Well, summer is in full swing here in Georgia and I am thoroughly sick of gardening at this point. Considering I have had plants in the ground since March, we are going on month 5 of garden maintenance and it is getting a wee bit tedious. Not to mention it is incredibly hot, the bugs are hungry and the weeds are absolutely ridiculous. I have had some successes and some failures this season and thought I would share a bit of my backyard happenings with you all this weekend. I would love to hear how your own garden is going so please leave me a comment and share your stories!
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July Garden Update
I have lost the battle with the chipmunks this summer. They have totally destroyed every cherry tomato plant in the garden and are happily making their way through the full sized ones too. I have discovered that if I pick the larger tomatoes AS SOON AS they start to turn pink I am usually ok. I would rather let them vine ripen but as soon as they get close to ripe those chipmunks just chew their way right through half a tomato! They ate all the roots to the cherry tomato plants and many of the full sized ones are half dead as well but I am hoping the tomatoes themselves continue to ripen since I have about 30 of them out there on the vines!
The heat has been absolutely ridiculous the last couple of weeks. Mid 90’s and no rain in sight! I have been trying to water every few days but by mid afternoon everything is limp and sickly looking. Summers are very hard on a garden down here in the south. The plus side of this insane heat is that my hot pepper crop is out of control. The down side is that may of my herbs and cooler weather plants have all gone to flower or are just struggling to stay upright, even with plenty of water and few hours of shade in the afternoon.
If you do find that your herbs, lettuce, broccoli, etc are flowering please make sure you leave them be! Even though YOU can’t use those plants any more, flowers of any sort are great for attracting pollinators. Bringing a few more bees into your garden is always a good thing. My dill has gone to flower (that is the picture above) but I let it sit right next to a potted tomato plant on the patio. When Mr. Honey Bee comes to visit the dill he usually heads over to the tomato plant while he is there. Happy bees, happy tomato eater!
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I seem to be having decent luck with the yellow crookneck squash I planted in the garden this year. I have struggled for years trying to salvage them from the plight of squash beetles and what finally seems to have done the trick is an organic approved pesticide containing BT. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a spore forming bacteria that produces crystal proteins (cry proteins), which are toxic to many species of insects. While I am not a fan of randomly killing insects, it does appear to have done the job on the squash beetles. I also haven’t seen any tomato hornworm caterpillars this summer yet either. Of course, I probably killed off all the other caterpillars in my garden at the same time which means a lot fewer butterflies which makes me very sad. Hard to find a balance between letting the bugs live and managing to bring in any harvest at all from the garden.
I need to do some serious amount of weeding but the mosquitoes some after me every time I set foot in the garden so I have been conveniently ignoring them. I need to throw out a bit more organic fertilizer this month and spend a few hours praying for rain! My dad recommended some toxic bait to rid myself of the chipmunk problem but I just can’t bring myself to do it! I just wish he would stick to the seed from the bird feeder and stay away from my tomatoes!
What’s going on in YOUR garden this week?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.