If we had to depend on veggies from the garden,

Nancy FryhoverJune 22, 2011

this year we would be in trouble.....just sayin.

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Onion crop has been wonderful. About 75+ lbs. of white, yellow and red harvested nicely and will keep for months. But the other stuff??? O M G...total Wipe Out.

No brocs, little cauliflower. Planted late so I can't really judge the toms & peppers...but I'm no where NEAR a ripe tomatoe...and only have a few "close-to-harvest" peppers. I do have to say that cowpeas, beans, okra, melons and cukes are holding their own... but they are really strugglin'. And I still have sweet potatoes in reserve..and I might be too late.

At least we would all be very skinny? LOL!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 11:00PM
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We dug the rest of our potatoes cuz I was needing something to harvest.
It looks like a gluten-free diet may be in my future---I have been avoiding it, but we will see. The eggplants that are forming now are my only comfort, if I truly do have to go gluten free, I will definitely have to be a better gardener.
I should have planted 5 times the amount of snap peas and bush beans to put in the freezer. Hoping squash and zuchini surprise me.
Good luck, Jammie

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:08AM
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My garden is dragging its feet also, mostly because of the lack of my time to tend to it.

I am getting a few larger tomatoes, lots of Sungold. I had the best onion year I have ever had, but that is not saying much because I have only grown them 3 or 4 times. My sweet potatoes look very well. The okra has nor done well. The peppers are doing very well, except the Bell. The romaII are putting on a lot of green beans. A lot of my purple hulls are being taken out by the crows. The crows also did a lot of damage to my Early Sunglow corn, but I still got more than I needed.

I need to start getting for the fall garden, but it may not happen, family medical issues are still taking a lot of my time.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:54AM
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It's been rough! My squash has been my best producer. My pumpkins have been killed by squash bugs. My beans are stalled or have too much thrip damage to produce. A few of my tomatoes are doing okay, but I haven't harvested a ripe one yet. A couple of peppers are okay, but they are all bells. The saving grace of my garden has been the cantaloupe and watermelons, along with the squash. I'm going to plant winter squash in the area decimated by squash bugs. I recently learned that squash bugs only go through one generation every season, so once the adults have mated and the nymphs have hatched, there shouldn't be any more problems with them in the fall. I think I might replant pumpkins, because I like them and because I'm counting on the fall to save my garden!


    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:40PM
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In warmer climates squash bugs can go through two generations in one growing season, but I'm not sure if that applies to where we are.

I'm getting tired of phantom bugs eating my stuff right now. Something has eating nearly all the leaves off my strawberries, and I have yet to identify the culprit. I had problems with slugs eating my fruit last year, but they never bothered the leaves at all. I think I'll put down some of that slug bait with the Spinosad in it and hope that it's effective on whatever is feasting there. I also figured out that it's not birds eating my cherry tomatoes because I found another damaged tomato even with the plants wrapped in a prison of chicken wire. I don't know if it's ants or grasshoppers or what, but they cut a hole in the fruit and suck the juices out. I've only gotten about three ripe tomatoes off those plants so far, so it's irritating when I lose one just as it's almost ready to be picked. Ugh.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Momfryhover, It's a tough weather year. I often wonder how the pioneers raised and gathered enough to survive. I know they must have had tough years too, and they couldn't run to the grocery store, farmer's market or restaurants like we can. No wonder they always look so thin (sometimes gaunt) in photos from way back then.

Paula, All that hasn't produced well here so far is the broccoli and cabbage, which didn't produce at all, and the sugar snaps, which produced poorly, so I really cannot complain. I'm not so sure what that harvests will be like in July and August though. Well the tree fruit lost everything to freezes or hail, but we had a great year last year and a great year always is followed by a poor year. We're having a very good strawberry year here though.

Did your granddaughter's big ole cabbage make a fine head for her school project or was it just too dry for it this year?

Jammie, I always feel like I should have planted more bush beans and peas too, especially when the heat cranks up and the production winds down. Don't forget, we can plant pole beans soon for fall and bush beans not long after that! I plant lots of southern peas (purplehulls, cream, zipper, crowder, etc.) to fill the "bean gap" between the last of the bush beans and the fall beans, often called October beans here because that's when the harvest is heavy. You can plant southern peas all summer long through early August. My bush beans are winding down now and likely the harvest of them will end next week, but the southern peas are starting to bloom, and so are the Lima beans.

Larry, I know it is frustrating when "life" gets busy and interferes with gardening. I hope life gets a little less hectic so you have time to garden a little more as fall approaches.

