Back from vacation!

The nice thing about vacations when you have a garden is you get the wonderful treat of seeing how your garden did in your absence. 
All in all I'm pretty happy with our progress.  Something ate every single little leaf off our parsley so that bit the dust.  I'm betting it was a neighborhood squirrel. 
Our lemon balm obviously didn't like the heat as a good portion of it died but it is still alive so I'm giving it loads of TLC to bring it back.  Almost same story for the Oregano however I think that one was more due to lack of water. 
Our hanging plants in the coconut husks fared the worst.  One pot had completely died out.  That I think was due to a fungal disease in the soil of the unknown blue creeping plant. The other was slowly petering out as well so I tossed that one in the trash. 
I never EVER put the remains of a plant killed by any sort of disease or fungus in our compost so they literally went in the trash.  Since we'll be using the compost later we don't want to pass any sort of disease to the other plants. 
Our Blue Hubbard went nuts in our absence, as did many of our tomatoes. 

We have discovered that we have Flea Beatles attacking our baby tomatilloes as well as the eggplants. 
Here's a shot of what one looks like.
I don't think I've EVER had this pest attack my plants but this year they have really gone crazy.  I must have a "EAT AT JOES" sign somewhere for them that I never knew was there. 



Just a FYI, this is what the damage looks like on an Eggplant. 
.  This is on our Black Beauty Eggplant. 














They don't seem to be attacking our Ichiban Eggplant as much.  I've read that once the plant is flowering and producing the leaves don't taste as good to them however I don't really believe that one because these eggplants have been flowering since about 3 weeks ago.  This damage is relatively new. 

Unfortunately the plants that are getting hit the worst is the tomatilloes.  Obviously they like the younger leaves rather than the hardier leaves of the eggplant.  As a result of this horrible NASTY attack by these ANNOYING creatures I purchased some   Diatomaceous earth.  This will supposedly kill these bugs, at least that is what my research online has come up with. 
I should be receiving it by today so I'll be applying that along with a nice sized batch of ULTRA stinky compost tea.  Fun, fun. 

Our tomatoes are now starting to show fruit which is really REALLY exciting.
The tomato in the smaller pot at the bottom of this photo, by the way, is a surprise to us.  We found this along with 2 other tomato plants in our Bell Pepper/Eggplant bed.  I don't know how they managed to get in there but we knew that there would be NO way there would be room for yet another 3 tomatoes in that bed.  They'll end up cannabalizing each other.  So I purchased a pot, some extra soil, and gave this little stowaway a new home.  We'll see if we get anything out of it. 
Our Okra has obviously been LOVING the heat.  We're actually starting to see what looks like flowers developing on all of them!  Still though I'd like to see them develop a bit stronger stems.  This bed along with the other okra bed we didn't put as much compost in so the soil is probably not quite as rich as the other larger beds.  It could be the reason why the stems seem so slender.  One other somewhat disapointing thing.  I planted flower seeds in front of the okra here and they never came up and I don't know why!  So this past weekend I planted more carrots.  Here's to hoping that THOSE come up!
Next amazing thing is our snow peas. 
On Saturday afternoon we actually harvested 1 pound 8 oz of a mixture of snow peas and sugar snap peas.  Now the fun part is eating them all!  I think I'm going to have to blanch some and freeze them for later.  Otherwise I'll never get through them all! 
Our swiss chard is starting to get bigger, the leeks look like their improving.  I almost thought they were going to die at one point.  If you remember, I started the leeks from the bottoms of leeks that I had purchased and then cut the bottoms off and replanted. 
The Brussel Sprouts has had something munching on it but I'm not certain what.  Could be slugs.  I'll have to take a picture of it and put it on here.  The golden purslane is starting to get larger leaves.  I haven't wanted to take any of that yet simply because the plant was so small! 
The lettuce, spinach, and rapini(also called Broccoli Rabe) are all either dying out or going to seed.  I really actually don't care about the ones going to seed.  No big deal since if they go to seed, they'll just reseed themselves.  Just means that come August I'll have brand new lettuce and spinach coming up.
Hopefully by September when everything is starting to calm down I'll still be having new plants come up.
Our purple kohlrabi is confusing me as it has yet to develop the bulb like part that you eat.  Obviously this one I need to research a bit more.
I've read you can eat the leaves so that is some consolation just in case the kohlrabi never fully develops.

Another newbie mistake.  Well, I wouldn't call myself a complete newbie but I'm not exactly an expert either!
Never, ever plant a seed packet with seeds that just say "Mixed Flower Bouquet" when I want a height no higher than a specified number.  I received a Red, White and Blue mix flowering seed pack from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for free and I decided to throw the seeds in front of the Okra in this bed.  BIG MISTAKE AS YOU CAN SEE! Yes the flowers that are blooming are pretty.  The foliage is nice.  But its completely blocking the poor Burgundy Okra!  These flowers, which by the way, I have no idea what they are, are almost chest height!  The package never even gave an expected height!  I'm tempted to just pull them up and throw them in the compost but they are kind of pretty.  I guess I'll just have to keep an eye on the okra to make sure it's getting enough sunlight.
Okay, another bit of confusion.  Our grapes.  I have never planted or grown grapes.  In fact other than visiting a vineyard I've never even seen them grown therefore I really don't know the first thing about growing grapes.  That's fine.  This is all a learning experience!  And even better, you, the reader, get to benefit from my screw ups. 
Is this normal for grapes to be forming already!?  Do more form later I wonder?  Yet another thing I need to research.  That'll come later though.  We're quickly moving into canning season and my time on the weekends is full of work.  A few weekends ago we canned Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Strawberry Chipotle Jam from strawberries we picked at Brad's Produce.  This weekend we'll be heading up to Cecil County to Milburn Orchards.  It's CHERRY  TIME! 
This weekend after picking our cherries I'll be making Chocolate Cherry Jam that I've found at another blog. 
Plus my husband has been really wanting to make Beer lately.  I might suggest to him to make Cherry Mead.  That's if I can figure out how to do it and get all the supplies.
UPDATE! Found our recipe here for Cherry Berry Mead!  
 Not exactly beer but something different to try! Of course there are tons of desserts, Cherry Vodka and cherry nut bread too. 

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