Written by contributor Eren of This Vintage Chica.
Currently at our house, there are tomatoes on almost every windowsill, picked a bit early by our 5 year old who just can’t help himself. I have four large zucchinis sitting on the counter, ready to be used.
Green beans and edamame beans have taken over everything out in the garden. But the carrots underneath are happy to have the shade. We are watching baby cantaloupes and watermelons grow right before our eyes.
But this is also the time of the year that I always seem to start letting things go. It gets hot and I am not in the garden as often as I was earlier in the spring. I get tired of watering or we go on vacation and things begin to dry up. And garden pests like squash bugs can begin to get to the fruits of our labor.
But just because it is summer doesn’t mean it’s time to take a vacation from the garden. There is lots to do, friends!
Let’s check in with everyone to see how your garden is growing.
I know we all started out our spring gardens with excitement and anticipation. But as the temperatures rise, watering becomes more difficult, and garden pests are attracted to all of that ripening fruit, we can become a bit discouraged.
So, let me give you some tips for the two things that seem to get me discouraged in my garden.
Here in Virginia it has been hot! There were days the temperatures reached over 100 degrees, and I was watering morning and evening just to keep plants alive.
Luckily, infrequent afternoon rain storms are filling our rain barrels just in the nick of time. We have it attached to a soaker hose that delivers the water straight to the plant roots, minimizing the amount of water that evaporates.
But now, we are getting ready to go on vacation and I am looking for ways to make it easy for the person watching our house. Here are some of my ideas:
- For my container plants, if the container are large enough, you can drill small (1/16″) holes in a soda bottle and half-bury it with the plants; fill it up before you go and it’ll dribble for a long weekend.
- I have seen many people have success with putting their drip hose on a timer. That might be a good option too.
- I could always pay the kid next door to do it.
I like bugs, I really do. My boys and I have a lot of fun with bugs. But I do not like sharing the fruits of my labor with them. Already this year we have caterpillars eating our parsley and dill…and giant tobacco horn worm caterpillars eating our tomatoes.
Natural options for dealing with bugs include:
- The most organic and safest way of dealing with bugs is to pick them off. This is a perfect job for your kids! My boys love patrolling the garden for bugs eating “our crops”. We pick the caterpillars off and either raise them inside and release them as butterflies, or feed them to the garden turtle. The squash vine borers usually get fed to the turtle.
- Japanese beetles are attracted to our green bean leaves and our edamame leaves. We pick them off and drop them in tin cans of soapy water. We’ll do the same with the squash bugs that will eventually try to take over our summer squash and zucchini plants.
- The only time I ever use a pesticide is when the above ideas do not work. I have lost entire squash plants to squash bugs and this year, if it comes down to it I am prepared to use Neem oil, which claims to only affect insects that chew and suck on your garden plants, and leave beneficial insects like bees and butterflies unharmed.
So, let’s check in on your garden. What’s growing? What’s not?