Surprise!

Really, I feel like that is what our garden has wanted to say to us as of recently. 
An Evening Visitor.   Papilio polyxenes.  Also called Black Swallowtail Butterfly.










I feel as if the plants have been conspiring with each other, talking to one another, late at night,  to try to plan some surprises for us.
Winter Crookneck. One of many female flowers
Marina di Chioggia
And last night we just walked in on them and caught them in the act.

Just when we thought that the garden was slowing down, the plants were slowing down in their production.  Well that is when they have decided that it is time to get moving big time with growth and push out so many fruits and vegetables that we do not know what to do with them.
Winter Squash gone wild!
As of earlier this week we thought that the Black Futsu, the Marina di Chioggia, the Winter Crookneck and even some of the tomatoes were almost done.  The squashes were all looking yellowed and dead with mosaic virus, the tomatoes were browning out with a few green, unripe fruits hanging heavily from their branches. 
When suddenly, last night we took a leisurely walk around the garden and discovered a bit new life!
Obviously we had a winter crookneck and a Marina di Chioggia plant that we did not know about in our tomato bed because they have taken over and grown OVER all the other dead vines, over the tomatoes and over the dead or dying cucumbers in an agressive display of opportunistic greed for the sunlight and water and fresh air.
As a result, it seems we will have a possible massively sized bumper crop come this October of even more crookneck and marina di chioggia squash.
The amusing thing about this?  As of about two weeks ago we were sighing in frustration as we watched our one and only Black Futsu succumb to Mosaic Virus.  Our (we thought one and only) Marina di Chioggia plant grew too heavy for its supports and pulled itself off the fence, almost killing it.  Our son, then we thought finished the vine off by pulling on the vine.  It seems it's trying its best to make a comeback.

The tomato plants in the first bed are still producing but now their production has slowed, thanks to the greedy squash but the tomatoes in the second bed have surged massively in their growth! You can almost hear them daily screaming "We're FREE!" as they keep making attempts to grow up and OVER the neighbors fence.  Sorry neighbor. We don't mean for our plant to be throwing tomatoes at you!

On top of their obvious attempts at escape they are all starting to produce massive sized amounts of massive sized tomatoes so each and every day we now have to run outside, come rain or shine, night or day, and pick the tomatoes that have fallen off the plants or pick the ones that are ripe and ready to be picked. 
Easter Egg hunt














Next bed is our swiss chard which is making a comeback from the cercospora that almost killed them completely.  This year, rather than pulling them up and throwing in the towel I picked off almost each and every infected branch and reminded my husband over and over and over again to NOT get these wet!
Cercospora occurs, by the way, when conditions are very moist and warm so it's very important to first, remove any parts that you see infected with this fungus type of infection.  Next you have to do your best to not get the area overly wet and try not to moisten the leaves.  This will just pass the infection from one leave to the next.
Now the next surprise.  The Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes)!  As you can see in the picture they have really grown!  I am anxiously waiting for the flower buds to begin to appear so I can cut them off.  Like garlic and onions, it's best to cut off any signs of flowers so the plant will put its energy into producing tubers, not flowers. Still though, I'm tempted to allow one to flower because the flowers look so pretty in pictures!
Last bed in our series of raised beds has always been troublesome for one reason or another. First and foremost this bed is right next to the house so it gets the least sun, the coolest temperatures, the soil is by far the wettest in this area, and we usually have massive slug issues. 
Now, however, our slugs and grubs have vanished because there is a new sheriff aka PEST in town.  We have moles now!
Now while we are excited that our beer slug traps haven't caught anything therefore meaning that the slugs are gone the moles have left a mess in their wake.  We have repeatedly found onions, carrots, salsify and lettuce disturbed and left all over the place.  Obviously, in the moles mad rush to find food they've pushed any and all of the vegetables right out of the way.
Yet another negative.  Moles will continue to stay around until they have consumed all food around which means there goes our earthworms too.  As any gardener knows, earthworms are extremely beneficial little creatures.  They help aerate the soil, break down organic material, and introduce essential nutrients.
There are numerous natural ways to deter moles but I have yet to try any.  I will report on our attempts to discourage these unwelcome guests later as I try each one out.
In the meantime, next time I'm outside I'll video what the damage looks like.  After all, if a picture says a thousand words I can imagine a video would do even better.

Popular posts from this blog

Foraging from nature; Bunchberries

Somethings a'buzz in our backyard Honeybees in Alaska

An argument for soil testing