I like to think I am a pretty laid back person when it comes to my garden. I frequently let weeds overtake the place, I don't spray chemicals, I mainly hope for the best. But, the squash bugs this year are seriously killing me. I have had to get rid of 3 of my 4 winter squash plants. Not a happy camper about that. Not to mention my cucumbers are just about dead due to the lovely combination of cucumber beetles and squash bugs.
Oh there they are! In all their glory. Everyday I seem to pull off at least 20 of these suckers. My favorite part is how they just like to get their groove on with no care in the world that people are watching. That one at the bottom was also connected to the other two...until he noticed me coming and quickly scampered away. Perhaps he is new to the party and is still a little shy. The other two, however, stayed connected as I flicked them into a cup and stayed together right until the bitter end as I drowned them. Apparently it is the way to go though! Most of the squash bugs I have killed have gone this way :-)
I am still quite hopeful that squash will actually grow. We will have to see what happens of course! Even if I can get one, I will be happy. These plants were planted by seed, into a hill, during my very short growing season. After I planted them, we were hit with about 2 weeks straight of rain. The plant seems to be growing, but I don't think there will be enough time for the squash to fully mature. Perhaps our growing season will be extended, and we will have a very late frost date this year!
My sweet bell peppers are doing exceptionally well. I don't think I have ever been able to pick sweet peppers the second week in July before...maybe I have, but I don't think so. These I planted in an earth box. I really can't say enough good things about them. The only drawback I see is that you have to purchase the box, and then you have to make sure you have the potting soil to fill them. It tends to get a little expensive. But, considering I don't have to weed these, I have never had anything die in them, and they produce relatively well, I keep going with it. I plan to pick the larger peppers this week to *hopefully* encourage more growth for the rest of the plants.
My tomatoes are doing just OK. There are a few green tomatoes, and a lot of flowers, but the plants are seriously stunted. I think that the extended rain, followed by extended dry really isn't working for them. I have had to clip a lot of the branches that have turned yellow, and it pains me to do so. I am hoping they will bounce back. It is by no means the end of tomato season, in fact, it is still extremely early to have tomatoes at all, but I am counting on these tomatoes to provide me a large amount of canned goods for the winter. I already know I will most likely need to buy more tomatoes from the farm I typically buy bulk canning tomatoes from, but it would be nice to grow enough myself. Maybe someday!
I have planted green beans 3 times since the summer has started. These are the first plants to actually start growing. I don't know if it is because of the location that I am planting them, or if it is because every time I plant something it rains and rains and rains for days on end. I think green beans are my favorite vegetable to freeze. I feel like it doesn't really affect the taste, and that makes me happy. Plus, they are super easy to throw into stir fries and fried rice, yum!
I am happy with how the garden is doing, although it isn't doing as well as I had hoped. I'm sure that eventually I will get to a place where I will have enough time to dedicate to weeding, and also have enough knowledge as to what plants to plant together, and which to plant away from each other. I also have beets growing quite well, lettuce, my garlic is doing great, and I have pulled a couple carrots to make sure they really are growing purple carrots, and they are. I guess if I have learned anything, it is that organic farming is difficult. I hope to make a lot of changes for next year, but they are things I can't do until the fall. So until then, I will continue to hope for the best, and work on the things that I know how to get right.
How is your garden growing these days? Any bugs that are giving you incredible amounts of trouble? I have to say that the dish soap/water mixture works really well on squash bugs, but every day I seem to kill all of them, just to have a new batch come the next day. Oh, and my chickens aren't as pleased about them as I thought they would be...perhaps it is the smell - yuck!
I am linking up at the barn hop! Can't wait to see what everyone else is up to!
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