Kelly, As recently as 4 or 5 years ago, I grew all kinds of winter squash and pumpkins (technically, pumpkins are winter squash) with little problem from squash bugs or SVBs. Now the only ones I can get through the summer are the moschatas. Squash bugs sometimes get the moschata types anyway but not often, and squash vine borers don't mess with them. Seminole is a great native (from Florida) moschata type tear-drop shaped winter squash/pumpkin that I grow with great success every year. If the SVBs ever start bothering it, I'll be so disappointed.

You must be reading gardening info from a cooler climate. In the south, squash bugs have two generations and in a few areas with late first freezes and very long warm seasons, they can have three, and I think we see the three generations at our house in southern OK because some years we have squash bugs until October or November if the weather stays nice and warm.

Miraje. Ditto what you said about the two generations....and even a third. We see them here throughout the long hot summer. I don't know if that is true for those in zone 6, but it is for us here in zone 7. We always have two generations, and sometimes a third.

Today I stepped out the back door and was face-to-face with a deer who was standing in the driveway drinking water from the wildlife puddle I make for the bunnies....and it was 11 a.m.! There's a separate deer drinking pond about 30 yards west but it was dry when I went afterwards and checked it so I refilled it. When the wildlife get hungry, they act oddly...desperate you could say, so maybe it is a small animal eating your plants that normally wouldn't bother them. "My" deer then retreated to the neighbor's woods while I brought the dogs into the house to get them out of the heat, then it went to the compost pile looking for food. After finishing that, it ambled casually down the driveway looking for anything it could find sticking out through the garden fence. This would be typical behavior at twilight or during the night or right around sunrise, but not in the middle of the day in June. I do think this is one of "our" deer, a herd that lives in a heavily wooded portion of our property and which we feed all winter long. It has the mule-headed look of this particular clan, and I bet it is the beast that's eating my tomato plants that are in pots on the patio, and any tomato plant foliage that dares to grow outside the garden fence.

We have birds that peck through or squeeze through 1" chicken wire to 'drink' from the tomatoes, and even through bird netting with 1/2" openings. They are really small birds, probably some sort of small sparrow or house finch. All the wild things are desperately hungry and thirsty now and we have a long, hot summer ahead of us. I've also had trouble with turtles eating low hanging tomatoes, and voles and squirrels. Honestly, it is such a battle this year!

To make the birds happy, I turn on the sprinkler in the yard for a little while every morning and you wouldn't believe all the birds who come to play and bath in the water from the sprinkler during that few minutes. I try to put it in an area where the grass needs watered (which would be, ahem, everywhere) and where there are fences and trees/shrubs the birds get sit on and enjoy the mist from the sprinkler. I use the excuse I'm watering the ground near the house to keep the foundation from cracking, but (shhh! don't tell Tim) I'm really just doing it for the poor little birds.

When the summer is hot and dry, y'all, every single living creature needs food and water and comes to every green 'oasis' they can find, so keep that in mind when things start happening in your yard and garden. You'll see damage from critters that usually aren't a problem.

As for our garden production, here's the quick summary:

Lettuce and other salad greens, green onions and radishes were great producers.

Broccoli and cabbage produced nothing because we hit the 90s in March. Sugar snap peas produced poorly, but at least they produced for a brief period.

Potatoes and onions both gave a bumper harvest. We have well over 100 lbs. of each and I've given away a lot of the potatoes and some of the onions because we have more than we ever could eat before they go bad. I've been chopping and slicing onions to freeze for cooking. The last time the crop was anywhere close to this good, I froze enough onions to last us for three years.

Since the warm-season crops are still producing, it is too early to say if they will be only average producers this year or good producers, but they're doing all right at the present time.

We have a lot of corn and beans in the freezer, and enough hybrid tomatoes that we're giving away plenty. The heirloom tomatoes are not producing heavily but at least some of them are producing (and we greedily devour them and don't give away any heirlooms). Others haven't set a fruit yet. I've kind of decided that any tomato plants that don't have fruit on them by July 1st are going to be yanked out and replaced with hot-weather lovers like winter squash, okra, pole beans (they tolerate the heat but produce heavily in the cooler fall temps), okra and southern peas....and okra! There's no point in continuing to water tomato plants that will not (in fact, can not) produce in the heat we're experiencing. At least okra and southern peas enjoy the heat or at least tolerate it well. The melons and cukes are blooming and are setting melons and cucumbers well, so hopefully the will avoid the diseases they often take them out. (I planted County Fair cukes this year in an effort to overcome the diseases cucumber beetles spread and, naturally, I haven't even seen a cucummber near them, which allows me to think I might be harvesting large loads of cukes. They went in late, after I dug potatoes a couple of weeks ago, so they're just now climbing the trellis.)

I think gardeners must be the most optimistic people on earth because we just keep trying to get those good harvests, don't we, even in the face of much adversity?

