Garden Update – Successes and Challenges

The garden is full of excitement lately!  I’m dealing with the setbacks while celebrating the successes, while learning and taking mental notes for next year.

My toughest obstacle this week was the arrival of the squash vine borer.  The squash leaves started wilting in a distinctive way right about the day it got over 100. I naturally thought it was just the heat, until I saw sawdust like droppings on the vines. I recall reading about that in my garden books so off I went to discover if that was the problem.  Armed with box cutters (online it said razor blade and that’s close enough), I did surgery on my squash vines.  I quickly realized why I could never be a surgeon! Still, in 4 squash plants, I removed one by one the little squash vine borer worm from inside the vines.  My best plant – whose squash we had just eaten last week – was completely gone despite my best efforts to save it. Below is a picture of me showing the remains to Drew and Alyssa before chunking it in the compost heap.

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Thankfully, my skillful surgery was able to save the other squash plants, at least for now.

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Beans:  I am proud to report that all of my bean tepees have pole beans growing up them!  Hopefully they’ll actually start producing beans soon.

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Below is a picture of the garden that is doing the best.  In front of the bean tepee are okra that are just now taking off.  I also have potatoes and squash, and I planted a new set of pole beans.

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Another success is my cucumbers!  They are starting to climb the trellis but some vines have a mind of their own!  We enjoyed our first batch of Sweet & Sour Cucumbers with fresh dill (also from the garden) yesterday.  With more on the way, I’m looking for more cucumber ideas.

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My pumpkin plants are hanging in there, despite squash bug damage. I have squashed hundreds of eggs and squash bugs alike. I console myself in thinking that because of my work, the pumpkin has produced more leaves that has enabled the plants to withstand the damage. So far none of my pumpkins have developed but I’m not too worried about it. They’re still producing flowers so hopefully they will soon.

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My tomatoes got off to a really slow start this year but I have several starting to turn orange, so hopefully I’ll have a good batch of Romas soon.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get enough to can (which was the objective), but again, I’ll adjust for next year and move on. At least with the Romas, I can save the seed and start them next year instead of buying all those transplants.

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The onions that didn’t flower are going strong!

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Two of my cabbage plants are finally forming heads! But with that came cabbage worms! Yuck! I bought some B.t. and picked the suckers off, so hopefully the cabbage will continue growing.  I also planted okra here.  I’m steadily harvesting my carrots here, too, but they aren’t as long as I hoped they would be.

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Finally, my melon patch typifies my whole garden it seems. I planted watermelons and cantaloupes at the same time. The watermelons are flourishing, and the cantaloupes have been eaten by something.  The two fruit are right next to each other so I have no idea what would leave the watermelon vines but eat the cantaloupe.  Good thing I like watermelon the best. 🙂

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