Tag Archives: Beans

Adventures in Gardening Part 27 ~ Crazy Cukes & Zukes

I can’t control my cucumbers!  My little A-frame trellis, although a clever device, can’t contain them.  I probably should have only planted them on one side of the trellis so they could grow up and then over the other side, but I was greedy.  I wanted as many cucumbers as possible growing in my little garden so that I could maybe get enough to can some pickles.  I also wanted to plant at least two different varieties so I could see which I liked better ~ not all cukes are created equal, and there are tons of varieties.

As it is, they now have nowhere to go once they reach the top of the trellis and will get too crowded if I allow them to grow over the other sides.  They are also growing outward horizontally trying to take over the rest of my garden, and hanging out over the sides of my box with nothing to cling to.  Don’t get me wrong… as I said, I want as many cucumbers as I can get, so it is a good thing that they are growing so well, but it also means I have to come up with something so they can continue to grow happily and healthily, and without taking over the rest of my tiny garden.

It’s been hella hot here and I hate the heat.  But what did I do?  I picked THE hottest day out of the bunch (102, which is not common here in Minnesota) and built a contraption to try and help my cukes along.  I enlisted the assistance of my sis (my partner in crime and gardening adventures ;)) and together we came up with a temporary solution.

It’s interesting the way your mind sorts through things and the ideas that come up when trying to figure out something.  Because it was so hot outside we wanted to find something that would be fairly quick and easy to do, but also something that would be a good solution and look semi nice.

So we popped into home depot and picked up a couple of wood lattices and tacked them to the sides of my garden box.  Then we took some of the leftover wire that I had from building my trellis and draped it over the top and down the sides along the outsides of them…

The thought is, that now they can grow up through the top, spread out over, and go down along the outsides.  They can also grab onto the insides of the lattice and then go through to the outsides and go up or down from there.  Hopefully this will do the trick.  I’m sure I’ll have to putz with them quite a bit to try and train them up in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.  😉  The little buggers really do have minds of their own.

A huge thanks to my sis for helping me with this.  It was unbearably hot out there and she hates the heat even more than I do.  Over the years she has taught me so many things and helped me with (and through) a lot, this is just one more thing to add to the list, but it is not taken for granted and is greatly appreciated.  She’s the best big sis in the whole wide world!   ♥

Here are just a couple of the gazillions of cucumbers that are growing on my vines…

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And I’m sure this guy (along with his friends and relatives) are one thing helping those gazillions of cukes along.  Sooo happy to see bees in my garden!  🙂~

In the subtitle of this post I also mentioned zukes and this is why.  Found this bad boy hiding under one of my zucchini’s giant solar panel leaves…My arms aren’t long enough and I couldn’t zoom out far enough to even get the whole thing in this photo.  So I laid in on the patio table, but you still can’t tell how big it is…When I brought it inside to show my mom she rocked it in her arms like a baby and kissed it!  Haha!  Guess who is making zucchini bread?  THIS girl!  🙂

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Aside from my crazy cukes and zukes, in other gardening news…

I was excited to see my first bell pepper developing!  I didn’t even notice as I was snapping this shot that there was a little visitor there on the stalk next to it.  That would have freaked me out!  I can’t tell what it is, but hopefully he’s one of the good guys…~

And speaking of peppers, I was also excited to see a few little jalapenos growing too…~

Look at my beans!!!  Not so tiny anymore.  I can’t wait to eat them!~

On the blooming front…

One of my garden’s companions.  Yep, it’s just an ordinary Marigold, no big deal, but I thought it was pretty.  🙂~

Found some sweet, pretty little buds developing on one of my mom’s phlox.

And one of them on the other side of her house is blooming…~

Gosh, who knew Hosta were so lovely…~

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 26 ~ Enemies and Allies

I’m definitely no insect photographer (ew, I’d never want to be), but bear with my lack of skill here as I share a few of the photos I’ve taken of the bugs that I’ve found visiting my garden over the past couple of days…

I believe this guy here is a Candy Stripped Leafhopper.It’s very interesting looking and colorful; it even has a cute name, but I’m pretty sure it’s the thing responsible for some of the damage that I’ve been noticing on a few of my cucumber leaves.  So this is what became of him…Killed him with my bare hands.  I’m becoming quite the expert at smashing bugs.  Which is interesting since I’m completely terrified of them…

