Thursday, August 12, 2010

Walking Through the Garden

Well walking "through" the garden might be a bit wrong. The gardens is along the driveway, so I walk on the driveway showing you various photos along the way. It is a long and thin garden.

The first section is in front of my neighbors tomato plants. The basil you see on the left hand side was cut halfway back at the end of last week. Not that you can tell right now. They love it here. This area would make a great little herb garden section. The chard is behind the basil and not easy to see in this photo. The parsley was chopped to the ground yesterday so you can't see it at all.

The tomatillos are so strange. The normal one is on the right and half the height of my big one. I love the big one. It is so much more productive than the little one and easier to peel too. I've saved some seed from it. I hope it didn't cross with the other one, but has just its own genetics. Whatever weird sport it is, I want to keep it.

Between the two fence gates are my cherry tomatoes. EmmaAnn used to grow in the middle but was pulled early on as she was too diseased and couldn't keep up with the others. The Chocolate Cherry on the left is dying. Strangely he has some branches that are growing along the driveway on the ground and they are doing just fine. GabrielleAnn is the monster on the right. She really is taking over the world. If I had a cage ten feet tall she would be taller than it. Right now she just flops down and loops back up. And she is making her way over to the top of the Chocolate Cherry cage. She has a leaf or two that has issues, but mostly she is very healthy. Go Gabby.

The next section is the main tomato area. I have so many plants shoved into this spot. The bed is only 2 1/2' deep. And there are tomatoes along the back and peppers and marigolds growing in front of them. With the crowding and the fence along the back, I'm pretty happy that we had a dry year. This would be bad if we had a bad tomato disease year. The marigolds are ground control marigolds. They like to grow up, but I push the branches to the front so they don't shade the peppers and tomatoes too much. They can handle just about anything even having their branches half broken off by my treatment.

The top section of the garden is about 6" taller than the lower section. It gives the plants a taller planting bed, but it gets morning shade from the maple tree nearby. The above photo is the sunniest part of this section. It has two determinate tomatoes (that would be 6' tall if they weren't flopping over due to cages too small for them). Behind the tomatoes are my Kentucky Wonder beans that give me about 6oz of beans every week. Just enough for one. Then comes the eight cucumber plants. They are diseased and the disease spreads, but the cucumber plants put out nice new foliage faster than the disease can kill. So they are doing great. Go cukes!

The back section of this garden has a lot more shade. It has my dried beans and my squash. Despite the shadiness, the butternut squash has been pumping out babies like there is no tomorrow. Sadly the groundhog has eaten most of them. I have one squash left that he hasn't found. I've covered the area in bird netting as I've found lots of rodents hate it. They get it caught in their feet. So I'm hoping the groundhog will be deterred, but honestly I'm not hopeful. He ate one small squash protected this way yesterday. I need EG to come take care of my problem.

Protected squash

Squash almost all eaten by the groundhog

That is not the only squash issue I've been having. My zucchini blossoms have been attacked by ants. I've never seen this issue at my old house. They eat out the bottom of the blossom and the flowers aren't setting. I can pick them small right when the blossoms close up, but they aren't setting big ones anymore. It also means I can't pick squash blossoms anymore as the ants infest them before they open.


  1. You know what? Ants have been attacking a lot of different veggie flowers in my garden. First the sunflowers, then the squash flowers, and my okra flowers are being attacked all the time, although the okra always seems to set. I never got squash this summer, but the sunflowers set seeds. It was just weird. Ants are everywhere this year.

  2. I love the small, narrow gardens. It must make it easy to care for things. Next year will be interesting, when you get it all set up.

  3. I think the new garden has been very successful this year - especially since being rushed...
    Oh god, i'd be furious if something was taking all of my squash. I would sincerely create hell on earth for the little booger....

  4. I really like how the garden is set up so narrowly along the drive/fence! Seems like it doesn't take up a ton of space and looks easy to reach things! It also seems like you could get a lot in! I hope you figure out what to do about the ground hog! Maybe you need to make a hanging cage for it out of some chicken wire! Maybe you should just set up a trap with a squash in it and relocate him! Unless you really WANT to shoot him!

