Organic Bug Control- Squash Bugs, Cutworms, Hornworms, and Japanese Beetles.

Organic Bug Control- Squash Bugs, Cutworms, Hornworms, and Japanese Beetles.

I thought it would be fun to post about how I get rid of bugs in the garden. There are so many bugs here. My main pest is squash bugs.

I used to squish squash bugs eggs with my fingers but it was time consuming and gross. Then I saw an idea on the internet to use duck tape. It works wonders! The tricks to check the plants at least every other day…

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Garden Progress July 12th

As promised, the updated pictures of the garden.

 Sunflowers have finally come out :)

Watermelon, cantaloupe, and winter squash are sprawling much more.

 Tomatoes. Cameron wanted to try the Florida weave for the trellis this year. It has worked pretty well.


 Sweet potatoes

 Squash and cosmos
 Kians sunflowers he planted.

 This is a cushaw squash (a winter type). It's getting huge!

 Cantaloupes and watermelon

 Watermelon. The ones you see are an icebox variety but I also planted another regular type.

 We harvested the carrots and onions in this garden. I dehydrated the carrots for soups in the winter.
The Carrots. They shrink down so tiny!! I didn't weigh how many I had but I'm guessing this is 2-3lbs prior to dehydration. It was my first time doing it so I followed instructions from "The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook" 
 You blanch them first, then dehydrate for 12 hours- mine took 14 hours though.

 And some cucumbers.

And then some pickles from those cucumbers. My recipe is from "Food in Jars" the book. But there is a similar recipe on her blog. I tested the recipe first, and they are spicy and potent- but in a good way :)

Garden Progress Beginning of July

I took some pictures of the garden from my phone a few weeks ago. I will post better updated ones tomorrow :)

plum tomatoes are coming

green beans, and yellow wax beans

We are getting lots of cucumbers.

This is the lemon squash

onions and parsnips.

Our first egg from our chicks came last week! I put it next to a regular size one. I knew they came out small at first but I didn't realize how small!

Garden Update and Tour- June 6

I am long overdue for an update. I've been taking pictures each week but unfortunately, none of those have made it to the computer until now. Here is what the garden is looking like, and what I've been harvesting.

 We've been eating snow peas and snap peas with almost every meal. I need to freeze some.

 Raspberries are ripe (on the smaller canes at least). This variety is "heritage". You can harvest twice a year if you leave up last years canes or one big harvest if you cut them down. I opted to cut mine down last year. I'm glad I did too, they are bigger and healthier this year.

 Cam just put up this trellis for me. It's cedar and wire to hold up the canes. I think we need more raspberries since we eat these way too fast.

 Here's a look at the smaller garden. From left, strawberries, tomatoes, onions and carrots, peas, and cucumber. I harvested the last of the kale. I blanched and froze maybe 10-15lbs if I had to guess. The kale got too big for the floating row cover so I ditched it. It lasted a good month before it started getting attacked by cabbage worms. Once that happened I picked it all.

Peas and cucumber on the bottom. My cucumber got a slow start because the peas shaded it for a long time.

 Guess what this is?! Fennel bulbs. I still have bad acid reflux and fennel is good for that. I also just like the taste.

 My tomatoes in this bed are big and healthy (I can't quite say as much for the new garden)

 Now for the in progress garden!

 It has been so crazy trying to get all the beds in, planted, trying to maintain (weed and fertilize), and just finish. I'm so glad next year will be MUCH easier. We  used a lot of native soil to save money but unfortunately the soil here is so low in nutrients. I mixed in a bit of compost to each bed but it just hasn't been enough. I keep telling myself next year will be better as far as harvest too since I will be able to incorporate more organic matter.
 This is what it looks like from doors.

 Here's my beans- I'll update varieties later I can't remember right now.

 Peppers- tam jalepeno, california wonder, red cheese
 Kids garden. The tall plant is sunflowers.

 Lemon squash, dill, row of radish, and cosmos. See what I mean about the soil?! Yikes. I have been pounding on the fertilizer. I will get more compost too load on soon too.

 Sweet potatoes- beauregard (I am really behind and put these in like four days ago).

 Lettuce and tomatoes- this bed has ozark pink, amish paste, san marzano, black cherry tomatoes. Red romaine lettuce, slow bolt lettuce, a french butter type, and arugula. We've been eating a lot of arugula and lettuce. Arugula is going to seed now though.

 Onions- white and red southport, and shallots. And parsnips in the middle of this back bed.
 This bed has herbs- parsley, basil, oregano, sorrel. In the back I planted more cucumbers I will update the variety later.
 The back two beds are my asparagus.

 Another view from behind. As you can see we are still working on getting landscape fabric and mulch down in the rows.

 After the raised beds are the blueberries. We covered them with pine bark. Surprisingly they seem to be doing pretty good.

Here's what growing in the very back. (Next year I will plant fruit trees here)
 Watermelon (planted these late, but better late than never!) - ali baba and blacktail mountain
 More watermelon, and cantaloupe in the front.
 Winter squash- white cushaw. Weeds in back :) I'm hoping to flame weed the area then smother with hay. I really need to beef up the soil back here for my future fruit trees.

