The garden tour continues with a pepper patch, in the foreground below, some dahlias, and giant volunteer pumpkin. I couldn’t figure out where all the pumpkins were coming from, as I’ve never successfully grown any in my garden. And then I remembered that all last winter I split my Halloween pumpkins open and fed them to the chickens as they were penned in the garden. A ha!
It was a tough call, but I just ripped out all the volunteer pumpkins. I’d love to grow them, but I just don’t have the space. It’s only June and the vines were already overtaking the garden, shading plants I actually am trying to cultivate (like the dahlias). So out they came.
You can also see my squash experiment, above, growing up a post. Ever since I’ve had this garden I’ve battled squash bugs, which have always killed my vines about the time they set their first fruit. This year I said no more squash—too much a waste of resources and space for something that’s bound to die and also cheap to buy in the grocery. Then I came across something that suggested growing squash vertically, as the squash bugs multiply more rapidly when hiding under leaves near the ground. So I used these volunteer squash plants as guinea pigs, tying them up the posts with strips of plastic bag and trimming off the leaves closest to the ground. Despite seeing (and killing) just a handful of squash bugs, the vine below has already succumbed to something. Le sigh. The vegetable that most people can’t give away fast enough eludes me. I think I will do a post-mortem and cut open the stem looking for squash vine borers.
My little “Glass Gem” corn patch is doing well. The stalks have about doubled in the days since taking this photo. The several inches of rain we’ve had in the last week are working wonders in the gardens. More caged dahlias, too, just budding out. The trick of starting them in pots in April has really worked—they are many weeks ahead of where they were last year when started in the ground.
That was exciting enough for me, but then I planted it out and it pulled this trick—blooming with one of the most lovely flowers I’ve seen. There’s something magical about this plant for me. I am just waiting to learn from it.
A better shot of my new dahlia cages. They seem to be working extremely well—we’ll see how they do when the plants get five feet tall!
Since taking these photos, I ripped out the old spinach, took out the volunteer pumpkins, weeded, and mulched the entire garden with rotted straw. All the recent rain at the start of the growing season, and more on the way, helps put us in good shape heading in to summer. Up next, a tomato-only tour.