Garden Update | If all else fails, at least I’ll have blackberries and tomatoes!

By Kiersten | Last Updated: June 4, 2013

Blackberries - May 2013

Remember last month when I mentioned buying lots of tomato transplants for my garden? I am so glad I did! I have not been having the best luck with my seeds this year. A lot of them are two or three years old now, so I’m thinking maybe it’s time to buy some new ones. I used to look at buying transplants as cheating (because I really want to start from seed!), but now I see it as hedging my bets.

Cherokee Tomato - May 2013The tomatoes I started from seed are all either dead or still barely an inch tall. But my transplants are looking fabulous. Last year, I didn’t realize that you’re supposed to prune indeterminate tomatoes and I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t get as many (ripe) tomatoes as I would have liked. Lesson learned! Tomatoes need pruning!

Strawberries - May 2013We’re still getting lots of strawberries, but they’re a little bit more bruised and imperfect now. I think they took a beating with the rain we had last week.

Blackberries - May 2013But nevermind the beaten up strawberries. Because: blackberries! I am so excited about blackberries. I love buying them from the farmers market, but they’re pricey–now I’ll have hundreds of them right outside our kitchen. Yes hundreds! You can’t see it in this photo, but the vine is just covered in little green berries.

Holstein Cowpeas - May 2013Beans are the one type of seed that I never seem to have trouble with. Dependable beans! If my eggplant and tomato seeds don’t do anything soon, I’m going to plant some more beans in those squares. I’m growing a few different varieties, but these are Holstein Cowpeas.

White Pumpkin - May 2013This is my White Pumpkin seedling. I got these seeds from Cubit’s, although it looks like they’re currently sold out. Last year, all of my squash succumbed to vine borers. This was super disappointing because summer and winter squashes are among my favorite veggies. My plan this year is to be more aggressive with Bt treatments and do a few successive plantings of the summer squash.

Rosemary - May 2013My rosemary plant was scrawny all last year and now suddenly it’s the size of a bush. So I guess I better start using more rosemary, huh?

Lemon Thyme - May 2013A lot of my perennial herbs are flowering right now; this is my lemon thyme plant.

How is your garden doing? Do you have any tips on how to eliminate vine borers? Because really, if I don’t get any zucchini for a third year in a row, I’m going to be a very sad panda.

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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I’m envious of your big tomato. My plants don’t even have fruits on them yet, since gardening/growing season is just beginning here. I’ve never had luck with zucchini either, gave up after two summers.

The zucchini situation is so frustrating to me because when I was growing up, we always had an abundance of zucchini, without even trying. It makes me feel like such a failure!

Try this (from Mother Earth News ) for your squash borer problem …
surround the plants with small yellow pails two-thirds full of water. The adult moths are attracted by the color yellow,and often drop in and drown.

Meanwhile,grow your preferred squash and pumpkins under row covers until the plants begin to bloom. When the covers are removed, use pieces of row cover,tulle (wedding net) or aluminum foil to cover any sections of exposed low stem. Use a piece of masking tape to remove any eggs seen on plant stems close to the ground. Finding and removing scattered squash vine borer eggs is very difficult to do well.

If you are seeing moths among your plants or in yellow pail traps,ambush visiting moths in the early evening and bring them down with a butterfly net,badminton racquet or squirt of hair spray. The big moths have hairy bodies,so the sticky liquid stops them from flying,making them easy to collect and kill. An individual moth can lay more than 150 eggs in her lifetime,so nabbing only a few in a home garden can make a big difference.

Surgical intervention is often worthwhile if you have only a few plants. As soon as you see a hole with frass coming out of it on a low squash or pumpkin stem,use a sharp,narrow knife to make a slit in the stem near the hole. Use tweezers or forceps to remove the borers inside (there may be two of them). Then cover the stem with mulch. Once you learn through experience where borers lurk inside stems,you can simply poke straight pins into the stem to kill the larvae inside as an alternative to cutting the stems open.

Our challenge this year (much different than last year) is that our garden is being flooded with heavy rainstorms and sees no sun. My lettuce, kale, and arugula plants haven’t grown an inch since I planted them over 2 weeks ago. THEY WANT SUNSHINE!!! 🙂

We DO have cute little strawberries (for the first time!!) and I found a little baby pepper as well….

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