Thursday, July 21, 2011

Attracting pollinators, beneficial insects

My Aunt Martha always planted flowers in between rows in her garden in West Virginia. These French marigolds are a great choice as they only grow about a foot high, don't require dead-heading and bloom from late-spring to frost. In the background are blooming buckwheat. I scattered some seeds (you can get them at most feed stores) when I planted the spring garden. Kale to the left, beets to the right. Flowering buckwheat attracts not only pollinating insects (such as bees) but beneficial insects (for instance, wasps) that feed on nasty pests like Colorado potato beetles and Japanese beetles. Here's an interesting article from Cornell on the subject.
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Easy tree nursery

These tree seedlings were started last year from cuttings. Basically you make a clean cut from a small branch and place it in water. Then stick into moist soil. It helps if you have the best soil on the planet - Maury Silt Loam from central Kentucky. Burr Oak, Cypress, and Redbud here.
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Killer Cukes

Even bush-type cucumbers can use some trellising. Here I used the tomato cages -- cattle fence with pig-ring closures -- and just placed them over the cucumbers when they were small. I prefer pickling cukes, which are smaller and sweeter, imho. I've never seen such healthy plants. Tons of blooms and finger-size cucumbers as we speak.
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Tomato Patch

Some honking green tomatoes. These are Mortgage Lifters, a pink heirloom tomato that originated in West Virginia.

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How the Garden Grows

There are three plots this year, combining veg, herbs and flowers. 
Totally organic (of course), lush and healthy.

Gardening and blogging are not that compatible. There's too damn much to do. Although we've been blessed with lots of rain this year (I've only had to water the garden 3 times so far), this set off a chain of chores like weeding, trellis and cage making, tying up vines and suckering lots of tomato plants. Still, it's hard to complain (obviously I still can) as the bounty is about to explode.
Thought I'd post some photos to show off. This may be the most gorgeous garden I've done. Just wait till the flowers bloom.

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