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How Does Your Garden Grow?

3 Aug

This spring, we expanded our five raised bed garden to an eight raised bed garden, increasing our garden square footage from about 160 square feet to almost 300 square feet.  I use a modified “Square Foot Gardening” method.

Earlier in the gardening season when it was cool and rainy, my lettuce went gangbusters, the broccoli produced several servings for our family of seven, but the pak choy was a bust.  Now that we’re in the dead of summer with 23 days (and counting) over 100 degrees, my garden is a mix of failure and success. The summer squash is producing fairly well (although one plant succumbed to an onslaught by the squash bugs), the peppers are prolific (especially my Jimmy Nardellos) and the tomatoes have given us a few with great promise of more to come.

Lemon Squash and Jimmy Nardellos

I had hoped I would be a canning fool by now, but the high temps have really affected  the production of the tomatoes and beans. I’m not sure my pole beans are going to give me anything this year, but the bush beans have produced some (which I may end up saving to plant next year in hopes of better weather).

Hutterite Soup Beans

My winter squash is coming along, but I have lost about three plants to squash bugs.  They are REALLY annoying.  I lost ALL my squash plants (summer, winter, and pumpkin) last year to squash bugs.  I am determined to keep my garden as organic as possible, so I am trying to use organic insect prevention and control.  I started out this gardening season using Diatomaceous Earth to keep the squash bug numbers in check, but I was met with only minor success.  I have now moved on to a homemade insecticidal soap using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap (Eucalyptus).  I mix about four tablespoons of soap per gallon of water and spray it on the bugs directly.  It works quite quickly on the babies, but it takes a couple of minutes for the adults to succumb.  I don’t know if it has any effect on the eggs, but I think I may try the duct-tape-turned-inside-out-trick to remove the eggs off of the leaves tomorrow morning.  (The heat index is somewhere obscene like 115 this afternoon.)

Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap

I’ll let you know the results of my new approach to squash bug control.  If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!