I've owed you all a pic of the vegetable garden for some time now, so here it is(click photo to enlarge):
From left to right there are the green pepper plants, a row of sugar snow peas, and green beans. In the background are two cucumber plants. The empty space on the right is the washed out area that I never got around to replanting. I might plant a couple of half rows of radishes tomorrow since those grow so fast. Not shown are the potted tomato plants that I've pulled up by the house for protection. More on that in a minute.
The peppers have seemed to struggle to grow this year, but they are finally coming around. I should be seeing some nice ones in a few weeks.
The peas are doing very well, though they have just started to flower. Like everything else they seem late. Ditto for the green beans, though I did lose some plants to some critter that didn't leave any tracks. Do squirrels eat young green bean shoots?
The cucumbers are in surprisingly good shape. Tons of flowers and I should be harvesting some in a couple of weeks. This is my first year for cukes and I kind of figured I would kill them off for some reason. Beginners luck I guess.
The tomatoes are going gangbusters right now. I've gotten six of the big ones and dozens of the grape type so far. I'm picking about a dozen of the small ones every other day now and they are still flowering.
I have yet to use an insecticide in the garden this year and still I have found very, very little insect damage. The other night I was talking with both my mom and my brother and they have gathered up and drowned hundreds of Japanese beetles apiece. I have searched my entire yard, not just the garden, for weeks now and have not been able to find a single one. Not one, and I had plenty last year. No grubs, caterpillars, or other types of beetles either.
I credit the bird feeder. Well, I credit the feeder for keeping the birds around and the birds for eating all the bugs. I see no other plausible explanation. You know what? I counted eight juvenile cardinals on or under the bird feeder the other day. Eight! That's in addition to the two pairs of adults who undoubtedly raised them. Cardinals are champion bug eaters from what I understand, and I now believe it. I've seen mourning doves, also known for their insect eating, as well. And more species besides that.
That thing about moving the tomatoes? That's because they are warning about large hail in this band of thunderstorms heading east as I type:
I've seen worse looking radar shots, but that hail warning makes me nervous for the garden. It has finally reached the point where it's poised to pay off and I would obviously hate to see hail pound it into the ground. I'll just have to see what happens.
The good news is the temps are about 25 degrees cooler behind that front. That should make for a gorgeous day tomorrow.
Update: Got some wind, but only enough to shake some leaves and small branches from the trees. No hail at my place, just a nice rain.