Monday, September 5, 2011

The State of the Garden

This planting season, I've actually been attempting to keep a garden journal, in which I report what grew well, what curled up and died when I look at it crossly, and a grand tally of how many squash bugs I've killed or attempted to kill.  Actually, I lost count early on, but at this point a squash bug should have every reason to fly off to a garden 78 miles away when it sees me coming.  But alas, they remain.

So here's the report:

Spring Plantings
Sugar Snap Peas: Planted a couple weeks too late, so we got a sad yield.  The plants I began from seed didn't take very well; they seem to do better when sown directly.
Spinach, Lettuce, Broccoli: See above.
Potatoes: These did pretty well!  I wanted to do a second planting but couldn't find any seed potatoes.  Next year I will plant more initially and keep some for seed.  A few that I dug up had bite marks, so I'm not sure what dug underground for a snack.

Summer Plantings:
Tomatoes:  What's a garden without tomatoes???  I had to buy plants because only a couple I began from seed survived, and they were pretty scrawny.  Next spring I hope to start them in the hoop house we're planning on building.  The Brandywine and cherry tomatoes I bought did the best; I bought a variety of other heirlooms which didn't do well at all.  I'm not sure if it was because the plants were rather mature when I transplanted them into the garden, or if they had some inherent problems, but a couple died after a month or so and the others didn't produce well.  Overall, however, I didn't get the yield I'd hoped for.  My friend Jen thinks it may have had something to do with the extreme heat affecting pollination. 
Basil:  A few of the plants I began from seed survived, but I also bought a couple, and these did best.  I've made lots of pesto for winter, with more to come.  It's been interesting: I've developed a desire to work with the harvest at hand.  Not enough tomatoes?  Let them eat pesto!
Pumpkins, Zucchini, Butternut Squash: Good zucchini yield, and for the amount of pumpkin and butternut squash plants I had, I think I should have gotten more.  I blame the squash bugs for that, and will unleash a secret weapon on the evil vermin next year: guinea fowl!
Cucumber:  These did well; I made about 30 jars of pickles and we still had some fresh ones to eat.  The squash bugs didn't find the cucumbers, and I wonder if it's because I trellised them?  Hmmm...
Green Beans: I've blanched and frozen about a bushel so far, and more await me in the fridge!  They kind of petered out for a while during our heat wave, but are making a comeback with a vengeance!
Corn: Click here to read my recent post on corn.  In short, we've had a bad yield with poor kernel development.  This may be due to the heat and bugs.  But we like corn, so I will try again next year... perhaps another variety.  And with the squash bugs (hopefully) under control, maybe I'll have time to deal with the ear worms that have been partying out there.
Watermelon: They were looking great, and then something started eating the roots!  We got three measly watermelons out of the lot.  My brilliant nephew, Finley, told me, "It was probably nematodes.  You need to plant arugula."  Did I mention he's eight???


Green beans

Basil.  If you pluck the flowering part off the top, they produce better.

Butternut squash

My nemesis, my White Whale, the bane of my existence: the squash bug.


  1. I had massive issues w/ squash bugs too. I finally gave up lol. Not the right method, but next year, I'll be better prepared (and may talk hubby into adding a few guinea to our coop as well!)

  2. I planted tons of marigolds and didn't have trouble from squash bugs. Don't know if that's why or not.

    I've been thinking of you - been doing creative things with persimmons! A cake, fudge (!!), and we're going to attempt to do a jam as soon as we collect enough.

  3. Mika - let me know if that works!
    Lisa - We planted marigolds by the tomatoes to help deter nematodes, but maybe interspersing them throughout the garden will help. I'd love the persimmon recipes!