Monday, June 29, 2009

Am I In Control Again?

I learned this past weekend that other gardeners have the same problems that I have had. Slugs and snails seem to be having a banner year most everywhere and groundhogs are a problem for many.

In my garden the little groundhog was finally caught and removed. My pole beans are now growing. I had just surrounded most of the pole bean areas with fencing held down with tent stakes to keep out the groundhog. I have left them there just in case the family had other members living nearby. I transplanted some new little lettuce plants and maybe we will actually be able to eat some. The last lettuce we had for a salad came from the Regional Market this Saturday.

Snails (we have far more snails than slugs) still abound but I scout for them two or three times a day, dropping them into soapy water. This was the suggestion of another gardener and I prefer it to squashing them. I don't have anything under row covers right now so the snails cannot operate freely. I don't have anything to report yet on whether surrounding Chinese cabbage with bran meal and/or egg shells cuts down on the snail damage.

In general, the vegetables are beginning to show good growth. Tomatoes are forming. Greens (like Swiss chard, pak choi and zen) are providing part of our meals. I grew some snow peas that have done well but are tasteless. Back to sugar snaps next year. Summer squash have flowered and are beginning to develop. Cucumbers (I went with lemon cucumbers this year) had been nipped back by the groundhog but are now beginning to show growth and flowers. The potatoes have certainly grown quite well, at least above the ground. [Hard to know what's going on below the surface.] The fava beans my son brought back (as seeds) from Oregon are impressive and the soy beans, initially nipped off, have been replanted and are growing. Peppers and basil are not having their best year, but it is early. Garlic and leeks are doing nicely. Our blueberries are covered with berries and are beginning to ripen. My goal of weighing what we get from the garden fails with blueberries - they usually don't make it into the house. The raspberry plants are growing well. Japanese beetles have been found on the roses outside the fence but I haven't seen any on the raspberries yet. About fifteen years ago they were a major raspberry problem for several years. When I find them they will also be candidates for soapy water. We have some blackberries growing along the fence and we should get more of those than we did last year when the canes weren't supported.

Most of the planting is done. I still have collards, more kale, broccoli, pak choi, arugula, and Swiss chard starting in the cold frame. All in all the garden is doing well despite the early set-backs.

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