What was supposed to be a bean teepee is more a gourd teepee now. Although, the gourd vine has outgrown the bamboo and is making it’s way toward the sunflowers.
I fully expect at least one ear of corn to explode with smutty goodness, and although they say it’s a delicacy, I’ve never tried it.
We harvested our taters a few weeks ago. We got less than I expected, but I am thankful for what we got. My lesson with this year’s potatoes is that i should have watered them more.
These onions were the first seeds I started inside this year, way back in early March, yet they were the last thing I actually put in the ground. I need to keep them better weeded.
Tomato hornworm! I know that parasitic wasps will eventually lay eggs on this guy, but I wasn’t taking any chances—I picked him off and left him out where a hungry bird would easily find him.
A blurry picture of my least favorite thing—squash bug eggs. Smash them when you see them, but expect that you won’t find them all. Brace yourself for squash bugs. A sure sign that summer is here and won’t last forever. Nothing does.
Overall, it’s been a great gardening season for us. Our most productive, most well mulched, weeded, and watered garden ever.
Oh, the joy of tending your own garden.
Beans. Blanch ‘em for three minutes, plunge them in ice water, and freeze them.
And finally, here is my chicken tractor. Almost complete. I’m buying the cage wire today and should be getting our birds next week.
I give up.
I’m going to rip everything out, scatter grass seed, and never garden again.
Or at least that’s how I feel. In a word: defeated.
Was it the weather?
First there was the super soggy spring. Then came what felt like months of blistering heat, followed by weeks and weeks of hurricanes and rain.
Or was it the dark armies of garden pests—the wilt-wielding cucumber beetles, the nectar-of-life-sucking squash bugs, the alien Mexican bean beetle larvae that transform into skeltonizing oversized yellow-spotted merchants of death? Or perhaps it was the stupid plodding stink bugs or the colonies of swarming ants. Did I mention the slugs? And forget about the green worms on my broccoli.
Forget about it—I’m done.
I’m guessing the weather had at least a little bit to do with my bugs. These swings in temperatures and conditions undoubtedly caused my poor plants much stress, and as we all know, stress affects overall health. Once the health of your plants is compromised, your garden falls easy prey to those garden-wrecking hexapods from hell.
I thought I had a handle on the bugs, what with my daily diligence of leaf inspection and insect-smashing. But once the rains set in, my routine collapsed and it all veered toward oblivion. And now I just want to rip it all out, plant grass seed, and be done gardening forever.
But there is a garden in my heart and I know several things:
Next year will be better, or at least different.
To garden is to have a hand in Creation, to be a part of the giant wheel of the world.
Bugs and all.
Squash bugs. I hate ‘em. I’m not sure what purpose they serve in the world. All I know is that they’ve made a mess of my squash plants this year. They didn’t really appear in full force until a few weeks ago, so we were able to enjoy lots of zucchini in June and July.
But then I noticed the egg clusters on the underside of some pumpkin leaves. I squished them, but obviously I didn’t get them all. I began seeing those horrid little grayish white nymphs on some of my other plants too. And now they are engaged in a full assault on my butternut squash.
The best way to control squash bugs is to squish them. But you have to be diligent about it. You must let looking for and squishing eggs, nymphs, and adult squash bugs become an everyday ritual. Skip a day and they will win.
I am currently trying to save the butternuts that are growing on the trellis I made for my peas (but which has since become home to tomato plants, cucumbers, sunflowers and squash). Having the plants up in the air makes it a lot easier to get in there to find the bugs—I’m not as old as I hope to one day be, but I can definitely feel my nearly four decades in my muscles and joints after working in the garden, so having the plants up at a workable level is great—just one of the many benefits of vertical gardening, but I digress.
Squash bugs are terrible. They suck the sap—and the life—right out of your plants, especially seedlings and flowering plants. I’ll say it again: you have to be diligent about patrolling your squash plants. Don’t give up.
I almost forgot how much I love butternut squash until I saw a plump fruit forming on the vine. Then I remembered the soup that I make with butternut squash, cannellini beans, tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds. I promise to post the recipe and photos when I make it again this fall. It is this love of food that keeps me fighting the good fight against squash bugs.