Monday, October 21, 2013

Garden Report

Our first frost is due this week -- in fact, there was a little this morning, though the temperature said it was supposedly 40º -- and so my garden season for 2013 is winding up. It's been an interesting year for growing things, to say the least! 

The good news is that after I resowed nearly everything later in the season, we did get some consistent, small crops of green beans, tomatoes, and cabbage. Our sunflowers look good out there, and I have a few pie pumpkins that seem like they'll ripen before the vines are completely withered. So, nothing to really tide us through the winter, but enough to use as side dishes throughout the fall, which heals a little bit of that sad part of my gardener's soul.

We had the wettest June ever, with an amazing local record set of 8 inches in one day, up a little north of us. Because of that, we lost a lot of plants to pests and disease, but I learned a bunch about being persistent in replanting, knowing when to pull up a plant before it spreads disease, and best/worst of all, to just start squishing the pests when I find them.                                                                                                                      I'm getting better at identifying some of the bugs, but it's a slow learning curve; and though I wear gloves or fold over a leaf to squish yellow bean beetle larvae, I can still feel 'em pop sometimes and I get a shiver all up and down. The farmer we stayed with in June squishes bare-handed, which completely gives me the willies. Yet, I'm glad I learned from her -- I don't know that it would ever have occurred to me to dare to squish 'em at all otherwise, and it's certainly the most straightforward (and organic!) method.
Our garden also saw cucumber beetles, harlequin bugs, and squash bugs this year, along with some big ol' grasshoppers in our dried corn after the harvest was past. I really hope those aren't going to come back and take over next year, because I was totally creeped out by their big, staring eyes and their sudden jumping. Seriously, I have a phobia. I've finally mostly gotten past my fear of crickets and moths, and am able to go into a butterfly house now; but these grasshoppers brought it all rushing back. 
I just looked it up, and it seems it's known as acridophobia. (It's nice to know I'm not alone in that.)
In the meantime, we had one other small success story this season -- after losing the plants for two years in a row, we found one beautiful Armenian cucumber dangling from a dead vine. So at least now we've been able to taste one, to see it in person. We're big cucumber fans, so it was fun to try a new variety. 
Maybe we can get a plant to survive sometime. Hope springs eternal for a gardener!

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