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Good Garden, Bad Garden — Growth, Bugs and Black Rot

The Good Stuff

As part of getting back on top of my gardening, I took a tour of the garden tonight and looked closely at how everything is doing. Despite my neglect, some things are doing pretty well. Here’s the rundown.

  • Apples: The bagged apples that didn’t fall of are doing well. Looking nice and bug-free and growing well.
  • Basil: The basil didn’t sprout after planting the first time, but the second round of planting has sprouted strong
  • Beans: The pole beans I originally planted are doing great, and the bush beans planted recently have sprouted too
  • Squash: I hadn’t intended to plant any squash this year, but ended up with several volunteers from the compost. They appear to be doing well, and have no signs of vine borers yet.
  • Beets: I’m nearly positive that the beets have grown since we thinned them. They seem to be happy about the new space
  • Blackberries: We don’t have a lot of blackberry blossoms, but the bushes have grown a lot this year and the blossoms that did appear have large green berries in them.
  • Carrots: The carrots are doing OK since being thinned.
  • Horseradish: The horseradish is thriving. I look forward to making homemade horseradish sauce next year.
  • Marigolds: Planting marigolds instead of strawberries was a good choice for the driveway strip was a good choice. They’re hearty and don’t mind little feet and bikes running over them
  • Onions: Adequate growth
  • Peas: We’ve been eating peas as fast as we can. The new peas we planted after weeding have sprouted.
  • Radishes: The seeds for these radishes came from an emergency seed pack from 1996. They were packed in an airtight #10 can. Someone gave them to us when they cleaned out their basement.
  • Raspberries: It looks like this will be a banner year for the raspberries. Hooray!
  • Tomatoes: The tomatoes seem happy to be out of their starting cups and into the dirt.
  • Peppers: (No picture) Caroline and I planted the peppers outside last night.
  • Wildflowers: Many of them are blossoming. The ones that haven’t blossomed might be weeds. I can’t tell.


The Bad Stuff

Every year of gardening has taught me about one more type of bug or pest that will undo my hard work. Here’s what’s been a problem so far this year.

Black Rot on Our Grapes

Our grapes are looking sick. About 1/3 of the bunches look like this.

Turns out that it’s Grape Black Rot (Guignardia bidwelii). The fruit rots and turns into hard shriveled black things called mummies. According to this PDF from OSU if I trim the bad bunches from the vine, that will reduce the spread. The UMN says “Many organic growers utilize fixed copper or sulfur products to control black rot. Chemical methods include ferbam, mancozeb, captan, or nova.” with notes that the organic methods are much less effective.

I’ll head to Bachman’s tomorrow and see what they have and recommend.

Black Rot on Our Grapes

Sad Spinach

The spinach isn’t as good as it was last year. There are lots of yellow leaves, and it has gone to seed already. The leaves still taste good, but there aren’t nearly as many as there were last year.

Sad Spinach
Sad Spinach

Strawberries Under Attack

Something has been eating our strawberry plants. Google suggests that it might be slugs or snails. I’ll probably pick up some slug/snail killer when I go to Bachman’s tomorrow.

Something Has Been Eating Our Strawberry Leaves
Something Has Been Eating Our Strawberry Leaves

And with that, I think I’m back on top of what’s going on in my garden. There’s lots to do (more weeding, for instance), but at least I know what’s going on, and knowing is half the battle.

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Planting 2012, Round One

I did it! I started planting. I put in the peas, onions, carrots, spinach, lettuce, corn and beets. I put them in on Wednesday (the 4th) but I just haven’t had a chance to write it up.

Calvin planting peas
Calvin planting peas

Calvin, my almost 4-year-old was my helper buddy. He was very deliberate with planting, and put the seeds just as far apart as I told him to. With the beets he would just take 2 seeds from the tin at a time. He was excited to be helping because he had taken a nap, and got to stay up later than his older brother.

My happy helper
My happy helper

While we were planting I noticed that our apple trees are budding. I have high hopes for our apple trees this year. This will be their 3rd summer and the general consensus is that they take till their third year to start producing. We had a couple apples their first year, but nothing substantial. Last year the birds ate all the flowers. This year we’re not putting out bird seed in the feeder till the apples have set and have been bagged for protection. With the extra care and a little bit of luck I think we’ll have a decent crop.

Apple buds starting to come out
Apple buds starting to come out

Happy gardening!

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2012 Garden Orders Placed

Happily, my garden orders will only be about $100 this year compared to $200 + dirt money we spent last year and the year before. The garden will be a little bit smaller which partly accounts for the decreased cost. The vine borers were so bad with the pumpkins last year that I’m not going to plant anything that they can eat. Hopefully a year of starving will keep them at bay, and I can grow some nice pumpkins again next year.

I have a lot of seeds left over from last year which helps too.  I only had to order one type of tomato this year.

Goals and Decisions

This year I decided I wanted to plant less types of plants, and to do more canning with the larger crops. I settled on beets, peas and basil. Beets because I like beets (and I bought a pound of beet seeds last year!), peas because you can never have too many fresh peas, and basil because last year’s crop was sufficient for cooking, but much too small to make pesto. And I love pesto.

I also focused on turning the garden next to our house into an herb garden. I just got accepted to the UMN Masters of Geographic Information Science, so I expect that the next couple of years will be very busy. I plan to continue gardening, but I want to reduce the amount of work it takes. I’m hoping that having an herb garden is part of that solution.

This Year’s Order: $101.23

The total isn’t actually in yet, because I haven’t bought the cherry tree, but it’s in the budget this time around and I know what kind I want. We’re going to get a North Star sour cherry tree. Here’s the rest of the order.

Next On The Todo List

Next up on the todo list is to clean my starter pots so they’ll be ready when the seeds get here. I also need to sharpen my lawn mower,  shovels and hoes. I bought a tiller that doesn’t start last fall, so I need to get that running and till the garden.

It’s nice to be working on gardening stuff again!

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