Monday, June 25, 2018

A Post-Holiday Update and Harvest Monday!


Some of you may have guessed - or not - that we were away over the past week and a half on a family vacation in Vancouver.  I usually unplug completely when I go away but this time my husband had work to do while we were there so I indulged in a bit of blog reading and writing.

When we returned from our holiday, there were some pleasant surprises, such as the roses beside the house which literally burst into bloom:

Never mind the underplanting of weeds - those will be history in a few days 😉

Most of the veg garden did fairly well - I was happy that the recently transplanted tomatoes and eggplant were settling in nicely despite the hot, hot, hot weather while we were away.  Another pleasant surprise were the bean beds - these were sown only days before we left and they are now well on their way:

Canadian Wonder bush beans

So that was the good news.  Now the bad news.  I somehow messed up when I set the timer for the beds in Area #2 and they only ended up getting watered once while we were away.  A couple of the beds - specifically the strawberry bed and pepper bed - were looking downright sad when we came back.  But the strawberry bed was also trampled - it was a mess with smushed plants and developing strawberries broken off - my guess? - dang rabbits.

Strawberry Bed
A right mess on our return

Unlike the old strawberry bed, the new one is not in a fenced in area, but I did cover it with netting that is elevated on posts to protect the berries from the birds - the usual culprits when it comes to stolen fruits.  That same netting was all messed up and flattened - something the birds have never done.  I'll have to fortify my defenses obviously - I'm still in the thought process on that.

I was able to pick a handful of strawberries - literally - so all was not lost.


And speaking of rabbits - when I went into the Area #1 garden right after we got back, I noticed that the lettuce looked a bit chewed.  Or was that my imagination?  And the tiny Swiss chard - which was also transplanted just before we left - was missing a few leaves:


Hmmmm - maybe slugs?  The very next day, what should I find?  Two dang rabbits IN the vegetable garden.  Argh!!  So I quietly close the gate and then proceed to chase them around until they get out...which shows me exactly how they were getting in.  It ended up being a section of chicken wire that was loose on the bottom, leaving a nice big gap.

On this 2nd day, there was significant visible damage on the lettuce, more chard was eaten and I noticed that several pea vines were chewed right off:

This is what rabbit damage on peas looks like

I'm looking on the bright side, though - judging from the amount of damage since the previous day, I would say that the rabbits had only found the gap in the fence the day before we got back.  Had they been feasting for longer than that, a lot more damage would have been done.  That's a definite win!

The harvests haven't really begun in earnest yet which, if you go away, is a good thing!  There was only a bit of catch-up harvesting to do including bok choy and mizuna:

Joi Choi & Mizuna
And the first of the beets:

Botanical Interests 'Gourmet Blend'

I'm having the beet greens for lunch today - and the beets themselves?  I'm going to try shaving them and including them in a salad.  I had a salad while on holiday that had shaved striped beets and I actually liked them!  I haven't cut into these guys yet, but the one on the right looks like it may be a stripped variety so I'm excited to give it a go.

Other than greens (I still have kale and lettuce in the fridge that I harvested before we left), there is not much else to harvest at the moment.  I'll keep checking on the strawberries and in a day or two I'll feel around for baby potatoes from the container plants.  The snow peas are also on the cusp of being ready - always an exciting harvest!

To see what everyone else has been harvesting, head on over to Our Happy Acres where Dave is our host for Harvest Mondays.

One last thing - I'm on Instagram now!  I'm a laggard when it comes to social media - life just gets in the way! - but I finally gave Instagram a go this past April and I love it!  I wanted to make sure that Instagram was something that I enjoyed and would stick with before I mentioned anything on the blog - looks like it's a keeper!    Should you care to follow along, I'm @thegardeningme - I've also added an Instagram link & a feed showing the most recent posts to my sidebar.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

42 comments:

  1. You're on IG now that I've basically abandoned it, I just can't slog through all the sponsored posts, aka stinking ads, that clog my feed. It was fun before they screwed it up.

    Oh, I feel your pain, those dang rabbits. Thank goodness I've managed to keep them out of my garden but the rodents are just as bad as ever.

    The shaved beet salad sounds good, I've still got some golden beets in the garden which should be good that way.

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    1. Oh, that's too bad. I've not noticed an over-abundance of sponsored ads but maybe that's because I'm just starting out.

      I have two more beet varieties growing - plus whatever else is in the "Gourmet Blend" section. I think there may be a few golden ones in there so I'm looking forward to giving those a try as they are supposed to be relatively mild.

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  2. By the way, your link from Our Happy Acres doesn't seem to be working, at least for me.

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    1. Your right! I've re-linked and asked Dave to remove my first one - thanks for the heads up!

