Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gardening? What's That?

I feel like a slug of a gardener this last week. The heat was so bad that I just didn't do anything in the garden but what I needed to. We topped out on Friday at 103F. Triple digit heat in our area is very very rare. We get into the 90s on average 13 times a year, but usually it is the low 90s.

Sadly the pests have still been around. The cabbage butterflies love my garden with a passion. They dance in the air all the time. Thank goodness for row covers. I did get one stuck under the row cover one day. I found they wake up at 7am and if the cover isn't closed up by then I'll look like a crazy person trying to get the mob out.

The yellowish frass is a sign of vine borers

Sadly the vine borers found the zukes. This photo was from last Sunday. I tried two things to keep them off this year. I used the aluminum foil that supposedly confuses them. And I put netting over one of the plants as a test. One gardener said she had good results. The moths can get through, but they don't bother. Well mine bother to get through. All four zukes have multiple frass zones. Which means multiple borers. I think they aren't long for this world, but still I'm hoping. Last year the Costata Romenesca plants lived, but they couldn't set fruit really. I still got a lot of baby zukes. So I'll wait and see. Right now the Raven squash have dropped all their female fruit before it has gotten big enough for the flower to open. One CR zuke is doing the same, but the other is setting fruit still. We will see.

The only real gardening I've been doing has been planting my fall broccoli and trying to get the carrots germinated. The broccoli looks wonderful which shocks me. I planted it early in the week and it grew a lot over the last five days even in this heat. Go broccoli.

The carrots are interesting. I could get them to germinate OK in the heat using burlap and frequent watering, but once they were up they fell over and died. But I found that this only happened if I left the burlap on too long. When I took it off when I only saw one barely coming up under the whole burlap, I could get most of the stand up and stay up. I had to water them three times a day in the heat, but that is OK. Right now it is raining, and I'm busy the rest of the day, but hopefully tomorrow I can fill in the gaps from the spots I pulled the burlap off too late.

And maybe this coming week I can be a real gardener again and stay out later than 7am in the morning.


  1. Gardening is quite a learning experience isn't it...every year something new. Sounds like you are figuring it out with the carrots, I will keep the burlap germination thing in mind. Can't believe you can get anything to germinate in that hot weather you are experiencing, 103°...yikes.

  2. I'm not brave enough to try and get anything to germinate in this heat. I started all my fall crops under lights in the basement, then moved them outside when they were up. It's challenging enough keeping them alive even! Fall carrots will have to wait a bit for us.

  3. It's impressive you are managing to get them germinated in that heat at all. I would be keeping out of that sun too. Sorry about the vine borers. They really are a royal pain in the patooty.

  4. I'm not having any luck with my carrots either. Now that it is starting to cool down, I will try again.

    This past week did not feel like gardening, it felt more like maintaining life in the garden.

    Sorry about the SVB's!!

  5. Sorry about the heat, yeah you guys got hit pretty hard up there with it. Hang in there, I know it is tough when you are not used to it. Kind of like us southern folks who scream when we get 1/2 inch of snow in the winter. Just everyday life for you guys.

  6. Those vine borers are so annoying! Sorry to hear that they attacked your zuke plants.

  7. Sorry you got the vine borers. It seems to be a BIG problem this year.

    I NEED to get my carrots planted for the fall crop, but it's been so dry that the soil is just DUST. It even REPELS the water. What an awful summer for gardening, but we keep trying, don't we?

  8. Wishing for only 90 something a few times a year! We were over 105 in June. Fortunately the summer rains came a little early and seem to be making up for the fact that we got diddly over the winter. I try to time late spring and summer plantings to coincide with a good rain. Just seems to make the seeds jump out of the ground.

    Have you tried mounding soil over the squash vines? Recommended because often the plant will grow some more roots and that helps it fight the borers. But I usually just pull them out, not a big zuke fan anyway.

  9. Ohhh I love gardens. I love flowers and the butterflies and the experience of being in the dirt and the outdoors! Love the colors and the smells!

    Unfortunately, I have the black thumb of death and am easily discouraged when I plant flowers and they die because I don't know what I'm doing! Thank goodness for blogs like this that offer up some help and advice to people like me! Of course I'm an easy does it gardener (I use the term loosely) so I plant pansies but hey, it's something! :)

  10. 103F? it's almost as hot as Taipei!

  11. Crubby on the heat...I was hardly out last week, either. Glad to hear your broccoli is happy! I was just thinking this week I need to get going on the fall garden.