I woke up on Sunday and just knew I was going to cut my basil on time this year. Well, almost. The flowers were barely open at the top. More on that later.
I also knew that it was really time to begin to hunt squash bugs and make war on aphids. I found a few squash bug eggs on the the underside of one squash plant. I am glad I put gloves on for this activity, because I did catch 2 adults off-guard and was able to snatch them up. The underside of the squash plant leaves are so prickly, that I am more likely to look things over thoroughly if my hands are protected. I might want to toughen up my feet, but I want to keep sensitive finger tips.
I could see some signs of squash bug stress on the plants. One of the plants had that droopy, lack of water look, but the soil was pretty much perfect. There was browning on some other leaves. I am going to have to get out there with my garlic and soap concoctions to flush them out. I will probably spread some diatomaceous earth under the plants after that.
I discovered that the hopefully pumpkin plants are really zucchini, which in a small disappointment, but kind of funny. I had tried to save seeds from that plant, but they hadn’t looked right, so I did a germination test. They all failed, so I threw the whole mess in the chicken pen. I didn’t think I had put it in that location, and I KNEW I had put a LOT of pumpkins there. Oh, well, There are some pumpkin plants growing in the front chicken pen (where the chickens are not out for a long enough time each day to kill all the plants), and some odd hybrids. I will try to make sure those pumpkins get watered. At least I can say that the transplanting worked! The plants are huge and healthy. In case you are wondering, I did plant another variety of zucchini, so I will have a lot if I can keep the squash bugs under control.
Speaking of diatomaceous earth (DE), I spread it all around my broccoli, beans, cabbages, smaller lettuces, and some on my potatoes. Spreading DE makes me feel better. I put it on the foliage, but try not to leave it too thick, especially if the plant is small. I also am generous with it on the soil. There were a few small green worms (from cabbage moths) on the broccoli I harvested for dinner the night before. This should help kill others.
There were still some of the later plantings of broccoli and cabbages that needed to be thinned, so I did that before I sprayed the insecticidal soap. The chickens like their portion.
A lot of my lettuce rotted with all the rain followed by over 100°F temperatures. I had given that to the chickens last week. Today I went ahead and planted some more. I know that germination is not reliable in this heat, but half of what I planted is supposed to do better in the summer. Anyway, it has for me in the past. I have about 4-5 lettuce plants that have survived to go to seed, so I am letting them do that.
I tried a new kind of fertilization by recycling urine. I diluted it 1:20 and watered my knee high corn with it. Since certain persons find it inconvenient to come in from the shop sometimes anyway, this is a good excuse to collect this fertilizer for me. The wine bottles that have been collected for potential glass-pieces-in-cement-projects make handy receptacles and make the contents less obvious.
I fertilized most of my pots with a dilution of fish emulsion fertilizer. My greenhouse tomatoes have been looking weird, even though they are still producing red tomatoes. We’ll see if this helps them. My pole beans in a raised bed are already looking better after getting their dose.
I spent some time admiring my hot pepper plants and wondering about harvesting the rest of my huge last year’s onions. I replanted the bush cucumbers that something chowed down on, just because I can. Who knows if they will mature in time, but I planted way more of them than I needed to. It was therapeutic.
I also planted another crop of beets. I haven’t harvest any of my first crop yet, but they are looking very nice. I liked the beets that I dehydrated a couple of years ago. I have not cooked beets very much, but adding them to stews was fun and not strong flavored.
My girls helped me weed like crazy in a couple of places where the weeds had grown about 3 feet tall. It was hard to believe that just a month ago that yard had been in such good order for the wedding reception. But that’s how it goes. Mid summer is an important time to try to keep up with weeding as best one can, because when so much of the harvest is ready later, there just isn’t much time. Remember, “every weed pulled is one less to go to seed.”
I finally found one of my cape daisies that was dry enough to check for seed. I got a piece of white paper and broke the middle of the flower up over that. I see some dark, ripe seeds there. I will keep my eyes open for other flowers to harvest.
I noticed that I should pull up some of the larkspur that put on such a show for so many weeks. At this point, some of it falls in the category of weed, but some of it still looks good for a while longer. I need to check on my heavenly blue morning glories that I transplanted down in front. They were looking hearty, but now they are getting choked out by another variety of morning glory that has proved to be very vigorous this time of summer.
This all sounds like so much when I write it down, but other than the weeding, which took several hours on other days, the rest was just a few things I did on a lazy Sunday morning. Summer Sunday mornings are often a nice time to saunter and do things at a relaxed pace in the garden.