Thursday, June 18, 2020

'Juneuary' Slug Fest

Groan... with the cold, wet weather we've had lately, the slugs are having a feast on everything in my garden. I have been using 'Safer's Slug Bait', another trick is beer traps which I've tried in the past and maybe my containers weren't deep enough because the slugs came in for a drink and none were drowned in the brew!! 
Broccoli plants under slug attack
Even though my garden is tucked in and covered with ProtekNet many of my plants are being wiped out by slugs and I'm not alone!! I knew that the ProtekNet would keep out any flying insects but what ever... who ever ... is living in the soil is now the problem, and a big one so far!!

Years ago I got a roll of 'Copper Blocker' from Lee Valley Tools and had great success with it to control damage from slugs and snails. It comes in a roll, I cut a piece about 6" then insert thumbs and pull so it rolls out like a tube sock.
Pet and wildlife friendly options
The photos on Lee Valley's link are a bit more descriptive. This stuff works!! I didn't put it on the broccoli starts that I planted in the garden and many of them have suffered because of that. Afterwards, I used some of the old copper rings from years past and immediately the problem stopped. It loses its copper shine once exposed to the elements but I have re-used the faded copper rings for years after and they are still as effective as when shiny and new!

Garlic Scape Pesto, portioned and frozen
Another task in the garden right now is to remove the garlic scapes. If you have never heard of these, check out my Featured Post. If you don't have garlic in your garden, some Farmer's Markets have opened with social distancing and Covid19 protocols. Besides eating fresh, local vegetables, you support the local farmer's and for sure, garlic scapes will be available at the Markets. The season is short so don't delay!
Sunflowers are struggling under slug attack

I made a double recipe of my 'Garlic Scape Pesto' without the Parmesan Cheese, portioned 1/2 cup into each snack bag then froze them flat on bake sheets. Once frozen, move them to a large freezer bag. To use, defrost and add grated Parmesan Cheese if desired.

Until next time... 
Please stay healthy, be safe, take good care...  
Happy Gardening and Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae

Monday, June 1, 2020

Garden Under Cover

Started planting with ProtekNet covers
With the Covid19 pandemic, quarantine, physical distancing, sanitation protocols, wearing a mask in public etc ... our 'new normal' will be something to get used to. Even my garden in the woods is masked and undercover this year!

This Spring I was prepared with a 7' x 100' package of ProtekNet from William Dam Seeds and eager to try it out. I'm really excited at how easy it is to use, almost stretchy and fabric-like. Insects can still lay eggs on leaves if touching the netting, so it must be supported by hoops to keep it elevated off of the vegetables.
Black mesh plant trays for shade on the broccoli plants
So far under cover are; 3 varieties of cabbage (Tiara, Taiwan & Lennox), 2 types broccoli (Sibsey Artwork & Calabrese), onions (Patterson, Rosa di Milano, Ailsa Craig, Apache), leeks (Bandit), cylindrical beets, carrots (Bolero), radish (Easter Egg), purple potatoes (seed originally from my Uncle Robert, many years ago!), pickling cucumbers (Corentine), dill weed and nasturtiums.
Since the photos above, I've planted the 2 beds on the far right, one bed with winter squash (Sunshine and Butternut) and the other with summer squash (Partenon and Cassia Zucchini and assorted Patty Pans). 
Burlap over cucumber bed at night

Our weather is still up and down with day to night temperature fluctuations. Daytime, direct sun on the new transplants is reduced in intensity by using the black mesh plant trays. I have used numerous methods for shade in past years. In the evenings I add burlap over the Corentine cucumber bed, removed in the daytime. The garlic is looking great! Compare this photo to 2 months ago...
Garlic planted October 2019

I got the bird netting over the strawberry bed a week early this year. I lost quite a few Seascape plants over winter, so will fill in the gaps with runners later. The robins strategically place their nests near the garden. I find their beautiful blue egg shells on the ground and have seen them chasing the owls away from their nests day and evening! The robins can destroy the ripening strawberries just before they are ripe enough for me to pick, so I'm happy to be ahead of the game this year!
Sheila's Perfume Rose
I just acquired another highly scented rose to my collection. This 'Sheila's Perfume' rose is a stunning beauty and has a delicious scent! I was in the right place at the right time and received this as a generous gift from the incredible man who illustrated my cookbook, For the Love of Food. From what I have heard, this is a difficult rose to get your hands on, so I am thrilled ... thank you Peter! 

Until next time... 
Please stay healthy, be safe...  
Happy gardening and Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae