Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Highlights from the Jensen Garden

Greetings from the mosquito capital of the world! Okay, that isn't any official title, but if you have spent any time outside lately you certainly know what I mean. I am starting to think that something along the lines of a bio-hazard suit is the only way to avoid getting eaten alive. Bug spray doesn't even seem to stop the little buggers.

Someone asked why I didn't post a garden update for July. The answer: Embarrassment! On our first garden blog I admitted to being a neglectful gardener - you remember that, don't you? Our garden is a haven for weeds this year. Between the rain storms and the humidity encouraging rapid growth and the realities of being hard-working folk, we just couldn't keep up. Next year we will return to the newspaper and grass clippings method of weed control. It is biodegradable, ads nutrients to the soil, is very cost effective and reduces the weeds by at least 75% if you do it correctly. It takes a bit of effort to get this accomplished in the spring (which was the problem this year!) but we were very pleased with the results the season we did try it.

The picture in the upper left is what our garden looked like after the storms on Sunday the 8th of August. Flattened. We should still be able to harvest the corn that was ready, but the garden is in a sad state. I am very thankful that this is just a hobby and not what provides our income. It was very happy to see the acres of corn across the way from us were mostly still standing, just a few around the edges were down. We were disheartened at the sight of our little plot, I can only imagine what farmers go through when their entire livelihood is destroyed by a single storm.

In addition to weeds we had to contend with a fungus that took out the cucumber plants. This is the third year in a row we have had this issue with the cucumbers. Apparently the fungus is remaining dormant over the winter and reawakening to attack mid-summer when the plants are just starting to produce. It is a cruel fungus, killing off the plants just as your mouth is watering for fresh cucumber! According to the experts, this problem is called "brown spot" and should be treated weekly with copper sulfate. We have been directed to treat the soil with copper sulfate this fall after the plants are out of the ground to prevent it from returning next spring.

Among the weeds, fungus and bugs and a nibbling ground squirrels we have had some great garden successes. We have a TON of tomatoes this year, which is always a good thing - few things taste better than a fresh garden tomato. We harvested a few record-sized vegetables, which is exciting. One of them was a two pound, 8" long potato:

Another was an almost foot long yellow pepper:
And the last giant vegetable of the week was a 4x4 red pepper. You won't find them like this in the grocery store!

These are the finds that keep us going back day after day; fighting the weeds, mosquitoes, fungus and critters that want to gobble up what we are trying to grow!  It makes it all worthwhile when you find an exceptional vegetable to share and enjoy.

So that is what is going on in our garden. How about you?

Have a super week!

Keep it Green!

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