Julie still grows stuff and struggles to grow stuff!
I can't believe July is already half over. I finally installed posts to hold up deer fencing with mesh fencing up to 7 feet. Deer were STILL getting in, though, as the presence of large deer poops right in the middle of the enclosure attested. After continued assaults on both the bush and pole green beans, with all the newest shoots eaten,
we got out the ladder and added string above the 7 foot wide mesh fencing to the full 9 feet of height both front
Something has still eaten off the tops of my green beans recently, but I don't know what. The bottom edge is not secured, because our cat likes access, so anything smaller than a large canada goose could get in.
I was also having increasingly bad luck with all the cucurbits after 11 years of gardening in the same place, so I started the year off with an order of beneficial nematodes from Arbico Organics, to target borers and the soil-borne larval stages of various beetles. It is working so far! while i have still lost about half of my zukes and cousa squashes to squash vine borers, i haven't yet lost any cuke vines to beetle-born bacterial wilts, and instead of heavy damage and densely packed arrays of copper colored squash bug and japanese beetle eggs on the leaf undersides, I've found a total of maybe 100 eggs in less than 4 groupings on all of those leaves--and those were much more easily knocked off than i seem to remember, possibly because they were so much fewer. We've already eaten several foot-long, gourmet, 'burpless' and mostly seedless cukes in our salads already. Here's Nokya and Suyo long cucumber vines happily producing (both are parthenogenic, but i didn't succeed in covering them with mesh last year--the bugs still got in!). This is my first year with variety Nokya from Johnny's seeds and I'm quite happy with it--early, vigorous, productive, delicious.
And here, for the first time in a while, is Big Max pumpkin taking over the front slope, along with zinnias, moss verbena, strawberries, liatris, lyre-leafed sage, and lots of other native and non-native stuff.
I also was excited to try "Jolene" this year, a new-ish, hybrid, determinate, large-fruited slicing tomato. It is incredibly prolific, and did not exaggerate about the fruit size--the first fruit i harvested was 15.7 ounces.
Unfortunately, I've already lost two of the 5 plants to (presumably) Sclerotinia stem rot/white mold, as seen at the base of the stem here. One plant suddenly wilted and I pulled it, hoping to have stopped the problem, but the second one in the row just did the same thing, and now i'm worried that the whole row is a goner. I'm hoping that all of my grafted heirloom indeterminates, as well as open-pollinated roma and amish pastes and random other hybrids and cherries (sungold, cherry ember, black cherry, valentine, etc.) will not be susceptible, or at least are far enough away to avoid the fungus. I may have overapplied too much fresh compost to the Jolene plants. Live and don't learn!
It is a shame, because these plants would have been amazingly productive. Here are the fruits larger than 3 inches in diameter that came off the first plant. *wiping away a tear*
I've got several new flowers this year. One, a recommendation from an HHS member that was featured in our seed sale, is the S. American native Zinnia peruviana. It has small, pretty yellow flowers. Here it is next to a Benary's giant fuschia zinnia, with a marigold behind, for color reference. It has not required any special care, blooms a lot, and I think various pollinators like it as much as the more familiar larger zinnia selections.
OK, I hope to have a chance to socialize with you all on September 16th, when we will 'meet' at My Dead Aunt's Books to hear a talk from Kathy Jentz about groundcover alternatives to turf. Please plan on coming!