Friday, May 8, 2009

Pests and Plans

Glad I did garden patrol this morning.  I double checked under the broccoli leaves and found little yellow egg sacks on three of the four plants and a teeny tiny little caterpillar munching away on the leaves of the fourth one.  It probably wasn't more then 1/4" long and very slender.  It was just getting started.  I booted him out the garden bed... and well, the world.  

::squish:: 

Sorry little caterpillar.  In general the broccoli is looking pretty good and didn't sustain too much damage - a few pin holes.  I seem to have caught it quite early.  I'm not sure I would've even thought anything of it, except Liisa was having a bit of looper trouble a week or two ago and noticed some butterflies and egg sacks.

After doing a little research it looks like my troubles were caused by the egg and caterpillar stage of an Imported Cabbage Worm.   I'll be sure to keep checking for egg sacks till harvest since there will be multigenerations over the course of the season.

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On another note, I reseeded those areas where my first round of carrots didn't come up. I was surprised at the low germination rate.  Hope this next round is more productive.  (62% germination for the first round of Sugar Snax Carrots and 50% germination of Purple Haze) 

I was also inspired by Sinfonian's interplanting of blueberries and strawberries.  My shrubs are still quite small (only two years old when I planted them last fall) and I don't see why I shouldn't use the bed to its best advantage.  I'd rather be eating strawberries then pulling weeds!  So I grabbed a few of the runners off some of the potted stawberries I have around the yard and plunked them down in-between my blueberries.

I had fun today too and harvested a few radishes!  It was nice to actually go into the garden and pull something out and eat it.  It's been a long, long time coming!  Four years in fact.  They were the best damn radishes I've ever eaten... lol  If you check out the side bar you'll notice that I've set up a harvest tally.  There's no way I can keep up with either Granny or EG (besides if I even got close EG'd just build 12 more beds and Granny'd take over the truck bed again and I'd never catch up!) but I'll be happy knowing how much I was able to grow this year.  ::g::  

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No matter what I do something always seems to go amiss.  I pulled my radishes and couldn't believe the plethora of problems I was confronted with.  First there was the inconsistent watering which causes the root to split thusly:

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I also ran into some not so friendly cabbage maggots which were dining on my lovelies.  Looks like they can be taken care of by applying nematodes.  I also had one radish that never formed a bulb which can happen apparently when it gets either too hot (85° + ) or too much nitrogen.  I'm thinking it was the few hot days we had a while back - which would also explain the few radishes with cracked / split forms.  My greatest challenge has always been maintaing consistent moisture...  I need to work on that.

Speaking of work, just because the beds are in and most of the plants are planted doesn't mean I get to rest on my laurels.  I started the next landscaping project today... well I lifted the first shovelful anyway.  I've been thinking about it for a while.  (I've also decided to nix the chickens for now.*) This is what I'm currently up against:

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This is what I'm hoping I knock out by the end of fall.  Maybe I can get DH to help.  He's not really into any sort of gardening but if I pester him he'll oblige.... though come to think of it he did turn the compost pile today.  Hum.  Maybe he secretly wants to be a garden guy.  Heehee.

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I've got such a loooong way to go.  I had two bricks left over from the blueberry bed wall so they went down.  I need to get over to McDepot and pick up a whole lot more if I want to get anywhere with this wall building business.

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* I thought I'd take my kiddlet to visit some chickens.  It went badly.  She really wanted to hug them.  When they wouldn't oblige and ran away she tried to get their attention by throwing (small) rocks at them.  Oh noze!  I think we're going to wait a few years before we think about keeping them.  I also think our yard is just really too small as I'd like to give them more free range then just the run they'd be confined to most of the time while waiting for my daughter to grow up.  lol

7 comments:

Liisa said...

Jenn,

I hope you can keep the loopers at bay. I keep finding them in my garden. I just hope the ants and wasps will continue to help me keep the numbers down.

Oh a new garden project... if it were me... I would have it done in a few weekends... cause I'm crazy! Ha

I like the plan... very nice. How deep are you going to make the butterfly/bee garden and how much room will you have for the patio area?

Liisa

Just Jenn said...

No doubt you'd get to it in a jiff! ;^)
I on the other hand would be speedy with it too but having to watch a pre-schooler at the same time (who has no patience for these sorts of activities) makes the work go sporadically slow. When building the wall for the blueberry bed I could get about 9 bricks laid at a time before the jig was up. I'm hoping to be a bit more productive this summer since I bought her a pool to play in while I work.

The plan is to scale. One square = one square foot.
Bottom is E, left is S, top is W and right side of the page is N. So you can see with that big ol fence there's a lot of shade on the left. Overall it's a very small area, just under 400 sq. ft. for the whole thing! (Sound familiar? ::g::)

Engineeredgarden said...

Build more boxes? no. Grow larger vegetables? Yes!!! Ha! The key to keeping the pests at bay -is to find them early, and eradicate the eggs. Congrats on your harvest! Four years is a long time...

Annie's Granny said...

Love your new plans! Do you hire out as a landscaping consultant? I need help with my front yard ;-) And why don't you just make Liisa come and help you with it so you can whip that baby out in a single day?

Your radishes look better than mine. Next year I'll stick with Sparkler and Cherry Belle, which were the only two varieties in my mixed packet that were worth pulling. I also noticed a difference in germination rates between carrot varieties, Imperator was my best, Scarlet Nantes by far the worst, and Rainbow Mix and Chantenay about equally in the middle. To be fair, the Nantes may have been leftover seeds.

Just Jenn said...

Oh EG, leave it to you to think smarter! (Watches out for a 200 lb pumpkin!) Er, watermelon. ;^)

Annie, I'd love to help you design something in the front of your house. Liisa and I will be right up! lol

Oh thanks! I noticed that the darker radishes did better then the lighter ones. I was planting out of a mixed pack too. (I think it was dubbed Easter Egg from Territorial Seeds) Of course not everyone appreciates a nice radish, DH looked at my split radish and told me he wasn't eating any veggie that had a butt. lol

Randy Emmitt said...

Jenn,

Nice looking radishes! We have a whole batch going to seed, if we let them. Wonderful you are now harvesting! Sorry about the broccoli and the Cabbage White caterpillars, no they are not really worms, butterflies come from caterpillars not worms.

Just Jenn said...

Randy, it's just a misnomer in the same way that silk worms are really caterpillars too. (I didn't name 'em!)

I have been inspired however by all your photos to check out the bugs and butterflies closer to home. I picked up Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Judy and Peter Haggard today. I want to know what's flitting, crawling and worming its way through my garden when I see it!