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  3. That was pretty brave, going away for so long in peak gardening season. Hope you had a great time. Yes, it seems the damage could have been much worse. The beans look really incredible. Looks like you don't mind them being close together. Let us know how that works out.

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    1. Those are bush beans and I always plant them 4" apart in rows 4" apart, which seems to work out quite well. I love Canadian Wonder - it's similar to a small red kidney but the flavour is OMG! amazing, straight from the cooking pot.

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  4. ooh bunnies. I had a nest in my bean bed last weak but they all died between neighborhood cats and rain. It was a little sad.
    I shred beets in my salads often. Not many ways I will eat the root part except that way. I don't peel it, I just shred it, either beets or carrots.
    Gorgeous harvests!
    For me, we are a family of five and there are always critter or disease problems so I always over plant a bit. Last years cucumber harvest was such a bust I over did it this year to make up I guess! Ha! Thanks for visiting my garden blog!

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    1. Thanks Shawn :) Every year is different and it's all about striking a balance, isn't it? Oh, that is sad about the rabbit nest - I wouldn't wish that on them. What I do wish is that those in my neighbourhood would find a home elsewhere!

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  5. Those critters, or fluffy bunnies, can cause quite a lot of damage so I think you got of lightly. The critters causing me the most damage at the moment are the cats who are sleeping in the middle of the veg beds, squashing everything down.

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    1. Oh no - what a nuisance! Hopefully your veg are not too damaged and start to get bigger so that cats will find other spots more comfortable than your beds :)

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  6. I hope that you manage to control those rabbits. It’s frustrating when all the effort put into growing things is ruined before you reap any benefits.

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    1. So true - I've seen them about but have not caught them in the veg area since I fixed the hole. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

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  7. Hi Margaret, How wonderful to come home to those roses blooming. Pink is my favorite color. I am sorry the rabbits are getting your garden and made a mess of your strawberry bed. I have found some of those fussy white worms about an inch long on my Yard long beans and then on my hollyhock. You have even more challenges than I do because you have a larger garden. Good luck! Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy - we all have our critters to deal with, be they large and furry or small and slimy ;) I wonder what those white worms would be - hopefully you are able to keep them under control and they don't get those precious beans!

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  8. Ugh...rabbits! Don't get me started! Honestly, they cause 99% of my gardening problems! I don't even think they're cute. They're actually evil. ;-) Anyway, I'm glad you had a great vacation and that most of the garden looks fabulous! Berries and roses, too! Enjoy!

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    1. Ha! Same here - they are the WORST! My family now knows when I see them in the garden or they've caused some damage when they hear me actually saying...AARGH!....rather loudly too :) It's like my go-to frustrated rabbit exclamation.

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  9. Your roses look beautiful, it seems to be a good year for them. I do hope you manage to sort out some rabbit defences as they can do so much damage, it's lucky you found where they were getting in when you did otherwise things could have been so much worse.

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    1. Thanks Jo - I am so thankful that we were able to figure out their entry point. I'm already making plants to beef up the fencing as it seems we have some issues every year. It truly does get so frustrating, especially when a lot of damage is done like last year where they decapitated most of the pepper plants and chewed up the majority of eggplants.

      That rose bush has been here since we moved in and was basically neglected until the past couple of years when I've been doing a bit of rejuvenation pruning and it's obviously loved it (not that I knew what I was doing or anything - I simply cut out the really old canes!)

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  10. Rabbits need to tailor their tastes to only eat the weeds! At least you found their entrance. I have a bunny, too, and wonder how much of my barely there back garden will soon disappear... Ugh!

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    1. I know! I could really use a good bindweed chomper!! When it came to my annuals, the only ones that I planted outside of the fenced area were sunflowers. One by one - they disappeared...and then there were none. The perennials, though, weren't touched. Fingers crossed yours was a transient visit and there's a tastier garden in your neighbourhood!

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  11. The mizuna and choi greens look fabulous. Oh no, it definitely looks like your strawberry bed got trampled. Hopefully they'll recover soon. And I always plant my bush beans close together. We usually get rust so I need to get as many beans from the patch as soon as possible.

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    1. Thanks Phuong - So far, part of the strawberry bed is recovering but the other part was trampled again(!) as I haven't gotten around to reinforcing it yet.

      I've always grown my beans relatively close - one of these days I'll have to test out whether that does in fact increase my yields.

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  12. Just had to stop by from Jo's blog to say …
    Your roses look beautiful, and such a lovely colour.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Jan :) They certainly do put on a show this time of year!

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  13. Roses are such a lovely welcome home, and they do look amazing. Shame about your rabbit visitor, but hopefully he won't be able to get back in for further tasting sessions. Even one can do such a lot of damage. Hope your shaved beets were tasty

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    1. Yes, those rascally rabbits - there are more of them than ever around here this year. The beets are cleaned and in the fridge...I think they will find their way into a salad tonight - I'm optimistic!

