After Vacation Garden Update

As I surveyed my garden the Sunday before Memorial Day, I have to admit I was a bit worried.  Worried it wouldn’t rain. Worried it would rain too much. Worried that Colorado Potato Beetles would eat my potatoes bare. Worried that squash bugs would lay eggs on my squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons, and I wouldn’t be able to squash them (no pun intended) before they hatched.

But there really wasn’t much I could do.

When I came returned, I found that my garden had indeed survived.  Granted, my peppers were under water AGAIN from the 2″ of rain that fell the day before we came back, but they weren’t gone yet. (Peppers need water but not that much.)  I was amazed at the growth!!  Unfortunately rain has a tendency to help not only grow the vegetables but also the WEEDS and GRASS.  I’ve probably spent 6-8 hours trying to get that under control the last two days and I’m only about 3/4 of the way done.  Sigh.

My biggest accomplishment is my potatoes.  Take a look at the pictures below. I’ll wait.

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Aren’t they beautiful?  This coming from the girl who had to google what a potato vine looked like so I knew whether it was a weed or not. 🙂  They are flowering now and from what I read, that means they’re starting to work on their tubers (potatoes) now.  Yay!

Below is a photo of one of my blueberry bushes.  For not being able to harvest many blueberries the first year, I think I’m going to be picking in a few weeks!

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Amazingly, the best plant I have growing right now is my pumpkin.  The momma squash bugs are having a heyday with those giant leaves but I think I’ve squashed every set of those baby eggs.  I’ve heard if you plant pumpkins before June then you’ll get pumpkins before fall, so if that’s the case, I may be trying to figure out what to do with pumpkins!

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Above is a beautiful flower on the pumpkin.  I was able to explain to Drew how that flower was a male flower and that the bees would take the pollen to the female flower to produce a pumpkin.  In her books Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl and Six Ways to Keep the Good in Your Boy, Dannah Gresh explains that it’s a good idea to begin reproduction conversations with our children when they’re young by explaining how plants reproduce. That way it’s less awkward when the birds and the bees talk comes, and they have a basis of reproduction already.

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Above is a photo of my onions.  Although the flowers at the top of the stems are pretty, I figured this probably wasn’t a good sign.  Thanks to google, I found out that onions produce flower stalks when they think their production is complete. This happens when extreme temperatures cause them to think they’ve already gone through two seasons.  With the flower, the bulb stops growing.  So, how is anyone in Arkansas supposed to grow onions then?  Swinging temperatures is just par for the course.  Oh well, I’ll try again next year. In the mean time, I’m hoping the ones that haven’t produced the flower will hang in there, and I’ll enjoy the green onions and what bulb I do have in my dinner.

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This is exactly what I did last night. My recipe called for both onions and green onions, and I used both.

I didn’t take photos of the other crops because they’re languishing. My tomatoes are starting to produce a few fruit but I can tell they’re struggling just like my peppers.  My beans are finally starting to grow, but the deer I think are snacking on them at night.

The squash and cucumbers are finally growing, and I’m hoping with heat my okra will have a growth spurt.

Did I mention how much work this garden is?  But, it is my first year.  Matt and I are already brainstorming how to make it better next year.  It’s a huge learning curve, that’s for sure.

 

Note: This week marks my first official week of summer with both kids at home.  We’re doing well so far!  My next post will be how that it going, and how my neurotic schedule is actually working! 🙂

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