Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden Notes - July 22, 2013

I spotted my first red tomato today! Well, it's almost red... I know to start my tomato plants (indoors) a little earlier next year.  At least 3 weeks earlier.  Still, there are dozens and dozens of green tomatoes on the vines.  I need to tie them up better since they are starting to sprawl all over the place.
The cucumbers are still going strong.  I've given a bunch away and I've been putting them in salads.  I made tabbouleh (sp?) and fattoush.  Delicious.  I even made pickles for the first time - "bread and butter" and "dill".  I think I'm done pickling cucumbers though.
I was beginning to think the rabbits were going to eat up all of my zucchini and yellow squash, but they are beginning to come in as well.  In fact, with the exception of the beans, basil, and cilantro, the rabbits have left quite a bit.  I can begin harvesting cabbage now, and the eggplants are almost ready for picking, as well as watermelons, and peppers.  I'm very satisfied! And James' garden is coming along - slow but sure!
The perennial garden needs quite a bit of work, as the weeds are coming in thick now.  I've been so busy weeding the vegetable beds and working on the front yard that the perennial garden has been neglected.  I spent an hour today cutting back dead bee balm and daisies, pruning the rose bushes, and pulling out hundreds of weeds.  I still have a lot left, which I hope to get to tomorrow. However, there are still loads of daisies and lilies, and the phlox and liatris are in bloom, and the "Black-eyed Susan" s are about to open.  The butterfly bushes have butterflies!
My annual flowers are doing OK.  I had planted some "snowball" marigolds in the perennial garden.  At first, the rabbits were chewing them up, but lately they are really taking off.  I also put in some bachelor button flowers, which I grew from seed.  They are finally in bloom and really pretty, but they are kind of lost among all the other plants.  Next year, I'll have to pick a different spot for them.
The zinnias are finally blooming.  I love all of them.  I had to spray all the annual flowers with a potent spray called "Bayer Advanced Natria" because all of the annual flowers were being attacked right out of existence.  I didn't want to use the stuff, but I decided it was the only way to preserve them.  I confess that I did not try any insecticidal soaps.  I tried it last year on the sunflowers and it did work, but I don't think it would kill the earwigs that are attacking the dahlias.  I sprayed the sunflowers, zinnias, bachelor buttons and dahlias. Only the cosmos ("volunteer") were left alone.  Next week I will follow up with the insecticidal soap, except for the dahlias.  I'll have to use the "Natria" on them.
Finally, I am able to pick some dahlia blossoms that haven't been eaten away by earwigs.  Incidentally, I have "lost" 2 of my dahlias - "Parakeet" and "Snowflake".  The dahlia bloom below comes from a tuber that I over-wintered.  I don't know it's commercial name... I think I'll name it "Embers". I just love the spectacular colors of dahlias.


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