Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Early June Update - Part 3


Last but not least in my June garden update series is Area #2.  This is the smallest section of the vegetable garden, containing only four beds.

First up is the brassica bed, which is having a peculiar issue that I've not seen before - sowbugs eating the greens (aka pill bugs, aka roly polie’s, aka wood lice – I think these guys corner the market on the number of names they have…over 17 according to Wikipedia!)

Sowbugs enjoying their lunch

We’ve always had sowbugs, but they’ve never been a problem before.  In fact, they are considered beneficial as they normally feed on decaying vegetative matter, making them a good companion in the garden.  They are beneficial, that is, unless there is a population explosion - then they will start to feed on seedlings which is not so good.  In my case, they are particularly enjoying the turnip greens.  I sowed the turnips in 3 successions and my latest sowing is completely gone.

The turnip rows have lots of gaps this year

Since the temperatures were fairly cool earlier this spring, I decided to cover this bed with Agribon instead of the netting that I normally use.  I have a feeling that this contributed to the problem as we've had a very wet spring and the Agribon kept the bed even moister, the ideal environment for sowbugs. 

So far not too much damage done to the baby Chinese greens (left)
and mizuna (right) which are also in the same bed

I don’t really want to hurt them since they are beneficial, do I’m simply letting them be.  I switched out the Agribon with netting and am hoping that some dryer weather will get their numbers back down to normal.

Not related at all to Area #2, but completely related to pesky plant nibblers is the situation with my sweet potatoes.  Or should I say what were my sweet potatoes:

All gone in one pot and just a few stubs left in the other...sigh

I've been waiting for the weather to warm up to get them into a grow bag and they have been sitting in a tray on my deck together with a few perennials.  Then, a few days ago, I noticed they were gone - dang bunny!  So much for sweet potatoes this year :(

Back to Area #2 and some good critter news, for a change.  The allium bed where some seedlings were mowed down earlier in the season has basically recovered:

This allium bed has recovered nicely from the rocky start this spring

I wasn’t certain what was cutting down my seedlings (cutworms or birds were the two forerunners) so I took a multi-pronged approach.  I applied eggshells and diatomaceous earth to the bed as well as covered it with netting.  This did the trick as I didn’t have any further issues and even many of the seedlings that were cut off at the base have now regrown.

The new strawberry bed is in this area and the plants are doing very well:

'St. Laurent'

Area #2 also houses a legume bed which is currently occupied with some sugar snap pea vines.  The rest of the bed was recently sown with Cherokee Trail of Tears (dried black bean) and Great Canadian.  The latter is a kidney type bean that I first grew last year and it's become a favourite - so yummy!

Sugar snap peas

And that's it for our edible tour...which brings me to "THE" garden project of 2017.  It all started when my husband decided that he would rather not have vegetable beds in Area #2.  One thing led to another and next thing you know, we were in the midst of planning a new garden project - in fact, it's already underway.

This project,  which is rather large,  together with a couple of family events and the Fling (very excited about that!), promise to make the next few weeks exceptionally busy.  I'll be doing a post on our project shortly - don't want to keep you in suspense too long! - but then I'll be taking a blog break until sometime in July.  That's the irony when you're a garden blogger - the more there is to write about, the less time you have to write it.

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

21 comments:

  1. Aack, sowbugs! They can be so destructive, they've munched through so many seedlings in my garden and they love to eat the skin off my radishes, especially the red ones for whatever reason. They will also chew through the tender stems of young plants like beans and peas and broccoli. That's one of the reasons there's sawed off water bottle cloches and sleeves all over my garden, they can't climb up plastic.

    Can't wait to see what your new project is, how exciting!

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    1. I had no idea that they could do so much damage - in the past, they've not been an issue and I only noticed them congregating in large numbers underneath objects in the garden such as old logs, pots, etc. We are now in for some nicer weather over the next week and I'm hoping that they find the drier soil a bit less attractive and move elsewhere.

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  2. There is always something going all out to ruin your efforts aren't they? You are so right that this time is one for juggling lots of gardening related jobs.

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    1. Every year there's something and it seems that there is always at least one new to the garden pest or disease to deal with. Thank goodness for Google!

