Garden Update II

The Hunt

Garden Update II

Alright, so I intended to post this garden update in early July. Oops. Only missed by six weeks. As a result, way too much has happened with the garden for me to properly get into all of it. Here’s where we’re sitting right now.

-I finally managed to fill most of the holes in my garden through an epic reseeding and replanting operation. Some rows I have no real memory of how many times I seeded them. A number of things simply did not want to germinate, for whatever reason. But, after many rounds of sowing and the addition of a bunch of tomato starts, we are in business. And, bonus, there are some stray vegetables popping up. A row of bibb lettuce for some reason also contains a single cabbage. So it goes.

-Mexican Bean Beetles. The bean beetles were my second appreciable pest problem. They look quite a bit like lady bugs, if a bit more orange. However, instead of feeding on aphids and helping the garden, they ate the hell out of my bean leaves. They are big and slow, so for a while I was plucking them from their homes inside my corn stalks and crushing them. I don’t particularly enjoy killing beetles (even if they’re eating my plants), so eventually I stopped. They ravaged my bean leaves and now the larvae are eating a bit more, but neither of these things seems to have impacted green bean production. I am still bringing home a big grocery bag of green beans every Monday, so I don’t mind them too much.

-Harlequin Bugs. Very bright, orange and black beetles with a taste for the cruciferous vegetables in my garden. Mostly they hang out on my curly kale. Again, these guys don’t seem so bad. I see a bit of damage on some of the leaves, but they haven’t done enough harm to warrant my spending a lot of time or energy trying to get rid of them. The bugs are supposed to get some of it, right? That’s what Grandpa used to say. Just not too much of it.

-Flea beetles. Still present throughout the garden. Definitely still seeing signs of flea beetles on many of my plants. They still devour the tender, young leaves of any new radish or turnip seedling, but they seem to have declined in activity a bit. But it may be that it only seems that way because they’re also filling up on the abundant adult radish and turnip leaves. Either way, I am still bringing home an abundance of turnips and radishes, even if the greens are shot through with hundreds of tiny holes.

-While I was gone in July a few of my crops went to seed. Unfortunately, a beautiful row of bibb lettuce went to seed, rendering it inedible save for a few of the oldest leaves from the bottom of each plant. My spinach plants and the remainder of a row of radishes were also beyond saving upon my return. But I ripped those up and planted lettuce, turnips, spaghetti squash, and sugar pumpkins in their stead.

-Suddenly my brassicas are all exploding. The curly and lacinato kale are producing a ton, and my broccoli plants have rapidly become enormous. Looking forward to watching those continue.

-The garden is now producing at a rate that I cannot keep up with. There is an endless supply of chard and kale on top of the beet and turnip greens that I bring home each week. The tomatoes are beginning to ripen a few at a time. There are many poblanos, a couple anaheims, and a few bell peppers on the way. The green beans are also exploding right now. They are not only producing a prodigious number of beans, they are also dragging all my sweet corn together in an unhealthy mess as they reach out for the next thing to grab on to in their endless quest for height and sunlight.

After all that early season anxiety, we seem to have finally hit our stride. I am bringing home more produce than I can eat by myself, which means surprise produce gifts to friends and family, and lots of cooking for those same folks. It is a lovely feeling having a bountiful garden.

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