|Quart of wild blackberries|
|WIld blackberry plant|
In case you are interested in storing local food like I am, the online Farmers' Market currently has gallon options for blueberries and blackberries. I splurged last week and bought a gallon of blueberries, a decision I do not regret. I froze half the blueberries and ate the other half in various ways. If you'd rather spend time than money on such a venture, there are many wild blackberries fruiting at the moment. I have an awesomely huge patch right down the road and have collected two quarts of blackberries recently. They aren't as big as the blackberries you can get from the store, and they have more seeds, but they are just as tasty in my opinion. Plus, it helps that they are free.
|First sunflower is blooming at my house!|
|Bee balm, attracting pollinators. :)|
So far, Wayne and I have harvested eighteen (18) pounds of produce from our garden. Most of which was Italian Green Beans at a whopping nine and a half (9.5) pounds. Closely seconded by zucchini and yellow squash (from one plant each) at two point nine (2.9) pounds each. I have gotten to collect a few ripe tomatoes of the smaller variety, but am still waiting on the larger ones to ripen. I very much hope that I won't have to make only green tomato salsa this summer....but you never know what mother nature feels like throwing at you.
I have recently discovered what much of the ugliness I am facing in my tomatoes are caused by. One of my tomatoes has been infected with Tobacco Mosaic Virus, which can be spread by people smoking and then handling the tomatoes. Very unfortunate that I didn't know this previously because there are smokers around my garden often and it could kill the plant. As an added bonus, there is no cure or deterrent for the virus in non-disease resistant cultivars.
|Home gardens can produce oddly shaped produce.|
|Tobacco Horn Worm|
I have also found Tobacco Horn Worms in both my garden and one of my worksite gardens. Though this worm is beautiful, he can decimate a plant very quickly. The one I discovered in my garden yesterday had eaten half of the top foliage on my orchid pepper. Chickens unfortunately won't eat this worm so you will need to kill it yourself and discard the body. If you let it go anywhere near your home, he will find his way back. I tried feeding a live one to the chickens yesterday and found him on the side of the garden closest to them munching my tomato plants this morning. I dislike killing bugs, but this one had to go.
|Lacewing eggs, how cool are they?|
If you see these in your garden, just smile and leave them alone. They are our friends since they eat aphids, cabbage worms, and white flies. Mother Earth News actually suggests that you can spray a light solution of sugar and water (1 tablespoon of sugar per cup of water) on plants with aphid problems in order to capture the attention of more lacewings and ladybugs. I didn't have to try this, but I will next time my infestation gets as bad as it did two weeks ago.