Almost everything I have planted is growing successfully - a testament to research and luck. However, the weeds are beginning to get the best of me. I weeded this past weekend for several hours and noticed that where I watered every other day, I could easily pull them out. Where I missed with the sprinkler, it’s as if the weeds are stuck in concrete. I spend hours weeding at one end of the garden and they get out of control at the opposite end.
Starting with the Three Sisters end of the garden, I’m certain I messed that up. I planted the squashes too close to the mounds and second round of NK corn is growing but it’s too shaded by the squash. I did plant beans next to the corn and I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that, although late, it will all come up. I do not see evidence that the squash vine borer has killed anything – yet. I have weeded around baby pumpkins, butternut squashes, and have picked several zucchini.
The Indian corn looks great, I am picking peppers, cucumbers, and harvested and shared all of my radishes. Toward the garden’s center, I have a bit of a problem with one row of the tomatoes. The fence they are tied to is falling over. Who knew they would grow so wide and over 5 feet tall. I have already staked the fence once but it’s not enough. No tomatoes seem bothered by the significant droop but I can’t walk through to pick and I need to fix the issue this week. The tomato plants are very heavy and I’m afraid I’ll snap the wire fence trying to get it straight again. This will take some strategizing.
Japanese beetles have now found my basil so I placed traps around my mother-in-law’s house next door. They appear to be attracting the beetles away from the basil (and cut flower area) and the traps are already about half full – after two days! I also hand caught about 200 beetles in a soapy water-filled milk jug over several days. In researching Japanese beetle management, some experts advise not to use the traps as they could attract even more beetles. I’m taking my chances.
The herbs are looking good and I just harvested another round of catnip so that the onions, beets, and carrots can have more sunlight to grow. I have never had catnip look this healthy and the Japanese beetles are leaving it alone. I am cutting bouquets of flowers even though the beetles have eaten many zinnia leaves. I noticed earwigs like to hang out in the leaves as well but it may just be to rest. We have been enjoying snap peas and the lettuce has provided many salads. I am new to fennel and I’m pretty sure a few are ready to cook.
Filled with vines, the bottle gourd trellis is spouting numerous bottle gourds in varying shapes. The watermelon vines are getting used to the vertical climb and many baby watermelons are sprouting. I may have quite the challenge soon to figure out how to support hanging gourds and watermelons.
Interspersed throughout the garden is Sweet Annie that has come up on its own. When it gets about 5 feet tall in late September, I’ll make a wreath or swag out of several bunches. It has a very distinctive aroma that can either delight or repel. I happen to love its sweet, earthy scent. It’s also a great filler in a dried flower arrangement or in potpourri.
With freshly weeded patches of garden surrounding the Three Sisters plantings, I am tempted to plant any remaining vegetable seeds this coming weekend that have 60-75 day harvests – before a typical late September first frost. I realize I am a glutton for punishment but it’s hard to see open dirt that I could be growing something besides weeds in.
I hope I don’t jinx myself by mentioning this, but the milk jugs and pie tins are keeping our hooved friends out of the garden, and there are now five rabbits who longingly look at the feast they cannot reach.
I’ll give a tomato update as soon as I figure out how to fix the lean.