Angry birds

I went out this morning to spray because I saw some bug damage yesterday during my daily walk-through of the garden, and a Very Angry Bird started chirping and dive bombing me. I ignored it, figuring it was just surprised I was outside so early, when it flew down and landed just feet away from me on the rose arch. When I didn’t move fast enough, it actually moved to stare me right in the eye and tell me what it thought about me — and it wasn’t safe for a family blog. After a minute or two I suddenly came to the realization that the thing I thought was a clump of leaves caught in the shrub, wasn’t.

Another bird’s nest in the rose arch!

I didn’t see or hear any babies, but I decided do stop spraying and stay away from the nest after that. It’s be nice to have a bird or two in the garden. Maybe I should put up some bird houses….

Yesterday I went out and fertilized the plants in the straw bales. They are clearly not doing as well as the other plants. I can’t see the tomato stakes I put out at all, so apparently that was a bust. I put out a tablespoon and a half of blood meal and watered it in. I was a little worried that I might burn the plants, but they are looking very good this morning. In fact, the sickly experimental hybrid is still alive and looking a little perkier today:

The new Cherokee Purples are not looking all that great. It may take a bit for them to settle in to their new homes

This Cherokee Purple’s leaves look heat stressed, but the new growth is coming in green.

I’ll wait and see what happens.

My original from seed Cherokee Purple is looking very good:

Cherokee Purple taking off

And the others look nice, too:

The Pink Plum tomato has been getting sicker and sicker. I thought it might have a magnesium deficiency, so I put some Epsom salts on it and picked off the sick leaves. Today after doing some reading I think it may have Yellow Lead Curl Virus. It’s spread by bugs, so I don’t have to worry about my other plants as long as I’m spraying, but it’s incurable. I’ll watch it for another week, and if it continues to decline I will pull and toss it.

I’m a little concerned about Bear Claw in the garden. It still looks a little scroungy. It wasn’t a super healthy-looking plant to begin with, and it’s been slow to settle in. It came with some leaf spot, and I think it’s stunting that plants progress. I may need to clean up the bad leaves:

Bear Claw, garden

The backup plants are growing nicely in their homes, but the Cherokee Purples do look a little sickly to me. Again, I thought it might be magnesium deficiency because of the yellowing, so I put some epsom salt water on them a couple of days ago. They do seem to look a little better. Today I also put some blood meal on them to help them bush out. Here they are May 25:

Backup plants May 25

And here they are today:

Looking at these pictures makes me realize they’ve grown a lot, but I think that Miracle Gro soil is bad. They look so weak. Italian Grape is very healthy, however, and I think it is about ready to be planted out. Wednesday is going to get up close to 100 degrees, so I will wait until after that heat wave to plant it.

The squash and cucumbers have grown so much!

The little seed I stuffed down in the straw bale keeps growing! I think I will have all the squash and cucumbers I want this summer.

My blackberries are looking so great!

The plant in the picture with all the lateral branches is the one I topped last year and suddenly understood what I’d been reading about blackberry pruning. Here’s that picture:

Last August, when I finally figured out how to prune blackberries

Beans and peas are coming along:

I think I have a volunteer tomato coming up in the peas:

And here are more pictures of the garden:

And yard:

With all the turmoil in America right now, it’s a relief to be able to go outside and see all of this. I am very lucky to live here.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I keep up with three cars, two kids, one husband, and I live on 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where we look after an elderly relative. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs as I pursue a graduate degree. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.