Sunday, July 6, 2014
Sunday Reading - What's Hot and What's Not in the Garden
All I can say about this years growing season is that it has been good for beans. I don't think I have seen so many bean blooms and especially Bush bean growth since 2009 or was that 2010? Whatever year it was when it was so wet. Not that overall it has been especially wet this year. We have had periods of rain and then periods of dry but it has been cooler than usual and we have had sufficient rainfall to keep everything going well. The cooler periods however have effected the warmth loving Nightshade varieties a bit and slowed their growth down considerably.
Melons have also done well this year. They are overgrowing everything by leaps and bounds and redirecting the tendrils has become a daily chore. The last couple of weeks the Tomatoes are beginning to come back and although we had our first ripe tomato on the fourth I doubt we will see anymore now for at least another two weeks. Potatoes are the one Nightshade variety that did well, I suspect it is because they can tolerate the cooler temps.
Cucumbers started really taking off last week and I have already lost count of how many I have given away or fed to the Rams. At about the same time the Muskmelons also began exploding and have set a bunch of fruit the last few days.
About the first of July I noticed the working girls began heavily hitting the Cucumber and Melon blooms once again. The mornings especially are greeted with every little yellow bloom accompanied by a bee butt sticking up out of them. One reason I plant so many Melons and such is because the bees like them so much this time of year and to use as Sheep feed. The Rams especially who are limited to their smaller enclosures have come to love Cucumbers and over ripe Squash. The largest Ram, named Lamar will almost catch a thrown Cucumber like a trained dog when he sees it coming his way.
The last round of yard mowing set the Dutch clover back and since we haven't had any rain the last week or so to speak of it hasn't come back yet. I suspect this is why the bees switched to the Cucumber and Melon blooms so heavily. We also cut the Clover and Alfalfa field for baling which removed that area from foraging as well.
Even though I don't stress about them the Squash bugs have been a complete menace this year. I estimate their population is running at least 10 times the numbers I usually get. They are already killing off plants which is about a month earlier than usual. I am wondering if the addition of the large Melon patches last year isn't what caused their population to grow. I am seriously considering the removal of Melons and such from the main garden and into a rotation system of several spots to try and stay ahead of massive population centers for the future. Overall the numbers could cause some serious damage later in the year at this rate once the Squash and Zucchini are killed off the bugs will move into the Melons and Cucumbers.
The Bindweed/Morning Glory infestation is almost impossible to control even with daily weeding trips. The hardest part is now that some of the plants are getting large the Bindweed grows up into it and is impossible to find right away. This is turn is again making me consider a second garden spot that I can rotate around on in an attempt to control the Bindweed by tilling the fallow spot each year. I have the space and it beats resorting to other means of control I think.
As usual the Sweet Corn isn't even worth talking about. I seem to get a good crop of Sweet Corn maybe once every four years or so. This year saw too much rain at one point that stunted about 90% of it and then the others began tasseling early. At least it didn't get blown over for a change.
Despite the issues it does look like the Tomatoes are coming back strong and the Melons should be good if the Squash can hold out long enough. As I mentioned it has already been a record Bean year so there is that no matter what.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!