Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Gardening - Here Comes the Food

Within 24 hours of my first sunflower opening, the plants were
beset by all manner of bright yellow insects and spiders.
Where the heck do the bright yellow bugs go the other 11.5 months
per year?
One of the really cool things about gardening, hunting, and raising food in 2013 is that so many people are taking up "food procurement" for very different reasons.  Hippies, doomsday preppers, local food obsessives, everybody seems to be in on it.

I've spent a ton of time this spring and early summer getting my new garden set up.  I think it's basically done.  And food's starting to grow.  It's wonderful.

My Norland Red Potatoes were getting unruly in my small garden, so I picked about half of them.  My total investment in Norland Reds was $4.50 for a pound of seed potatoes.  I've picked about $10 worth of big red potatoes and smaller new potatoes off of the first half of the plants.  Good haul!

Pests in our community garden kept my cucumber harvest at "zero" for three years.  Now I've got some potential cukes growing.  I also have a very nosy raccoon who's been leaving me giant mulberry poops near the garden.   I'll do what I can to keep him off of my cukes.

First rule of rainwater drip irrigation fight club:  spend dozens of hours setting up the irrigation system under the premise that "in the long run, it will save time because I won't have to water."  Second rule of rainwater drip irrigation fight club:   turn on irrigation and stand there staring at it, drinking beer, for half an hour, because it's cool.


Jalapenos!  Habaneros, bullnose, and mini-bells also started setting fruit last weekend.

Right.  So....this picture.  I've been growing trumpet creeper vines for years as a way to entice more bees and hummingbirds into our garden.  Now that we have more sun, we have very happy, effusively flowering trumpet creeper.  That hasn't stopped the problem we've always had with these plants - ants habitually dig into the base of the flower to steal the nectar.  See the scars on the flowers above? 

I am really looking forward to getting rid of our snowball hydrangea bush after this growing season, but I admit, the flowers look great in the background of the bee balm flowers.

Behold the mighty bee balm - aggregator of helpful pollinators in your garden!


The Reverend Fowl ™ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

I'm not understanding any of these, what do these have to do with lawn care?

Kirk Mantay said...

Aw man, they deleted them.

I am perfectly fine with capitalism, which means not directly advertising a project for free on my website without even bothering to contact me (or perhaps pay me).

GSFeder said...

Why are you getting rid of the hydrangeas?

GSFeder said...

Another question -- how do you keep the squirrels and other critters away from your tomatoes? We have lost every green tomato so far this year.

Kirk Mantay said...

Funny you ask about squirrels - the same thing that brings us rats keeps the squirrels at bay. That thing is the neighbor's freaking trash. Squirrels are murder on the garden in spring, so I normally keep beds covered with row covers and/or 1/4" galvanized mesh to make it as imposing as possible.

We had a raccoon bust a hole through the fence, but haven't seen him since I patched the fence.

Kirk Mantay said...

The snowball hydrangea is kind of a menace - overtakes everything else in that bed. We'd like to do a great big winterberry for winter color. That's the goal.

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