Monday, August 24, 2009

Staycation: Day 2

After a long day yesterday, we decided to kick off the staycation in earnest, by literally staying home all day. We did some arts and crafts projects with the kids, caught up on some chores, and puttered around our burgeoning garden. The summer crops are showing signs of rolling in, with first fruits showing up all over the garden.

The sprawling watermelon has set three fruit so far. Unfortunately, the overcast and cool weather that's made for a very pleasant August has also brought on a severe case of powdery mildew. Kathy tried dosing the mildew with a weak milk solution...we'll see how that goes.

The banana melon plant is doing a little better. Less mildew and, so far, one whopping fruit.

The squash are, and have been, producing like crazy. The pattypans we harvest are silky soft and saute up beautifully. The yellow crooknecks are tasty and plentiful.

We've got a solitary green pepper out there. I've got my fingers crossed for these babies. I love peppers, but we've had little luck growing more than one or two really pungent specimens. Maybe we're not giving them enough water? This year, we've got drip irrigation going for consistent hydration, and little cardboard walls ringed with diatomaceous earth to keep the cutworms and rolly-poly bugs away. We'll see...

The first Druzba tomatoes have ripened. We've been looking forward to fresh garden tomatoes since before these beauties went into the soil. These two were YUMMY. But, we found signs of trouble on the vines. See those nibbled leaves? Well, those chewed fronds are everywhere, and some of the green fruit have been well chewed too.

And here's the critter. A tomato hornworm. This was the largest one we found but, after a careful search repeated over many visits to the patch, we've pulled something like twenty smaller worms off the plant so far. We're determined to keep after them, to save the crop. Tomatoes are, to me, the best reason to have a backyard garden. No way I'm letting the worms get them all.

Did I mention this bug was big? Three inches long and about half an inch wide. That long reddish spur on its hind end gives the hornworm it's name.

The garden is looking great, and we had a nice, relaxing day. Would have been even better if I'd gone to bed on time the night before. I made up for it that night, crashing hard at about 10:00pm.


  1. The dreaded Tomato HORNED Worms!! Aggghhh!!!

    They can devour half a plant in one night. Too bad you dont have any chickens you can feed them to.

  2. Hmm...I've been meaning to ask you about that, Julia. Will the chickens eat the tomatoes or other vegetables in the garden, or will they stick to the insects found among them. Our neighbors across the street have chickens...and they have three extra hens and a coop...and they keep asking us whether we couldn't take them...