The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Garden at the beginning of June

Black raspberries

Every garden year is a little different, which keeps me from getting bored.  For example, during the last few springs and summers, I've been madly picking asparagus beetles, but Poppy budI've only seen a single asparagus nibbler in 2012.  I squashed it, looked ferociously for more, then shrugged and moved on to other tasks.

On the other hand, I usually plant seeds for the summer garden and forget about them for a few weeks until they're ready to be weeded and mulched.  Not this year.  Something or other is happily eating my seedlings as soon as they come out of the ground, not snipping the stems at the base the way cutworms do, but nibbling off the cotyledons so that sad little sticks are left behind with no energy with which to grow.  Despite three seedings, I have a total of two cucumber plants in the garden --- I guess we won't be awash in crisp cucumbers this year.  Other summer vegetables have also been affected, although less markedly.  Luckily, the unidentified nibbler seems to have gotten sated at last --- my most recent succession plantings are doing much better.

Trellised peas

Early June harvestMeanwhile, a hot spring has caused problems with early crops.  I try to get my broccoli into our bellies and freezer before the cabbage worms hatch, but that wasn't possible this year.  So I'm picking green caterpillars out of the broccoli heads (the latter of which are smaller than usual) and hoping Mark won't notice the missed insects that end up on his plate.  (Note to spouses of gardeners: it's very endearing to find a bug on your plate and shrug it off as "extra protein".)

Onion in the gardenBut the hot spring has a silver lining.  Mark and I enjoyed a bowlful of black raspberries Friday, a treat we usually don't partake of until the end of June.  We're gorging on sugar snap peas, crunching up baby carrots I thin out of the vibrant carrot bed, and watching onions plump up for later harvest.  And, of course, the tomato plants are growing like gangbusters --- one currant tomato is already the size of a pea.  Maybe this will be the year we eat our first tomato in June?

I've decided that the trick to a successful garden is to plant such a wide variety of vegetables that no single failure will leave you hungry.  That, plus learning to shrug off problems and to learn from your mistakes, turns every year into a good garden year.

Our chicken waterer keeps hens happy and chicks healthy.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Seeing some of the same issues here as well. Had two tomato and a pepper seedling nipped off at the base and the top completely gone- I'm thinking I may have a non bug nibbler in my garden. Although IF I catch him (rabbit?) he will end up in a pot with a few mushrooms. Too much work for the bunnies to eat it :)I also noticed a lack of head developement on my broccoli so far- but I have 25 plants. Im hoping even a little head each will add up to a couple meals worth, and the greens will be sauteed down as well:)
Comment by MamaHomesteader Sun Jun 3 11:15:53 2012

MamaHomesteader --- I'm guessing bugs for our unidentified nibblers just because they're hitting the plants when they're so tiny (and because many of the surviving leaves on larger plants have holes through them).

We did see a rabbit in the garden for the first time in years, though, last week. I started researching ways to catch him and learned that it's illegal in Virginia to kill a rabbit out of season?! So don't tell anyone if you put yours in the pot. :-)

Comment by anna Sun Jun 3 16:35:29 2012

Last year my 10 cucumber and melon plants started missing leaves till they were all raped and I was lefts with sticks. Then it was the lettuce that was ravaged, then they started on the tomatoes. I ended up putting a 18" screen around my garden as a fence and the problems went away. Ended up finding out it was a family of 3 woodchucks/groundhogs. Luckily my parents always have extra transplants.

Hope this helps. They aren't easy to spot cause they are super cautious and will scurry away at any movement/noise around them.

Comment by Marco Sun Jun 3 20:42:43 2012
Rabbit? What Rabbit?! Oh THAT, that's not rabbit. That's a chicken taking a spa day among the mushrooms :D
Comment by MamaHomesteader Mon Jun 4 14:19:07 2012

Marco --- See my comment to MamaHomesteader above....

MamaHomesteader --- My sentiments exactly! :-)

Comment by anna Mon Jun 4 16:02:26 2012

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.