Yesterday evening we had storms. Heavy winds and rain knocked down sunflowers and pretty much every perennial planting over 2 feet tall that wasn’t staked up. If it could catch the wind – it did. Unfortunately our Bradford pears remained in tact – I’ve been looking for an excuse to take them down, one of these days they will break…
This morning I went out to investigate the damage in the garden. Fortunately it isn’t bad at all. The cilantro that I’ve been letting go to seed fell over but it was already well on its way before the winds whipped through. The tomatoes are really doing very well despite not being properly tied to their stakes and not being suckered enough (that’s on today’s agenda). Everything is lush and growing strong thanks to the rich soil in the raised beds. I used a combination of grass clippings, newspapers, and regular soil from the yard to fill these and the tomatoes couldn’t be happier. I’ve also mulched exclusively with grass clippings this year which has done a great job at keeping the soil moist. It also adds some great organic matter to the raised beds as the grass clippings break down. (Unfortunately my bagger mower is having some difficulties right now and needs a doctor. It has a smoking problem, I’d rather not blow it up again!)
The tomatoes above are in two almost 10′ long raised beds (they fit in where the corn and beans are in the old vegetable garden layout). I say almost since they were scrap pieces of lumber that I had laying around and didn’t measure exactly what I had in mind. I have no problem with improvising when needed! The tomatoes below are Black Krim (I think). I may have switched tomatoes accidentally between two of my beds but I’m pretty sure these are Black Krim. I tell myself each year that I’m going to plant everything exactly right but I always end up getting something mixed up!
Here you can see where some of the tomatoes fell over in the night. The damage wasn’t too bad just a few branches fell that need tied back up. Tomato stakes aren’t the best way to stake up a tomato but they work in a pinch. They are probably the cheapest method though. My hillside is covered with sassafras saplings that I can harvest and fashion long and straight stakes from for use in the garden. It helps the trees by thinning out a few which reduces the competition for light and helps me in the garden – a win win situation!
The Romas seem to have developed their own style of natural pest prevention – spider webs. Spiders are very welcome in my garden as are any other beneficial insects that happen along. I don’t use pesticides other than insecticidal soap and that only when needed.
I was excited to see this little cucumber growing. It doesn’t look like much more than a little midget pickle right now but it won’t be long before we have some delicious cucumbers. Thankfully the deer invasion did not completely decimate the cucumber vines and I think the vines have a decent chance of regrowing to full cucumberhood.
My Weekend Vegetable Garden To-Do List:
- Weed the encroaching grasses (Johnson Grass and Crabgrass) out of the pathways.
- Tie up tomatoes
- Mulch around the raised beds over the pathways.
- Clear out two raised beds for planting more squash and beans. (formerly housed greens)
- Check around the potatoes to see if I can harvest yet. (I did harvest one already I’ll post on that later.)