Tag Archive for garden pests

What Growing on in the Garden in September

I may have mentioned a time or two that this year has been a super tough year in the garden. We were plagued with rabbit attacks on all our seedlings, raccoons, possums, and other creatures have ravaged our ripening crops taking hundreds of pounds of food, and the squash bugs systematically destroyed everything in their path starting with the squashed, moving to the cucumbers, and ending with devastating all of the melons. We did everything we could to control them without chemicals and they just kept moving forward. I think there is a special place in hell for those nasty creatures…but everything has to eat, so…anyways. It’s been a tough year, but we’ve still managed to grow 30 pounds of food in September and a total of 485 pounds this season. It’s far from our goal of 1000, but still, we’ve been eating some fresh things and had the chance to get a few things stored for winter in the freezer.

As the weather is cooling down, we are seeing the return of our tomato and pepper production.

Growing tomatoes with kids

growing peppers with kids

Some of our fast growing fall crops are coming in now, such as these pretty little radishes, our second round of green beans, and lettuces.

growing radishes with kids

growing green beans with kids

growing arugula with kids

picking radishes with kids

The kids are enjoying picking the radishes.

We also have harvested a few sweet potatoes, but there is much more to look forward to there.

kids digging sweet potatoes

growing kale with kidsOur fall kale is coming on strong (even some seeds that were spilled in the gravel are doing nicely) Last winter, we grew kale all winter, so we saved the seeds from that plant and replanted them to try it again this winter.

growing okra with kidsThe okra is still producing us some tasty pods to enjoy.

growing swiss chard with kids

The Swiss chard is bouncing back from the heat as well.

We hope to continue harvesting some delicious fresh food throughout October and hopefully there will be some things to enjoy this winter in the garden as well. Our herbs are still growing strong.

What’s growing on in your garden today?


What to do in the Garden in August

August brings with it a lot of excessive heat in Oklahoma so our main garden chore is keeping whatever we can alive. Once the temperatures pass 90 or 95, things begin to wilt, dry out quickly, and most plants won’t produce until temperatures cool down. The pollen in flowers such as tomatoes gets sticky during excessive temperatures and makes pollination nearly impossible.

Doing garden chores in August proves difficult as well. Not only do the plants wilt, so do I. I am extremely sensitive to the heat, so I have to be super careful and not stay out too long. I have to be strategic about getting out there earlier in the day and when I take the kids out in the mornings to harvest, I have to watch them carefully as well. The only thing that makes it bearable is fall is coming. I want to take good care of my plants until the garden work is pleasant again.

garden pests

This garden season has brought Little Sprouts a TON of animal invasion. We have had rabbits eating off all our seedlings so everything had to be planted at least three times and most things we eventually just had to buy seedlings for which made our garden more expensive to grow. Once we got things growing, we were plagued by squirrels taking the bottom half of our tomatoes, raccoons ravaging ALL the fruit off our fruit trees, and possums and raccoons stealing melons and tomatoes. Some days we would come out to find two entire cantaloupes consumed in one night. It was so disheartening.

garden pests, august

So one of our garden chores for August has been to find a way to reduce the population of what was eating what we wanted. We got some live traps and set them up with tuna fish and fruits and vegetables. We used the rinds, peels, and cores to attract our little friends. So far we have caught 4 possums and a small raccoon. We found a place way out in the country that doesn’t have a house around for miles. It has a nice creek flowing through it so the animals will have access to water and vegetation to feed on. So far that has decreased our losses just as the squash bugs are taking over the entire garden.

We have picked hundreds of squash bugs a day, but those little suckers are relentless. Every day there are hundreds more, just chowing down on all of our curcubits. First they killed all of our zucchini, and yellow squash, as usual, we didn’t even grow ONE summer squash to enjoy. Then they moved over to the pumpkins and killed those, also not leaving us even one. Next they destroyed the butternut vines which were producing quite well this year. We harvested several before they killed the vines. This week they killed all 6 cucumber vines and have moved over to the cantaloupe and watermelon vines. I fear those will be gone within the week. I think hell is full of squash bugs. I really do. What’s so annoying is that the food we did grow was taking by animals and then the bugs. Boo!

August is the time to plan your fall garden. If you want to grow your own seedlings, now is the time to plant seeds in pots and set them in a partially shaded area to germinate. If you plan to buy seedlings, it’s time to make a list and plan where you might find some.

We have had very little rain in August and as much as we try to water, the ground never gets a good soaking like it does from rain. We keep watering as much as we can and praying for rain to come and relieve our dusty ground. Just a few weeks ago, we were having floods, and now drought. It seems so crazy.

The other thing to do in August is weeding. The weeds have been more manageable, I guess because of the dryness. We have been picking Johnson grass, Bermuda grass, and crab grass out of every nook and cranny. We have a few other weeds, but it’s mostly grass this year.

We have many empty beds right now at Little Sprouts. When your beds lay empty, it’s good to add more mulch to keep in moisture, protect beneficials in the soil, and keep weeds out. We have been working on getting some of our beds covered with straw. It’s the mulch we use most often here.

August is the least fun month, to me, in the garden. I always just try to survive it and wait for better weather. Even with all the disaster, disappointment, and failure we’ve had this year, we have still had food to eat, and up until the past two weeks, we’ve had most of our food from the garden. And still, time spent sitting in the garden just listening, looking, smelling, seeing and feeling, is some of the best time in my life. The garden is a paradise, still.