Saturday, June 21, 2014

What's Happening In The Garden - Mid-June - Part 2


So on to part 2 of my mid-June vegetable garden tour...
 
Another Pest In The Garden
 
So yesterday, I showed my spinach area and, although the plants were small, they were doing ok.  But when I got up this morning, this is what I found:
 
Spinach Seedling - Keeled Over
 

When I picked it up, it was completely cut off at the base....the main suspect - cutworms.  This is my first experience with cutworms in the garden but I have read enough to know that the best defense is to form some kind of barrier so that the cutworm cannot encircle the seedlings delicate stem.
 
To form this barrier, toilet paper rolls are suggested most of the time.  So I rummaged through our recycle bins & found a few, which I cut in half & placed on some of the plants.  I didn't have enough for all of the seedlings so I also used another suggestion I had read about which is to place 2 toothpicks on either side of the stem.
 
 
Protected (Hopefully) Spinach Seedlings
I didn't have enough toilet paper rolls, so I also used a toothpick barrier,
as you see on the seedling in the lower right corner
 
Cucumbers

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about my wilting cucumber plants.  I ended up losing a total of 3 cucumber seedlings (out of 8) soon after transplanting them – 2 Suyo Long & 1 Lemon cucumber.  Initially I thought it was either bugs (such as the cucumber beetle) or overwatering.

I have since come to realize that the most likely cause was actually HOW I planted the cucumbers.  When I transplanted the seedlings, I placed them deeply into the soil, burying a portion of the stem.  Well, apparently you are not supposed to do that with cucumbers as this can, in fact, cause them to die.  This solves the mystery of why some seedlings died while others did not - I probably planted those that succumbed more deeply than the others.  Lesson learned & noted – don’t plant cucumber seedlings deeply.

I direct sowed some seeds to replace the plants that I had lost & these have just germinated in the last few days.  The five cucumber plants that survived are just starting to put on some new growth.  In fact, even though they are only a few inches tall, there are already some baby cucumbers on two of the original Garden Sweet hybrids:


Garden Sweet Burpless Cucumber
 
Unfortunately, no male blossoms are open yet, so these will probably end up dropping off.
 

Onions

I’m so excited about growing onions this year.  Most people I know often find that strange but I’m just an onions and garlic type of gal & make no apologies for that!  I am constantly out there looking for the first sign of bulb swelling.  The stems are getting pretty fat, which I think is a good sign.


Rossi Di Milano Onion
Getting fat but no bulb yet
 
The perennial bunching onions are coming along slowly.  This is not surprising, I suppose, considering I direct sowed them only 5 weeks ago.


He-Shi-Ko Perennial Bunching Onion Seedlings
 

Lettuce

The lettuce is still doing well, with no sign of bitterness – I think that the shade cloth is doing a wonderful job of keeping them a bit cooler.

Initially I was using a piece of weed cloth to shade the bed.  But because the cloth was black and sort of "plasticy", I found that it actually generated quite a bit of heat directly underneath it.  This would not be an issue if there was a large air gap between the lettuce and the cloth but, in my case, the cloth rests only a few inches above the lettuce.  Several bloggers use a folded up row cover for shading, so I decided to try this & it has worked out very well.


Folded up Row Cover Used for Shading
The lettuce receives morning sun, but is then shaded for the rest of the day
 
I have harvested all of the “Rougette de Montpellier” heads & I will be doing a final harvest of the leaf lettuce varieties next week as I have the next round of lettuce seedlings all ready to go.


Lettuce Under Cover
 
 
Collards & Chinese Cabbage

The collards are chugging along, as is the Chinese cabbage – no sign of bolting on this one yet.  As I mentioned in a prior post, the shade cloth that I am using for lettuce also shades the Chinese cabbage for part of the day, so I think this is helping.  The diatomaceous earth has really helped to control slugs in this bed and the netting is doing a great job of protecting against the cabbage white butterfly, which I have seen fluttering about in the garden recently.


Joi Choi Hybrid - Ready For Another Picking

Herbs & Flowers

The cilantro & dill that I sowed last week is finally coming up here & there.  I could have been more diligent in watering this bed so I was a bit worried about germination on these two.


Dill Seedlings
 


Cilantro Seedlings
 
Now, it’s been many years since I have grown either dill or cilantro, so I can't really remember what the seedlings look like – I’m hoping these aren’t pictures of weeds ;)

The borage that I planted in the squash beds is growing well but what I am really enjoying are the marigolds:
 
Janie Series Dwarf Marigold
 

I planted several of these in each of the tomato beds and I am absolutely loving them.


Peppers

The pepper plants are still quite small – the largest is only 9” tall.
 
Sweet & Hot Peppers
 
When it comes to their size, however, I have to remember that I did bury an inch or two of the stem when I repotted them and then again when I planted them in the garden.  I’m hoping this will give them lots of extra roots that will slurp up lots of nutrients.  All of the plants are now flowering and we even have a few baby peppers on a couple of them!


Baby Hot Pepper
- and standing on the bud is that leaf miner fly that I talked about in Part 1 -
 

Tomatoes

The tomatoes are doing fantastically well.  Super thick stems, dark green leaves – Love it!  I am growing 12 varieties of tomatoes this year, which I talked about HERE.  This is the photo I took on June 1st, about 1 week after I transplanted them:


Tomato Bed on June 1
 
And this is that same bed now:


Tomato Bed - June 20
 
Here’s a closer photo of the tomatoes that gives a better perspective of how lush they are right now:


Determinate Tomato Plants
 
After the horrible tomato performance of last year, this makes me jump up and down happy.  I am tempering my enthusiasm just a bit, however, as I know that all it takes is a spell of bad weather or one little spore and all of a sudden, a promising tomato year turns into a bed full of yellowing, leafless plants that are just barely holding on.

All of the tomatoes are flowering and I even spied this on one of them:


"Bloody Butcher" Tomato
 
“Bloody Butcher” has set the 1st tomato in the garden.  Honestly – I don’t care how red & juicy this tomato is, who in their right mind would come up with a name like that??

Seeing that first tiny tomato is such an exciting moment in the garden each year.  Now we cross our fingers that the weather cooperates and the bugs & diseases stay far, far away for the rest of the season.

Till next time...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

2 comments:

  1. I just hate cutworms. I had them in my lettuce. The toothpick trick wasn't working. Sometimes it works ok for me but other times they seem to push them away. I just tend to find them and kill them nowadays. They always hide underneath the soil by the plant they chopped down (while mostly) so they aren't hard to find. The lettuce bed looks lovely. I just chopped down a while bunch of mine because some were starting to bolt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had no idea cutworms were that easy to find. Next time I will definitely dig around for them so that I can give them the old squish.

      Delete

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