New Gate

Here is a photo of the beautiful gate that Justin completed. It does give us a presence now, doesn’t it?

Most of our fall transplants are surviving the July heat. I lost one tomato and one pepper plant in the last week.

Besides the bunnies, we are also battling rats for our produce! Some of the trials we are experiencing make me think of how hard it was for our ancestors to survive this land when they first settled the area. My hats off to them! The thought puts things in perspective when I think we’re having problems.

I’m going to put on some more fertilizer tomorrow to give everything a boost. The eggplants are really growing now and it’s getting hard to keep up with the cucumbers. Happy gardening everyone.

New Pest

Many of the gardens are now seeing this new pest-a leaffooted bug. I found several on my tomatoes this morning. They feed on developing fruit and also on stems and tender leaves of plants. They should be eliminated if you can catch them. I’m going to take a jar of soapy water to the garden to drown them as I catch them.

The garden has dried out from the rain of last week. Back to hot, humid and dry conditions. My new fall tomatoes have survived the week in good shape, and the brandywine tomato I cut back has sprouted a bunch of healthy leaves.

Our Giving Garden sign on the front gate is awesome! Thank you so much, Justin. Happy gardening all.

Rain, Rain and More Rain

This morning I helped gather vegetables and herbs for the Saturday food collection. There were plenty of cucumbers, okra and some tomatoes. We’ve got quite the rice patty in the center common area. Phase II is very muddy as we have not gotten our mulch yet for the pathways. Mushrooms are sprouting in the beds and tomatoes are splitting from all the moisture. Who would have thought we’d be concerned about too much moisture in July in Texas?

Gardeners are beginning to pull their spring veggies and put in fall crops. Phase II has a head start on Phase I gardeners in that area .

Bird netting was a problem today again. We freed two black swallowtail butterflies and a dragon fly from some netting todday. It does keep the birds from the tomatoes, but has consequences as well. Above is a picture of a similar butterfly to the one we freed today.

We saw some more squash vine borers today but were unable to catch them. I’m thinking I need to bring a bug jar when I come in order to capture the bad bugs. I’m also on the lookout for some row cover material to cover any future cucurbits I plant (i.e. squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons.) Fire ants are a continual problem-they are eating the blossoms on our okra, among other things.

Well, this is gardening in Texas in July. Hot and dry (usually) with lots of pests. I’m already looking forward to those fall gardens. Happy gardening!

Garden Update

Wow! I really have gotten behind in my posting-sorry! Phase II beds are now complete and most have already planted their plots. Here are a couple of recent photos:

Food collections are occurring every Saturday morning. Thanks to all the gardeners who have volunteered to help pick and deliver delicious, organic vegetables and herbs to our neighbors.

Justin has finished the fence, gates and compost bins. Everything looks really good and hopefully we’ll be keeping the rabbits out!

By the way, Willie, Kirsten and I freed a four-foot long grey rat snake from the clutches of Willie’s bird netting this morning. Surgeon Kirsten clipped the netting carefully, while Willie and I held on to the bird netting wrapped snake. These snakes are really good for the environment. They help control the rat, mice and rabbit population. It was kind of scary, but the snake didn’t even attempt to bite-he was very thankful to be freed back to our wildscape area.

As always with the heat and humidity of this time of year, some of the tomatoes are struggling. Blooms are not setting fruit now, so it’s a good time to either cut back the plants or dig them up and plant a new crop for fall. The cucumbers and okra are starting to produce well. Some of the squash has been hit with squash bugs and squash vine borers. Ah well, this is Texas in July!

Happy gardening all!