Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Garden on July 4, 2018

Perhaps I should subtitle this post The Hardware Cloth Edition.

Beds No. 1 and No. 4

Beds No. 2 and No. 3
Hardware cloth is almost everywhere.

One exception is the area where the tomatoes and peppers from 2017 are growing.

The peppers are making a pretty good comeback and the tomato vines were doing well until a problem that I hadn't seen in a long time took hold.

Tomato Russet Mites. I caught the problem a little late. There were a lot of dead and dying leaves and the bottom 2 thirds of the stems were already russet colored. I stripped the dead leaves from the plants and gave them a good thorough spray with Spinosad and yesterday I sprayed again. I may just have to take them out. So it goes. I would rather lose the plants to russet mites than to rodents. Truly.

Everything else in this bed is surrounded or enclosed in 1/4-inch hardware cloth.

Baciccia Beans and Cilantro

Hank's X-tra Special Baking Beans
I know that the Pico Pardal garbanzo beans are ready to eat because the rodents started to snack. I found empty bean pods littered around the plants. The plants were surrounded by hardware cloth but they were not covered up.

The beans can be harvested when still green in the pods and prepared like edamame but I want the dry beans.
Pico Pardal Garbanzo Beans
So extra defense was required to protect the beans until they mature and dry down. More hardware cloth! Garbanzos on lockdown.

Over in Bed No. 2

Yards and yards of hardware cloth. Hardware cloth surrounding the bed. Hardware cloth covering the plants.

Hardware cloth partitioning the bed.

Hardware cloth surrounding individual plants. The Yellow Cabbage collards were doing ok for a while without individual protection. I had been spraying and sprinkling with hot pepper. Then the DR's figured out that they could come up from below and munch on the tender stems from beneath where I hadn't sprayed. So now each plant is inclosed in a sleeve of hardware cloth and I've covered the open tops with hardware cloth too.

Yellow Cabbage Collards
The critters used the same tactic to start attacking the cabbages. I harvested a couple of puny bolting Violaceo di Verona cabbages that had been nibbled and then the critters turned their attention to the Filderkraut cabbages which are trying to form heads. So I enclosed those with hardware cloth screens and covered them up with fabric.

The Batavia broccoli plants are completely enclosed now also. I managed to harvest three nice main heads and then the DR's started to steal the side shoots.

Hmm. I hope the critters don't develop a taste for celery. It's been safe in the past so the plants are just enclosed by but not covered with hardware cloth. I gave them a dose of hot pepper spray and powder just in case.

Pink Plume Celery

Fortunately the blooming Syrian Medieval chard doesn't seem to be tasty to the critters either. There's no way I could cover that jungle.

The section of the bed that is protected by the hardware cloth screens is in transition now. The pac choi is finished, lettuce is finished, and the only spring crops left are Peking Ta Ching Koo Pai Tsai, beets, scallions, and fennel. I cut back the Chinese green with the impossible name hoping for side shoots. I still haven't figured out how to grow this stuff.

Peking Ta Ching Koo Pai Tsai
Beets are slowly sizing up.

The Orion fennel is trying to burst out. Some of it is stretching out like it wants to bolt so I cut a couple of those ones down to the ground.

First in the new rotation in this bed is Prinz celeriac. I've got more space prepared for sowing carrots and parsnips but wouldn't you know it but as soon as I'm ready to sow seeds the weather clears up and turns hot. I'll wait until later in the week when the highs are forecast to be in the high 70ºF's to sow those.

Prinz Celeriac
Over in Bed No. 3 it's an almost hardware cloth free zone. There's only one cage left that has some parsley in it and I just haven't gotten around to removing the cage. First a couple of shots that show the potato patches. The first one has Upstate Abundance in the foreground which is looking pretty good. Beyond you can see the Tromba D'Albenga squash climbing its trellis.

In the foreground here is the French Blue Belle potatoes which are not looking so good. I don't have much experience growing potatoes and so what I first thought was normal senescence may actually be some sort of blight.

I sprayed the plants with Serenade and the progression of the disease seems to have slowed and there's somewhat healthy new growth showing in spots.

I would like to keep the plants going as long as possible so that I can harvest ripe potato berries. Next year I think it would be fun to experiment with growing potatoes from seed. Only the French Blue Belle potatoes produced berries.

Peek-a-boo! Found one potato had developed under some cardboard mulch.

The cucumbers are slow this year. They may have spent too much time in pots before I planted them in the garden. Regular treatments with hot pepper spray and powder has, I think, kept them unmolested so far.

The same cannot be said for the squash. The Damn Rodents have developed a taste for squash blossoms.

They haven't gotten to all of them though. Yet.

The only other things in this bed are basil and last year's Cilician parsley which I hope to collect seeds from.

And finally, Bed No. 4. Pepper Land! With a few tomatoes too.

It always amazes me how quickly the tomato and pepper plants grow. The plants look so small in my June 13 garden tour.

One of the first varieties to produce is the unnamed Turkish Sweet pepper that I got from Seed Savers Exchange a few years ago and finally saved seed from last year. It's good to see that my efforts have paid off. 
No Name Turkish Sweet Pepper
One of the first tomatoes to set was Brad's Atomic Grape. I hope I get to be the first to taste it.

Brad's Atomic Grape
Not only does the garden change and grow quickly at this time of year but the weather does too. We seemed to slide suddenly from No Sky July to Roasty Mostly Blue Sky July. The high today was forecast to hit 92ºF but topped out at 85ºF, thank goodness. I'm not complaining about the heat, especially since what passes for roasty here is pretty tame compared to the heat that's blasting southern California now and other parts of the country too.

That's the latest in my garden. Not all great but not all bad either.


  1. Ah ... I spy some lovely fog coming down your hill. How nice. But maybe encourages the diseases? No, no all bad at all.

  2. Oh, what a pain it is to have to cover all of those beds! I complain about removing netting when weeding/harvesting, but having to deal with hardware cloth each time would be doubly worse. Those potato berries are huge! I've had some berries on plants in the past, but they were pretty small - no bigger than a blueberry.

  3. Your peppers look incredible as does your potato beds. Young potatoes fresh from the garden are amazing. I've never seen potato berries before, they're much larger than I would expect.

  4. Your garden looks like a fortress! I've never seen big potato berries like that either. I know nothing about them. Are the seeds inside? Mites are on a few things here too, though not on tomatoes. I never had much luck controlling them, though I never tried spinosad.


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