Monday, September 12, 2011

The mid September garden

There are very few signs of summer coming to an end in Gidget's Garden. Our warm season crops are still going strong for the most part and the garden looks spectacular. We do have some issues of course; we're dealing with a lot of early blight on our tomatoes, leaf hoppers still want to take hold of some of the peppers, the mealy bugs are still eating the strawberries, and we're always on the lookout for destructive caterpillars. Even still, the garden is a wonderful place to spend time right now.

Maria's passion flowers and Gidget's roses are a feast for the eyes
One of Maria's stunning passion flowers up close, with some caterpillar damage on leaves
There are some subtle signs of fall setting in though, and that means we need to get ready for the next season quickly. We have some seeds started and we are starting some more soon. We will also start direct sowing some of the fall seeds by the end of the week. Our sun is starting to shift and we will lose most of it in the front garden by the time winter arrives.

Clover starting to pop up among the rocks is a sure sign of fall
Our rock pathways are always covered in clover during fall and winter, we leave it for the bees because it's one of their favorite food sources and the fall and winter crops provide a lot less blooms than our spring and summer crops do. Sometimes I wonder if people think I just get lazy and choose not to spend time weeding but these "weeds" are left in our garden intentionally.

Our big bed is a hot mess
I've spent time over the past couple days trying to separate some of these plants to give them some much needed air circulation and I have also been carefully pruning the leaves and branches that are affected with early blight.

After trying to trellis and train the plants to give them more circulation
The other evening I went  through and sprayed copper again. Copper is an organic method for controlling fungal disease but it can affect beneficial insects and if it is used too often it will build up in your soil. Some amount of copper is essential for human survival but too much in the diet can be a bad thing. The first time I used it was back in June and I used it again the other night to try and get a handle on our fungal issues. I make sure to avoid blossoms, beneficial insects, and I only spray where it's necessary anytime I spray something in our garden.  

I will most likely not use copper again but I had it on hand and needed to do something to ensure the health of our plants. It did help when I used it back in June. In the future I will try try the Cornell formula which is oil, baking soda, and water to try and manage the disease. I also plan to work some cornmeal and powered milk into the soil to see if that helps. Next year I will give the plants more space which will also help prevent fungal disease.

"This is garbage"
The powdered milk spray we have been using does seem to be helping with the powdery mildew that we have problems with on our roses, cucumbers, and squash plants.

An Arizona sunset rose
Gidget loves hanging out by the roses
The sugar baby watermelons have created a beautiful carpet on the east side of the front garden
Soon all of the warm season plants will be gone and Gidget's Garden will look very plain with just leafy stuff in front. We don't have enough sun to do any more than that in the late fall through winter.

This will all look very different in a couple of months. 
We need more full sun for the upcoming seasons so Farmer D worked for 2 days getting everything prepared and our friends at Sonny San Diego came over and got a great start on getting our rooftop garden expanded. Now we'll have nearly 4 times as much space on the rooftop in full sun all year.

The beginning of the rooftop expansion
Gidget swears she is not the cause of our falling pepper plants but I am not convinced. 

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