Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby squash

I was so intent on looking for groundhog damage that i missed these things this morning:

I have fat fingers! ha ha

And this....can you guess?

It's a tomatillo flower!

Oh, and that last Picture Post i forgot to post these:

Germander seedlings:

Echinacea paradoxa seedlings:

They spend some time in the fridge...

A few posts ago i had mentioned that i had taken the Sea-Buckthorn seeds out of the fridge after they were being stratified in there, but i misspoke. It was the Echinacea that i had brought out and those are the ones sprouting above.  So if i think to, i might go back and edit that.

Picture Post

These pics were taken this morning of the damage done last night. As of 1pm today, it looks like no groundhogs have been inside the garden long enough to eat anything that i can see.
Hopefully it is not for lack of trying.  I did see one run across the back part behind where our fence goes halfway across  the backyard. I have also seen them poking their heads out from the wood pile.
The dog has been inside for the last couple hours, so there is nothing that should stop the woodchucks from trying.

So for now the damage pictures are going to be so i can be sure there is no additional destruction when i check throughout the day.  Sometimes they may hit only one or two leaves before something scares them off and i want to know immediately if the fence is not doing its job so i can try and figure something out. If they have stopped i want to stop feeling the need to monitor so much and i will know that i can go ahead and plan to start replacement seedlings so i can possibly get a later harvest since my oldest cabbages are pretty much done in.

Damage to kohlrabi:

Damage to Swiss Chard

Damage to Cabbage


Damage to Collards


Damage to Brocoli

 Leaving Kale alone..so far...

There seems to be a point in time when cabbage is at its tastiest to woodchucks. The large cabbages looked like they were getting ready to start heading.  The smaller ones are later transplants and were left untouched. The Swiss chard was munched right about when i was going to pick them. The Broccoli was minimally (relatively) damaged.  There are a few bare spots where i harvested the Pak Choi (between the broccoli and pak choi) so that is not included in the damage roll.

Tomato blossoms on the Roma tomato plants

 Corn....and weeds....

Rosemary....looks like its doing well

Graffiti cauliflower

 Bush beans.... i forget which type, but they are growing well.

Rutabagas...  i don't know why the tops want to fall over like that. They aren't as stout as i expected them to be so far.

Some melon/pumpkin/squash volunteer that i have stepped on a dozen times but keeps growing anyway...


A big carrot plant.  The range of sizes between my carrots is pretty wide.  I think it was uneven watering. I got good germination after all, but it was spread out over 2-3 weeks. I saw some new ones emerging just last week.  I guess in a way they are staggering my harvest naturally, this may be a good thing in the end.

Bird House Gourd.  I have planted these before when i used my parents' garden in college.  They produced some nice gourds that dried out well.  My dad collected them for me but i never got to make them into birdhouses.  I am hoping to attract some Purple Martins some day.  We are just inside the Northern edge of their range. (Depending on the map and reliability of source, the places that want to sell bird houses say we have them all over, the sites that study their migration habits say they are rare in my area).

The plants look poised to produce a good crop of gourds at any rate.

 I think this is the late breaking banana Melon.  The camera was more interested in the tops of the stakes than in my intended subject. I still haven't gotten out to get the lint removed from the lens.
Anyway, i don't know why some of the melons are so incredibly slow. We have had plenty of warm rain and actual hot weather. 

I forget which this is.  Probably Tom Watson.

Rocky Ford...

And this was when i stumbled upon the brilliant idea to photo the name tag along with the plant.  Hales Best don'tcha'know.

 But the tag photo idea didn't absorb right off.  I think this is Pony Yellow.

Look, it says "Long Island Cheese" !

Another Winter squash, Red Eye.... a favorite of mine. I planted it a couple years ago and it was very yummy.

Carnival Acorn Squash... another good one.
Cucumbers. Two types.

My jerusalem Artichokes.  I need to weed out the Winter Rye more, i have been picking away at it for a while. I don't get a lot of time for weeding and they grow so fast.  My aisles are weedy and i mostly concentrate on the weeds that are getting ready to flower or go to seed.

I still haven't gotten the trunk of the big apple tree dragged away (to the right).

Apples are getting big, but have signs of damage.



Marechal Foch, looking good.

Frontenac, not doing much, but when i cut into the stick a bit, the color inside was a live green color. So i hope its not in the process of dying and wakes up soon.

Reliance, also doing nicely.

Edelweiss.... looking dead as ever.

Edelweiss #2.... same as above.

Blueberries.  Patriot.....

...and Blueray.

Some wildflower i keep in my flowerbed. They are always sunny. I need to get them ID'd sometime.

Aerial view...

Oh, i can't wait until the yard is done. The stack of wood on top of the tarp is covering the last bunch of painted fence panels. The overgrown cedar shrub that turned ino a tree needs to be cut down so i can drive some posts to install a clothesline in that better spot rather than have to use the basketball hoop at the end of the driveway.  And finally, we need to get grass growing in that yard because it looks like a dusty wasteland.

These are pics of the cuttings i got from a Lemony friend....

I was sent 2 mulberry cuttings, this is one:

and this is a quick group shot of the rest of them.  Cranberries, kiwi, blackberries, cherries....

