Did You Know? How Does Your Garden Grow?

I’m excited about today’s post. It’s a visual of our vegetable garden this year. We were way late planting this year, especially since we had awesome weather this spring. We finally got our plants in the ground on May 7. Last year, it was the first week in April. I also have to give full credit to Sean and Anna Taylor…their home houses the vegetable garden and they have done pretty much all of the maintenance and watering this year. I just haven’t had the time. It’s no excuse, but it’s absolutely true. OK…so here are the pictures.

 

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Look at the little baby tomato plants!

 

Can you even see the little baby tomatoes? They looked so pitiful when surrounded by the tremendous cages. I did a post about the veggie garden after planting and I mentioned that I was embarrassed by how small the plants were. Can you see why?

 

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Here are the plants a month later in early June

 

 

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Here are the same plants at the end of June

 

There are bush beans in the background that were doing fairly well until Bambi paid the garden a visit. Here’s a picture of the damage:

vegetable garden

 

The hugelkultur beds that we installed earlier this year are progressing along nicely. One is filled with eggplant and the other with peppers. I can’t say that the wood is helping give back moisture quite yet but these beds are a process. I’m sure that once the wood starts breaking down more and can finally fill completely up with water, the results will be phenomenal.

vegetable garden

 

Do you want to know what I love most about this picture? The weed-free pathways. Ah…they are so dreamy. It makes me so happy to not see weeds. There are still weeds in the garden but at least we know that this area doesn’t require our attention.

We tried planting squash, zucchini, watermelon and cucumbers from seed instead of starting them indoors first. I heard Paul Wheaton talk about veggies that are sown directly in the garden having better drought resistance than those started indoors. So we tried it…and…epic fail. We had a few plants come up but the overwhelming result was nada. Nothing. Zilch. Lesson learned. Here are a few pictures of what did come up.

vegetable garden
One of our two Mandurian Round cucumber plants. We wanted many more of these but…

 

vegetable garden
Suyo Long cucumber…again, we wanted more but…

 

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Here’s what our squash and zucchini have turned into…a wonderful home for squash bugs. I dusted these heavily with diatomaceous earth before I left

 

Here’s a picture of “Eddie” our scarecrow. He swivels and keeps a watchful eye over the garden.

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My son, Myles, picking peaches in the garden.

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Maddie in the jungle of German Johnson tomatoes.

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So, that’s an overview of the vegetable garden this year. How does your garden grow? Send me pictures so that I can share them with other Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Happy gardening!

 

 

 

 

Did You Know? Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth, or DE as it’s also called, is a naturally occurring compound that is derived from fossilized diatoms. It’s an excellent tool to have in your arsenal whether you’re a gardener, animal lover or homesteader. DE can help rid your garden of squash bugs, keep fleas from making your pets’ lives miserable and can act as a dewormer for your barnyard friends. Sounds too good to be true, huh?

diatomaceous earthDiatomaceous Earth works by cutting the exoskeleton of insects so that they dry out and die. Sounds painful. The great news for humans is that DE is completely safe for us…it doesn’t cut us or irritate our skin in any way. If you inhale too much, it can certainly make you cough but that’s about it. There are two types of DE: pool grade diatomaceous earth and food grade diatomaceous earth. You want FOOD GRADE DE. The pool grade DE has other stuff mixed in and I would much rather be safe than sorry, especially since you’ll be using it in your garden or on your pets.

So what parameters should you use when applying diatomaceous earth? If you’re using it in the garden, you need to apply it when the foliage is dry. DE is rendered ineffective when water touches it…the sharp edges of DE disappear as it mixes with water but once it dries DE is effective again. Try not to apply it first thing in the morning when the foliage is still dewy or before you water. If you have issues with insects in the garden, apply it directly to them making sure to coat the undersides of the leaves as well. DE will also kill beneficials in the garden so make sure that you are targeting a specific pest and not just blanketing your garden as a preventative.

What about fleas? We have an indoor/outdoor cat that thoroughly enjoys her job as protector of our property. Whether it be birds, squirrels, rabbits, moles, voles or snakes, she has successfully removed at least one of them from our yard.  But as is the case with most cats, she doesn’t just kill them and leave them be…no, she has to play with them. As a result, she has fleas; not tons of them but there are still fleas. One flea is enough to make me miserable so we use DE on her. The results vary depending on how often I apply it. We just sprinkle it on her coat and massage it down to her skin. The adult fleas are killed within a couple of hours but the eggs and larvae are still there long after the DE has faded. The effectiveness of the DE is only as good as the frequency of the application.

Now the part of the intro that mentioned using DE as a wormer in animals is not something that I’ve done personally but many folks, especially old-timers, swear by it. There are also quite a few websites that tout their products as being effective in controlling worms and other internal parasites. There are many people who ingest DE daily as well. That’s between you, the man upstairs and the DE if you decide to go that route. It can’t be much worse than the GMO laced food we ingest on a daily basis can it? Sorry for the tangent…

So, have you used diatomaceous earth to treat for pests in your garden or on your animals? What kind of results did you have? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Happy gardening!