We’re keeping up with a few local gardeners this summer to see what’s growing — and what’s causing problems!
Anne Brodie Hill
"My peas and sugar snap peas did good, but they didn’t get a whole lot of peas — but they were like a handful of heaven," said the Gainesville resident, who is planting most of her vegetables in containers this summer due to underground pest problems in the past.
Her plants started from seeds haven’t done too well, but other plants are growing like gangbusters. She has a couple half-barrels and some large plastic containers filled with store-bought plants and some seeds, and they are pretty happy.
"They are growing like the best garden you ever saw," she said. "There’s no bugs in them, no root borers getting into my cucumbers or squash. I planted blue lake 156 (bush beans) and they make really long, pretty green beans with no strings, and small seeds; I’ve already picked three bowls of them, and you can plant them all summer long. ... the cucumbers are like kudzu."
The only problem Albright has had so far is that there’s not enough room for everything.
"I put too many tomato plants in — that’s my No. 1 problem," she said. "Then I was gone for two weeks, and I didn’t stake the tomatoes right, so I had tomatoes growing all over the place. But I’ve started getting little tomatoes."
Along with the tomatoes, Albright has herbs, squash, cucumbers, peppers and jalapeno peppers in her roughly 80-square-foot garden.
At this point, rain is the only issue — and the bell peppers, which are lagging behind their hot cousins.
"I don’t know what’s wrong with them," she said. "They’re kind of getting gnarly."
Cooper said he’s been busy mulching to fight the weeds that keep cropping up in his garden, but all that mulching has created another problem — a good habitat for bad beetles.
"Plus, in my zeal to mulch, I’ve mulched right over radish seed, which germinate into pitiful spindly things," he said, acknowledging that he’s really growing the root crops for the first time, and isn’t sure how they’ll turn out. "Since our garden is hand-turned, it’s just not made for these kinds of veggies. The clay soil is really too hard."
Cooper has been keeping a list of the pests munching on his plants — and which he’s tried to stamp out — including leafhoppers, potato aphids, slugs (lots and lots), tortoise beetles, false wireworms, leaf-footed bugs, beet armyworms, pepper weevil and climbing cutworms.
"I had a green caterpillar eating my arugula, but I’m not sure at the moment whether it was a cutworm or a cabbage worm," he said. Despite the diverse population, though, most of the pests are in low numbers and at this point, most of what he’s been finding lately are now, well, dead.