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Garden Update (July 11, 2011)

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Yes, I know this garden post is overdue. I have so much trouble getting garden pictures that I like. Even growing everything in well spaced, significantly raised rows, with vine plants grown mostly up, everything just looks jumbled.

And I need so many pictures in order to give much of a real view-- especially since I have so many plants interspersed, rather than having each type of plant together.

The tomatoes are all staked to bamboo. Most of the vine plants are grown up short sections of fence, sometimes supplemented with bamboo for added stability. The cucumbers are particularly suited to growing up fences and bamboo trellises.

The pumpkins took off really fast. I ended up attaching a bit of fencing to a pole in the center, and starting them growing up that. I added some bamboo to that rig, although the only actual pumpkins I can see growing are the ones along the back fence.

The watermelons are growing up a section of fence attached to a bamboo support (vertical with a couple of diagonal pieces to keep it steady--you can see that in the bottom picture) and the cantaloupes are growing up a section of fence between 5-foot garden U-style posts I picked up at Lowes specifically for that purpose. (Like these: U-style Fence Post 5')

The main garden fence uses much shorter posts, and the cucumbers are using slightly longer ones I'd gotten from my mom. (Mostly they're using the two-foot fencing, though. I like the plant-support fencing not to reach all the way to the ground.) I'll have to invest in some more taller ones for next year, I'm very fond of the vertical growing. I also have one 6' fencepost pole that I haven't put into use yet. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to use, so I picked up a couple of different options to try. While I dug holes for the bamboo before putting in the tomatoes (bamboo doesn't hold up so well to pounding), fence-posts I put in with a sledgehammer, so I did have to make sure I wasn't using any posts that would be too tall for me to reach to pound into the ground.
(Actually, perhaps it's an Engineer Hammer. It appears to be that one, although most of the writing on the sticker is worn off, so I'm not sure. I haven't weighed it.)

I had the bush beans covered with tulle while the plants were developing, to minimize insect damage; my green bean crops last year were not good. I eventually had to remove the tulle so that the bees could pollinate, though. I'm avoiding much pesticide on the green beans for the same reason, but I am using bug-killers on most of the other plants. I have upside-down soda cases on either side of the green beans to help keep the edges off the ground.

Most of the lettuce is protected by cages. Some are regular wire garden fencing (the same stuff that's around the outside of the garden and that supports most of the vines) shaped to enclose the plants and some are modular wire storage cubes.

There's some cabbage at the back of the garden. I'm protecting that from pests mainly with a combination of Diatomaceous Earth and Dipel Dust (Although I got the Dipel locally and it's not the kind with the cayenne in it. I'll probably try the stuff with cayenne next time. Through much of last summer I was actually making jalapeno-seed "tea" to spray onto my plants to repel pests.)

The bugs have been really bad this year, so I did break down and buy some Ortho Bug-B-Gon MAX Dust and Sevin Dust. I'll definitely be buying more of the Bug-B-Gone-- that duster bottle is about a zillion times easier to get where I want it than the shaker cans that the Sevin comes in. The shaker cans aren't bad for low-to-the-ground things like my savagely-bug-attacked pepper plants, but applying it to the cucumber plants to keep away the awful bugs that cause bacterial wilt is quite awkward.

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since my last garden progress post! I'd taken some pictures since then, but hadn't gotten around to editing them down to the relevant parts, labeling them, and posting them. Whoops!


The garden

It looks beautiful!

oh. oh. oh!

Your garden is STUNNING! I just want to wander through every path & soak it all in!

your garden

what can I say! That is a gorgeous garden. Both my husband and I admired the use of the crates. What pests do you have in your area? deer? moles?

There are moles, but they

There are moles, but they seem to do more damage to the lawn than the garden. I've seen deer around the edge of the neighborhood, but not so many here. The trees back there are just thick enough to look like woods-- just beyond them are more houses, we're in the middle part of the neighborhood. There was a groundhog last year that was awful. This year mostly just rabbits. There's another little tiny bunny who seems to be small enough (last time I saw him) to go right through the fence, but I haven't seen any damage from him and larger rabbits don't seem able to jump the fence. The next-door neighbor has been having a lot of trouble with squirrels. Last year my lettuce didn't grow until the fall (I wasn't starting it indoors then) and it was doing well for awhile, and then suddenly, it had been eaten by something. Not sure what. So hopefully the cages should stop that. Part of the appeal of the cages for me is also keeping things sectioned. I can define the growth and location of vines by the stakes and fences that support them. The cages do something similar for the lettuce-- just kinda say "this spot is for the lettuce" and keeps it organized. How much of that organization is in my head I'm not quite sure.

The main pests that are really problematic for me are the bugs-- especially the stink bugs, cucumber beetles, and squash vine boorers especially. I've had some strange problems with ants in the garden too. They were all over the pumpkins for awhile.

moles and other critters

I like the idea of the cages in order to keep out some animals and also, like you say, to section the garden so it is easier to manage. It just looks tidy, and productive. Just beautiful. I do not have a vege garden-our back yard is too shady and steep but I am always tempted to try.

What about the front?

What about the front?
I don't know if you have a front yard or if there are ordinances about vegetables in the front, but I'm thinking that if you did it decoratively--some flowering plants, vines growing up trellises, stuff like that, you could totally do a dual-functioning garden!
I actually had some tomato plants out front by the porch last year. But I just put them there because I had too many! It wasn't enough sun for them there.

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