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This next bug was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.  It looked like a snail to me at first glance.  I had to use my flash setting to get a semi clear shot, so it looks like it was night time, but it wasn’t.  After spending a considerable amount of time scouring the Internet looking at more bug photos than I’d ever want to see, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a Two Striped Planthopper Nymph.  Apparently these things suck out plant juices and also feed on trees and shrubs, so figuring it’s not doing good to my cucumber leaf here, I gave it a quick flick with my finger and flicked its weird looking butt out of my garden, hoping it doesn’t find its way back.  Seriously, it does have a weird butt.  If you do a Google images search (for a photo with a better view than my amateur skills provide here) you’ll see it has fuzzy things coming out of its hind end.  Bugs are ishy, but the variety in nature is pretty darn cool.

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I had the hardest time trying to catch a shot of this bugger ~ it kept scurrying all over the place or flying away (reason for its blurriness), and I’m surprised I even got a photo of it at all. I looked in some of my books and on the Internet, and I think it might be a Striped Cucumber Beetle, but I don’t know for sure.  If it is… it’s not good.

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Here’s another bug I found hanging out on my cucumber leaves.  Why is everything going after my cukes?!  Must be a conspiracy.  I think this is another type of leafhopper. I might have to find out what I should do about them.  I mean other than smashing them by hand ~ that was unusually brave of me to kill Mr Candy Stripper that way.

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But not all the bugs I saw were enemies.  Some were allies…

I found this little sweetie crawling around on my cucumber leaves.  Definitely a welcome visitor!  Ladybugs are excellent at helping control aphids.  And as you saw in Adventures in Gardening Part 23 ~ Attack of the Ants and the Aphids, I definitely have aphids in my garden…~

Although this next bug is sort scary looking, I was happy to see one exploring one of my zucchini leaves.  Soldier Beetles are another great ally in the fight against aphids.  It is also a predator of Cucumber Beetles.  🙂    I did not take the above photo.  I didn’t happen to catch a shot of the particular one that I saw in my garden, but I wanted to show what they look like.

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It’s really good to know that I have a few buggy allies out there fighting the good fight with me!  Eat my garden’s enemies to your heart’s content guys, and bring your friends!  🙂

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And on the growing front…

Omygosh look at these cute tiny little beans growing!~

And my tomatoes are continuing to bloom away.  I only have 2 plants, but it would be so awesome if I got enough tomatoes to make a small batch of my yummy salsa. ~

Also, I thought my peas were pretty much done for the season, but now I see more blooms on those too.  Very happy about this!  🙂

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And I have a couple more strawberries just about ready to pick…~

My celery was getting totally crowded out by my zucchini’s giant solar panel leaves so I cut a few of them off.  Hope that doesn’t affect the production of my zucchinis, but I had to give my celery a fighting chance too.~

In other news…

I think one of the robin eggs fell out of the nest above my potting bench because I found these little broken shell pieces on my potting bench.  Sad.  😦~

I found some Johnny Jump ups springing up in an old empty abandoned pot.  They’re such cheerful little darlings and were really a fun surprise to find in the garden today.  ☼~

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 22

Looks like we’re finally going to get a few dry days of weather here.  Just in time for the weekend.  I know what I’m gonna be doing ~ gardening!  🙂

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It’s so fun to see what’s new in the garden from day-to-day.  Now that the bugs have calmed down, that is ;).  When I went out to check on things today I was so excited to find a little Roma tomato growing on the vine!~

And there are blossoms on my beans!  Lots of them!~

On my bell pepper too!~

My zucchini is totally dominating this corner of my garden!  The leaves are so huge, it’s unbelievable.  When a friend stopped over today she even commented that she’d never seen them so big before.  Guess they’re happy!   I know I am!  🙂~

Remember those scraggly Impatiens I rescued?  Well it looks like they’re doing just fine in their little pot in their shady spot.~

I didn’t even know that my mom’s yellow lilies have been blooming for a while now out near her mailbox.  Guess I don’t go out front often enough, I almost missed seeing this bright lovely.~

And I thought her Mallow were long gone ~ it’s been quite a while since they’ve shown themselves in her flower bed, but I found this one blooming today.  So delicate, light and airy…~

Have a wonderful weekend and “may all your weeds be wildflowers!”

