The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity for my family. Homeschool plays, recitals, and the basic ins and outs of life delayed my gardening a bit this year. But I did get my seeds and plants in the ground last month, and things are finally getting green in the garden. Here’s what’s been growin’ this spring. Mouse over for the caption and click for a closer look.
This is a paste tomato. It and one beefsteak tomato plant on the deck are the only tomatoes I’m growing this year.
The lettuce blend is coming up nicely
I bought this Romaine at our favorite Amish nursery
Green Bell Peppers
Trying Pole Beans this year. Hope they don’t take over!
The spinach is taking forever to grow. .
I planted a ton of kale this year. Now all I need is a dehydrator to make my chips!
Last but not least, an old standby. Swiss Chard.
…But I asked for a compost bin!
It was a landmark birthday for me this September. I turned the big four-OH.
And all I really wanted for my birthday was a compost bin. Call me crazy.
I grew up around the old-school, out-in-the-open compost heap, to which was added a continual supply of kitchen and garden scraps. However, after considering our backyard set-up and doing a bit of research (OK, ALOT of research) we decided to go with a drum/tumbler style compost bin, which is designed to create compost in batches.
In a nutshell, “green” and “brown” scraps are added in the proper proportions until the tumbler is filled high enough to make a nice batch without being too hard to turn. Then, you stop adding scraps, and simply turn the drum once a day or every other day for 2-3 weeks or longer while it composts. Eventually, you have yourself a finished batch.
Kitchen scraps await a trip to the tumbler
We are still in the process of adding to our bin, and so far we are making good progress. I figured even though we are moving into colder weather, I could still get things started. if things slowed down in the composting department as the weather cooled, so be it. I can wait for my first completed batch. And as luck would have it, we had a stretch of very warm weather in the high 80′s the past week or so, and that’s gotten things percolating nicely.
Always Google first. I should know this by now! But seriously, what was I to think when I saw this guy in my garden?
My first inclination, when I saw this horn worm festooned with white eggs was, “Get it off get it off get it off!” And sadly, that’s what I did. Turns out, mutant horn worms are actually a good thing.
After googling, I discovered that the horn worm clinging to my bell pepper plant was actually playing host to Braconid Wasp eggs, which would have eventually killed it. Once the eggs hatched, the resulting wasps would have done the same to all his friends. Oh well. Live and learn!
Definitely the strangest thing I’ve seen in my garden this season. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in yours?
…and aphids attack! Unfortunately, the downside of my Grow Camp is that tiny bugs can get in, but bigger bugs (some of whom are quite beneficial) can not. I went out to check on my crazy eggplants last week (I say crazy because they are all foliage and no actual eggplants – perhaps from all the rain we have gotten) and lo and behold, aphids had taken hold and taken over my eggplant leaves. Seems I should have been a little more vigilant with my banana peels.
I decided to open the screen on the eggplants’ side of the Grow Camp and let the chips fall where they may in the hopes that some beneficial insects might find their way to my plants. If the deer found them too, well, so be it. Thankfully, by the next day, these guys showed up:
Hello, darlings! I have a lovely buffet all set out for you! Did you know ladybugs can eat upwards of 50-60 aphids a day? Even more if they are babies. Eat up, my friends! While you are here, can you convince my eggplants to bear fruit?
In other news, check out my tomato jungle! They were late because of the weird weather, but now we are getting maters-a-plenty!
Green beans are doing great, too!
Still no tomatoes ready for harvest, but the cucumbers are coming in like crazy, and the bush beans and limas are getting started! There was a jalapeño harvested too, but my son got to it before I could take a photo.