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Friday PhotoEssay – September 4, 2015

Labor Day weekend seems to be the official “end” of summer, although many gardeners still have lots of produce coming in through the month of September. Many years the best peppers are harvested this month. I know that although our tomato plants look awful (and we’ve removed some of the worst), there are lots of green tomatoes still on the plants.

The lettuces in the close bed really pop with that neon green color, don’t they? The strawberries are also looking very healthy and most of the flowers still look great.

There are often spiders everywhere in the garden at this time of year, especially when it has been a rainier summer. I almost walked into a big web stretched between the grapes and the peanuts this morning. This spider was on the web, but then ran off to hide under this grape leaf. As annoying as the spiders may be, they are generally considered beneficial for the garden, so don’t try to kill them!

We did such a good job keeping the squash vine borers and squash bugs at bay this year that our zucchini finally succumbed to another problem – powdery mildew! Many squashes and pumpkins are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, although newer varieties have been developed that are resistant. We removed these plants right away, because we didn’t want the disease to spread. On the neighboring trellises, I’ve seen a couple vines with spots of mildew, but nothing major yet. If you don’t catch the mildew early, removing the plants really is the best option.

We transplanted the rest of the lettuce on Tuesday and surrounded it with some rabbit guard fencing, since we’ve had some rabbit troubles this year. We decided it wasn’t very pretty, but at least it should be functional! Hopefully the un-munched lettuce will be pretty enough to offset the fencing.

We harvested a bunch of squash this week, mostly the ‘Tromboncino,’ which seems to be very productive. We’ve also started harvesting a few others, including a huge ‘Green Striped’ Cushaw that will be featured in our next Saturday Sampler. I’ve been checking out potential recipes!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay – Spider Edition

It is kind of crazy how many spiders we have out in the garden right now. They all look happy and well fed, so I guess we have plenty of insects for them to eat!

It is rather challenging to walk through the garden without getting covered in spider webs, especially between the grape vines and the cherry tomatoes. I’ve decided to take alternate routes!

I also managed to stick my head into a spider web yesterday morning when I was bending down to see how many tomatoes our friendly squirrels had snatched from the Family of 4 garden overnight! There was even a spider in the middle of the web I stuck my head through! Yuck!

Beautiful SpiderI’ve posted pictures of this lovely spider before. It has made its home in the Family of 4 Garden peppers for about 4 weeks now. It seems to be getting bigger, and the web is absolutely gorgeous!

Orange SpiderThis spider is a really pretty rusty orange color. It is also ambitious! Thursday morning it had a web strung from the eaves of the building down to the second stake in the cherry tomato row! I was hoping to get a good picture of it and the web, but it is pretty skittish and started running up to the roof every time I went out with my camera.

Brown spiderHere is another resident of the cherry tomato-grapevine aisle.

Sept 3 005aThis rather ugly little brown spider is also taking up residence in the tomatoes. Everyone loves the tomatoes – people, squirrels, rabbits, robins, mice, and spiders!

Zebra EggplantHmm…I’m sure there’s a spider somewhere in the Zebra Eggplant.

Big Green GrasshopperThis guy isn’t a spider either, but he is really enjoying our African Blue Basil.

Garden Orb SpiderOkay. One more spider. Another garden spider has made a home in the flower bed at the main entrance to our office building.

Have a great weekend!