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Gardeners: how's it looking?

Started by polly_mer, June 12, 2019, 06:39:10 AM

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This week, I am in charge of the garden because we're in the desert and someone has to water.

How's your garden looking?  What are your biggest triumphs and concerns?
Quote from: hmaria1609 on June 27, 2019, 07:07:43 PM
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!


After 6 years in the house, I'm finally starting to get enough returning plants that I'm contemplating new beds.  But I'm leaving town for a week and half and Spouse is in charge of watering, so we'll see what survives.


Figured out that we are really good at growing: radishes, beets, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries
Weather/bugs/pathogens are an issue for: lettuce, leafy greens (collards/kale/etc.), beans, corn
We are good at growing, but not good about eating: basil, snow peas

I'm trying tomatillos for the first time and the plants are getting HUGE.

Biggest concern is we now have LOTS of garden boxes and potted plants and trees and more potted plants. . .
It takes a long time to water it all.  And it's so hot here that it must be done every day.

San Joaquin

Just now getting herbs and the first snow peas.  Got flowers coming on the beans and on one early pepper plant.  Long, wet, cool spring has everything confused.


Oh, and a concern: squirrels

Do folks have any methods that work for keeping them from chomping through your fruits & veggies?  They have happily finished off the last of the oranges and a good amount of our strawberries.  The neighbor says they eat his pomegranates.

I'm worried about my figs and cherries and corn.  Do I spray the plants with hot sauce?  Surround them with used cat litter?  Stand outside with the hose to squirt them?  Or just resign myself to sharing the bounty?


One of the reasons I really wanted a house with a yard (see house buying thread) was to be able to have a garden, so I'm looking forward to that next year!

For now, I've got herbs, a tomato (which has started to set fruit) and some flowers on my balcony. Also a pair of sweet potatoes that were determined to grow in my kitchen so I gave in and potted them up.

I also get my first CSA share of the season tomorrow, which is always exciting.
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes


Been harvesting blueberries since Memorial Day.  Finally reached the point where we are picking more than we immediately eat when we get inside.  Most recently it was about 3 pints, nearly all from one bush.  Interestingly enough, I planted two varieties (for pollination) and the birds are completely ignoring one and eating everything on the other.  Guess I lucked out. 

Strawberries are another matter--birds are getting about 80% of them.  Don't have time to install a bird-safe bird netting, so just resigned myself to sharing them, which is too bad because they are amazingly good. 

Lost two of my four grape vines to the winter and the other two look like they'll only reach about 20% the size they were last year.  I doubt they'll survive another year.  It stinks, because they just reached the size large enough to allow to fruit last summer and I got tons of grapes from both of them. 

Squash vine borers got my zucchini again this year.  I tried the aluminum foil wrap, but they found a way around.  So far, they haven't gotten the cucumbers or pumpkins, but I'm spraying them with neem oil every week and hoping the rain doesn't keep that from being effective.

I tried the Ruth Stout method for potatoes this year--total failure.  The straw quickly matted into a dense brick that the spuds couldn't get through and they all rotted. 

This year, I'm growing my own sweet potato slips from Beauregards leftover from last year's harvest.  I've had great success at getting them to sprout and getting the slips to root.  Too early to tell if the transplants will be productive, but if they are, I'll definitely be doing this again!

Planted 20 peppers this year (2 each of 10 varieties).  We had multiple late frosts that killed many (which had to be replaced) or damaged others, so it's off to a slow start.  They are 6-12" shorter than I would expect for this time of year.  We'll see if the later maturation makes a difference for the pests, which are usually a problem.

The bush beans I planted a few weeks ago are going great.  I used an inoculant this year and it's clearly making a huge difference.  I never have any trouble with beans until the pods start to mature, then pests and disease are usually a problem.  Not sure how that will go this year--I haven't tried beans in 2 years. 

All of my producing stone fruit trees have lost everything to gummification.  I know it's pest related, but haven't been able to find anything that works. 

Herbs are robustly growing.  Have to prune back the Greek oregano at least once a month to keep it from overgrowing the bed.  Rosemary bushes are 5' and I have to massively cut them back in spring, summer, and fall just to keep them from getting woody and overgrown.  I have so much that I can't give it away.

Sharing all this with the kids is the best part.  Metta-let #1 never turns down a chance to go out to the garden, no matter how hot it is!


What's gummification?

For squirrels, etc., I'm seeing a lot of top-and-sides fencing in the gardens I go by each day.

Most use PVC pipes and large-mesh rubber surrounds with a similar top, or a chickenwire lid.

Rabbits are all over the place, and the time I grew cherry tomatoes on my back porch in large pots, thesquirrels got them all.

I can't garden where I am now--landlord has the place overplanted (and is outside as we speak, pruning the grape arbor over the driveway) but the pear tree by the door produces quite well for the little squirrel that likes to leave half-eaten pears on top of the gatepost...

They used to put a couple of lifesized owl-figurines-onna-stick in the tree, but wrecked half the tree by pounding nails into it to secure the stick, and had to prune the dead part 'way back....could have done a longer stick in the ground, but they don't think ahead much...they just gave up, I guess.

