The flea beetles are at it again. They eat tiny holes in the leaves of my eggplant, which seems to keep the plants from getting very big. Here’s a current photo.
And because this is a recurring problem, here’s an older one that shows more detail. This is from 2013.
The individual beetles are actually pretty easy to squish or knock off the plants, but it’s hard to completely get rid of them, so I’m resorting to organic sprays. Currently trying an insecticidal soap. We’ll see how that goes.
My husband has a habit of planting clover all around the garden and yard with the idea that it will improve the soil. Last year I was mildly irked that he planted clover all around the garlic I had planted. Surely having other plants competing for space and nutrients right around the garlic bulbs can’t be good for the crop? But he says (and this may be a good point) that because the clover was enriching the soil with nitrogen, it was actually beneficial for the garlic. How to solve this argument? See below.
So as you can see, we decided to test this question with this year’s garlic bed. Half the crop is covered with leaf mulch, half of it has a living mulch of clover. I have to admit that the clover side actually looks a lot stronger at the moment. But we won’t know for sure until it’s time to harvest the bulbs, and we can compare the end result.
To be continued…
Another garden bed in transition. Cold-hardy green onions have been harvested, and replaced with bell peppers, which require much warmer soil. This bed has several volunteer herb plants, including dill and cilantro, so I left those in place and just put the peppers around them. I may try to fill in with a few more herbs.
I like growing beans. But most types prefer warm soils, so you can’t plant them too early. I did not know until this year, that there’s actually one type of bean that can be planted much earlier because it does well in cooler soils. These are fava beans, also called broad beans, and the specific variety is ‘Sweet Lorane Improved.’ They were on sale, and I couldn’t resist. Here’s how they look so far.
I went a little radish crazy this year.
I’ve never really harvested that many radishes in past years, and looking around my garden last spring I decided I should really plant more. Since they’re cold hardy, and most varieties are ready to harvest after only about a month, they can be in and out of the garden before it’s warm enough to plant say, tomatoes.
So this year I planted radishes everywhere I wanted to put tomatoes (and if you’re having trouble picturing that, I usually grow about 16 tomato plants. )
I planted several types of radishes, but mostly these white icicle type.
And it worked out pretty well. I harvested hundreds of radishes, and now we’ve planted tomatoes in the same space. So, success(ion planting)!
What do you do with all those radishes? There are actually a lot of ways to eat them. Aside from eating them fresh, you can also roast them, but I especially like them pickled.
Just a few photos of perennial flowers from around the backyard.
This one’s a peony, your basic ornamental, which lives in an actual dedicated perennial bed.
This one is comfrey, which is planted all around the apple trees because it’s supposed to be good for the soil.
And this one I’m still wondering about. Did my spouse forget where the iris were planted when he put in this patch of barley? Or was he just trying to maximize the space? Regardless, it is kind of pretty.
I like planting different types of vegetables in the same garden bed, and sometimes I do that on purpose, choosing compatible crops to grow together. Other times, plants end up growing together by accident, and that may or may not work out. Here are a couple of examples of unplanned “companion plants” from my garden right now.
Onions + Dill. I planted the onions, the dill was a surprise. Maybe it shouldn’t have been, because this is where I grew dill last year, and it produces lots of seeds. Anyway, there’s a fair amount of dill coming up between the onions, and that actually works pretty well. The onions will be ready to harvest soon, but the dill will keep growing, so it will have more space when it’s needed. I may also add some additional herbs to this bed once I harvest the onions.
Beans + Borage. I planted fava beans for the first time this year, and am excited to see how they do. Unlike most other beans, they do well in cool soil, so you can plant them much earlier. But that’s not what’s in this picture. This is borage, a cucumber-like herb, that is coming up between the beans. As with the dill, maybe this shouldn’t have been a surprise. That’s where it was growing last year, and it’s an annual, but it produced seeds, and here it is again. Fortunately, the herb isn’t really in the way. There are just three borage plants that came up among the beans, and they happen to be near some other herbs (chives). So I’ll just leave it.
Radishes + Potatoes. And here’s one that really doesn’t work. Last year we grew potatoes in this bed, and apparently we missed a few as we were harvesting because here they are again — shading and crowding out my radishes. The only reason I left them is because it’s just a few potato plants, and I didn’t really need any more radishes. (I planted a lot of radishes this year. But more about that another day.)