Sunday, July 22, 2012

Things tall and small in July

The garden is looking tall and lush, despite my benign neglect.

I'm even contemplating ripping out things like cornichons just because I'm tired of the daily search for tiny cucumbers to make into tiny pickles. Does that make me a bad gardener?

One of my worst nemeses is back -- why do I have leaf miners in my peppers? It's bad enough that they decimate spinach, beets, and chard. So far, I'm picking and destroying. I suppose if I were not heavy into the summer doldrums, I'd be monitoring leaves for eggs. Head 'em off at the pass, and all that.

One thing I finally have done something about is the bizarre, spotty, aphid infestations in my popcorn. I'm keeping a spray bottle of soap out there and hitting each colony a couple of times a day. Their activity level (and that of their attendant ants) seems to drop off dramatically. I'm also wiping the bigger clusters off, although the ones tangled in the silks are just plain nasty. I'm hoping that they will not be an issue when the ears are dry. But. . . yuck.

I can't knit lace, but the cucumber beetles have made lace of my bean plants. It doesn't seem to affect their vigor, and the pole and bush varieties in the big bed are getting ready to dry, so I'm not worried about them either. But still, I figure I ought to be out there with a cup of soapy water catching them as they fall, since they eat the just-blooming sunflowers too. I'm not.

Finally, and this one's for Granny, my hand fully spread out is 8". That makes this leaf. . . at least 32" across? Zucchini is just crazy.


Daphne Gould said...

I wish my zucchini were doing that well. They just can't handle the borers here. They always get hit.

Annie*s Granny said...

The summer squash are just crazy this year! I've only had one other year when zucchini leaves got this large. I'm also nearing that point of tossing their fruits at passing cars.

Everybody has almost convinced me I've been doing this gardening thing all wrong all these years. I just need to toss the seeds out there, then ignore everything and the garden will take care of itself just fine. But...but....but...then I would feel so unneeded!

Erin said...

I will admit to thinking about ripping out my tomatoes already, I just brought in another 50+ pounds and I am secretly wistful for winter to be here!

Heiko said...

Hey Stephani, I've come to visit again. Busy life so I don't get around visiting as often as I like. All looking good except for the pests. I seem to have a particularly low pest year. Maybe the year or maybe improved permaculture techniques? Time will tell. My tomatoes are growing in a veritable jungle, supporting each other, shading each other, on a north-facing slope. Convention would tell you there's not enough sun to ripen them and danger of rot, but they healthy and producing abundantly. They do have exceptionally rich home-made soil though and need watering only 3 or 4 days.

Stefaneener said...

Daphne, we rarely have those. Just a less-buggy climate, I think. Sorry. I wish I could ship you some.

AG, you'll be the kind of gardener people run and hide when they see you coming. And your results surely validate the hands-on approach! My harvests, though unrecorded, are not as large as yours.

Erin, we have had a handful of ripe ones only. You are so far ahead. But seriously, think about things like food banks if you're tired of them. There's no law you have to EAT what you grow!

Heiko, hello! Some people are all about the jungle management techniques for tomatoes. I'm thinking more and more that soil amendment is my future key. The sand just doesn't hold enough nutrients. Good to hear you're getting a lot.

Kristin said...

The best popcorn I've ever had was white and from my Grandparents Illinois farm area, Waterman, now more a suburb of Chicago. I hope yours hangs in there.

Unknown said...

I just found your site, and I love meeting kindred spirits! (Well, except that I can't knit. I'm hopelessly untalented with knitting, but I'm determined to learn some day!) Your garden looks great--our popcorn isn't doing much, perhaps because I delegated the task of planting it to our two kids--and we have three large clumps of popcorn plants in the bed. I think they took the entire seed packet and just dumped it, silly kiddos! Our zucchini, too, is simply enormous. Looking forward to many returned visits to hear how your garden is growing! Cheers!