Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hot and Blooming

The squash bugs are on their way...I think I've caught most of the eggs in my plot, so that only leaves another five acres for these creeps to breed in.    (Click here for photo of the young squash bug and here for the adult)  So far, the diatomaceous earth is keeping the squash borers and cucumber beetles from doing too much damage.  (I have planted more cucumbers because the beetles skeletonized the first blooms.)  Meanwhile, a second set of zucchini seeds is germinating because even if I keep the bugs beat down, the Mildew Brothers...remember them?  Downy and Powdery...will be coming soon.

Rewards!  Here are the last of the central buds from the Diplomat broccoli...this variety has a reputation for producing  lots of side buds over the rest of the season. And the first Zephyr zucchini...woohoo!  (Sure, boxes of zephyr have been at the farmer's market-4 bucks a pound-but I love the harvest here.)  Tip for organic broccoli: I give the heads and leaves a dip in salt water to scare out any wee beasties.

Here's a little nemophilia called Buffalo Eyes-a silly name for flower this delicate if you think about an eyeball the size of your fist belonging to a 1500 pound animal whose sense of humor has worn thin.

Summer forget-me-not and it really is this blue.

The agrostemma (Ocean Pearls variety) is finally  opening.  It likes a cool soil and has been happy growing amongst the red savoy cabbages.  The common name is corn cockle, an agricultural pest elsewhere; it doesn't survive the winters here. One of the best cut flowers ever.

Covent Garden annual babies breath-gypsophila-and I have been waiting for this to bloom.  The seed is becoming harder to find even though it's a self-sowing hardy annual.  I'll save its seed this year...just in case.  All commercial attention goes to plants with marketing programs like the Proven Winners and these easy, charming flowers drop off the list.

Soil temperature update:  on July 10 at about 1 pm....under 2-3 inches of straw mulch:  at 4" soil depth, 72 degrees.  At 2 inches soil depth, 73.5 degrees.    No mulch/bare soil : at 4 inches soil depth 82 degrees and at 2 inches, 93.5.   The reflective straw does smooth out the temperature changes while the bare soil registers at least a 10 degree temperature change over only 2 inches.

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