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 17 ~ Trouble in Paradise

I guess the road I’m traveling on in these new gardening adventures is going to be paved with a few stumbling blocks along the way, because these city thugs, er I mean bugs, aren’t taking kindly to a country gardener trying to grow things on their turf.

Honestly, like I said before, in 20 years of gardening I’ve never had pest problems.  Why now?  Here my mom opens up her yard to me, giving me a little piece of my long lost paradise so I can get my gardening fix, and the stupid bugs have to come along and cause trouble.  How aggravating!

I’m afraid my spinach is becoming a lost cause.  This doesn’t exactly look appetizing to me…~

And now I see something has also poked holes in my cucumbers too.  😦~

Look at this big chomp something took out of one of my bean plants…~

The leaf miners are continuing to make their ugly designs in my broccoli.~

And now I’ve noticed one of my lettuces looks it has a leaf that is a bit puckered up.  And not for a kiss…~

Something has removed all but one main leaf of this poor zucchini, and my other zucchini plants aren’t looking all that great either.~

Thankfully I have this one zucchini that seems to be doing okay, but I’m not sure what the story is with the speckled looking stuff on that leaf on the left… ~

It’s so upsetting to have my precious yummy veggies getting all chewed up and destroyed by pests, but I’m going to keep at it with the garlic/pepper spray in between all this rain and keep hoping for the best.

On a positive note…

My carrots are finally starting to get a little bigger, but still so small that I can’t seem to capture a clear focused shot of them.   They sure have been slow growing.  ~

My peas are getting taller every day!  They are being a bit willful at training them to go evenly up the trellis which messes with my need for orderliness, but at this point with all of the issues going on with my other plants ~as long as they stay healthy… I’ll be happy!  🙂~

There are 4 little strawberries forming on my strawberry plant.  I can’t wait to eat them!~

While out running around with my sis the other day I picked up this cute little snail planter.  He was just begging me to give him a new home.  😉  So I stuffed him with some Lobelia and set him on the grass next to my garden.  He looks pretty content there don’t ya think?~

Oh and feast your eyes on these beauties!  My mom’s peonies are in full bloom right now, so to try and focus on something positive after seeing the destruction in my garden, I spent a great deal of time enjoying these and trying to get just the perfect shot of them in all their glory.  What do you think, did I succeed?~~~

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 16 ~ Take THAT, Bugs!

With my latest discovery of pests in my garden I knew I needed to take immediate action before things got out of hand and those stupid bugs ruin all my delicious veggies.  Maybe I’ve been living in a bubble for the past 20 years, but I’ve never really had a pest problem in any of my gardens except for one time when we had a serious and disgusting battle with potato bugs (they won), so I wasn’t really sure what to do.

So I solicited the help of my readers and after reading my post about my buggy dilemma, fellow blogger thebeadden recommended I try a garlic/cayenne pepper spray.  So after taking a look at her recipe and also checking out a few other sources, I played mad-scientist and made my own little concoction using:

2 C hot water

3 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tsp garlic pepper

3 tsp natural lemon dish soap

2 Tbsp mineral oil

And then got down to business mixing it all together…~

You can’t really tell in the photo, but the mineral oil made the mixture look all sparkly in the sunshine.  Maybe it’ll blind the bugs!  😉~

Here’s my bottle of pepper power.  And here’s to hoping it packs a punch and gets rid of those pests!  I’ll let ya’ll know.~

Secondly, on the advice of a friend of mine and also a fellow blogger conversationswithmymuse, another thing I did was went out and picked up a bottle of white vinegar and filled 4- 8 oz glasses and set them near the 4 corners of my garden.  She says it will work to keep the bad bugs away while still allowing the good ones to enter.  A bad bug barrier ~ I like it!~

Hopefully between these two suggestions I will be able to stop my plants from any further destruction.  I’ll let you know…

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After I finished practicing my alchemy skills I went about checking out the rest of my garden and was excited to find that my beans are sprouting!  The way it’s emerging here reminds me of  the movie Aliens for some reason.  😀~

And my second planting of peas are growing.~

Also, my mom had thought that the bleeding heart I had planted for her some years ago had died, but we were excited to see that one popped up in a different spot ~ outside of her garden.  Plant teleportation!  Sweet!~

Bought these on impulse while out running errands ~ I love me some Double Impatiens!  They remind me of tiny roses.  I can’t grow a rose to save my life!~

~Gardening is my therapy~