Well it’s about time to give an update on our garden efforts this year.  The raised beds are lookin’ good, apple trees are starting to ramp things up, as are the grapevines.

In the raised beds we have

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Beets ready to harvest
  • Herbs: Dill, Cilantro, Lemon Balm, Echinacea (Purple Coneflower), Chives, Parsley, Vera English Lavender, Italian Basil
  • Tomatoes: Brandywine, Italian, Roma, Cherry variety from Greece
  • Cucumbers: A & C Pickling, Gherkin
  • Peppers: Cyklon, King of the North Sweet Peppers, Jalapenos
  • Kale: Westlander, Blue Curled Scotch
  • Carrots: Nantes, Dragon
  • IMG_8928Asparagus
  • Tomatillos
  • Sedona Onions
  • Scallions
  • Eggplant
  • Detroit Red Beets
  • Artichokes

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    English Lavender
  • Rhubarb

Over in the mini-orchard we’ve got some unidentified apple trees, Nova Spy apple, Honeycrisp apple, half-dead pear tree, and cherry trees.  The Nova Spy and Honeycrisps were purchased this year from an orchard in New York in the finger lakes.  So far they’re looking good.  The two cherry trees, badly in need of a prune, are actually from Arbor Day.  Last year they were just wee mites, and this year they’re really hitting their stride.

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Eyeliner Lilies just beginning to open

While everything is coming along beautifully, cultivating vegetables, fruits and beautiful flowers has its challenges.

Powdery Mildew

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This easy to spot fungus thrives in my favorite summertime conditions.  Warm days, followed by cool nights.  Covering all parts of your plants in a grey to white powder, it can seriously stunt your vegetative growth.  Catch this early and you can easily combat it with some organic homemade solutions.  My go to solution resides in a 1/2 Gallon pump sprayer from Ground Works (purchased at Tractor Supply) with 1/2 teaspoon Horticultural Oil, 1/2 tablespoon baking soda, and a 1/2 teaspoon soap.  I coat all areas of the plants, both sides of leaves, every two weeks.  Be careful not to over do it, as we don’t want to burn the plant.  For more alternatives visit Growing a Greener World  where I found the information for my remedy.

Climbing Temperatures

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This is one we unfortunately learned the hard way last year.  In addition to carefully selecting your seeds for heirloom and organic varieties, planning the space each plant will need and what to plant together and away from each other, we must also plan for temperature changes over the growing season.  As you can see, it’s the end of the early romaine season for us.  The leaves of our plants have changed from long, full and delicate to tougher, deeper red leaves as the plants go to seed.  We’ll still harvest the romaine we have, but this crop is on its way out until fall.  Same goes for cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli.

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The Honeybees

We combed through our hives yesterday, and we’ve got one that’s booming in production.  This year we started with two new nucs as our bees absconded last year (most likely the result of high varroa mite counts).  With the new nucs you can see in the featured photo, we received medium depth frames and have simply added them to our deeps.  The bees are drawing out comb at the bottom.  With temperatures steadily high, we’ve separated these frames as the bees have drawn some of the comb across the bottoms of multiple frames.  Separating them will encourage good comb building habits.

We’ve added a honey super to Gloria’s hive, but the Rose’s hive is not quite so strong yet.  While there’s plenty of brood activity is suspiciously lower.  We weren’t able to find the queen, but with young larva we know Gloria was present within the last week.  You don’t always need to see the queen, but with a slower hive, it would sure make a girl feel more confident.

While we keep an eye out for the queen in the coming week, take a look at “Beekeeping Like a Girl” for a fabulous post on detecting whether you have queenless colony.  With beekeeping, we constantly find ourselves searching for information, and looking for guidance from other beekeepers and this blog is a gold mine!

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Visit Beekeeping Like A Girl for “Signs Your Colony is Queenless”

That’s all for now.  Look for more posts through the summer on different plant varieties, garden pests, and beekeeping wisdom.  In the meantime, tell us about some of your favorite garden varieties.

 

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