Monday, July 26, 2010

Worst Attack Yet

Rabbit damage?
This morning when I went out to water, the mystery animal, who I assume is one or more rabbits, had struck again. My lemon cucumber in the middle of the new raised bed had been cut to the ground. The tomato plants on either side of it -- The Moskvich Red and the Yellow Pear -- had each had one branch sliced off at the ground.This is a close-up of the gnawed ends. Below are the overviews that give you an idea of how many potential tomatoes have been lost in one night.

On the side of the raised bed where the cucumbers and tomatoes are growing (what's left of them), I saw a mound of dirt produced by a gopher right under where this one tomato still dangling from a surviving stem hangs over the edge. It, too, shows damage. I'm wondering if the green parts of the tomatoes are as poisonous to animals as they are to people.

It's obvious that hope alone doesn't prevent this damage. I have half the long green cucumber plant left on the right end of the picture above. I decided it needs to be protected. I found a bit of hardware cloth I had planned to make a gopher cage with and put it around what remained of that cucumber. See the results to the right.

But that won't help the two remaining lemon cukes which are in containers. One has always had a cage around it and thus far hasn't been harmed. The cage was supposed to be for the cucumbers to climb on, but has also served to protect it from whatever has been eating the rest. But next door to it in another pot something has been starting to attack. I can see the gnawing. It's finally starting to get baby cukes and I wanted to protect it. I found another bit of hardware cloth that was just the right size to go all the way around the pot, and it's two feet high. I don't think any rabbit will be able to get through or over it. But if it's an animal that can climb, it won't help.

I also decided that since today was overcast in the morning and cool, I would transplant my Oxheart tomato, which has been in a raised bed and not grown more than six inches high since I planted it on May 10. It's obvious it will not grow where I have it. I'm going to give it one more chance in a pot of fresh, new potting soil. I had high hopes for it. This is its new home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Abundance and Disasters

For the first time in ten years our apricot tree has actually produced enough apricots for us and the critters to share. So far I've picked four medium baskets full and there are more to pick. We are very thankful.

But when it comes to cucumbers, the critters are not leaving much for us. This is what I found a couple of days ago. As you can see, half the plant has been separated from the vine and is dead. I removed it, and hoped that the new cucumbers you can see growing would soon be ready to pick.

I had hoped it would be just right this morning, and it was. But someone else found it first and this is what was left for me when I picked it. My prime suspect is a rabbit, but I haven't seen it, so I'm not sure. I've never had a coon go after cucumbers before, but there are also possums and skunks in the area, so who knows? I sprayed Liquid Fence on the mulch under and the leaves on the cucumbers and summer squash that remain.

I planted bronze fennel where the other cucumber plant was cut off right above ground level three days ago.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mostly Maintenance This Week

Cucumbers are beginning to form, and I've already picked and eaten one of the long ones. The lemon cucumbers are also setting fruit that are almost the size of ping pong balls. The patio peppers are also starting to fruit. The garden is finally starting to produce something I can eat.

It has been hotter that usual, so I've continued to add mulch. The temperatures have been in the triple digits for three days and should be so again tomorrow. I practically melt when I go to the garden. I need to water every day when it's over 100 degrees.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Still addressing tomato problems.

Yesterday I tried adding an Epson salt solution to my tomatoes and a couple of the squash to see if they would improve. I watered it in well and then mulched with dry grass. Only time will tell now. Did not have a chance to check them today, but I'm sure they don't recover and start growing overnight.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

First Yellow Squash Picked Yesterday.

Though I haven't had much time to blog lately, I have been in the garden watering every day and trying to provide what my ailing plants need. On Saturday I gave anything that looks unhealthy some tea made from my worm castings. The tomatoes are getting a bit greener, but they aren't getting any bigger. Many of the tomatoes in the pots and new raised bed have green tomatoes, but some have yellowing leaves, and that worries me.

The weather has been in the high 80s and into the 90s this last couple of days, including today. That appears to make the squash and cukes happy. Still have to hand-pollinate the squash, but at least that works.
Gopher Poster print
Gopher Poster by naturalphotos
View other posters at Zazzle

It appears that the gophers aren't my only enemy. The raccoons have been nosing around the raised beds at night, too. My neighbor heard them, and things keep getting moved or broken (two loaded apricot branches snapped), and I find little holes dug in the edges of the containers and raised beds. I am not happy to think that I'm spending money and working hard to provide the coons with delicacies -- especially when they are so wasteful with what they eat and so unwilling to leave enough for us.
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