Anyway, despite all the weather and garden trials and tribulations, I am grateful that we haven't lost our home, plantings and property (or livelihood!) to the destructive forces of Mother Nature that have wreaked havoc across the USA this year. Our state isn't aflame, we aren't flooding, and most of us have escaped tornado damage, although hail certainly has been tough on some of our forum members, and so far our Oklahoma ranchers and farmers are hanging tough despite the drought, although I worry about how long they can hang on. Overall, I feel grateful things aren't worse, because the weather and climate seem to be against us this year.

It is too bad that knotweed and bindweed aren't edible, because I'm growing a bumper crop of those two....and Johnson grass as well.


Here is a link that might be useful: Three Generations of Squash Bugs?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:10PM
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I don't think it's deer eating my strawberries. They're in a bed right up against the house, so they'd have to be pretty brave and stealthy to get that close and never be seen. They would also be picky eaters, because the culprit never takes the green fruit. My strawberries look so sad right now. They're just bare, naked stems with half-grown fruit sticking out everywhere. They're trying to grow back, but I need to stop the destruction before they take the new leaves too. I don't think it's our resident rabbits, either, because they'd have to scale our wire rabbit fence to get in there. It's weird, though I guess if they do kill all my strawberries it's about the right time for me to renovate the bed anyway. I planted the original strawberries there about three years ago.

If birds can fit through my chicken wire then I guess my only defense now is to pick the tomatoes early and finish ripening them in the house. At least that's a reasonably easy fix.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:31PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Even with the bird netting with the 1/2" holes, the birds find a way inside and then can't find a way out. It irritates me to have to go free them from someplace they shouldn't have gone in the first place.

Sometimes, when I am trying to figure out what is eating a plant, I lightly scatter talcum powder, DE or flour on the ground around the targeted plant. Then, in the morning, I check for tracks or trails of any kind. The first two work better than the last one since the last one is edible and sometimes the targeted animal I'm tracking (or attempting to capture tracks from) licks up the flour.

Most of the time we only have rabbits, deer, possums, raccoons and an occasional skunk in the yard. The hotter and drier it gets, the more we start seeing other things...ferrets, foxes, ring-tailed cats, bobcats, coyotes, etc. When they get hungry, they can be amazingly creative and persistent in terms of finding something to eat.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 3:06PM
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Each day I am cutting the side shoots on the broccoli and feeding the large leaves to the chickens and tossing the stems. I have been doing this for about a week and we had a lot of side shoots. I think I put 9 or 10 packages of broccoli in the freezer and we have eaten a lot, but it wasn't a good broccoli year.

Today I cut the broccoli shoots and left the small leaves and stems attached that are around the sprout. I cut them small and stir-fried (oil and sesame oil) with onion and peppers also from the garden, then added a drained can of water chestnuts, and the chopped up breast of a chicken from the WM deli. I poured that into a bowl and dumped two large handsful of slivered almonds to roast in the same pan. Once they were done and removed, I added a little more oil and sesame oil to the pan and cooked three beaten eggs very thin to cover the entire pan, then sliced them up to add to the veggies. I made a little sauce with chicken broth and soy sauce, and thickened it to add a little more moisture to the dish. Then added it all to a bowl of rice. Yummy. I knew Al would eat the left-overs of that tonight and I am going to be gone, so it was two meals in one and a significant amount came from the garden. I could have added frozen snow peas but I forgot.

What I am noticing about this year is that there is such a gap between the Spring crops and the Summer crops. I have had very few summer crops yet. I have beans blooming but haven't had any to pick yet. My cukes and melons are covered with blooms and so are the pepper and tomato plants. I have used three green peppers for cooking, and have a couple changing color now.

My tomatoes seem to be way behind. I almost hate to admit this, but I ate my first tomato today, which was about as big around as a golf ball, but flat in shape. Why do I not want to admit it.....because it was on a plant that had been growing in a plastic cup until yesterday. LOL I have a garden full of plants that have had plenty of water and good soil, but the first tomato came from a transplant that never got put into the garden. Yesterday I buried it as deep as I could into a pot and it still has a foot of bare stem before the healthy foliage begins. It sure had to work hard to produce that little tomato.

One of my two okra plants has disappeared, but the one left is doing OK. It has a few bites taken out of the leaves but otherwise I think it is OK. My fourth planting of Zeebest still has not come up. I think I had better start some other kind of okra elsewhere in the garden because it doesn't appear that I'm going to have any otherwise.

Everything else has come up fine except the okra and the one and only hill of Seminole squash that my husband planted for me. I didn't plant corn and only planted a few potatoes.

