Tag Archives: Pests

Beans , Beans Good for Your Heart…

Bean Trellis

Bean Trellis

This has been an odd year for beans, at least in my garden.  The first planting of pole beans evaporated into the ether.  Planting number 2 just sat there during our extended cool spring weather.  They have started growing now but are so far behind other bean plantings at Rock Farm I’m feeling a tad bit jealous.  This past weekend they were finally tall enough for me to string the trellis.  Last year I used some netting that I purchased.  It worked well enough but at the end of the season trying to salvage it was an exercise in futility.  I ended up cutting it out of the dead vines and pitching it.  Not wanting to waste money this year I opted to do the same thing I did with the peas, wrap jute around an upper and lower cross bar, which seems to be working wonderfully in the pea row.  I already had the three vertical poles in the ground, a sturdy bamboo pole flanked by 2 t-bar posts.  I used two 1″ pvc elbows and a t to attach two bamboo poles across the top, end to end.  I ended up driving a short piece of rebar into the end of one and pounding the other onto it.  Its pretty sturdy and has works as a single unit all last year and looks just fine for this year.  Not wanting to buy anything else, I tied two remaining 6′ t-posts to the bottom of the three vertical posts about 2″ off of the ground.  I wrapped jute around the top and bottom posts at about 6″ intervals.  Should work fine and will be so much easier to deal with come fall.

Bush Beans

In other bean news, 1 row Contender, 2 rows Topcrop & 1 row Roma II went in after the garlic, arugula and lettuce came out.  The garlic wasn’t as large this year, possibly due to the extended cool spring even though the number of days in the ground was the same as last year.  Last spring seemed a lot warmer.  The tops were dying back and I needed the space so out they went.  The Inchelium was spectacularly unimpressive.  Half of them didn’t make it to spring and the other half were very small. I know they are typically smaller but these seemed reeeally small.  The Lorz Italian had respectable sized heads and all made it through the winter.  I have no experience with either of these varieties so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The Silverwhite and Turkish Giant, were a decent size but smaller than last year save one or two heads most, if not all made it through.

Garden in late June


Speaking of lettuce, I finally emptied the bed of Renee’s cutting lettuce blend.  Can’t remember the exact name right now but it lasted much long than I thought it would.  Even as the stems were elongating to form seed the lettuce wasn’t bitter. I ended up removing a lovage transplant that was taking up way too much room.  I also beat back the arugula and reclaimed the area for a row of the beans.


The potatoes are taking over the county. I’m really hoping there are actual potatoes under all of that green. I ended up having to run some stakes and jute to corral them, they were headed for the neighboring plot. I ended up having to snip back a couple of stems as the beets were complaining.

Garden Flowers

The ‘Persian Carpet’ zinnias are blooming and I clipped a few for the little multi-holed ceramic vase we picked up from a pottery shop during a recent trip to Orcas Is. The reds, yellows and oranges against the blue of the vase is striking. The dahlia’s I planted in the garden next to the potatoes are going to bloom any day now.

Balcony Garden

The parsley was sending up a flower stalk so it was time to harvest. My haul was pretty respectable given that it was growing in a 6″ clay pot. The oregano was staring to outgrow its clay pot so I cut it back too. It is on my replant list. I cut back a lemon verbena a week or two ago. I had read that lemon verbena can be used to make a lemony pesto. WRONG! While it is physically possible to do so, the result was nothing that I would ever eat voluntarily. Now I just have to decide whether or not I want to take up previous real estate and keep the plant or let it go. I’m leaning toward the latter.

In the spirit of spiffying up the balcony, I attempted to transplant one of the volunteer nasturtiums from the garden into one of the long planters that sit on the railing. It had been filled with pansies but they were looking pretty sad. The transplanting was a baaad idea. I ended up having to take so much off of the top to compensate for the pitiful roots that I was left with a bunch of empty stems. The good news is that it does seem to be sending out new shoots at some of the leaf nodes so all is not lost.


Slug - Arion rufus
I ran across an ‘Arion rufus’ or Red Slug under the nasturtiums. This one isn’t native and is quite destructive in the garden. I found the darker Arion a couple of times in the past but this was the first time I’ve seen one this color. Googling it was at first unclear if this was actually a red form of ‘Arion ater’ but further reading led me to believe it was more likely A. rufus. In either case its time in the garden is past.


