My orchard is full of dandelions. To most people that would be a horror to hear, but for me I am pleased. I have come to love my dandelion wine. The more dandelions the more wine. Also they bring in so many pollinators, which assures that my berries will come to fruition. There is something to be said for a 'bee loud glade.' I know the hum makes me think of the golden and delicious honey the bee keeper shares with me. He informed me that my bees not only made it through the winter, but are flourishing. He has divided the hives twice now. He is not a commercial keeper, just a hobbyist. I sure enjoy having the hives on our property, not just for the honey, but also because they keep my berries plentiful. The bumblebees have also done well this year.
Sitting on the porch watching them landing and launching off of flowers is a most enjoyable way to pass the time.
Not only are there berries, dandelions, and bees in the orchard this year. My husband began his great pumpkin project. He dug up three hills and we planted three different types of pumpkin. Connecticut Field, Big Max, Dills Atlantic Giant. We put three pumpkins per hill and will later cull out the weak ones if need be. It should be an interesting experiment. Meanwhile, I re-planted my squash, watermelon, melons, and zucchini. I also added okra, artichoke, basil of every kind, and cucumbers to my many greenhouse pots. At some point we are re-doing the greenhouse, so I have been trying not to plant anything to permanently. How much longer the little buggers can hold out is the big question.Besides a plethora of dandelions, I have a ton of rhubarb. I was happy to chop it up for wine, syrup, jelly, muffins, and cake. I saw on Pinterest that someone used the leaves as a mulch. I figured I would give it a try. I had to put jars over my melons and such to keep the voles at bay. In the black tub are beautiful broccoli. I'm very excited about how wonderfully they are progressing. The blank space is where my beans are planted. Hopefully, now that the slug population is in check I will actually see some beans. I just want to say Sluggo is AMAZING! The slug population went from everything had those squirmy suckers under them to I've seen one all spring. Yahoo. One garden pest down several more to go. I have one more gardening project. The voles have been eating my strawberries down to nothing this spring. I wanted to move them anyway, because my rhubarb has taken over their bed. Well, I asked our prairie property neighbor (who raises sheep) if he had an old sheep water tank that no longer held water. I asked if I could buy one and he looked at me like I was crazy. Obviously he isn't a gardener. He gave it to me for free. The bottom is completely rusted out, but it suits my purpose just fine. I filled it with last year's compost on the bottom and compost from 3 years ago on the top. Then I plopped my strawberries in. You cannot believe how quickly they have recovered. They love it. Already they are growing new leaves. Maybe I'll even get a few strawberries this year. The voles have yet to find them. I think they will have a difficult time getting up the sides. I put a net over the top, because deer also find strawberry leaves lovely. This project could be successful: Vole proof, check; net to keep out deer, check; and no slugs, check. I will keep you updated as to what new garden pest enjoys strawberries.
That is all for this week. Next weekend could be quiet on the blogging front, as I plan on grabbing 3/5th of my nieces and nephew for the week. Due to some complications, they are coming out sooner this year and because of that the older ones are not able to visit. I remain hopeful that after rodeo season is over they will be able to slip out for a weekend.
I hope you are all enjoying your gardening season. What pests do you battle during the year. Has it changed? Are there things you managed to tame? If so what were they and how did you do it? I hope you all have a fabulous week.