a volunteer garden

March 14, 2012

I went out to the garden yesterday to inspect things, and found some surprise treats!

The lettuce of course re-seeded itself. I let a lot of lettuce go to seed, and now I have little babies growing all over the place.

Above is a chard plant. The stem from the original plant is under my finger. I had mulched around the plants in the fall, and I think that the dried leaf cover protected the plants during the winter.

Last summer was super hot, and my fall crop of carrots and turnips didn’t really develop well, so I left them in the ground over winter. Because the winter was so mild, a lot of the little guys made it. A row of carrots, which still taste good, although some of them have some sort of frostbite. I am going to leave them in and watch how they continue to grow.

A healthy patch of turnips. These guys might need thinning soon!

Some cilantro, which looks pretty good, and tastes great!

And a patch of frizzled frisee. Hopefully these guys grow into happy plants. I can’t wait to see.

Meanwhile, I planted some dwarf grey sugar peas, dragon carrots, danvers carrots, Paris market carrots, flat leaf parsley, sylvetta arugula (a low growing slow to bolt variety), endive, and chard. I worked the soil in the fall, incorporating manure and straw, and so this morning all I needed to do was turn the soil a little with a pitchfork, and break up a few clumps with my hands. Much easier than last year!! It certainly pays off to take good care of soil.

A happy little garden plot, looking forward to some spring rain this week!

oh the vine borers

August 20, 2011

Last year I planted a huge patch of pumpkins and not much else. So when I went out to the field and found that the majority of the pumpkins and squash had been invaded by vine borers I was devastated…

This year, I diversified. I planted lots of different things, and have had pretty good luck with many of them. The pumpkins though…vine borers again! My plan of defense this year was by default. It was so wet for so long that I was unable to work the ground in the pumpkin patch until the beginning of July. By the time that the pumpkin and squash seeds were in the ground, it was after the middle of July.

I had understood that the vine borers would no longer be laying eggs by this time. But no…most of this year’s crop was invaded. I went out yesterday morning with my handy pocket knife and carefully slit the stems to kill the borers and try to save the plants. Some might live, but I wont hold my breath.

I planted a patch of pumpkins (Ronde de Nice from Seed Savers) in one of our raised beds, and they were fine. These I planted in June, and I don’t know if the Ronde de NiceĀ  is resistant to VBs, or if that patch didn’t have any of the vermin.

(Note: the above photo is of the Ronde de Nice flower. There are quite a few cucumber beetles and one bee in the flower. I don’t know if the beetles are counter productive to the pollination process, but the bee is definitely welcome!)

This particular pumpkin can be harvested as summer and winter squash. I have been eating them tiny and they are delicious. The squash below is a few inches across and perfect when stewed with onions and tomatoes.

We missed a few (including the one below) and they are going on to be pumpkins! They remain green, but should harden and last for a while!

I have been talking to many people about vine borers, and have gotten a good amount of advice.

Remedies include wrapping the young stems with tinfoil, washing stems with insecticidal soap, and covering the entire plot with row cover. I am actually quite excited to try some (or all) of these measures next year, as well as continuing to try the staggered planting. I will report for sure!!

P.S. any further advice/experience with vine borers is greatly appreciated. Please leave comments. Thanks!