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  14. That is a glorious rose bush! As for the rabbits, hanging's too good for them. At least they showed you where they were sneaking in.

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    1. I find the chard (even more than the lettuce) is the best indicator of rabbit intrusion. Every day I take a look to see if it's still there - so far so good (knock on wood!)

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  15. I always worry about the garden when we are away on vacation in summer. Water, pests, etc. One year someone came into our garden and stole all the watermelon. This is the first year I am having issues with rabbits and deer in our kitchen garden. They seem to love the strawberry leaves.

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    1. Oh no! I didn't have issues with rabbits for a couple of years in the beginning but once they found the beds - and all the yummy goodies - they have come back every single year. The deer, though, would be especially worrying. And stealing watermelons??? You have GOT to be kidding me! I've heard of that happening in allotments but not out of someone's own backyard.

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  16. The roses are beautiful and I wouldn't have noticed the weeds if you hadn't mentioned them. Just like I don't see them in my own garden ;-). It's good you figured out how the rabbit got through your defenses!

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    1. I HOPE I found all of the rabbit openings - my chard once again looks smaller, but nothing else seems to be chewed. We did have a lot of rain recently, so this latest damage could have been from slugs - hopefully!

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  17. Rabbits have been a real nuisance for me this year too. They ate all the bean seedlings, the field pea cover crop and lettuce in Earthbox. I've found they love beet greens more than anything, so you are lucky to get some beets. It wasn't rabbits that got my strawberries, it was squirrels. They ate the berries when they were white. Have you tried the rabbit repellent? It worked for me but it's expensive.

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    1. Ugh - so frustrating! I haven't tried rabbit repellent - I'll have to look for it around here. One thing I also want to try is Irish Spring soap, flaked - apparently this is also good at repelling rabbits. I'll probably try out a few things in the ornamental border next year.

      P.S. Sorry about the late posting/reply - For some reason, I wasn't receiving notifications on comments that were waiting for moderation (see my post "Apologies to all" from today)

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  18. Que lindas flores e que belas culturas. Tenha um feliz dia.

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    1. Thank you so much for saying so, Sandra :)

      P.S. Sorry about the late posting/reply - For some reason, I wasn't receiving notifications on comments that were waiting for moderation (see my post "Apologies to all" from today)

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  19. Hello Margaret .. thanks for stopping by my blog ! You asked about eh euphorbia xmartinii (Ascot Rainbow) .. it is zone 5 and up so it is a perennial, barring a wicked winter (which you know we just had) so it will over winter (if it wants to ? LOL) I love your roses, what kind are they? .. I haven't had the best of luck with them, so I found "At Last Rose" .. it is supposed to survive me no matter what and have scent, so far so good! You have amazing veggies .. we don't have the room for them and I don't think I would be a good veggie mom at all so they are better off without me torturing them ? haha .. I see you are a Nat King Cole fan and historical novels .. Outlander fan too ? .. hey those weeds re green and not noticeable at all but too bad the bunnies don't make snacks of them ? haha

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    1. I'll have to look into getting that Euphorbia in my garden - thanks for the ID! So many of the ones I see (and love) are not hardy in our area so I'm happy to finally find one that is ;)

      You know, I have NO idea what those roses are as they were already here when we moved here 10 years ago - since I don't know that much about roses (but I'm starting to learn!), I can't even venture a guess. I have an "At Last" rose too! It's wonderful - the fragrance is to die for - just amazing! So far it's just tiny as I only planted it last fall, but I'm hoping that it will "creep" and then "leap" in the next couple of years :)

      I haven't seen Outlander but it looks like it's just my thing - will have to add it to the watch list. You know, the bunnies do eat some of the weeds in the grass, but unfortunately nowhere near enough!

      P.S. I'm so sorry about the late posting/reply - For some reason, I wasn't receiving notifications on comments that were waiting for moderation (see my recent post "Apologies to all")

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  20. Very good blog, I like to read the posts you share, every post is very interesting, the picture is very beautiful, I really like plants and flowers, I have planted tomatoes and watermelons, it is very interesting.

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    1. Thank you so much Naja - growing something and then enjoying the "fruits" of your labour at the dinner table is an experience that can't be beat!

      P.S. I'm so sorry for the late posting/reply. For some reason, I wasn't receiving notifications on comments that were waiting for moderation (see my recent post "Apologies to all")

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  21. Your blog is very interesting, I also like this rural life.

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    1. Thanks so much Harrison :)

      P.S. I'm so sorry for the late posting/reply. For some reason, I wasn't receiving notifications on comments that were waiting for moderation (see my recent post "Apologies to all")

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