Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Firefly Moon and Summer Solstice

The summer solstice was last weekend, so the days are getting shorter again. However, we're still just starting the hottest time of the year, and temperatures have been going over 100 for the last several days.

In the back garden, the Tatume squash is sending out long vines, but Squash Vine Borers are getting some of them. It hasn't set any fruit yet. I'm not giving it any special help to see if it really is resistant to SVB's. It would sure be nice to find a variety of C. pepo that can produce a good crop despite SVB's.
The Moon and Stars watermelon is sending out vines too. To be fair, I did plant the cucurbits late. I'm not sure if they're going to have enough time to make a good crop.
The Christmas Lima beans are getting very lush. No sign of any beans yet though, but the vines sure are impressive.
The Corno di Toro and Chapeau de Frade peppers I have in the back are starting to make little fruits.
The French Red Shallots are still very green, even though it looks like it's time to dig up the potatoes and garlic. I'm not sure how dead-looking the tops of shallots are supposed to be before you dig them, but probably more than this.
In the front garden, my husband has been building wire cages around the tomatoes to protect them from the deer, which keep eating the fruits and new leaves. It's helping to protect what tomatoes are left, but a lot of damage was done already. Looks like I'm going to have to go to the trouble of building a fence around the whole garden eventually.
The contrast between the Rattlesnake beans in the front and the lima beans in the back shows the kind of damage the deer can do. They've had all their leaves eaten right at deer-level.
The peppers in the front were being eaten badly too. They weren't eating enough of the plants to kill them, but were making it hard for them to grow a good crop of fruits by stunting their growth. Now that Daniel has cages around them I hope that they can catch up.
The butternut squash I planted in the front are also getting badly eaten. I'm kind of surprised deer even like squash plants, because they have those irritating hairs. I don't like touching them myself.

Weirdly, they still don't like eggplants. I'm getting a good crop of eggplants except for the occassional one pecked by the neighbor's chickens (but apparently the chickens don't actually like them either because they just peck them a time or two and then stop). No sign of any eggplant leaves being eaten by deer.
Finally, I did get a good crop of tomatillos, which I've been accumulating in the fridge to make roasted tomatillo sauce, but the tomatillo plants seem to be dying off. They were the first nightshades to be planted, but I'm surprised they're tiring out before the tomatoes.

I have decided to take cuttings from the tomatillos and tomatoes, and root them in water to try planting for a fall crop. If you'll remember, last year I tried to grow a fall crop of tomatoes from seed, but they didn't get to ripen in time. It may end up being another waste of time, but I wonder if cuttings will go faster. I have room in the back garden (where the deer don't go!), so I think it's worth a try.

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