Category Archives: Mulch

Planted 2 Of My Third Year Figs Into The Ground

This is one of the 2 – 3rd year figs that I planted in the ground.  It is a big step for the little fig babies.  They can no longer stay in a warmish store room during the winter.  Hopefully it will grow a strong root base to allow it to survive the winter.  It might possibly freeze to the ground this winter, hopefully not.  It is planted in red clay, under a couple of 60′ pines, at the woods edge.  The other fig is planted about 15′ further back, to the left and a bit further into the woods entrance.  I dug a larger hole and filled the space with a half bag of cheapie manure around each fig.  I have developed the tendency to use bone meal on all of my plant’s roots.  I put a handful of bone meal around the root ball for this tree. I mulched around the fig with regular old shredded wood and bark, as you can see.
3rd year figs in the ground

These figs came from cuttings from 2 enormous 20 year old figs.  It will probably be many years before these trees are large enough to provide enough branches for cuttings.

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Overview Time

Time for another overview of my garden:

This shot shows all 6 long beds – 3 are straight in front.  To the left is my new garden shed.  The area around the shed in in the process of being developed.  I plan to plant about 4 more blueberry plants and many wild black berry bushes in the area this side of the white shed.

This front bed has hot peppers on the left side of the raised cattle panel and summer squash on the right side.  Directly under the panel, winter squash is growing.  This bed has Waltham Butternut.  You can see onions hanging over the edges.  Earlier this year I planted onions around the edges of most of the beds.  I have bark and shredded wood chips as ground cover between my raised beds to discourage weeds.

overview of garden

I plant marigolds all over the place – in the edges of the raised beds and in small pots placed all over.  If I didn’t have so many seedlings drying out and dying this spring, I would have many more pots of marigolds all over.  This bed has summer squash (yellow and zucchini) on both sides of the cattle panel.  Early Winter Butternut squash is growing under the panel and will grow up the panel.  I grow my winter squash vines up the cattle panels.  I planted a couple of peppers at the ends of these beds.  This bed has Dwarf Kale going to seed.  I didn’t particularly like this smaller leafed kale, but I so enjoy Brassicaceae plants going to seed.  I am using bamboo poles to hold the kale plants out of the way so that the squash planted around them have plenty of sun and space to grow.
overview of garden

The bed at the top left has summer squash this year.  Last year it was my pepper bed.  I try my best – with my limited space – to rotate crops each year.  The bed at the top right – the one with my winter tent hoops still up, has a batch of Autum King carrots at the front corner.  I need to pick most of them soon.  A few of them are already going to seed.  I am also letting a couple of these Slo Bolt leaf lettuce plants go to seed.  I have the time because this is going to be my Basil bed this year (love that pesto) – but my basil seedlings are not all ready.  Some are already in, as are some peppers.  The swiss chard at the back of this bed will all be harvested and dried when my latest batch of basil seedlings are ready to go into this bed.  At the top left are some large pots with tomatoes, mentioned in another post.  Between the beds are bark and wood mulch, in the beds is leaf mulch.  I mulch all bare dirt.
overview time

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Cutworms? Something Is Loose In The Garden

These are new beds so for some reason I didn’t expect to have a problem with cutworms.  Well, not so.  In at least 2 of my raised beds, I have numerous peppers that have been cut off at the ground.  I have also found a few cucumber seedlings and Chinese Long Red beans that have also been cut off.

cutworm damage on a pepper

The picture shows the cinched stem there at the ground level.  That healthy green stem ends with a constriction and grayish tissue.  I have sprinkled diatomaceous earth around the pepper stems where there are damaged peppers.  Well see if it does any good.  I sprinkled the DE earlier today and it is raining hard tonight.  Fortunately, only a few of my peppers have been damaged – maybe 5%.   A couple of the peppers seem to still be alive, but laying down because their stem has been damaged.  I’ll let them grow as they lay and see if they ever produce.
closeup of cutworm damage

I have started all of these peppers from seeds that I save each year and I don’t like them to be damaged.  I do keep a thick leaf mulch on the soil, but I don’t think that affects the cutworm.  It is going to live in the soil anyway.  The mulch may even make it more difficult to find a plant stem?

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Every Night They Came Back To Kill Again

Originally published June 2011

I have had a real problem with cutworms this spring. They kept attacking in 2 spots – about 40 feet apart.

cutworms kept attaching repeatedly replanted plants

This section of my front raised bed should be host to a dozen Armenian melons about 12 inches high and a few dozen Christmas Pole limas.  But those seedlings were struck down as sprouts – continually. I replanted at least 3 times and still don’t have a full row of beans or melons.

Cutworm killed replanted Armenian melon

Cutworms killed Christmas limas as soon as they broke ground.

cutworms cut down newly sprouted christmas lima benas

A small sampling of cutworm damage. Or so I think. Some are cut, some are just ringed and squeezed to death. A boa constrictor?

Sampling of cutworm damage

Cutworms repeatedly killed my Okra seedling. Just yesterday another replanted seedling was struck down.

cutworms still killing replanted okra

I realize that the thick leaf mulch doesn’t help – in fact probably helps to conceal the little beasts, but I have to mulch because this soil would dry out in a day – we are in the upper 90s and it is the first day of June. Last year our June temps were consistently about 100 degrees with no rain. Water is an issue and my priority is to conserve soil moisture. After all, it is only 2 garden sections that are being struck – not the entire garden.

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