Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 23-06-2012

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Kathy and Davis have flown to France to stay on their river boat for 6 weeks.  Are we envious?  We will miss their contribution to our garden as they play a big part in every aspect from creation, maintenance to harvest.  They should be back in time to help us enter the fall plantings.  Glenda and I also will be on vacation for 10 days.  We left last Thursday for a trip through the blue ridge mountains via the Blue Ridge Parkway where I will collect images to insert into my other passionate interest, that of my graphic arts print business (  We are looking forward to the cooler, dryer air we hope to find.

Meanwhile back at the garden, Chris, Dragana, Cam and Scott are doing the duties.  Of which watering is the primary activity.  If the garden doesn’t get a good watering every day, many of the plants are showing the stress and wilting – some like the artichoke – to the ground.  Artichoke need well drained moist soil.  Ours are two feet wide and a foot and a half to two feet high.  I expect them to bolt into flower soon and then the harvest will begin.  We have replanted the bush beans and they are coming up.  Our other bean crops are doing well except for the Garden of Eden pole beans.  These have been attacked by a little bug that looks like a brown lady bug (Coleoptera) but it is a true bug (Hymenoptera) which discharged a foul smell when smashed.  The pest line up on the stems to suck the sap from the vines and have weakened the plants so that they are starting to loose their leaves and have stopped blooming.  I have had to resort to applying a weak spray of malathion (ugh!) and side dressing the row with chicken manure.  This looks to have gotten rid of the bug and the blooms are starting to return.  My fear is that the bug will return again, to not only the pole beans, but the the bush beans also.  Anyone know what the pest is?  It is too small to photograph but I will work on learning what it is when I return as I froze several for identification.

We continue to watch for the Tomato Hawk Moth caterpillar on the tomato plants.  Our tomatoes are doing well but everyone loves tomatoes so much that they are removed from the vines as soon as they start to color.  I guess we will need to plant more next year. A garden is just not a garden unless the tomato vines are covered in red tomatoes that can be picked and eaten in the garden.  This week the Kentucky Wonders are to be planted in the three beds where the sugar peas were.  Cucumbers will go in along the fences.   The eggplant are producing well as are the peppers – all kinds except the hot one which we do not plant.

I released 5 young Cardinals from under the netting over the blackberries.  They apparently enjoyed their feast.  We will have to redesign the netting cover to keep them out next year.  We were successful protecting the strawberries but both the black and blue berries have been shared.  No progress on squirrel control as the pears are slowly disappearing from the trees.  I think we are a couple weeks from the fig harvest and we plan to pick before they are “soft ripe” to beat the birds and squirrels to them.  They will ripen after picking.  Chris makes a fantastic jam and is determined to pick all she can this year.  I have saved the seed of two types of very sweet cantaloupe that I want to try to grow and will plant them when I get back.


We now have two good hives that are collecting nectar from not only our garden but from the “popcorn” tree bloom and soon the palmetto.  One of the hives is in a double brood box- full sized hive while the second is in a double – half (nuc) hive which I will change into a full size when I return.  I plan to place a Ross supper on each later so as to harvest the Ross rounds of comb honey this fall.

All else is fine and only the daily tending is needed.  We will start planting the Fall garden plants in the spaces left by the finished Spring plants.  Hopefully our Summer plantings of okra, beans, squash, sweet potatoes and onions, etc will hold us over til Fall.




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