  5. This is a nice example of you rising to a design challenge. The ants? I have no clue -- how very strange.

  6. Can you find the ant nest(s)? I pour boiling water into the ones in my walkway, with no qualms although normally I'm against killing things.

    "ground control marigolds" what are those? Thanks.

  7. I have similar problems from voles(I think). It eats up all the tomatoes that are low lying(green or red) and surprisingly green bush beans and also the bush bean leaves!! They've already eaten most of the beets, this season. Looks like there are multiple families, since they do a lot of destruction every day! I'd like to get rid of it, but I'm not devastated since I have plenty of these plants. Inspite of the damage, I still get enough to pick.

  8. The ants have been all over 2 of my squash plants as well! They seem to be setting decent, but definitely not 100%. Go get that groundhog! We will be in your corner!!! Thanks for the garden tour, I loved it.

  9. Your garden is huge and beautiful! How did you ever plant 2 gardens and move at the same time? You are Wonder Woman!!!

  10. Nice tour, the new garden looks awesome!

  11. Are you sure that the ants are actually eating the flower? I have always had ants in my zucchini blossoms, for years, and they've never caused a fruit set problem. As far as I can tell, my ants are going after the nectar so they are not directly preventing pollination. Maybe bees don't go into the flowers since the nectar is gone, which would prevent pollination. Have you tried hand pollinating the zucchinis? I hand pollinate them in order to save male flowers for eating, so maybe that's why I have fruit set even though I have ants.

  12. To All, sorry about being so late replying to the comments, but I was off dropping my daughter off in Canada. She now has a visa to study physics at the perimeter institute for four years. Somehow I think it will take longer than four years to get a phd but you never know.

    Kalena Michele, I had the big ants at my old house, but very few little ants. This house has little ants. And it is the little ants that are attacking my squash. Sigh. I've just been picking the little tiny zucchini. I'll have to figure out how to deal with them sometime.

    The Mom, I'm hoping to put this long narrow bed into perennials of some kind. It is really hard to get behind the tomatoes to take care of them. Reaching the fence is hard.

    EG, I've heard the best way to deal with groundhogs is find their hole and do a snare trap. I have no access though. I will be putting up a fence around the main garden. I'll have to make sure it is well to the ground.

    Shawn Ann, It is actually hard to reach things since it is longer than my arms. I have to do acrobatics so I don't step in the bed itself. But I can get a lot in. lol I do want to shoot him, but since I live in town I think I would be breaking a lot of laws to do that here. And I don't have a gun. I suppose I could do the haveaheart traps if it became really necessary. I'm hoping to find another solution. I've heard of lots of different rodents living under the neighbor's fence over the years. Better a groundhog than a skunk or a raccoon I think. And those are what lived there before.

    Stefaneener, I've never heard of ants eating flowers either. I've had them farm aphids before, but that is the most I've seen.

    Karen Ann, I have no clue as to where the nest is. It could well be in one of my neighbors' yards.

    RandomGardener, I used to use rat traps from chipmunks when they were really bad. If I had voles I'd have mouse traps out. I did have voles at my last house, but they weren't destructive so I never worried about them. I'm sure they ate a few things but I never noticed it. The chipmunks on the other hand were bad.

    Nartaya, your welcome

    A Kitchen Garden,
    I have no clue. I just knew I needed to have a garden this summer at the new house so did it. I didn't put in a lot of hard things that took a lot of care. Mostly it was easy stuff to grow. A few things did die though, like my nasturtiums. I had visions of trailing nasturtiums in front of the beans and squash, but they never did grow.

    Dan, thanks

    Angela, They are eating the nectar I'm assuming, but it is making that part of the flower rot out before it opens. If I look down in there it is brown by the time it is open. So they are causing damage. The damage isn't happening on my winter squash, but it is on my zukes. The idea about the bees not coming in is interesting though. I'll try hand pollinating for a while and see if it works.

  13. Oh wow! I am so impressed with your garden! It is so incredible!

  14. Go Daphne's Garden! That wall of tomatoes is pretty impressive looking. Considering you were managing two gardens and a house move this year - it's pretty astounding that you got so much out of both this garden and your old garden. Well Done!

  15. I'm just amazed how well you manage 2 gardens and get big harvests from both.