Lots of weird bugs

Today I think I found a mystery mint family plant next to the summer strawberry bed. Hoping it’s lemon balm. I didn’t try smelling or tasting it. It’s probably from sometime when T and I were out planting seeds in the summer strawberry bed. Sometimes he prefers to plant outside of the bed. There’s a lot of bindweed and purslane. I haven’t been spending much time over there, as you can tell.

probably lemon balm
lemon balm?

I keep finding weird bugs everywhere, so I have started a photo album of pests in our garden. Today I think I found a lygus bug in the Chandlers. DOH!

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lygus bug?

I guess I need to figure out what plants the damsel bug likes! Apparently it shows up later in the season.

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tomatillo plant- lots of things have been eating leaves, including what looks like leafminers

Check out these gorgeous summer strawberries! I think they are sweet anns. there are a lot of big ones coming along!

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beautiful summer strawberries

Tonight I picked 2 baskets of Chandlers. I weeded a lot and pulled off all the runners I could find. That plus a tour of most of the garden took an hour and a half! I didn’t get to pick old berries because we were trying to get T to bed

Productive Friday!

On Thursday evening I planted more corn and green, yellow, and purple green beans. I snuck a few more Blacktail Mountain watermelon seeds in, too. I don’t have a lot of luck with this method. I also tried to fill in some of the spots where I had poor germination (eaten seed?) in the last planting. That was 2 weeks ago, oops.

This morning (Friday, a day that peaked around 93 or 94 degrees) I tried to smooth out the west-most beds. The soil is so sandy there! There is still a lot of grass, which I wish weren’t a problem. Then I prepped some more ground for potatoes. I only went about 12 feet because there’s no drip tape past where we’ve already planted, so the soil is really dry in the top several inches. Then I forget if I did something else (maybe checked the Chandlers?) but I went and picked some old strawberries. I put Camarosas in one basket and Seascapes in the other, but I don’t quite know which is which.

This evening T and I planted sunflower seeds! I had a big bag of mixed sunflowers, and a packet of old Mammoth sunflowers (packed for 2014) and another packet of a big sunflower. I tried to put the big ones in the middle of the bed just in case they can block some light from hitting the house, which is on the other side of the garden. I want to cover that bed with compost but I am a bit concerned that we only have 4 or 5 yards left. There are way different bugs in that bed than I’ve seen anywhere else in the garden. We’ll see if they just eat the seeds, or what. I also worry that I could have planted the seeds too deep.

To do: hoe the greens, add all those buckets of stuff I’ve got to the existing compost pile – it will be much bigger that way, pick strawberries, plant dry beans, plant flowers, plant cover crops (Z needs to prepare a lot of beds for this), plant pole beans, plant the other sunflower bed, go to herb fair and get some perennials to plant…where?

Z has pretty much mowed the whole back area with the tractor. He moved the tractor and mower back under cover tonight because he’s noticing new rust. A few mornings ago the fog was down to the ground, so I’m guessing that that’s why. That was the day I had all this weird wilting on the Chandlers (did I write about that?).

That bed’s been hoed!

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It took about 4 hours of work to get the weeds hoed out of this bed and 6 or 10 inches away from the plants!

Alrighty, the Chandlers have been hoed. The plants are so small and most of the buds have been so small that I think these may have to stick around until next spring. I guess I need to stop pulling the buds off, though. We (mostly Z) have been getting our irrigation going – the leak on the right was fixed! Now maybe I can fertilize (starting with a kelp/seaweed product). This reminds me that I need a new sprayer.

My hands are killing me from hoeing, but the bed needs a good going-over with the Cobra weeder (http://www.cobrahead.com/). No time. Last year’s berries need some maintenance, and I need to hoe alongside the summer berries I planted this spring and last fall. I also have more to plant. The water line doesn’t quite reach the end of that bed. I think that if I run out, I might just put the crowns (if they are still ok to use) at the end of the Chandlers…

One of the next beds I’d like to get going (because it has so little grass growing) is last year’s bean and pea row (it also had one cherry tomato plant). There are all these weird holes there- check oneout! Hopefully just from gophers, but why were so many holes not closed back up? The surface of the ground is scarily dry. 😦

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A rather large hole that has a crack coming off of it. The ground looks like a cross between Petaluma Adobe and cement

Worked in the garden more than went to the gym!

I worked in the garden more days than I went to the gym this week (4 days vs. 3! on one day I didn’t do either because we took our kid to the doctor)! This was partly due to not wanting to waste time driving while I have a sick kid at home/staying close in case I was really, really needed. I need to see someone to get a weights workout that’s tailored to preventing some of my aches and pains. I also need to do more stretching- I used to do a long stretch/PT every night. These days I usually only do my arms and feet, I only do my situp-type abs at the gym, and I only do water aerobics 2-3 times a week…

Tonight I weeded the strawberries. This involves an increasing amount of pulling off flower buds because the plants need to grow some more and we need to get past the threat of frost before they start producing fruit. It was a bit too wet to be walking out there today- we got about 3/4 of an inch yesterday.

Tomorrow I hope to do the poor onions. I accidentally mowed some of them the other day because I couldn’t tell where the row started. I do have the plants inside of the drip tape, but I couldn’t always see the drip tape to know to avoid it. I need to pull out a row of sprinklers before they get overgrown by the grass, too.

