Garden Update, 6/14/21

The heat wave has finally broken, and I can finally wander around my garden without getting sweaty and sunburned in the first five minutes. Yay!

So I was able to take a leisurely walk around my garden this evening, and survey the damage:

All the Joan J raspberry bushes, gone. Heat plus some unknown bug did them in. My Anne Yellow raspberries are growing well, but then again, so were my Joan J raspberries until something unknown made all the new leaves wither and die. So we’ll see. Luckily, the old native raspberries are having a stellar year and I know that at least those won’t succumb to the usual pest or disease pressure in the area.

Apple trees are thriving–my Haralson actually has two apples on it! I know the trees are very young still, but I figure growing two apples isn’t going to hurt the tree too bad.

My lilacs are thriving; one (Royalty, a pink lilac) is actually blooming and has a nice, sweet scent. My Night-Blooming jasmine bushes are loving the heat and are happily growing, They aren’t taking off as fast as I had expected, though, so I may not see any flowers until next year. Hydrangeas–my smallest one (Zinfin Doll, iirc) is not doing well and has lost most of its leaves. It’s had plenty of water, and I can’t see any specific pest damage, so I’m not sure what’s going on. The two larger hydrangeas (Limelight Prime, I think) are doing so well that I actually had to prune them a bit to get them back in shape. So, no idea what’s going on with the smaller one. Maybe it just was the heat.

The Moon Garden is thriving–all flowers are now blooming except for the white dahlias and while mini-gladiolii. I’m not expecting the dahlia to bloom until late July, but they all look well on their way. The three Fleurel dahlias are some of the few who avoided getting a bunch of pest damage yet.

The tomatoes are also thriving. My current count is three Paul Robesons (purple slicer) plants; one White Tomesol (white slicer); one very small Carbon (purple slicer); one Terracotta (orange slicer); one large and thriving Barry’s Crazy Cherry (yellow cherry); and one medium-sized Sun Gold (yellow cherry). I have them mostly trimmed down to one stalk, though somehow one of the Paul Robesons ended up with three main stalks and has already produced four baby tomatoes. Looks to be a good tomato season this year!

My peppers are all also thriving. My decorative peppers (Aurora and Black Pearl) and almost at their full height, and Aurora has put out a ton of cute little purple peppers. My Pasilla Bajio is also almost at full height and has put out a ton of flowers. The bell peppers are proceeding apace and I expect them to start flowering this week. The only peppers i have that are dragging their feet are the Biquinho Yellow peppers from Baker Creek. These germinated well but have taken forever to get to any size–even the largest one is less than a foot tall at this point. I ended up planting the two smaller ones directly in my raised bed (the rest are in plastic pots), in the hopes that that will help them take of. Who knows. I had really hoped to have a large harvest of the Biquinho peppers b/c I hear they are very tasty pickled.

My tomatillos (Grande Verde and Purple) are zooming along–all of the plants are already 3′ tall and are just now really putting out branches and flowers. I can’t believe one of my seed packets said they’ve only get 2′ tall.

The dahlias are struggling. Many (the ones that didn’t get tossed already, that is) are being eaten alive by some kind of bug–possibly a flea beetle. I’m applying diatomaceous earth on them plus my hollyhocks, poppies, and eggplants, and it seems to help, but I need to reapply it every few days. The white dahlias in the Moon Garden and the few dahlias I have potted out front of the house have avoided much damage, but with the rest, it’s an ongoing battle. I’m not sure at this point how many will survive to bloom this summer! The good news is that I contacted Longfield Gardens (which is where two of my diseased bulbs had come from), and they issued me an immediate refund, which will help pay for the new dahlia bulbs I ordered for Swan Island dahlias.

The potatoes are extremely happy, though they get attacked by flea beetles occasionally as well. They seem to be doing equally well in my raised beds as in my grow bags. My garlic is coming along, slowly but surely. My onions are all starting to flop over, through I know they are not at the right size yet. At least their tops are still green and firm; maybe they’ll keep growing. I’ve pinched the scapes from all of my garlic, which should help them bulk up–they’re still looking pretty skinny and I’m not sure they’ve started dividing into cloves yet. The leeks–I think I have three successions of them growing at the moment–are all looking good, and I’ve been able to harvest and use some of the Dixondale ones I planted back in March.