  • Beets – Red Baron Dutch (6/20)
  • Chard (ongoing)
  • Garlic (6/21 thru 6/25)
  • Lettuce (6/25 final)
  • Kale (ongoing)
  • Oregano (ongoing)
  • Parsley (6/25 final)
  • Snow Peas (ongoing)
  • Zinnias (6/25)


  • Beets – Cylindrical (6/25)
  • Beans, Bush – Contender, Roma II & Topcrop (6/25)

Keeping Track


Every year I promise myself to keep better records than the year before and every year’s end I look back and realize I was nowhere near as consistent as I had hoped. Not sure when I planted the lettuce in the pic but it does look good.

So far I am 1 for 2 with the late spinach. The Oriental Giant is showing signs of bolting but the Palco is looking good. The days are still warm but not as crazy warm as they were earlier.


The bad news is Fred has a case of the powdery mildew. More bad for how he looks than anything. The good news is Fred has been joined by Ethel. The couple have completely taken over the walkway between the two 50′ (I think) long beds.


I saw one of these little guys last year on the broccoli in my Helpline row across the garden. They must like the cabbage worms or perhaps the few aphids I see occasionally.


Anita is trying to beat back clubroot. According to the prevailing wisdom solarization can help to take the numbers of spores down. Hope it works. I’m going to miss brassicas.

Pitching the Tent

When I lived in Kentucky we had the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. In my experience with ETC there it kept pretty much to the apple, wild cherry, maple and other trees in our neighborhood. I don’t ever remember seeing it on smaller fruits. Here in Washington we have the Western Tent Caterpillar or WTC. Like its cousin to the East, this is a larva from a fairly nondescript brownish moth and it seems to have an appetite for the smaller types of fruit. More than one evening saw us picking these beasties off of the apples, raspberries and blueberries, easily getting several dozen within about 10 minutes. Fortunately their season was short and the damage minimal.

Snow Peas

The snow peas are doing well…finally. I planted a row early but had to replant when only a few came up and those that did ended up getting stepped on. I planted half a row again in the same spot and these seem to be doing great. This year I planted half of what I did last year and I do believe the yield will end up being higher.

The beans are doing well but it will be a while before I see a harvest from them. The garlic is coming along nicely. A little unclear on when I’ll need to harvest. Need to research that.
Garden 6-8-2015

A Revelation

A couple of days ago I was watering the potted items on the back patio. I noticed a young mantid on the thyme trying to escape the shower. I decided to move her to a safer place with some critters for her lunch. I walked around the garden and honestly could not find anything with any kind of great numbers of pests. After I set her down on a nearby plant, I realized at that moment how lucky I was.

Darn Deer

It may be hard to see by the photo but this used to be a half barrel FULL of strawberries. That was till the deer got to it. It sits about 10′ from the corner of the house. I believe it was a deer and not a rabbit because on the ground next to this are more strawberry leaves. Surely a rabbit would have hit them first. Normally the deer are content topping my willows and keeping the grapes pruned. This is the first time one has left evidence of venturing this close to the house. Is nothing safe from these ravenous animals?

Deer, tomatoes and a flower or two

I had naively thought that the deer issue last summer had to do with the drought. Not so. Apparently there is at least one deer that has found my garden and enjoys the fruits of my labor on a regular basis. About 4 or 5 of the tomato plants I planted last week have been eaten. Most should recover but one was taken down to about a 2 inch stalk. I know it was a deer as I found his/her tracks in the freshly tilled soil. I decided something was in order if I wanted to have any hopes of having any tomatoes this year. I decided to take some chicken wire and make a god-awful looking cage around the lot of them. I had originally wanted to create individual cages but didn’t have the wire and wasn’t sure it would work the way I wanted it to. In the end I decided to go with this contraption for the existing plants. I still have some more to plant and those will probably get individual cages once I purchase the wire for them (assuming my vehicles stop breaking down and there is any money left in the till).


