at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Gardening Update: Woes and Foes

Well, I’m finally back at home for a while after about a month of travel and vacations.  By “home” I mean that I have been at work and meetings and hanging out with seemingly long lost friends for the past few days.  I don’t want you to think that I’ve actually attempted to catch up on all the laundry and cleaning and chores that didn’t get done last month.  I have, however, gotten at least a little chance to scope out my garden since my return.  Unfortunately, it is showing some signs of the neglect that I am most certainly guilty of.  I was able to get some weeds pulled between trips, but there are still some large ones growing, and I know my plants have been under-watered for several weeks now.  I also returned to some sickly looking zucchini plants.  I know mine kind of wilted early last year and faded out early, but they were looking more vibrant this year – until recently.  I think I discovered the culprit, though: squash bugs.  I saw them crawling all over one zucchini the other night and didn’t know what they were.  A co-worker and I looked them up and discovered that they are likely the cause of damage to my plants as well as the fruit.  Now, the trick will be getting rid of them without use of a pesticide.  We found some tips and tricks online that I’m going to have to try…and hope that a least a couple zucchini plants will be spared.  One of the tips we saw was to sprinkle flour over the plants.  It’s supposed to gum up their mouths so they stop eating my freaking plants!  I’ll let you know if it works :)

Besides that, I have my tomato plants, which, all things considered, seem to be doing okay.  As I predicted, the plants I started from seeds have remained rather small and a little sickly looking.  I may get a few tomatoes from a few of them, but not much.  Of the plants I bought, one is totally taking off and thriving and a couple others will at least give me some tomatoes.  I didn’t stake my tomatoes this year.  I’m sure I should have.  I still might.  But the one plant has just grown into this sprawling mass of stalks, and I’m not even sure how to begin with that!  One of the smaller tomato plants gave me my first tomato of the season the other night.  It didn’t look quite ripe enough, but it felt ready, and practically fell off the branch when I picked it up.  I also have a few grape(?) tomatoes that I just picked – and they’re yellowish orange!  How fun!   I’m hoping to make the tomatoes into some fresh bruschetta very soon!  I will even have some fresh basil to add – between my one volunteer basil plant, the plant I bought from the store and the several plants I started as seeds, I should get a good harvest this year!

My hot peppers seem to be doing pretty well, this year.  Again, the seeds didn’t grow this year, so these ones did start from plants.  But, I will actually have some jalapenos and cayenne peppers.  Hooray!  Salsa, anyone?

My next step in the vegetable garden is to figure out when to plant my fall crops.  I took the late produced snow peas and dried them out – I’m going to try to plant those for fall.  I will probably also try planting some spinach and lettuce.  They all say plant again in “late summer” for a fall crop – but I don’t know what that means for Michigan.  Time to do some research!

The perennial garden is changing again.   

The phlox all bloomed, my sunflowers bloomed, and I have some gladiolus starting to bloom, as well.   

 I also have what I believe to be a black-eyed susan, but I’m not sure where it came from.  I don’t really care, as it’s quite pretty!  Perhaps it was in the wildflower mix that I spread in there.  I don’t think that’s really had enough sun and water to grow – but there are a few little wildflowers popping up.   

The cosmos I started from seeds also bloomed, but they were poorly placed and are a little hard to see.  I’m going to need to do some serious rearranging of my plants again this fall.  But I think I accomplished my first goal for this area, which was simply to fill it with plants.  Next step is to beautify!

I’m also trying to slowly incorporate some changes into our side yard.  There are essentially just field grasses growing along either side of our yard, and I’d like to start adding some actual flowers and pretty it up a bit.  I did spread a bunch of Michigan wildflower seed in one area and some of those have bloomed!

Even if I don’t get enough time to give my garden the care that it should really have, it’s still fun to have and it’s still therapeutic for me just to walk along my stone path between the gardens and take a few minutes to admire the plants and smell the flowers. 

 *Side note: Sunflowers smell really good!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!