July 4th Garden Update

 This has to be my favorite month of the year in the garden!  The flowers are blooming, some vegetables are ready to eat (with more to come) and everything looks good!  

When I am cooking or doing dishes in the kitchen I love to look out and see the garden. Especially now with the Zinnias and Sunflowers starting to bloom in the 2 front beneficial flower beds.  Zinnias are great flowers to grow and they come in an array of beautiful bright colors. This year I tried several different kinds (more details below).
Beneficial flowers starting to bloom!  

The beneficial flower beds are not just for looks.  They bring good bugs to the garden (especially bees).  Check out a previous post of mine called:Attracting Beneficial Insects for more tips on this!

Zinnia- Senora
Zinnia Senora: Eye-catching 3" double blooms feature the unique color of salmon pink. 

Blooms all season 
(summer to fall)

36" height
Zinnia- Envy
Zinnia Envy:
Vigorous plants produce spectacular 2-3 flowers in the rarest of colors, chartreuse. 

Many bright 2-3" blooms

30" height

Zinnia- Purple Prince
Zinnia Purple Prince:
Intense, rosy purple, large flowers. 

Blooms for 10 weeks

36" height

Sunflower- Italian White
Sunflower Italian White: An abundance of 4" creamy white to yellow blooms form on multi-branching plants.

Blooms all season 
(summer to fall)
5' height

We also added a new flower bed around our Red Bud tree.  Next year we hope to make the bed even bigger (back to the tree line).  The more flowers you have the more bees will come to your garden!  I should add that I started both the Coleus and some of the Inpatients from seed indoors. 
Red Bud tree with Inpatients, Coleus, Ferns & Hostas
PESTS: Every year there are bad bugs in the garden!  We garden organically so I don't spray our plants with pesticides. I expect that some plants are going to be a loss and we do our best to get the plants as healthy as possible before we remove our row covers (which protect them from bugs) until they need to be pollinated.  So far this season we have been battling 3 different types of Beetles:

Japanese Beetle on the Asparagus

I can control these by hand picking them.  I have found them on our flowers, raspberries, blueberries and zucchini. They basically skeletonize the leaves of your plants.
Damage to leaf from Japanese Beetle

The Cucumber Beetles are the second hardest for me to control.  They fly fast and so handpicking is tricky.  This year I need to find another solution.  Here is more information I gathered on them last year: Striped Cucumber Beetle

Cucumber Beetles in Squash bloom

I have decided that my archenemy in the garden is the Asparagus Beetle.  I have worked and worked to keep this pest away from the Asparagus and have failed.  Last year I handpicked them every 2 days which was quite a chore.  This year I just don't have that kind of time.  Here is a previous post with more info: Asparagus Beetles
Asparagus Beetles
The row covers haven't worked because they over-winter in the soil.  So if this is your first year growing them put row covers on them and keep the beetles away! It is said that they small Eulophid wasp is the most effective predator of the Asparagus Beetle eating the eggs early in the season.  We have this Eulophid wasp on the Asparagus but we need more of them!
Eulophid Wasp (good bug to have)
Other than the beetles everything else is looking good.  We harvested the first Zucchini last week and more are on the way. Here is a look at the growth in the raised beds!
BED #1: Parsley, Asparagus, Summer Squash
Summer Squash
BED #2: Zucchini, Onions, Tomatoes, Okra & Cucumbers



CENTER HERB BED: Cilantro, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Basil, Tomatoes, Peppers & Marigolds
BED #3: Zucchini, Green Beans, Peppers & Cucumbers
Leaf damage

Green Beans

BED #4: Summer Squash (already harvested: Garlic & Lettuce) 
Summer Squash
Bolted lettuce in the compost pile!
 Now that the garlic and lettuce are harvested in BED #4 we need to figure out what we can plant this week to fill the empty spots!

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