Blog Archives

Insect Issues

This spring is showing more than it’s fair share of insect issues, I think. In particular, we are seeing lots of flea beetles and other beetles coming in on the Master Gardener Hotline. I haven’t seen as many flea beetles here, but there are some.

Here’s one of those pesky flea beetles hanging out on the leaf of one of the leeks. It’s not causing that much damage, but it’s good to be aware that they are out there.

Our onion leaves, meanwhile, are showing very characteristic damage from thrips. To learn more about thrips, you can check out this webpage from the University of Minnesota. Basically, thrips are a tiny insect (about 1 mm in length) that feeds on the leaves down in the growing point. According to the UC-Davis entomology site, the best control for these guys is using spinosad, an organic pesticide. I guess we’ll have to give that a try!

On a positive note, there are also LOTS of ladybugs around the garden this spring. (I guess the bad news to that is that we must have a good food source for them.) I suspect that the reason we have so many so early is that they managed to overwinter under our row covers, just like the aphids did!

Friday PhotoEssay

It’s that time again! This week has just flown by. This might be long, because I took a whole bunch of pictures this week.

The leeks we transplanted this spring are growing like crazy. We hilled them up a little bit this week, to encourage them to have nice long white stems. We’ll have to find some mulch or compost to hill them up more in a couple weeks.

Our beautifully photogenic radicchio is no more…It decided that the hot and cold temperatures were more than it could handle and started bolting. (Bolting is another way of saying that it was putting up a flower/seed stalk.) Most leafy greens are no longer edible once they’ve started bolting.

The ‘Caraflex’ cabbage is beginning to roll up the center leaves to form a head. This is a mini cabbage that will have a conical shape. You can sort of see that shape developing already.

The strawberries are absolutely loaded, and they seem to show no signs of stopping blooming! How many potential red, ripe strawberries do you count in this picture? (Hint: I got well over 30 before I lost track of which ones I already counted!) And this is only about 1 sq. ft. of our strawberry patch. Yikes! I hope we get enough rain to produce large berries.

The ornamental alliums are the big, showy splash in the middle of the garden right now. Aren’t they stunning?

Our obnoxiously thorny gooseberry bush is once again loaded with fruit. Our thornless gooseberry bush once again has almost no fruit on it. There must be a correlation between thorns and fruiting volume!

The cool season veggies are sure growing by leaps and bounds! The unimaginative might just see this as green, green, and more green. I would challenge you to look again and see how beautiful and artistic the different shades of green are, especially in combination with the different leaf textures!

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

We have things growing again in the garden, so it’s time to get back into the rhythm of doing a regular Friday PhotoEssay!

The warm temperatures pushed the crocus from leaves to blooming to finished blooming in a pretty short period of time this year.

I pulled up all those leeks and onions that we had planted in one of the raised beds over the winter. There was quite a bit of variation in size, as you can probably tell. They aren’t white (blanched) as high up as you would typically find, because we didn’t hill them up or mulch them. That’s rather difficult to do in the raised beds, and I really just wanted to see how they would do. I’m happy with how well they did!

The French Tarragon has really taken off and started growing fast. I think it came through the winter without a hitch. Mmm…Tarragon Chicken….

Some of the mint escaped from it’s semi-containing pot and is popping up elsewhere in the garden. Why am I not surprised?

Most of the radicchio that I planted earlier last fall and transplanted has recovered from the abuse of the winter. (It was under the plastic row cover.) It is showing some color, but not as much as I’d like to see. Maybe it will develop more color as it gets colder next week.

In contrast, this radicchio was planted about a month later and was under the fabric row cover all winter. It shows much better color development, but it’s going to have to grow fast to mature before it gets too hot/we need to plant something else in that spot.

Have a great weekend!


Friday PhotoEssay

I just got the second round of planting in the Spinach Fall Trial done. I was out looking at the garden and thinking about when I would need to plant again, when I realized that this week was the 2nd scheduled planting for the spinach and other greens! I grabbed my seeds and labels and headed right out to get the ‘Space’ Spinach, Red and Green Saladbowl Lettuces, ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce, Elegance Greens Mix, and as a random idea some of the ‘Bleu de Solaize’ Leek seed. I thought I’d see if the leeks would be transplantable size by spring, just for fun.

Our poor Swiss Chard! It has had a rough year between insects and diseases. This leaf is primarily riddled with what I believe to be Cercospora Leaf Spot lesions. We are picking off the diseased leaves, spraying with neem oil, and hopefully avoiding anymore overhead watering for the rest of the season. (Even though we have a drip system, when it was so hot, it was just too tempting to use the hose!)

Now that the weather is getting cooler, we are starting to see a rebound in the flea beetle population, as I mentioned last week in the photoessay. You can see another one of the marauding bugs on the lower edge of this radish leaf, as well as observe the progress they made in just a few days. We sprayed all our radishes and Asian greens with neem oil this week to knock the beetles back a bit.

Now for a more uplifting, less depressing photo! The peppers are loaded down and bending over after being pokey about producing earlier this year. The jalapenos are particularly productive.

One of the leeks is actually starting to look like a leek! This was the very first seedling that germinated when I planted the seeds 6 weeks ago, and it is still maintaining its edge. It almost looks like a plant that is going to do something rather than a little wisp of green that maybe isn’t meant to be there.

I have to say that I’m impressed with the gardening fortitude of you all, because based on the poll from last week, all but one of you have every intention of sticking with your tomato plants until the bitter end this year. I guess we are not all tomatoed out yet!

In other housekeeping news, we did have about 1.25 lbs of tomatoes and 1.25 lbs of peppers from the Family of 4 Garden this week. That’s $5.63 worth, which makes our running total $221.58.

Have a great weekend! Be watching for more garden results next week!