 Close up. Roma tomatoes. Like I said, the tomatoes in my new garden are not as healthy as they should be. I'm glad they still seem to be producing ok though!

Below is my blackberries. All came up but one.
 Some of the plants grew shoots off the old cane and are producing some berries.

From the road. Cam is still working to get the fence done.

Garden Progress April 11-25th

Things have really greened up around here! Two weeks ago it was looking like this.

 And here it is today. Lots of green on those trees! We've been hurrying to get everything dug in. All the beds are dug into the hill now. I planted my tomatoes. The first garden bed on the right- I gave to the kids to do their own garden. I figured we would start small and if they took good care of it this year they could earn more space of their own next year. Closest to the road, I seeded parsnips, and planted some onions I started indoors.

Right now on the to do list is sod for outside the garden, and mulching in between the beds. But actually very first, I'm just trying to get everything planted. 

Here is the back half. Starting from the very back the three mounds are watermelon, winter squash, and cantaloupe. When my Mom and Jimmy were here they helped with digging beds and putting down mulch in between the blueberries. I covered the area with landscape fabric first to avoid weeds popping up. 

I seeded some fescue grass in the front. It was my first time seeding grass! I was surprised it grew but it's a little patchy so I'll have to over seed before we get a bunch of weeds in there.

 Here we are at the small garden where my lovely helper is showing his true colors. I planted some more tomatoes over here in the back left bed. I picked and froze a bunch of kale because we can't eat it fast enough. Back right bed is more onions and I seeded carrots. In my compost last year I used grass clippings, which I will not do again. The soil is lovely, but I am also now weeding like crazy in this back bed where I used the compost. It looks like I planted crabgrass instead of carrots- it's that bad! I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to torch the weeds and start over or spend the time weeding them out.

You may note there is a chicken perched on the side of my garden in the above photo. My boys like to play with them a little too much :)

Garden Progress March 14-21

We are making some progress on the big garden. We had the missionaries over for dinner Friday and they offered to help us put the rest of the posts on Saturday! Cam had already dug all the holes the week prior with an auger so all that was needed was to cement each one in.

This is the view from the road. The first three rows which are outside the fence are blackberries. I need to get some ground cover in between the rows.

Cam already made four of the raised beds with Cruz helping screw each one together. This week I will level them because the area is sloped.

Here is the small garden 2 weeks ago.
And here it is now. That hairy vetch grows fast! It's almost time to till it up.
 Under the white cover is kale. The cover has a dual purpose, it helps protect plants in frost and it prevents bugs.

The kale is getting pretty big since the cloth also has a greenhouse effect. I have a few cabbage worm holes but actually my kale got attacked while I had them under grow lights indoors. Isn't that odd? I think they must have come out of the soil since I didn't use a soil-less seed mix this year.

Against the fence is my peas and below that my spinach.

Garden Start 2016

We've had a really warm spring. I started a few things early indoors, like spinach and kale. These pictures are from over a week ago, I'm just slow to get it posted.

This was my first year doing a cover crop on some of my beds. It is a really pretty bit of green, especially because everything else is still dormant. The kind I used is called hairy vetch and I planted it late October I think.  It has really started to take off now. I'm following it with tomatoes which will love the extra nitrogen the vetch fixes in the soil. The real test of how good it works will come this summer!

 Here's my little holes for snap peas- I always do sugar snaps, and a few snow peas.

 And my spinach I started indoors in my soil blocker.

 The soil blocker is great for plants that don't like transplanting because there is no shock. The roots can grow freely. I have some of my indoor seed starts in cell trays too. The trade off is that cell trays don't use nearly as much soil and they also don't take up much space under lights. A mix of both is working pretty well so far.

Here is the spinach all planted (on the right).

I will update on the new garden area soon. We are behind schedule (still working on putting up a fence) but hopefully can get caught up soon!

Garden Progress

We got a bunch done in the garden area over the weekend. After hours of back breaking wet dirt hauling uphill (harder than you would think I promise), I decided renting another skid steer was worth it to get the garden ready.

     Here's a before picture. The boys are climbing on the latest tree casualty. You can't see in the after picture below but it got ripped out. Dirt mound on the left got moved up to the top of the lot.

Thank you machinery for making things easy. Oh and maybe I should mention Cam who was behind it for the most part.

 Here's where I hope I don't get in trouble. We gave Cruz a turn driving the skid steer with Dad standing near by of course.

 You can almost see his expression in the picture. It was pure elation.

We got a trencher attachment and Cam went to town lining out where the fence will go. We trenched it all the way around so we could bury the fence a foot deep to keep out critters. After an armadillo got in my garden last year, I'm taking all precautions necessary!

Now I just hope we can get post holes dug and fence in before rain fills in the trench with dirt.  Garden is roughly 40 x 80 feet.


 (the rows are for being made for blueberry bushes)