I’m feeling frustrated that I can’t find my companion planting notes- I thought they were on the first page in my notebook. Perhaps that page got torn out by little hands. Anyhow, note to self: marigold to deter cucumber beetles. Also: figure out how to view things on the blog based on tags.

Speaking of little hands, Z and T picked some greens while I was weeding. 🙂 Z’s dad showed me the pruning that he did the other day- mostly just cutting back dozens of watersprouts from under the three pear trees that are in the garden. The poor trees are so sick, and the watersprouts don’t look much better. Now we need to figure out how to get that wood plus the walnut (?) limb that fell this fall out of the garden. I am thinking we have a truck bring it out to another pile of wood near the driveway and chip it all.

Slow garden weekend

On Saturday night, T and I planted some carrots and radishes. We’ll see if anything comes of that- there’s a chance that I’ll accidentally weed them out in the semi-darkness some evening. I harvested greens that night, which means that I also did some weeding.

On Sunday evening I picked about 1.75 baskets of strawberries, which was about 1.3 of the strawberry area. Ooh, tomorrow I can buy strawberry crowns. I also weeded the east side of the newer pea area, and… well, I bought like 6 six-packs of seedlings today (what is wrong with me?! well, I was thinking of maybe replacing the collards and kales that are bolting), so I looked around and tried to figure out where I can plant them. I think that rather than trying to tuck in 1 here and 3 there where other plants haven’t made it, I should use the empty bed to the left of the east bed of greens. It was prepared at the same time as the others, and I’ve kept up with the pigweed for the most part, but it is covered in bell beans and (mostly) grass. Like, it’s hard to find the drip tape. So I should move the drip tape aside and mow and then I guess hoe and put compost down before putting the drip tape back. I’ve been using just a metal file to sharpen my hoes, and I have to say that it is so ineffective! An angle grinder would be better, but I don’t have a good space for using power tools, and of course I don’t want super-sharp tools around the toddler. :/

Seedlings purchased 10/4/15
Seedlings purchased 10/4/15

When/if my sprained wrist gets all the way better (and why  do I feel like when T bumped into me at one point this afternoon, I got some sort of knee injury like a hyperextension or something?) I have a lot of work to do out there- need to put compost out (I’d prefer to use the shovel and wagon, but this requires time, no kid, less pain, and no wind… but the benefit is: exercise, which I feel like I’m not getting out there these days), hoe out existing plants, get drip lines in, and plant garlic (bought seed for that, too – and can onion sets really work at this time of year?) and get ready for strawberries. Whew!

Oh, the slugs are getting bigger every day- some are over an inch long. I killed so many out there and there are so very many more. This is why I don’t want to try to grow lettuce – yet.

Productive garden day

This morning I picked about a basket of strawberries. Then I spent about 45 minutes weeding and setting up the drip tape for the next section of peas. This evening I planted a packet each of Oregon Sugar Pod II and of Sugar Snap peas. T
“planted” a packet of Sugar Snap peas (I had 2 packets, total) somewhere. When we went in to get more seeds, I got him some of the Green Arrow shelling peas from my 1/2-pound bag. He mostly didn’t try to plant them. I also tried to plant some old Scarlet Nantes carrot seed, but it’s hard to see what you’re doing with about 20 carrot seeds on an extremely muddy hand.

This thing of buying single seed packets needs to stop. It’s too much money for too few seeds. That said, one can’t always find the seeds that one wants in larger quantities, or from the vendor from whom one wants to get them…

I need to be hoeing instead of doing all that ridiculous hand/Cobra weeding. The thing is, there are all these perennial weeds, so a scuffle hoe’s not quite going to do it. A sharp hoe can’t be used along the drip tape without cutting it at least once. So what to do? Keep weeding by hand and trying to not use my sprained hand!

Z checked out the sprayer and it worked fine for him and T. At least it’s been rinsed now.

It’s amazing how different the afternoon light is now – it has really changed to fall in the last 2 weeks.

Not the most productive day- strawberry crowns needed!

Today I didn’t get out to the garden until 6:00. The new greens seemed to be pretty much ok after the raccoon family’s visit – there were small digging marks near some plants, but mostly on the other side of the drip tape from where I’d put the seedlings last night.

I picked strawberries, pulled out dead leaves, and killed tons of slugs and about 3 cucumber beetles.  I got less than a basket from 3/4 of our berry planting :(. The end of the season is coming quickly. We’d get a lot if we picked every three days and there weren’t so many bad ones! I usually throw the really bad ones on the ground and pick them up afterwards so they’re not just sitting out there like free food for rodents, but I didn’t get time to do that. T and Z returned with takeout right at sunset.

I picked green beans from our 2nd to last pole bean planting. We missed a bunch earlier in the week that are now really big.

I’m trying to find strawberry crowns that I can plant this month. People always recommend Chandler as a Junebearing variety. I’m having some trouble finding it (some do say to plant it in August, maybe that’s why?). A lot of places have early-season varieties that are good for planting zones 5-8, but we are “9b.” Sunset calls us zone 14, iirc, so I get really confused and can never remember our zone. But like, could I get away with planting a really early variety? Maybe if I can get just 25 of them, I could try. I got ahold of a commercial nursery that said to call back in 2 weeks, and they recommended just one of their varieties for our zone. They sell in lots of 1500 so I’d have to find some folks to go in on them with me… Last year I tried to get in on 2 different orders and none of them came thru for me (“we got shorted on our order”). So we’ll see!