Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Growing Fast

I keep taking pictures of the garden to share with you, but the garden is growing faster than I can post them.  Now there are pretty zinnias and sunflowers to admire within in all that green.  

The sunflowers all turn their faces to the sun, so they face east to west.  A friend of mine once said that he could tell who was a hippy because hippies always have sunflowers in their gardens.  My name is Rain, and I grow sunflowers...

On a long drive for work recently, everyone in the car gave accounts of their garden, and we showed off pictures on our phones.  When I went through the list of insects attacking my various plants, I was given some good suggestions on how to manage them, including some easy to use insecticide spray (Seven) that were helping one fella grow the most beautiful green beans I've ever seen.  

My beans look nothing like his tall trellises draped with perfect leaves and beans.  It's tempting to try some bug spray, but I'm going to stick with organic methods if I can bear it.  I did some hand picking and found that if I held a white plastic plate under the bean leaves, when I touched the leaves, the tricky brown beetles would drop onto the plate and I could drown them in my bucket of soapy water.  It required more bending over then spraying would require, I'm sure.  My hope is that as my soil improves, my plants will be strong enough to fight with a little help from me.  We'll see, right?  

The pumpkin vines are really taking off now.  They are getting hit pretty bad by squash bugs (hence the yellow leaves) and I already lost two plants to vine borers.  I expected that, really.  In my old garden I had nearly given up on growing vines because if the borers didn't kill them then a fungus would.  This years garden is sort of experimental, and now I know that if I want to get serious about growing vine fruits, I need to be on guard for borers and maybe use some row covers.  I squished as many squash bugs as I had patience for, and sprinkled some diatomacious earth on the base of the plants.  Will I get a pumpkin before they die?  

Other than two tobacco horn worms, which did some substantial trimming, the tomato plants are growing like gangbusters without any bug problems.  I never put them in cages, so I've lost a few of the ripe tomatoes because they were laying on the ground and I couldn't see them due to the tangle of leaves.  In my garden fantasies, I prune the branches and have tall tidy plants.   

Some of the corn has tassels!

The corn is visited by solid black bumble bees.  They have large yellow pollen sacs on their back legs.  

I'm still amazed by the difference in the plants growing where the turkey was buried (in the back of the photo), which are tall and dark green, and the pale version growing where there was just smothered sod.  Just imagine how well the garden will grow once I incorporate organic matter into the entire thing!

The seeds I spread on the long soil pile that was generated from the pool excavation have had better success than I originally expected.  Mostly the buckwheat is flourishing, and has hundreds of honeybees visiting it each day.  A pair of cardinals spend their time eating the ripe seeds too.  

There are a few sunflowers that managed to grow, and some zinnias and some kind of vining gourds.  I think the tall green plants that look like corn are grain sorghum, which will make good chicken food.  

It's time now to pull up the carpet between the rows and plant some fall crops, if I'm going to do it.  Maybe this will be the weekend that I make it happen!  

Or maybe I'll spend the weekend playing with our dirty puppy and swimming in the pool!

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