2013 summer growing season is well..sucking.

I think I’m a little bummed about this first year garden here at Blueberry Acres. We did a lot of things wrong this year that frankly, we knew better than to do. We started late..partially because of the ridiculous May snowfall but also because we were just overwhelmed with animal activity. We also didn’t set up our garage greenhouse to start our seedlings. We started some in our kitchen (epic mistake), some in the living room and some went right into the ground as seed. Sheldon didn’t believe planting the seeds directly in the ground would work in our soil, but God proved him wrong and these little boogers grew like mad.

Then (and if you could imagine the song “Flight of the Bumblebee” here for effect) came the invading hoardes. Squash bugs, grasshoppers of all shapes/sizes, slugs, lions, tigers, bears…oh my. It was enough to make an organic gardener want to find some agent orange and blast those *%@(&$ to oblivion. Alas…we did not. We continued to manage our pestilence through DE, Neem Oil, beer (for me and the slugs), chicken buffets (Lana, our head chicken is very good about catching grasshoppers) and good old fashion squooshing.  However, I can’t be naive..we’ve been decimated.  Sheldon said that we were hit this hard once in Texas, but I don’t remember it.  I have been researching/studying/praying for ways to better manage the pests so they don’t turn into plagues for next season, but I think it’s going to take a major overhaul.

For one, I’m going to eliminate all of my raised beds save for one.  While I don’t think this contributed to my pests exactly, I can say that we had a hard time keeping up with the grass/weeds around the beds and I think that contributed to more bugs.  I think also having to spend time on the weeds around the beds meant less time for the beds themselves…ergo, more bugs.  Beyond eliminating the beds, I’m planning on razing the existing garden to the ground outside of the strawberry plants.  Every time I say this, Sheldon laughs as if this is just the insane ramblings of his crazy wife.  Butttt, no.  I plan on burning this thing down to nuthin if I can help it.  Why allow the little buggies somewhere warm and rich to live over the winter?  I plan on burning what I can, and destroying what I can’t.  When I’m done, I hope to be able to expand the width/length of our garden fence to include a garden that is about double in size of what this year’s garden is.  We haven’t had any trouble with bunnies eating our crops, but it’s fair to say that our area is absolutely loaded with bunnies, so we have taken no chances with a bunny and deer detering fence.  From there, I will plan on putting in proper rows covered in weed fabric and hopefully prelaid with soaker hoses prior to the next planting.  We have rain barrels that are cut and almost ready to go for some hose manifolds to help feed the watering needs.  I figure it’s going to take me the better part of the fall/winter to revamp the garden, but I’m convinced it will be worth it.

Well, the turkeys, chickens and dogs are in tucked in.  The cats are on patrol for some wild rabbit (sorry bunny lovers!) and I have a little more paid work to do before I call it a day.  Hope you all have a fantastic evening!

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7 thoughts on “2013 summer growing season is well..sucking.

  1. Do you know anyone with a black walnut tree near by? Black walnuts have toxic shells, and my mom said if you soak the husks in water you can use it as a bug spray! (She grew up on an old-timey farm where the chickens were “pullets, brown ones” and the cows were milking cows and a lot of things were done the old ways… Not to mention she’s got a green thumb the size of Kansas!

    Although, I can’t say my garden is doing much better… Wish I’d gotten some of that plant savvy from her. The chipmunks keep getting to my garden and things have been growing slow/dying. Maybe next year, huh? 😛

    • get out! We have TONS of black walnut trees, but since we can’t even compost them due to toxicity, I wonder what that would do to the soil/plants. I’m going to have to do a little research on this! Thanks!

      Yeah-our chipmunks and freaking HUGE red squirrels haven’t bothered our garden, but they do pick apples off my tree. In our suburban garden in Texas, we had to set up feeders all around the garden to redirect the squirrels. It worked amazingly well-they totally left the garden alone. Granted, they probably all starved when we moved…

      Here’s to both of us having better gardens next year. Good to hear from you!

      • Looks like the oil is toxic to some plants (especially nightshades), but you can break off branches and lay them around the garden to help keep bugs from ever going in in the first place, and you can use it as a spray on some other plants. You can also crush up the shells and hang them in a bag around your plants and that would probably be OK too. I hope it works out!

  2. We made it so far this year with our various squash plants, but it looks like the cucumber beetles and squash bugs are going to beat me again this year. I’ve said that on and off since we started this year’s garden (this is our second year) but I am pretty sure of it now. 😦

  3. So sorry you’ve had a tough season! It seems like gardening is a lot of trial and error. We’ve been working on our garden for the past two years since we moved in and we keep making changes to see what works best. It’s a never ending learning process!

    PS – Thanks for the kind comment on my post today 🙂

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