Monday, May 3, 2010

Surprises, Weeds and Other Garden Pests

It has been about 6 weeks since the last update on the garden. Unfortunately life gets in the way some times, but it also gives the plants time to grow. And of course, the weeds grow even faster.

The tomato garden is doing well, we should have a wide variety of tomatoes, from interesting colors to the garden standards to heirlooms. We set out a kitchen garden close to the house for the herbs, tomatoes and cucmbers, things my mom loves and eats the most.

Mom loves her cumcumbers, so I started some Lemon Cucumbers that are round and she picked out her favorite long green variety. We both started our seeds at home and they have now been transplanted. I was happy to see how well her green plants were growing, they were much bigger than my yellow ones.

Oddly this year her zuchini plants did not do well starting from seed, we ended up purchasing a 6 pack of plants to put in the main garden. This is the first time in weeks that I have had enough time to actually stop and look at the plants. Those cucumbers of moms sure are getting big, then I looked had a small cucmber starting....only it is shaped like a cumber and is green like a cucumber. But clearly, something was not right. And I think we solved the zuchini plants that would not start....they were labeled Cucumbers. Mom swears it was the seed package. Either way, we have new cucumber seeds to plant and will be having a bumper crop of zuchini to share!

With all of the rain we have had, we have a lot of green growing, too bad much of it is weeds. Now with chickens, the weeds with in their reach are those that the hens refuse to eat. Since we have kept the hens out of the front yard and around the house, I have plenty to pick and spent about 3 hours pulling them out of the path and planters. As I was using the leaf blower I noticed that we had bees looking for a new place to live in the house, so a very smokey and low (cool) fire was quickly started in the wood stove in the house and I grabbed the hose and helped the bees decide that it was not a friendly place for them to live. Guessing it will be an on going battle this summer, I have to cover (cap off) the chimney and wrap with window screen to keep them out. The chimney is in rough shape and we had planned on removing the wood stove already. Add that to my list of things to do.

Mom loves using her gopher weed to help keep the critters from visiting, she lets them grow tall and go to seed............and boy did they go to seed! The sap is toxic, so we will be spending some time with gloves on pulling hundreds of them from inside of the garden and all of those that venture past garden fence line. She also cleaned up the extra fruit last year by tossing them in where the garden is now, add a few hundred baby fruit trees coming up. And those stupid zapotes refuse to give up, we have hundreds of them trying to pop up all over too.

We did have several types of plants almost wiped out by garden pests. Mom had planted a lot of cabbage, kale and broccoli in the main garden. It was coming up and looking pretty good. Until some garden pests came through.

This weeks gardening lesson is:

When showing off your garden and hard work to your friends who do not have chickens, make sure you close the gates behind them. They must have left a gate open and Mr Rooster and his four hens came and helped themselves to broccoli, cabbage and kale. Hopefully enough is left of the plants so they will come back, if not I guess we will be planting them again.