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.


We're selling our house, but we don't move out until late July. I decided to plant my veggie garden anyway, and whatever is growing when we move out will be a housewarming present for the new owners.

I keep the squirrels away with cages built from half inch metal hardware cloth. They fit right over my raised beds, which are all the same size, and I can move them around depending on what's ripe. I start them over the lettuce bed, then move them to the strawberries, and finally put them on the squash/zuchinni.

My solution to the squirrels eating tomatoes is to just grow cherry tomatoes and other small but prolific tomatoes.  When I tried to grow large tomatoes, I'd end up with fewer, larger tomatoes, and losing each one was a big loss. The squirrels would steal them but only take a few bites, ruining the whole tomato. With small tomatoes, The squirrels get a few, but most survive, and at least they don't waste most of what they steal, since each tomato is just enough for a squirrel snack. 

the only solution I've found to squash vine borers is to cover the plants with row cover fabric or mosquito netting to keep the moths off them. I keep them covered until I start seeing female blossoms, which is usually mid-late july. Remember, the first set of blossoms is usually all male, and won't produce fruit. The female blossoms dont show up until a few weeks later. By then, the vine borer moths have stopped laying eggs. Then I cover them with the metal mesh cage to keep squirrels away.


Our Graden is doing pretty well this year, especially the cool season crops (has been a cool, rainy spring here).  I have been planting a lot of perennial fruit plants over the years and many are starting to bear fruit, so the long game is starting to pay off...

Also, we planted a few pot plants this year, because we can.  I have them in pots (pun intended) because I dont know if they will finish in time in my climate, so I can bring them into the shed if needed.  They are growing like weeds, hopefully they dont get out of hand.


Pretty grim right now, actually. This is the season in the South where you retreat inside and hold on for dear life, whilst timidly watching the jungle outside try to take over. Come September I'll attempt to hack it back, but there is simply no use right now. I was weeding the beds right up next to the house the other day, and a day later it looks like I did nothing. The jungle is persistent, and terrifying, although it looks nice from a distance. I hack it back yearly (and I do mean hack, machete and bushhog - we have acres of vines and it gets really thick and overgrown), and watch it encroach for the rest of the year. This isn't really gardening; it's more like holding one's ground...


I've used the plastic forks handle side in the ground trick to keep out critters. It's worked fairly well on the rabbits and squirrels. What seems to be my bigger problem are the bugs that like to snack on my eggplant, cauliflower, and broccoli plants. We had a terrible time last year with bugs getting our Japanese eggplant before we did.
"The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate."


Trogdor:  Thanks for the tip on squash vine borers.  Unfortunately, where I'm growing most of the plants is in raised beds shared with other plants that need pollinators now, so I can't easily cover them.  If I can't find anything else that works, I'm either going to have to give up entirely on curcurbits, or redesign my entire raised bed garden so I can try the covers.  I've got good covers already, and may be able to cover the pumpkins with a little creative thinking.  I've also heard that you can plant zucchini 10 weeks before the first frost date in the fall and it will be past the time the borers lay their eggs, so I might be able to get a fall crop--don't know yet if I'll try it.

Also, thanks for the tip on the squirrel cages from hardware cloth.  That might be an interesting alternative to bird netting that I could use over my strawberries.  Unbelievably, the many, many neighborhood squirrels leave my garden mostly alone, including the strawberries, but the birds are another story.

mamselle:  "gummification" is the name for a condition where stone fruit (and sometimes branches on the trees) get this oozing "gummy" substance on them, typically clear, though it can be a more amber color, too.  It's caused by pests boring into the fruit (or tree) and is a reaction of the fruit/tree to try to seal the wound and prevent future disease/rot/pests.  Once you see it, really the only thing you can do is pick the fruit and dispose of it to prevent further infection/infestation.  Prevention is the only way to keep it from ruining the harvest, but I haven't found anything that stops whatever pests are causing it, though I'm not giving up yet!

Best of luck to everyone!


My interest in gardening-for-food has long since waned.  Nearby trees have grown through the years and filched most of the useful sun; weeds have taken over what used to be the veggie area--and do quite well, to be sure.  This year's garden?  About a square foot with one tomato in it. 

I did not even buy the seedling; it was one of several given out at a dinner party, genealogy unknown.  The seedling was struggling in the minute pot that it was sprouted in, and, well, I felt sorry for it.  So I bought a big pot and mixed up some compost and transplanted it.  And it looks fine, managing on what sun it gets.  I don't really expect it to ever produce fruit, but watching it suddenly be released from its unfortunate childhood environment is very rewarding.  Squirrels have already rooted at the soil in the pot, however.
Cranky septuagenarian

San Joaquin

Things to try: larger colorful fake snakes (little ones, the raptors try to eat them...)(move around periodically for max effect). 

Red pepper flakes sprinkled liberally over beds/pots.  May need occasional refreshing after heavy rains.

Try interplanting calendula with your eggplants.  The sticky of them attracts and traps many things.  And they are perky.