Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reseeding Annuals

Some of my favorite plants in my flower gardens are reseeding annuals.  I don't put down mulch specifically for their benefit.  If I did mulch the perennial beds they wouldn't be able to sprout.  Here is a pictorial list of most of them.  Some aren't blooming yet, like the sunflowers, and aren't included.  Maybe I'll do a late summer list.

1. Peony poppies - Papaver somniferum

2. Shirley poppies - Papaver rhoeas

3. Love-in-a-Mist - Nigella damascena

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Year of the Striped Cucumber Beetle

Seems like every year I get a new pest in my gardens that I must wage war upon.  There has been the Saw Fly larvae which have made me pretty much give up on columbine, the Japanese Beetles which love my poor roses, the Squash Bugs which try to consume my zucchini, and various other annoyances.  I suppose the more I garden, the more the bugs are going to be attracted to their favorite foods that I just lay out for them to feast upon.

The new one this year is the Cucumber Beetle.  Never saw one in the gardens before.  They did some serious damage to my tiny tomatillo plants.  Then I surrounded the tomatillos with marigolds and they moved to the zucchini.  Ah, the poor zucchini, if it isn't Squash Bugs, it's Cucumber Beetles.  So far this year, knock on wood, I've only seen one Squash Bug and it was promptly squashed.  Heehee, squash the Squash bug eating the squash.  So far the Cucumber Beetles haven't found the cucumbers, despite the ominous name.

It takes a lot of resolve to not break out the heavy chemicals when you watch a pernicious bug chow down on one of your favorite plants.  I do believe in companion planting as the most effective way to battle a great deal of the pest found in the garden.  Many plants are helpful not as food but as either a repellant or camouflage for the food plants.  Others may attract beneficial insects to the gardens.  So you will find in my garden, planted among the usual food crops, marigolds, cosmos, nasturtium, borage, sunflowers, tansy and calendula.  Aside from the nursery bought marigolds I bought the other day for the tomatillos, none of them are blooming yet.  But you'll be sure to see a picture of the garden when they are.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The veggie garden today

Again, I apologize for being such an infrequent blogger.  Perhaps with practice, and less to do in the garden, I will become better.

Yesterday I planted two tiny tomatillo plants so therefore my garden is now completely full.  Here are some recent pictures.

This is the left half of the garden facing North.  You can easily see the flush of self-seeded cilantro that I will allow to remain for now.  Eventually it will have to come up once in goes to seed, becomes coriander, and is no longer of any use to me.  In the front beds from the left are: 1st bed, spinach; second bed, onions and radishes and carrots; third bed, zucchini and nasturtiums and fourth bed, peppers and tomatillos.

In the background you can see the self-seeded dill which I will also allow to remain.  I expect to have black swallowtail caterpillars on it at some point as I did last year.  The beans are just beginning to show their heads, as are the cucumbers and lettuce.  To the right in the back is the asparagus bed.  Behind all that is the self-seeded borage and sunflowers which will stay.  I love the borage for the simple fact that the honey bees love the borage.  The more honey bees I can get in there, the better everything grows.  The sunflowers are just really pretty.

This is the right side of the garden that is dedicated to the tomatoes.  Originally I planted 59 plants but one succumbed to the foot of the child who was helping me put on the straw mulch.  I also have a few basil plants stuck in there among the tomatoes.  The patch of red is the plastic red mulch that the Master Gardeners were asked to trial.  Supposedly red plastic helps the tomatoes grow better.

A close-up of one of the tomato plants; I believe this is a Rose heirloom.

And here is the new herb garden which is looking pretty good considering everything was moved this spring. Seems I made it quite a bit too small.