Saturday Garden Update – May 8, 2021

I think I’m finally done building my Spring garden. This week we added five peppers, two melons, two hibiscus, and a half dozen herbs. Oh. My chard never came up, or I didn’t plant it and thought I did, so I do need to reseed that. So I guess I’m not completely done. We do love our Swiss chard. So here is the current view of our back garden.

We effectively doubled the size of our garden this year with the tomato grow bags and fruit trees. Everything else is a repeat of last year with some modifications of location and variety.

We changed up the peppers: I have two varieties of sweet peppers this year, and only one crazy hot plant. I did get a jalapeño and a cubanelle pepper, both of which classify as hot, but they’re not crazy like the scorpion peppers we had four of last year. Even the one buena mulata isn’t on par with the scorpion peppers, but it will satisfy my husband’s need for something spicy.

I put two tomatoes and two holy basil in the potato bed. After two growing seasons of not planting potatoes, we still have volunteer potatoes, so I’m challenging the rule that says not to grow them together right now. I probably didn’t need to buy the holy basil, because we have a half dozen volunteers of those coming up in around the tomatoes, too. And don’t get me started on the mint and oregano trying to creep in from the herb bed!

I put my muskmelons on the trellis this year. Hopefully they won’t be affected by the dreaded SVB. I also bought two tigger melons and put them out on the black fence to grow. This might be the last year for this packet of seeds of the muskmelons. I saved them from a melon I bought at farmer’s market back in 2014. It is hands-down the best melon ever. I saved seeds last year because I thought I was probably pushing my limit. They’ve been slow to germinate, but far I’m at 7 out of 10 from the 2014 seeds. That’s a way better success rate than the store-bought sunflower seeds, zinnias, and amaranth I planted with them! I’ve only had two sunflowers and three amaranth come up, and no zinnias.

With the herbs, we already had mint, rosemary, two types of thyme, and two varieties of oregano. We added a stevia plant and two parsley plants to fill in where we cut out the Swiss chard. We put dill and fennel in the anchor pots on the trellis. We have five other basil plants in addition to the plethora of holy basil. We added two roselle hibiscus plants for making tea. We put these in pots this time to help them through the winters. I started garlic in the fall, but I fear it might be lost to mold. Its lower leaves are starting to brown, so I’ll be pulling it soon. The green onions I planted look like full onions, so I’m curious what those bulbs look like! They’re flowering beautifully!

Onion flower

The new fruit trees are still doing well, although they could use a good insecticidal soap spray. It just needs to stop being windy, or sunny, or rainy. If we could just have series of calm, overcast days, that would be great.

The San Marzano tomatoes are in the same boat. They had a weak start because of the cold nights we had when I first got them, and now they are afflicted by spider mites. But they are rebounding finally with all the rain and warmer temperatures we’ve had, aside from those spider mites.

And let me tell you about this little tomatillo that could! I really wish it would make up its mind! A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how it had been nearly cut off at the ground, just hanging on by a thread, but seemed to be thriving. A few hours after I published the post, it looked like it flat out gave up on life. It looked like that for days. I shared that last week. This week, it’s perked back up again!

The tomatillo is living this week!

I don’t know. It’s a mystery. Maybe it doesn’t want to be outshined by the crazy resurrection of the bougainvillea out front. Is it alive? Is it dead? Is it overtaken by that fungus? Right now we’re clinging to hope, a very tiny, fragile hope. I also moved it out to the front a little more. I don’t think it was quite getting enough sun where it was.

Itty bitty bougainvillea

The front is looking great! Mostly. The bluebonnets have started popping their seeds, but also had some late blooms this week, so they’re also in the “indecisive” category. I’ll probably be pulling a lot of them this week. This photo is from earlier in the week.

Bluebonnets and poppies!

I’ve noticed a serious aphid infestation on the gaura though. I’ve been torn between letting them stay to tempt the beneficial bugs to the yard (we need more!), and they are in the front yard after all, but oh my goodness, I do mean it is an infestation! I finally took a bucket of soapy water out and cut some of the stems off. I saved the ladybugs and lacewings I saw, but I’m sure I missed some. The aphids were moving on to the winged stage, and I don’t need them discovering the back yard!

Aphids on the gaura, and this is just one stem!

I like to end things on a happy, beautiful note, so rather than aphids, please enjoy this lovely image of a bee on the penstemon. Have a beautiful week, garden friends!


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