Saturday, May 30, 2009

This and That

This morning I walked out to do my daily garden check nice and early. I was amazed at the cacophony that greeted me. Usually the birds sing here and there. One calls; another answers. It is beautiful and has a nice melody. This morning it was like a thousand different birds were all trying to one up the other. They all had their tunes and it was not in sync with any of the others. Have you ever heard a symphony orchestra when they just get out and are making sure their instruments are tuned? If you have, you know what I mean.

Since I was out a bit earlier than normal, I found plenty of slugs to squish. That was my first chore. They aren't as bad in the brassica section, but I still found a nice handful to squish. Sadly they are taking down my cucumber seedlings. I put a thin ring of coffee grounds around the plants when they were put out, but that is not enough. One has been eaten to a stub. Another the top is fine, but the stem has been eaten all the way through. I was hoping the dill would distract them from my cucumbers. Self sown dill is very thick all the way through this bed. I did pull a lot of slugs off the dill too, but it wasn't enough protection. I started germinating more two days ago. I'll start some more today.

If it stays dry, I may bring out the DE to protect them a bit. DE doesn't work if wet. I'm not a big fan of diatomaceous earth (fossilized remains of diatoms ie sharp rock), but it does work as long as it doesn't get wet. It also happens to be the only insecticide I've used in the last 10 years. It has two flaws. The worse in my opinion is that if you breath it, it will abraid your lungs. Having really bad lungs, I'm careful around the stuff. I don't use a little filter mask. I bring out the Darth Vader mask. Its other flaw is that it can kill the predetors of the slug too like rove beetles. DE gets inside their little carapaces and dehydrates them. For us it just gives us dry skin. No biggie. It is not toxic at all and often fed to animals to control parasites. But again it only works on slugs if it is dry. If it rains you are out of luck.

The weather the last few days has been in the 50s during the day and the 40s at night. So I was shocked to see my beans germinating. I did plant them when it was in the high 80s, but our weather has been having wild swings recently. The Kentucky Wonder and Ottawa Cranberry beans are up (last one so called by me since it is from the Ottawa gardener). There is no sign yet of the Trail of Tears beans (also from the Ottawa gardener). I'm crossing my fingers since those are the ones I want the most. It has been cold and wet - perfect bean rotting weather. Sadly if they don't come up I have none to replace them. Well I have one and if I get none, I will plant that one last seed. I'm hoping to collect enough seed of this plant to eat some and get a little bit of a seed stock for future years.

I saw the first much anticipated bud on my pea. I can't wait until it opens and it gives me my first little tiny pea. I'm getting sick of eating greens every night. I want peas.

The carrots are doing well. I've been thinning them a bit. In a week I think their thinnings will be big enough to eat. Then I'll get color in my salads. I see caterpillar damage on a couple of them, but for the life of me can't see the caterpillar. Maybe the birds ate it. They love to dine in the garden more than anywhere else in my yard. I'm happy to have them eat there even if they eat a lot of my earthworms too.

I harvested over a pound of various greens today. I'm starting to see why Tyfon can feed an army. My Komatsuna grows just as fast, but it bolts in a month. It needs to be harvested then started again. Now that I know this I will do two week successions like I do for Tatsoi. But the Tyfon just keeps putting out. I wish I had chickens to feed it all to. It isn't bad but it is my least favorite green that I'm growing and it grows so much. I just can't keep up with eating it all.


  1. It's heart breaking to find destruction on garden checks! Your peas look so healthy and green. Mine look like they are about to die. It is such a dilemma, will I have enough peas to save and still have enough to eat?

    Thank you for explaining DE. I worked at a pool store when I was a teenager and I constantly inhaled it and got it in my eyes from handling the bags. I never realized that the root word is diatom. Oy.

  2. Sorry about your slugs, Daphne! You'd think all those bugs would just eat 'em! (I never see them here.) I'm relieved to hear your peas are just now budding---like you, I have such big, vigorous snow pea plants, but nary a bloom in sight. Sigh. And oh boy, I wish you lived close enough to pick up those Tyfon greens for our chickens! We'd give you incredible eggs in exchange!

  3. wormandflowers, I'm going to end up with that dilemma with my dried beans. I want to eat them, but I also want to save them for seed. I just know I'm going to have trouble with it come fall.

    our friend Ben, oh I would love that trade. Fresh eggs yum.

  4. I love the cacophony of birds in the morning...juxtaposed with the visual cacophony of my garden, flowers, foliage, weeds and all. No veggies here except four basil plants and four tomato plants in the greenhouse, so I don't have those hassles (disappointments) to deal with.

  5. we are having the usual strange growing season for some of our veges. I was asking questions of an associate in the local garden center, and she was telling me of the problems people are having this year.
    I have given up on trying to get bell and hot peppers to grow, as it is just not hot enough here. I will try again when I get my greenhouse. Some of my other veggies are acting weird too.

  6. Your peas are really coming along nicely, it won't be long now.

  7. jodi, oh I get those disappointments occasionally from flowers too. Usually annuals, but sometimes perennials too.

    keewee, I can't seem to grow bell peppers here, but the chilies seem more forgiving of the cool temps.

    Dan, I hope not.