|A cucumber that has been hiding for a while.|
I'll start with the good news. We have abundant cucumbers, beans, squash and tomatoes. The plants are lush and seem to be thriving in this oppressive heat. The pumpkins the children sowed directly are springing up and growing daily. The corn is almost knee high. I heard an old farmers adage that corn needs to be "knee high by July" for the crop to be successful. The tomatoes are getting so big Rob had to stake them last weekend. The beans are just starting to produce slim beginnings of what I hope to be an abundant crop. Take a look:
|another cucumber I think there are about 6 this size.|
|Ms. Messina's purple beans.|
|Mrs. Leal's string beans.|
Now for the bad news. We have bugs! I knew that a first year garden was bound to have some set backs. I got overly confident that we had reached such a lush stage in the garden without encountering an attack. I spoke too soon, the attack is happening now. Here is why. Our soil hasn't had a chance to become properly amended. What I mean by that is our soil doesn't have enough organic matter components to make it healthy enough to be pest resistant. Yes, we have organic matter in it but not enough yet. Just like a healthy body is more resistant to illness and disease, healthy soil is more resistant to pest and disease. This is what is trying to infect our garden:
Looks like a ladybug but actually a Mexican Bean beetle
This is what we are doing about it. As I write this Rob is brewing up a batch of organic pest repellent. It's kind of burning my eyes. Here is the recipe:
1 large onion
1 jalapeno pepper
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp Dawn dish soap
chop all veggies making sure to leave the seed in the jalapeno. put in a food processor until it makes a paste. boil paste in a gallon of water for 20 minutes. strain liquid into a jug and add dish soap. mix well and apply through a spray bottle every few days.
This recipe was found at homegrownonthehill.blogspot.com
We have decided to call it Bug Juice. What we are going to do is "test" it on a few plants before introducing it to the whole garden. We are pretty sure the only thing it is going to do is make the pests leave but better to be safe than sorry. We also pick the pests off the leaves as we see them and give them a nice resting place in a jar of soapy water. Rob has ordered an organic product called Sticky Yellow Traps. Apparently, the bugs are attracted to the yellow flowers so this product is literally a yellow sticky paper that will trap the little buggers. Will keep you posted with the results. In our research ( by "our" I mean Rob's) we found that companion plants to keep these critters away are radish, nasturtium, and tansy. Good to know for next year. Companion planting buckwheat, catnip, or borage will attract beneficial insects.