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Garden Gleanings - Garden meeting, insects, plant spray and...

Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2008, at 4:31 PM

Please plan to come to our next garden meeting at the Hong Kong Restaurant this Friday night on Madison Street in Shelbyville. We generally drift in between 6:30 and 7. I will have some rooted indoor plants and a few rosemary rootings and a garlic chives to give away.

The ladybugs are finally starting to catch up on their work. The aphids are being controlled to a point that I am only having to spray on a spot basis. Where the ladybugs are plentiful, I leave them alone.

I am adding some fish emulsion and seaweed extract in the spray bottle that has my hot sauce concoction. This way am will be doing a little foliar feeding at the same time that I spot spray for bugs.

Started the next generation of corn in a seed tray. I was getting spotty germination in the garden and don't want to have gaps. Space is too limited to have give up space to blank soil. Nor do I want to plant two seeds and pull one out. Once they germinate, in they go. They have no room to develop their tap root in the tray.

The nappa cabbage filled out very nicely this year. We ended up giving most of it away. The early row covering kept the cabbage loopers at bay so there was very little insect damage. Will probably plant some more in August for a fall crop.

Sugar snap peas were disappointing for the first year in many. That also will be planted again for fall, but the pods were tough and dry. If it happens again this fall, I may suspect the seed since we have always had good crops.

The plants in the washing machine and larger planters are doing well, except for swiss chard. Leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, Chinese squash and eggplant seem to be enjoying it.

The globe artichokes are also starting to take off. Guess they were just waiting for the warm weather to settle in. Same with the okra. Beans are flowering and zukes forming nicely with only one plant getting hit by a population of squash bugs. I got them early with manual picking and it seems to have avoided the first flush.

Don't worry, I have a lot of wood around here to knock on and I don't really think I will avoid them all year, but it was interesting to see the weaker plant have bugs and the stronger one right next to it, nothing. Just like they say in the magazines. Hmmmm.

The cilantro that reseeded itself has really come on strong. Besides the culinary benefits, the tiny flowers are great for beneficial insects and it is right in the middle of the garden. The wildflowers are starting to fade out, but I need to let them mature so they can reseed for next year.

The water cress is dying back. I had to pull it before the seeds mature or I will have MUCH more than I can handle. The stalks in the soup we made last week were tough, so I put most on the compost pile and clean the muck out of the stream into the pond. They are great filters, but their time is up for the summer.

The fig trees are coming back from last year's late freeze. All new shoots from the base. The bigger trunks are all dead, but we left them up for the birds to use as a perch near the feeders. Aesthetically, it is time for them to go. That may be a good job for tonight.

I like to get out a sweat at least once a day and the heat is obliging. After trimming, i need to rebuild the rock garden walls then mulch heavily with wood chips.

That's enough rambling for now. Feel free to ramble yourself.

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Steve, I just gotta see that washing machine. Got any pics, or do you allow any tourists? LOL! You're welcome to come see my itty bitty plot, and I welcome any ideas/feedback on what I could do better.

Also, would you be able to spare any ladybug larvae? I've only seen 2 beetles, and they just can't keep up with 20 tomato plants.


-- Posted by craftin_mom on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 5:40 PM

I think we have a picture of the washing machine before and now. I need to dig a little and I will post it.

In years past,we had ladybugs coming out our ears and house. In the fall, we literally vacuumed them with a hand-vac and released them outside several time a week. Since we are on a hill and our house is made of natural timber, I think they thought they were coming home.

BUT, the past two years, we hardly noticed them around. We don't spray with anything toxic so I don't know what happened. Maybe they consumed all their food and moved on, but their food is back.

Bottom line is I don't have any extra. I am trying to baby the ones I have and avoid trying to kill all the aphids.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 9:51 PM

I'll probably be a little late this Friday. I am going to stop by my house to pick up some plants to bring to the meeting.

I'll be bringing some Hollyhocks, Marigolds (giant variety), dill, and some surprise plants.

They are only surprise plants because I forgot the name of them. Astule maybe? Something like that, but they are beautiful.

I have a couple of giant tomato plants left if anyone wants them. Let me know.

With all this heat lately, I hope the above mentioned plants don't die!

See ya!

-- Posted by espoontoon on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 5:38 AM

I am getting my shopping list ready. They sound great!!

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:37 AM

It is amazing how much philosophizing and problem solving I can get done in the garden. I am not one who listens to stuff while I am working, instead I am listening to my mind. Yikes!

I have no doubt that my gardens will never make Southern Living or Homes & Garden magazines, but you know what? My garden is the best garden, for me. Isn't yours?

We may get ideas from garden tours, but when I get home, it is me and my garden. Those little volunteer vincas that are growing between rocks are great to watch grow. That little cedar tree lodged in the crack of my steps may never be able to grow full size, but I am actually watering it to see if it will become an outside bonzai. If so, it will be MY bonzai.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 5:28 PM

Oh, by the way, I will have my laptop and projector with me again tomorrow night and will have internet access, so maybe we will peruse a few internet sites. Bring some paper and a pen in case you want to jot down some web addresses.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 5:31 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.