I tried to put in a strawberry bed but a cat keep digging them up until I lost about 2/3 of them. The cat was left by a neighborhood renter, but after it started going in the doggy door of another house, they have let him stay. They did take him to the vet for a little 'clipping' so he doesn't seem to roam quite as much as he once did. I know longer have cats so maybe I can actually have a strawberry bed next year. The company that I ordered from in the Spring only ships strawberry plants from Dec 15th to May 1st. Maybe I will be planting strawberries this winter. LOL

Anyway, I am mostly playing a waiting game until the summer crops kick in. That gets harder when I hear all of you that live in more southern locations talking about your crops, but my time will come. I'm sure to beat Jay and Diane on most things so maybe I can brag a little. LOL

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 3:28PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Jammie, I'm with you on the gluten free thing. *sigh* I've been trying but haven't gone hard-core yet. Give me a holler if you ever want to commiserate. Or listen to me sob over the loss of pizza. And sushi.

Kelly, I second Dawn on the squash bugs. In my Oklahoma garden, I'm pretty sure there were about 326 generations each year. I'm certain they have perfected cloning technology.

Dawn, I don't know how you resist filling your freezer with all of those deer! I know it's not deer season but maybe, just maybe, a couple would have, say, a horrible accident, very much not my fault, mind you, and just happend, purely by coincidence, to fall into my deep freeze. But maybe that's just me and my wishful fantasies again...

Carol, since I can tease you about the cool weather up here, you can tease me about getting garden goods before me. By the way, I planted Stewart's Zeebest this year from swap seeds and only a few came up. There are maybe a half dozen seedlings up right now and, if they live and produce, I'll be sure to save seeds to share with everyone not having luck with them this year. It's the only kind of okra I have growing so it'll be easy to save without worry of crossing. Plus I don't like the stuff (am only growing it for my mom and FIL) so there are bound to be many neglected pods left for mature seeds.

My garden is starving me, too. We're so late planting everything, I think it'll be Christmas before we get much production. We've had lots of lettuce, at least, and a very modest amount of peas (of which I got to eat three) & a few bits of broccoli. At least it's looking to be a great onion year. We'll be very skinny and stinky unless the rest of the garden picks up the pace.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 5:06PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, Your time will come, and you'll be harvesting lots, and by then my garden will be burnt to a crisp. Forecast high for today was 97--Actual High was 100. Why can't our weather ever underachieve instead of overachieving?

I have noticed quite a gap between cool season and warm season crops too. I felt like the corn and beans would "never" be ready to pick, until suddenly they were.

Diane, The answer is simple. I despise the taste of venison. We have friends who offer us deer meat all the time and we turn them down as nicely as we can. Tim would eat it if I would cook it, but if he has to cook it himself, he won't bother. Maybe it is because I grew up in Texas during the 1960s where the only meat worth eating was beef....and, yes, beef is still my favorite meal! Anyway, after I've been watching all the Bambi babies growing up on our property, how could I eat one? I just can't.

This one today was trying my patience by getting into the Peter Rabbit garden and eating tomato plant foliage and ripening tomatoes. The deer netting fence doesn't keep anything out of that Peter Rabbit garden and I'm ready to stop watering it and just let the deer have it this year (as if I could stop the deer anyway, which clearly I cannot).

In a few minutes, as soon as the temps drop a smidgen more, I've off to the garden to work on the north fence of the garden. The upper 2' of that is deer netting that is rotting---if you touch it, it falls apart. I need to replace it tonight in case that rascal comes back and thinks he'll jump in on that 'weak' side of the garden fence. Once they're hungry, nothing much will stop them, but I hope the fence does. My best hope for a July and Harvest is okra and southern peas, both of which the deer will eat down to the ground if they make it into the garden. Just thinking about that makes me a little nervous.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Dawn, I'm with you and don't like venison either. We made caribou sausage in Alaska, filled our freezer with moose and salmon, so it's not the animal issue with me, it's the taste. I just really don't like it. When we visit Al's daughter, she always cooks it for him and I eat a small amount but it's not something that I would want to cook. I'm married to a hunter, and he loves venison, but hardly goes deer hunting anymore. Even if I cook a meal with it, I usually just eat everything else in the meal and skip the meat. I'm the same way with quail, I cook it but I rarely eat it. Al's daughter and SIL live on wild meat, deer, fish, geese, duck, and anything else that Arkansas has a season for. LOL

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 6:53PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Update on the poor germination of Stewart's Zeebest: I was just out weeding that bed and discovered a few more have just germinated. They're pretty late for the party but at least they decided to show up. Still not great germination but at least I have a few more now as insurance against me stepping on them/falling on them/tripping over them.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 3:35PM
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