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    2. When I think about why they got the name pill bug it makes me shudder.

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  3. Your strawberry and allium beds look great, it'll be wonderful next year when your strawberries are in full swing. Rolly pollies are voracious, I regularly see them feed on plants especially if there's lots of them.

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    1. Thanks Phuong - It's so funny how some pests/diseases are such a nuisance one year but barely make an appearance the next. I'm grateful for the ebb and flow, though, as if they all hit hard every year, that would be truly discouraging!

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  4. Isn't that the truth! The busier you are the more you have to blog about but no time to do it! I would like to give you some of my turnip greens! Coco did pull out some of my pea vines though but I wasn't too upset as am tired of eating pea shoots and that is why I planted them in that spot. There is a zucchini in the middle though and I don't want her pulling that out. Will look forward to seeing your new project! nancy

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    1. Oh, I would gladly accept some turnip greens - they are a favourite and it looks like it will be a skimpy harvest this year :)

      I'm glad that Coco is sharing in the pea shoot harvest, lucky doggie! Zucchini's are usually a bit prickly so hopefully that keeps her from pulling it up :)

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  5. I didn't know that woodlice would eat crops. Your new strawberry bed looks brilliant, I bet you can't wait to start reaping the rewards. Looking forward to hearing about the new project.

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    1. I was very surprised too - I had heard of others having issues with them but had not experienced that myself. The garden is always full of surprises, both good and bad!

      I've never planted dormant bare-root strawberry plants before so am quite happy that they are doing so well. They are now starting to flower and I'm diligently pinching them off, all in preparation for a great harvest next year.

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  6. Oh, how interesting! Like other commenters, I had no idea that pillbugs/sowbugs would eat green matter. You've inspired me to look them up, and among other things I learned (this makes sense) that they're not bugs but crustaceans, related to lobsters and shrimp. Huh! Must be this long, very wet spring that has them out in numbers. Your garden, as always, is inspiring, as are you. See you soon in D.C.

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    1. I was surprised to find out they were crustaceans too - who would have thought? That is exactly my thought - our wet, cool weather is causing a pillbug baby boom :) The good news is that now that it's dried up a bit, I don't see them anywhere near as much in that bed - I may get to harvest some turnips greens after all. I can't believe the Fling is only 2 weeks away - looking forward to catching up and doing a bit of sightseeing with you :)

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  7. How strange about the sowbugs. I've always found them under pieces of rotting wood, never munching on plants.

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    1. That has been my past experience too, which is why I was so surprised what I discovered them devouring the greens.

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  8. Oh, that is too bad about the sweet potatoes. Rabbits, deer and groundhogs all seem to like the foliage. Sow bugs are bad here too, along with slugs. Both seem to do a number on my seedlings.

    I'll be looking forward to your big project! I've made some guesses in my mind, we will see if I'm even close or not. ;-)

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    1. I can't believe that s/he went up on my deck and ate my sweet potato vines - and now I noticed that 3 of my peppers and several ornamentals have also been decapitated...argh!

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  9. What a shame about the sweet potatoes! Now that I have no longer have my cat to protect my yard, I seem to have seen a bunny or two just in the past week myself. Sigh.

    And I've never noticed sow bugs to be a problem either, but my weather has been very similar to yours, so I'll keep an eye out for them.

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    1. Oh, I would keep an eye out on my seedlings to make sure that the rabbit isn't nibbling - they start off small then next thing you know, half a bed is gone!

      Last year, I went practically the whole season without a fence in one area as I never got around to putting it back up after we had a tree removed and there were no issues. This year, the dang rabbit (I think it's only one) is driving me crazy, even in fenced in areas as he's a baby and pretty adept at finding gaps to squeeze into!

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  10. Your last line is so true! I always have to remind myself that it's OK to take a little blogging break--especially when it's time to get the plants in the ground and get the growing season off to a good start. That's weird about the roly polys--we get them here, too, but I've never seen them in large numbers. Enjoy the Fling!

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    1. I sometimes think that we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves to do EVERYTHING during the gardening season, unrealistic as that may be. It's good to step back a bit and purposefully prioritize.

      I'm so sad that you have to miss the Fling this year - it won't be the same without you!

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