Sunday, July 7, 2013

Signs of a Green Thumb

We dug our first potatoes of the summer on the 4th of July. The plants have done well with the excessive rain and fluctuations in temperatures this growing season. I expected a lot of potato and cucumber beetle foraging on the leaves when I returned home after more than two weeks away. But the plants looked great and I had not a single pest to dispatch.

Freshly dug Red Norland potatoes.
The rest of the garden and the flowers are also doing surprisingly well. Most of our cultivated gardens are in the front yard, which tends to be sandier and better drained than the backyard. That has served us well in this wet year.

The red cabbage, broccoli, and eggplant plants look so good that it
almost seems like I have a green thumb, which is not always so evident.

The fence around the vegetable garden seems to be keeping the deer out,
even though we regularly see one bounding through the yard.

I reserved the three raised beds in the backyard, near the woods, for squashes, cucumbers, and cantaloupes--plants that are more prickly and hence less desirable to deer, and where a fence is typically not needed. So far, so good. I see tiny fruits on all the plants.

The vegetables are good to eat, but it is the flowers that catch my eye. Typically the flower gardens look best in June. This year July is taking top honors so far. The hollyhocks that I planted last year at the base of the deck are in full color right now.

The combo of red bee balm and white daisies draws in the ruby-throated
hummingbird and many insects and catches my eye.

Tending to these gardens takes time and requires getting soil under the fingernails, but none of it is hard. Weeding and pest monitoring (and removal of Japanese beetles) are the main chores. Despite the wacky weather -- too cold, too much rain, too hot -- our gardens are thriving this year. So, it just looks like I have a green thumb. Mostly it is due to Mother Nature and some luck. 

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