I dated them the day the cuttings were taken since the rooting hormone was applied and they had been wrapped in wet paper towel, i have the day they were set in these cups on record here in the blog.

I use those elasticized  bowl covers that i still find at the Dollar Tree to keep the cuttings humid from top to bottom.  I only took them off for the picture. but they seem to work nicely.

I haven't had the chance to research and deal with the seed-filled fruits yet since i have been using my energy on woodchuck issues and carpet cleaning (which i hate almost as much as woodchucks lol)....

But i am glad i finally got updated pictures of something.  It will be interesting to look back through this summer later in winter when i am planning for 2011.

I hope he's right!

Hubby thinks he found what was going on with the fence.  I hope he is right.
See, he's actually been zapped by the thing multiple times by accident and on purpose.  As for me, the fence came with a zap tester so i have declined to manually test it.
But the good thing about hubby being so.... brave....uh....

Well, he knows how strong the zap has been at various times. 

When i first got the fence, the grass and weeds were short so it worked well with one strand and fresh batteries. As the grass grew i had a hard time keeping up with clearing the area. The fence would stunt the weaker grasses, but only discolor and short out on the larger weeds.
The Roundup eventually did do the trick and the wire is now quite clear.
It has been effective at keeping out the neighborhood cats and dogs at this point. Our Molly even checked it out one day when she declined to obey a "get back here" command.
On Sunday, after noticing that my veggies were getting sampled, i ran a second strand of wire around the garden and checked it with the tester and hoped that would do it (the tester only shows that the wiring is right, but does not show how strong the zap is).  Monday morning i saw more evidence of nibbling and ran the third wire, checked it with the tester and hoped for the best. 
Monday evening i noticed that the sampling and nibbling had  progressed to actual destruction and for some reason the third strand wasn't doing anything better than the first two.
Hubbs decided to dig at me and said that instead of buying grapes and berries i shoult have bought Havahart traps.  I told him that i was glad i did buy grapes and berries cause at least if the woodchucks eat my garden i would at least have my berries!...and instead of teasing me, Mr. KnowsHowTo Play Electrician Man, why don't you go out there and check if i did something wrong and find a solution for me instead.  lol
So he did and he noticed my connections were not as solid as they could have been and the ground wire was cruddier than it should be. I had set it up right, but mud had gotten between the turns of wire.  So he took the wiring apart and we cleaned it up and he put some waterproof conductive gel in the connections. He had touched the wires and he said the shock was definitely much more severe than it had ever been before. It actually scared him at that strength.
The theory is that the zap the woodchucks must have been getting from contacting the fence wasn't enough to get through their fur.  They must have touched the wires, so it had to be that the zap was too weak.
If this is going to work at all it should have the best shot now.
If it won't keep the woodchucks out, at least it keeps dogs and cats out.
And i am seriously considering planting my broccoli in topsy turveys next year cause i don't know what else to do!
There are a few places where the bottom wire might not be low enough to keep them from crawling under, so that would be my final troubleshooting item.  After that, if it isn't working, i'll have to call it a loss as far as woodchucks go.

Trapping has never worked in the past cause more woodchucks just fill in the space of the relocated one.
The trick with Spearmint gum does not work cause woodchucks do not eat Spearmint gum.  Repellent granules just kill plants and are little more than expired Montreal Steak seasoning....  I'm not risking the neighborhood pets by sneaking leg traps and rat poison isn't strong enough. Ammonia does not work for more than a day and needs reapplying constantly,  moth balls are useless and just smelly.  Smoke bombs are not an option because the woodchuck burrows are off our property and the current 3 that i am battling are living under our neighbors' loosely stacked wood pile......smoke bomb + wood pile = fire hazard.  Hair from hair salons does not work. Emptying the vacuum container does not work because the whole yard smells of our presence anyway and these are urban wildlife.  They figured out pretty fast that the dog cannot reach the garden from her leash.  The row covers will only work for a while before the animals start chewing through or tunneling under them to dine under cover at their leisure... so putting them back on isn't going to do anything and it might make it worse by concealing the damage until i get the chance to see it.
I'll post pics of the damage as soon as i can get out there and get pictures. I need to do it anyway cause i am having a hard time remembering what was chewed and what was not from each incident.

I need to get pics of the berry cuttings too... and i need to plant the Blueberries which have acclimated to sunlight very well. One is trying to flower but i'll have to prevent that this year.

Its hard to tell, but i think the Frontenac grape may be coming to life but the Edelweiss are still very dead.  The marechal Foch and the Reliance are leafing out beautifully.

My Roma tomatoes have buds - i noticed last Friday i think but forgot to write it down.  The Summer squashes are flowering and some of the Winter squash are budding. Some of the melon plants are still the same size as they were when they were first transplanted.
Everything not being eaten is looking good.

The little apple tree is growing its apples, about quarter sized now. They are showing evidence of damage, many of the apples are russeting  and i guess this can be caused by a number of things. Info.   There are some signs of bug damage, dimpling and such.  I think that is from apple maggot and i bet its because i was so slow in applying the spray after petal fall. I waited to fell the other tree too long and i needed more hose to reach the remaining tree properly. But now i have the extra hose and the dying tree is gone.  I only expect a dozen good apples from the tree this year if that. Enough to sample and maybe ID the variety.

I think that is it for today, i'll post pictures separately.