I admittedly have been sort of lazy around the garden these past couple of weeks lately, not wanting to fuddle around there because of all the rain, bugs and having gotten myself caught up in a million things. Which is a pity as I like how productive I feel getting up early, walking the dog and then nearly first thing I do is check out the garden and make sure all is right in it at the morning and finding that it's still well before noon is when I feel it's a good start to the day.
I hadn't felt like that until today morning when I severely pruned back some hedges (hate 'em but they're part of the "bones" of the property and then I don't have to plant other things there). Massive prunage occurred as some branches were way out and wonky, preventing light from getting to the branches below and I also noticed that the bushes were afflicted by soft pink scale, also called strawberry scale, which took out one of the otto luyken's in my backyard last year. So, neem spraying will probably have to occur.
I have a problem of neglecting the inedible plants at the house (unless their the groundcover ones that prevent me from having to mulch):
(love it! strawberry begonia, golden turkey vine, shade sedum and creeping jenny mix)
because I figure if they can't make it, they weren't meant to be there and if I have to put forth all this effort for something I can't eat or isn't that cool then I sort of don't care for the plant.
Example, I think my irises in the front are being affected by iris rot either the bacterial or fungal kind. The bacterial one, Erwinia carotovora, can be caused by iris borers that attach the base of the rhizome and the bacteria enter into it causing a soft nasty smell rot. This is a bacteria that is common to decomposition as compared to the fungal rot which is major problem apparently and is a dry rot officially called Sclerotium crown rot (so rotten it has 'rot' in its Latin name!), caused by Sclerotium rolfsii. The dry rot is actually brown and crumbly looking in the rhizomes and I don't think I've been messing with that because if it is there supposedly I need to do some major quarantining. (http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/pastpest/200507b.html)
More things I learned! How to identify ragweed:
I planted a lot of marigolds last year and scattered their seeds around too, so if you were to see this plant, without say, the flowers in this picture... you would think it was a marigold too right???? Other than the fact too that these plants get giant, about as tall as 4 feet, which tips me off that no, it's not a marigold. Wheee... This may explain some sneezing here.
And the fun doesn't stop here!!!! Because of the rain (I've been saying that phrase so much lately) I tossed around baking soda on my damp plants, versus making a baking soda solution to spray on the plants to prevent/treat fungus because I figured it would become a solution when the baking soda landed on the damp plants, why make them more wet?
Yeah, I totally burned my tomato and bean plants... but I think the tomatoes will make it. The beans could go for a second sowing anyways I noticed, so no huge loss. So, if you ever are tempted as I was to do something incredibly stupid like that, don't.
On a happier note, I has a harvest!
The butternut squash vine was showing signs of kicking it from borer damage, so I put it out of its misery and pulled it and kept the small squash fruits. ah well. I plan to make that area a flower garden of sorts to attract pollinators as I will be moving some black eyed susans there in the fall once they have gone to seed as well as some clearance gallon salvia's from Lowe's (about a buck apiece! Go get!)
I figure at this point, the vegetable garden is mostly established, and now I need to work on making it look goooood. Other than this guy:
(Ugly siamese Brandywine tomato says hi)