Friday, October 17, 2014

There's something missing

Like, maybe, sweet potatoes?

That's my harvest.  Granted it was my first time trying to grow sweet potatoes in the ground, and the deer continually "cropped" the leaves every chance they got.  But seriously?  That's it?!  My "Sweet Potato In A Tub" experiment did better than this.

Oh well.  There's always next time.  At least I hope that the deer got fat on my un-fenced garden munchies as I'm going to be putting a broad head through at least one of them in the very near future.

My teeny-tiny-can't-even-call-it-a-garden this fall was also a bust.  Three quarters of the green beans I planted were torn up by the armadillos and it seems that the curse on my squash continued on past the summer.  Susan was nice enough to send me some globe zucchini seeds and I planted five hills of them for Fall.  There were tons of flowers on them.  There are still tons of flowers on them.  One hill (of three healthy plants) put out one zuke.  One.  And the rest of the hills are about on par.  There is one more decent sized zuke that I'll harvest when it's of adequate stuffing size, and then hope that the four other little baby globe zucchini make it to maturity.  

I don't know if it's the soil or the weather or the universe just hates me, but just about any type of melon or squash did jack this year.  One cantaloupe from one plant.  One watermelon from one plant.  Two, maybe three anorexic looking butternut squash from each plant.  And the vines were lush and thick with flowers.  Apparently all male flowers.  It wasn't as if there were dead or rotted fruits after the flowers fell off, just the stems that held the flowers.  Apparently I've got a garden filled with gay vegetables.  Either that or I'm so severely lacking in natural pollinators that I'll be having to hand-pollinate everything from now on.  

There are also strawberries missing from my strawberry garden.  Like, the entire bed is void of any strawberry plant.  I noticed the plants sending out runners this summer so I let them go crazy, thinking that I'd harvest them in the fall and move them to another bed to increase my strawberry holdings.  But now there are very few of the travelling plants and none in the original bed.  It almost looks like they were burned or something.  Not having had strawberry plants for more than two years, I have no idea if this is what they "do", if they only last two years, or if the universe in fact does have it in for me.  


  1. We had 'thousands' of zucchini flowers, but not a lot of zukes this year. Our gardener-mentor told us it was because we have a shortage of bees, and those flowers weren't getting pollinated. So we carried around a soft artist's brush, and every time there were flowers open, we tickled them with the artist's brush. Lo and behold, we finally got some zukes - not an abundance, but that's probably because we didn't start with the pollination assistance until about August. Same story with cucumbers, yellow squash and butternut squash. We may have to take advantage of the local bee club and learn how to keep bees. Apparently the world needs everyone to practice a little more bee hospitality.

  2. What you have to remember about honey bees is to them quantity trumps quality when it comes to blooms. Honey Bees will almost always find the largest concentration of a workable bloom and forage that area and that one type of bloom until it dries up. If you see a single bee stop on a flower and just kinda lazily trying different blooms then it is just a scout and not actually working the blooms. So if you have only a few plants that is not usually sufficient to draw the bees in. All that being said once the quantity figure is met then quality does come into play so no matter how many cucumber plants and blooms I have going the bees are not going to stop working a huge patch of clover to work the cucumbers. I always find the bees really start working my melon/squash blooms after the major tree species have stopped blooming. However by planting a larger than needed amount of any type of melon or cucubit I can entice the bees into the blooms earlier because of the quantity.

    Often times small garden plots do not get worked by the local bees because it is just not attractive enough to get their attention.

    Just something I have noticed from my bees over the years.

    1. I just learned quite a bit from you, PP. Thanks. The primary difference on our property from the previous year? A couple acres of red clover planted not far from the garden! Hmm...

    2. Small red clover is very attractive to honey bees. The larger type has too long a funnel on the flower so the bees cannot get their tongues down into it. It depends on your location and what else is blooming at the same time but yes Honey Bees will head to a field of clover over a couple of plants because of the quantity. Get enough of the same type of plant going and you get the honey flow effect which make so many bee keepers smile :)

  3. We are still seeing honey bees here. I think it's because I planted so many flowers this year. Not sure. I forgot to plant sweet potatoes this year. Like you said, there is always next year.

  4. I am hearing from lots of people that this was not a good gardening year! Let's hope next year is better.

    Plant lots of flowers among the veggies and maybe it will help draw bees. BTW, I have had bumper crops of sweet potatoes and then I have had just a few strings....all in the same general location. Never did figure it out.

  5. The universe has it in for you. No, not seriously, but gee-diddly, you seem to have to work awfully hard for not much harvest. (You're the one who is supposed to be living in a friendly-to-gardeners area instead of me!) Wish I knew what to tell you so your garden would do better. I know you sure do try hard.