Thought I'd post an update on the garden, to track how things are progressing. As always, click photos for a larger view. The tomatoes in the metal troughs were completely toppled over during the last storm we had. Bent over clear to the ground, cages and all. I set them upright again as best as I could, and Alan set a t-post on the outside of the trough so their cages can be tied off to it. We never get wind from the direction that caused all the damage... it was wacky! That same storm really beat up the larger zucchini plants as well, but they've done a fine job of recovering. The cucumber plants took a beating too, and sill look a little rough from all the wind.
The new garden area we put in this spring is filling in nicely. We ended up having to line up some of our hay along the backside of the garden to keep the hot southern wind from pulling the plants right up out of the ground. The wind really whips the plants around, dries them out, and pretty much ruins any chance of survival. Hay bales to the rescue! They are a temporary solution to the problem, though. We will have to put up some fence panels, like we did on the backside of the "old" garden area closer to the chicken coop. They help so MUCH!
In the new garden, we've got our second planting of zucchini. Just a few plants... that should get us by for a while longer on zucchini! There is a spaghetti squash plant at the far end, too. A new plant for us this year.
I am trying to get some watermelon to grow this year, too. The vines are doing much better now; they took a little while to get going. Before we set the hay bales along the garden, the wind was really rough on the vines. But now they seem to be growing nicely. We have enough time in the season still, so I poked a few more seeds in the ground where there were some "holes" where some of the plants didn't make it. Hopefully they come in quickly and are able to put on some fruit!
A few more cantaloupe plants, and at the far end a couple acorn squash plants. You can see what's left of my green beans in the bottom right corner. The grasshoppers did them in. I decided just to leave them, as maybe the grasshoppers will continue to eat on them instead of the other plants.
Here you can see how the yellow zucchini plants have just about abandoned their bed and have taken up residence in the walkway. So much for getting down that path any longer! Even the chickens and ducks wondered how to get past!
In the evening, the chickens and ducks get to visit the garden and hunt for bugs. They are very good hunters, but really need to be supervised while they're in the garden. Otherwise, they get into places they're not supposed to be. For the most part they spend their time hunting bugs, and do a pretty good job of spreading out my compost pile.
The beds in the back of the garden where I had my salad greens, kale, and beets planted are now empty. Soon, we will prepare the beds for fall planting. I want to add more height to the sides of the beds and add more soil and compost. That will make growing in the raised beds even better! The front beds are still hanging in there. The big cucumber wall (just off the right side of the photo) is just about done for the season. The vines really got hit with bugs and I'm dealing with a lot of wilt now.
Alan is the "harvester" of cucumbers, squash, and zucchini. He leaves a zucchini on the plants if it isn't quite big enough to pick ... and then two days later, SURPRISE! It's HUGE! This is how we get 2.5lb - 3.5lb zucchini! Haa!
Amazingly enough, I have yet to see a single squash bug in the garden this year. Very unusual. I think that with our mild winter, we have a bigger spider population and they are master hunters in the garden beds. In the photo above, those are two wolf spiders (yes, the VERY VERY CREEPY kind) sitting in a zucchini plant. To give you an idea of size, the stems of the zucchini are about 1.5" diameter. They're BIG spiders. And they give me the complete willies ... but I'm learning to tolerate them in the garden.
And as if that wasn't enough of a garden update, stay tuned for more on our GIANT tomato, and we have another BIG garden harvest surprise to share, too!