The garden takes on a life of its own…


I always forget when it is that the garden takes off each year.  That week – and it’s always just a week or less – that it goes from a cute spot of dirt with nicely arranged plants to a GARDEN.  A fecund green patch of foliage that in some cases literally grows by the hour.

This year, that week was this last week.  The third week of May.  Now, I have 2 jalapeños, 4 zucchinis, 5 red bell peppers & over 20 tomatoes growing.  Most of the tomatoes are cherry tomatoes in the bales by the kitchen, but all of the tomato plants I put in the actual garden (except for the heirloom mortgage buster) have fruit on the vine.

My beans are getting taller.  The tallest are over 1′ tall now, weaving up through the fencing.  I noticed that some of the leaves were  curling and the vines were twisty, so I got out there yesterday morning and discovered little gatherings of black bugs.  Some googling turns up the culprit.  The kudzu bug is a relatively new pest to the US, and since 2009 has been confirmed in 5 southeastern states.  Like the vine it prefers, it’s quickly becoming invasive.  It is very fond of legume plants, including soybeans, garden beans and relatives like wisteria.  I’ve manually removed the bugs for now, but the web tells me they’ll return soon.

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The wildflowers are gone – waiting for the okra and sweet potatoes to go in! The tiller we borrowed needed some maintenance so the bed hasn’t been tilled just yet. Hopefully soon…
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S keeps working on the tiller…
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Cherry tomatoes in the bales.
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Junior Gardener!
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The oregano seems to enjoy the bales.
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The lettuce is nearly done. I’ve since removed all the grass that grew through the bed, leaving only the strawberry plants. There are a few berries growing – I wasn’t pleased with the yield this year so I’ll need to consider what to do differently next year. I’m going to move at least one butternut squash from the bales over to this bed, where I have the materials to craft a tall trellis.
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No more grass!
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Coreopsis from the wildflower bed we mowed for the okra.
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The scallop squash (pattipan) is HUGE. No flowers yet. I had to thin – one of the three plants went to live with some friends in their garden. I haven’t grown this squash before and the size of the plant is impressive!
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Zucchini plants are taking off – several baby zukes on the vines. The pipian pumpkins (right corner) are doing great too – starting to get tall and ready to vine.
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This photo is literally 2 days after the one just above. These plants are going NUTS.
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Can you see any baby zukes?
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THERE! Baby zukes.

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Our house came with an established Asiatic lilly bed. These things are BEAUTIFUL. This is not an edited photo…they’re that vibrant.
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Lilly bed.
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The butternut squash aren’t doing as well as I would expect in the bales. The rest of my squash in the garden are getting HUGE so these are really quite small. I added some fertilizer after this photo was taken, and they’re a little bigger now. I am moving at least one to the 4×4 bed that contained my lettuce this spring. The parsley is a new addition for S. She loves having herbs near the kitchen. The cucumbers are starting to grow. I thinned those a little – gave one to some friends.
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Cukes (straight 8)
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The basil is extremely leggy in the bale. I’m not sure why. Not impressed with the cilantro this year…
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A week and a half ago, I treated the tomatoes in the garden with a fungicide. The leaves were curling, leaves were turning yellow and things were looking poor. I pruned heavily, removing suckers (the little sprouts that come up in the Y of the plants) & all stems that could touch the ground. All plants have been caged & tied. I’ll continue to tie them as the season grows, training them away from one another and supporting for the fruit to come. I plant very densely & I know that is a risk for fungal diseases, but have had a lot of success with this method in past years.
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I’ve thinned one of the yellow zukes. The other two are finally taking off! Iv’e got flowers – all male so far (as of this morning) but they’re leafing out and having more and more blooms so I’ll have some fruit soon.
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Yellow zukes growing, green beans (asparagus beans) growing behind them.
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A volunteer tomato – I’ve found several of these this year. This one is likely a roma of some variety, although it could be a mortgage buster, from last year’s dropped fruit. I thinned this one and gave it to a friend since it would not do well in the corner of that bed, behind a zucchini. Also, it’s not a good idea to grow tomatoes in the same bed one year to the next.
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Look at the tomatillos! It looks like the peppermint plant I’ve got (potted) adjacent to the bales here are keeping the flea beetles at bay for now.
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This shows the large peppermint plant tucked agains the bales that contain the tomatillos.
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My beans are coming up! The cats dug up some of the seeds in the corner where I wanted the beans to trail up the fence, so I added a second crop of seeds this week. They’ll mature after these but will allow us to have beans longer in the summer. Those will sprout in the next week or so – I’ve added twirly-gigs to that corner to keep the cats from digging this time.
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Whirly-gigs in the corner…hoping the cats stay away.
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Red peppers coming in…
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More volunteer tomatoes coming in the corner of the garden.
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I really think this is garlic.
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I am building a lattice trellis for the bales – so the cucumbers and squash can vine up.
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Rear L bed – beans and yellow zukes
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Beans alongside the rear L bed
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Volunteer basil! I thinned this little guy and gave it to a friend.

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