The tree trunk is all that is left in the side yard. The landlord cut it down last year after the second time it broke threating the house. The trunk is about 3-4′ tall. I believe he thought it would come back. So far there are a couple of sprouts as there were last year but nothing even slightly resembling a tree. More than likely it will end up rotting in place over time. I decided to dress it up a bit by adding some color. I took long strips of bark and tried to seal off the open areas between the two trunks. I filled the cavity with soil and planted a couple of black eyed susan vines. Hopefully they will spill out over the trunk and bring some life to this dead old thing.

A couple of years ago DB gave me a start of her pink primrose. They are so pretty with their mottled leaves.

Serenade – Organic Fungicide

One of my figs has a pretty good case of rust going. If I don’t do something I may end up losing it. So… while out looking for something as minimally toxic as possible I ran across Serenade. It’s active ingredient is Bacillus subtilis, a soil critter related to the critter responsible for the Bt insecticide. According to the label it is effective on ornamentals as well as fruits and veggies against all manner of nasties including rust and powdery mildew. I did a minimal amount of research just now and it may or may not be as affective against powdery mildew as it states according to several researchers out there. I may have a chance to try it out as one of my lilacs usually gets it pretty bad. One Arizona study had good results using it against a disease in lettuce that I can’t seem to remember right at the moment. I’ll give it a shot and report back. Anybody else ever use this one? Opinions?

Blooms, some spots and where are all the pictures?



The blueberries are a bloomin’. Normally it is a little colder when the blueberries bloom. Rarely do I see any honey bees out yet but the yearly visit from my lone bumble bee should be starting up any time now. She can often be seen doing her best to pollinate the blueberries. I do everything but build a shrine to her. She is my hero.

The first blooms of the season on both the June bearing and everbearing strawberries are starting. The currants and my Miss Kim lilac are both loaded with what will be future blooms. The tulips are up and in full bloom. I only have two of them and ended up cutting them last night as we were supposed to get a bad storm. Thankfully it missed us.

This is mom’s creeping phlox. I took a start of this from mom’s place after she passed. It has lived in a 3 gallon pot for the last 10 years. I supposed I could separate it out and put some in the ground. When is the best time to separate phlox? Have I missed it this year?


One of my new Brown Turkey Figs has some spots on the leaves. I picked the one at the top of the page up at a local place (Jungle Jim’s) and about a week or two later noticed these spots. Any ideas? I tried googling fig and spots but every entry maked fig. 132, fig. 87 etc came up. I went with figs but that was of little help. And why the heck are all of these University publications lacking photos? With digital cameras as cheap as they are these days can’t we get some pictures on those fact sheets?

Cedar Apple Rust

Some years back we had 4 apple trees where we lived. Each year they would get the characteristic yellow spotting of CAR on the leaves. I always looked for the alien looking galls on my neighbor’s cedar tree but was never able to spot them. This morning as I let the dog out I glanced over at the cedar in our front yard. I noticed a smallish orange blob and thought this might be what it was. Upon closer inspection I found this guy. Later I spotted another larger gall further up the tree. Kind of reminds me of one of those dog toys.

Cedar apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae) is a fungal disease that lives part of its life on Eastern Red Cedar and the other part typically on apples and crabapples. There are other species of Gymnosporangium that affect other plants too. John Hartman over at the University of Ky put out a publication detailing the life cycle and treatment options in Ky.

Predicting Pest Appearance by Plant Development

Several years ago a grad student at the University of Ky did some research on forecasting insect pest appearance by watching the development of flowering plants in the landscape. “Timing Control Actions for Landscape Insect Pests Using Flowering Plants as Indicators” came out of that research.

In a nutshell he watched and recorded the pests’ development and the development of common landscape plants. Since both plant and insect development is tied to temperature it makes sense that there would be a correlation. If you know when something is scheduled to appear you can take what ever actions you deem appropriate be it organic, chemical, or live and let live. This is something that anyone can do. Granted you may not have ready access to pheromone traps but how many of us take a daily stroll through our garden? Do you write down what you see? Do you record temperatures, plant development, pests etc? If you do then you can probably go back over your garden diary and make your own list for your area. It may not be as exact as this research and you may need to pay closer attention from here on out but it can sure help to know what to expect.

by: kerry