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Monday, June 16, 2014

This years gardens

Our first cherry tomatoes are ripening - got the first one about four days ago. The snow pea pods have been overly abundant this year and I will definitely plant less next year. Beans, cucumbers and bell and hot peppers are in flower and I just saw one tiny okra on one of the plants. There's one green bell pepper ready to pick, and I think I'll use that tomorrow in a stir fry.. They love growing in those earth boxes, as do the tomatoes I planted in a second earth box this year.. Last year I had hot peppers in the box and this year I switched to the bell peppers in one and bought a second earth box for two heirloom tomatoes. Between both gardens, I have about two dozen tomato plants.

My garden has two 4X8 foot raised beds that are 2 feet deep for more vegetables, and a bunch of window type boxes on a ledge that have herbs, lettuce, snow peas, kale and a few bush beans. I also have a couple of artichokes in large pots, and a few of the tomatoes in five gallon pots.

This is my second year doing square foot gardening and it's working out well. I'm fertilizing more this year. In addition to the initial fertilizer application, I'm also side dressing each square with a bit organic fertilizer every two weeks, and the plants

I've already dug up a few Red Pontiac and Yukon gold potatoes for immediate use, but am letting the rest continue growing for a while. Most of the early lettuce is on it's way out, so it will be time to plant some more. The spinach is done for now, but I'll plant more later summer.

This year I planted and am maintaining two gardens - ours and our son and daughter-in-laws. Gardening and cooking and other household shopping and chores is using up all my time and energy. There's been almost no time for my pottery studio since March. I did manage to get into the studio this afternoon for a few hours after lunch; but after dinner I was back in the garden putting down snail and ear wig bait and doing some hand watering. It always amazes how much damages these critters can do in a day or two!

There's a really bad fungus/bacteria/blight around that has attacked tomatoes, beans, cucumbers squash, peppers, and even some flowers. I've been spraying both gardens every seven days with a copper solution called Soap Shield that I bought from Gardens Alive, and the tomatoes have responded well. I first removed all affected leaves, then sprayed with a heavy concentration and repeated it 7 days later and will continue this regime as long as there are signs this thing is still around. The cucumbers look like they might make it but some of the pole beans in my son and daughter-in- laws garden got hit really bad and so did all the squash. I'll wait another week and if I don't see any improvement I will probably replant them.

I've been gardening for over 50 years and I've never seen this kind of a fungus/blight or whatever it is, attacking so many vegetables and flowers. When I mentioned it on Facebook, someone from Texas said that he's dealing with the same disease. I hope that this isn't a countrywide problem.