Brassicas. Ah, Brassicas. Last year my entire garden was nothing but brassicas (and a few tomatoes) and I spent the entire summer fighting with cabbage worms. I had no idea what I was doing so I spent a good ten minutes in the morning, each morning, manually picked off the matte green worms. This year, too, I brought a knife to a gun fight, and my cabbages are getting decimated–this time by flea beetles (or something similar). I kind of put them in just to see what would happen, though, as I was too late to get a real Spring garden growing anyway. I figured none of my brassicas would grow anyway. Much to my surprise, the Napa cabbage took off right away and I could have gotten a nice harvest, were it not for the beetles. Come fall, however, I will have a Plan and will put them all in the same bed and cover it with insect netting. Good to know that I can successfully grow Napa cabbage, though–I hadn’t tried growing it last year. (Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and bok choy, yes; cabbage, no.)

Peas. Peas are growing well! My Magnolia Blossom snap pea, my Purple Royalty snap pea, and my Green Arrow are all thriving, despite the heat! I’m so excited. I’ve already had some fo the Magnolia peas, and they were very tasty. Next to harvest will be the Green Arrow shelling peas, the the purple snap peas. I’ve got another batch of the purple snap peas locked and loaded, and will probably put them in this week.

My melons and squashes are all happily germinating and growing–the honeydew melon-types especially. Here’s hoping I actually get some to harvest this year! And that the trellis I ordered arrives in time, because the melons are already starting to take over the cucumber trellises.

Finally, the rest of my flowers. I ended up pulling all of the ranunculus; they took forever to sprout initially, then only grew about 4″ high, and never showed any signs of putting up a flower talk, so out they went. I’ve already ordered next year’s corms, so I should be able to get the kind of early start that all of the flower farmers I watch on YouTube have. My poppies, by and large, have not fared too well, though one of my Amazing Gray poppies and one of my Falling in Love poppies are absolutely thriving. (All I want is at least one of each flower variety to thrive, so I can decide if I like it enough to grow it next year.) Sunflowers are just getting started, unfortunately, because several rounds of seedlings and seeds have been eaten by the local chipmunks. The violas and pansies will make it onto my “to grow” list next year, because I’ve found that they are just so delicate and precious, and much smaller and daintier than anything I’ve seen at the local nurseries. They are really quite cute. Same goes for the Snow White Malva and Crystal Palace lobelia–both of which were a pain to grow as seedlings but ended up being very delicate, refined-looking filler flowers.

As for calendulas, I haven’t found one that I really like yet. My zinnias are just bow blooming, so it’s too early to tell. I’ve found that I really like the Black Velvet and Tip Top Alaskan Salmon nasturtiums; the rest, though successful, were just eh. My sweet peas still haven’t bloomed; they may not do so this year as it’s already pretty late into their season. The hedge roses have settled in nicely, though despite being named “Double Knock-Out red” roses, they’re really a magenta pink. Which is fine; I didn’t care that much about the color.

That about wraps up my garden update. More photos to come!

Moon Garden Update 6/2/21

The moon garden is progressing well.

The Moon Garden, as of 6/2/21

(Not show in the picture is the night-blooming jasmine in the urn on the right-hand side of the screen. Mulch to be added soon, I promise!)

So far, everything is growing well, and a few things have finally even started blooming. I ended up adding in a few more Fleurel dahlias to the mix; I think it will really help bulk up the garden. As it’s a 3′ tall dinner-plate dahlia, we may end up with more packed in to this space than it can handle–who knows? I also ended up adding two of the African Blue-Eyed daisies, as they had survived much better than I had expected, and a few more Abyssinian Gladiolus. I also added two more moonflower sprouts, as they seem to be slow in taking off. Now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a small white bleeding heart growing next to my compost bin that I could probably add as well–but there is a massive red bleeding heart plant right next to the Moon Garden (literally overshadowing it, until it died back this week) so I’m not sure it’s a great idea to put to such aggressively spreading plants so near each other.

The Snow White Malva (Pinetree Seeds) is blooming, and though the plant is a lot shorter and less bushy than I envisioned, it’s still very charming. The African daisy (Baker Creek) is also very charming, and again smaller than I had pictured. It looks like it will be very prolific, at least. Both of which I grew from seed this year for the first time–but honestly, seed packets can be pretty inaccurate sometimes. The dwarf cosmos and snapdragons were from the local nursery and were already in full bloom–the cosmos are fine with just a few dead-headings, but the snaps look to be burning themselves out pretty quickly.

I know the dahlias won’t be flowering until the end of July, probably, and the Moonflower seedlings seem to be on that same track as well. The chamomiles I added near the fence are also being slow to grow! I had no idea chamomile flowers took so long to grow from seed. The Abyssian glads are very thin with small flowers, so hopefully they should start sprout and bloom by the end of the month. The Night-Blooming Jasmine is also putting all of its effort into growing tall currently, before it’ll even think about putting out flowers. Gardening really is an exercise in patience.