I learned last year that letting my viney butternut squash plants creep out of the beds and grow along in the grass attracts squirrels, who then sabotage the fruit with their wee teeth, so this year we've built a trellis. I have yet to see if this keep the squirrels away, but it does look a lot prettier.
I also learned last year that two zucchini plants is enough to feed a family of four. So this year, instead of planting an entire packet of zucchini seeds, I planted two seeds and got two plants and we have been having zucchini for with dinner regularly (yum and yummier) but not so often that we hate zucchini.
All six of our tomato plants have tomatoes on them! Truly, I can not believe it. Last year our first tomato arrived at the very end of July. I do think it helped that I used a grow light, the plants this year were a wee bit bigger when they were transplanted than last years, but ultimately I think summer 2012 has been hotter and sunnier by far that summer 2011. I have noticed a few tomatoes have small brown spots and I'll need to look into that, it could be an issue (a very big issue?!?). Or maybe, hopefully, it means I need to be watering the garden more. This summer has also by much much more dry than last year and I probably do not water the garden with the frequency it craves.
I have no idea what to make of the tiny Brussels Sprouts plants. Should they be bigger? Did the earwig infestation I had to kill off a few weeks ago put them behind? Or are they fine? If you have advice, please do share. Otherwise, time will tell. And then I will tell you.
I plucked the first cucumber of the year off my overgrown plants this past weekend. It was sweet, crisp and oh so delicious. (Ask one of my roommates if you do not believe me!) This time last year, our cucumber plants were just getting going. Again, it's been oh so hot & oh so sunny.
Oh so hot is great for cucumbers and peppers and tomatoes, but it is not so good for lettuce and spinach and other greens. If it's one or the other though, then last year we had one, and this year the other. And variety is always nice. I am not complaining. I love the garden this, I loved it last year. I love the ways in which it changes and the ways it stays the same.
If you are wondering why your pepper plants are so tiny, as I was, it could be as simple as a lack of Magnesium in the soil and a little Epsom salt may just be the trick you were looking for. Truly, our plants have nearly doubled in size since the first application I put a week and a half ago. And here I almost thought I would have to give up on pepper plants, as if I just didn't have the right color thumb to make it work. Silly, Amber.
Just for kicks, I now present you with today's garden...
And our garden as of July 10th last year...
On that note, thunder clouds are rolling in, and the garden and I are rejoicing. Do a little jig with me, won't you?