It has been five weeks since I completed my 30 Day / Article Challenge - How to Start a Vegetable Garden.
If you haven't been reading my blog, you have missed out on a lot of triumphs and struggles. So, let me catch you up on the last month in my garden.
Make sure to check out my blog posts for more details on these stories about my garden. You will find a link to my gardening website in my Street Articles profile.
Rabbits and Deer
After a week in the mountains, my family and I returned home to a garden that fared well while we were gone. However, that night at dinner I glanced out the window to witness a rabbit biting through my pole beans! While I chased him away momentarily, he returned overnight to chew through 10+ of my green bean plants, leaving me with only 3.
One week later, deer hooves and plant damage was reported by my neighbor, whose garden is only a few yards away from mine. Deer have not been seen in our neighborhood in 15 years, yet here they were eating bell pepper, banana pepper, and tomato plants.
Then it was my turn. Deep deer hooves in my raised bed and a few green beans and peppers missing from my garden proved that he HAD found my garden as well. We had very little damage - only losing 3 green beans, a very small amount of one pole bean plant, 1 or 2 little bell peppers (thankfully I had picked all the ripe ones that morning), the tops off of one bell pepper plant, and 1 jalapeno. I'm wondering if eating the jalapeno was what caused the deer to leave my garden without damaging other plants.
For the first month they were planted, my yellow squash and zucchini did not grow. It wasn't until I hit them with a double dose of liquid fertilizer and epsom salts then stopped watering them, that they began to show some progress. While I have lost one zucchini plant, I am happy to report that I picked my first yellow squash today and I have at least one more growing. The plants have grown large and are beginning to take over that side of the raised bed. I'm glad I didn't give up on them and pull them out!
As I discussed in my most recent blog post, my broccoli and cauliflower plants have never produced crowns. I am assuming it is because we had a much warmer spring than normal. In my extreme optimism, I let them continue to grow well past the normal harvesting date. I continued to hope I might find a crown some day. I have finally given up hope and I am now researching recipes to use the extremely large broccoli leaves and two feet of broccoli stalk. Not sure what I will be doing with the cauliflower stalks and leaves, but I will be inventing something!
When I planted my pickling cucumbers in seed starter pods, I didn't expect 100% germination. I ended up with 20+ plants, which made me dream of the many jars of pickles in my future. Knowing cucumbers need a lot of space to grow, I chose to plant most of them in Strawberry Topsy Turvey planters. While many of the plants did not grow much in the first month, they did produce many male flowers which provided encouragement to me. We now have 4 pickling cucumbers growing and hopefully more soon. I actually picked my first one yesterday. So my question to you is - what do I do with one pickling cucumber?
I have learned a ton from my garden this year. There are so many things I want to try differently next year and I thank all of you who have given me guidance throughout the season. I am picking a lot of tomatoes and peppers lately and greatly enjoying the Peppers Casseroles I have made with them. I look forward to the day where my entire meal is homegrown. It won't be long!
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