberries, right where the turkeys had been pecking.

Scooter, I demanded, "Why are you sitting on top of my strawberries?"

Scooter replied, "Silly Mom.  I am the bravest of the brave and am standing guard so they will never return."

"You are so lucky to have me."


  1. Those dreaded borers! There's nothing so disheartening for a gardener to see beautiful summer squash starting and have them dying the next day. We had good luck with wood ash....sprinkle it on the base of the plant. It should help if it isn't too late....starting with it early is really the key....

    1. Oh Sally, that is a good idea, except I did try it and messed up the ph level of my garden. It was when the garden was much bigger and I was growing every kind of squash imaginable. I had to get the soil repeatedly tested and for a few years followed a special treatment plan worked out by my local Agricultural Extension Agent to get it balanced again. You are right, it is so disheartening to watch them die.

  2. Those turkeys just wanted some dessert to go with their bugs. ;)

  3. I love looking at your garden. I slipped away camping for a few days after my wild, busy last couple of weeks. When I got home yesterday, I had quite a bit to do, dealing with my job (it's a huge process to turn in my time cards--do it on the computer, have it checked by my employer (brother-in-law thankfully), print, have it signed (by 2 different people--sister and aunt thankfully, but you still have to have both of them be home, etc.), sign it and get my husband to sign his for his hours he is submitting, submit it electronically, and then if you are lucky-- it all works!!! But, it's done for another month--whew! It is SERIOUSLY the most frustrating way to get paid--ever!! I will get paid in 2 weeks for this month of June. AND, if you don't get it turned in very quickly when the month changes, you have to wait even longer to get paid--a whole month. So, I'm pretty committed to setting aside an afternoon to getting it done;)

    So, this morning, I was finally able to get out into the garden. At this new house, we have automatic sprinklers, which Rob set so that the garden would get watered while we were gone. The garden look great, so did the weeds. So, I harvested lettuce, my first zucchini :), green onions, snow peas, and a little broccoli. I also got my first 2 cherry tomatoes!!! I did a little weeding and planted a 6-pack of cabbage I bought at a farmer's market at the beach where we were camping.

    I do NOT, however, have a watermelon on my plant. I will be lucky if I EVER get even one--it's a gambler's crop here. My daughter just wanted to try, so we are. We also have 1 hill of cantaloupe, which I have had good luck with before. I got my first handful of blueberries and about 2-3 cups of raspberries.

    I answered your question about what I do with snow peas in a quick little list over on my blog. I will try to do a more detailed post about snow peas soon, IF I can find the actual recipe for cashew chicken--I hope I can. Because now, I'm hungry for it;) It's SO good. I put the basic idea down, so you can probably figure it out.

    I'm glad you have a little more time to yourself for a while. Your job is like working on the u-pick farm where I grew up---you work really hard, then have a break, then kill yourself again during another busy season, etc. I never minded that schedule!

    1. If there was anyone who deserved some restful camping time, it would be YOU. Yes to the recipe for cashew chicken, yum. And it would be wonderful if you get a watermelon this year, however, do not ask me to tell you when it is ripe. It is not a gardening skill I have mastered yet. Oh, I will tell my brother Jim someone commented and compared his company to a u-pick farm. He will be confused, it will be fun.

  4. As to melons, it is actually not easy to know the right level of ripening. Try this maybe: Where the melon touches the ground there should be a color change. No more green, but a bit yellow. Not too much. When you knock on the melon the sound should be dark and deep, not metallic.

    1. I have tried knocking on them in the past but they all sound the same. I have no musical ability and must be tone deaf. Perhaps I can take a picture when I think it might be ready and you can tell me what you think.