Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Promises, Promises...

It's been a few weeks since I have posted anything and as you will see, the garden has exploded. This is our cucumber climbing system. We use this canopy overhang for shade cloth and in the winter it's covered as a shelter for the sheep who are kept here to fertilize the garden and protect their hay while providing access to clean up the front field and garden area. Kind of a layaway plan for future fertility. Right now, months later, the cucumbers are reaping the benefits and we are using the top rails to tie straps for the cucumbers to climb. Easier access, keeps predators from taking bites and going on their way and uses less space in the garden. Onward and upward. That's my hardworking husband Bill in the background.
 The next couple of photos are of a trap crop that I use called Amaranth. The wild version is a called Pig weed. Of course Amaranth in itself is an ancient plant used for flours and the new hybrid versions are used for flowers. We acquired this weed in a load of topsoil that we had brought in for strawberries. At first I was really annoyed of course because I paid for this weedy dirt. Eventually I started noticing that the cucumber beetles prefer this over the cucumber and as the invasion of Japanese Beetles came through, I found that they liked it also. Pictured in this photo is a Japanese Beetles on the leaf on the left. Below are 2 of the dreaded Striped cucumber beetles. You can see a few holes but I was really trying to get in close so the bugs can be seen. In reality, the plants at large are shot full of holes. The flea beetles like them too. 
The main thing is they have to be pulled before they go to seed and they have a long taproot like a radish. These are about ready to be pulled but we have some smaller ones coming on. It doesn't completely get rid of the problem, but with these plants, it takes a lot longer for the cucumber beetles, both spotted and striped to sicken and kill the    plants.                                                         
The last pics that we took of the tomatoes were about 5 weeks ago before I went into the hospital. What a difference, hey? This is just 2 rows of tomatoes and a row of Poblano peppers planted by the Famous Julie Holley. If you look hard, you can just see them hanging from the plants. I am so excited. This is the 1st year I will have them for the entire season. I planted from seed and she put them in. Last time I got any it was at the very tail end of the season. YAY! Really though I wouldn't have gotten half of this in w/out the help of Vesterbrook Farm.

Finally a photo of the ever prolific Tomatillos.
You can barely see the tomatoes planted on both fences for volunteer tomatillos. All are doing well. I can't wait ....ummmmm Smoked Tomatillo Salsa.
Maybe 2 weeks for all of the above except cucumbers.  We will have cukes at Tower Grove Mkt this weekend. See You there.
 Listen for the call "Lemonade, Ice COLD Lemonade"


Sam and Bill

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