What Were Your Boons and Busts for 2019?

flowerbug

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i would need gallon bags here @Zeedman and a 55 gallon drum to pour them into. i imagine by the end of a few weeks that drum would smell pretty good. make some good fertilizer too... except if the bugs were sprayed, then i'd not want to harvest them. i found a Japanese Beetle sipping nectar yesterday from a cosmo. they do like a lot of the flowers they can find around here. the mallows we have do make a good trap crop for them.

they were pretty thick this season too. i picked a lot of them off the plants and squished 'em. they don't really seem to affect the crops though so i must be getting enough of them picked off. yes, a few of the plants do look pretty chewed up, but even with all that they still put on pods and the pods have developed/well formed seeds.

the best trap plant i had for them here was the wild grape vines. they really liked that. when i killed off most of that last year i think it just made them hit all the other plants harder this season and earlier too. not that i plan on letting the wild grape vines return as they were taking down a fence i'd rather be left alone...
 

digitS'

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Bug populations do have ups and downs. I wonder how much it can be accounted for. There is so much scientific specialization and it reflects our complex world.

Early summer 2018, local trees were covered with black aphids. I don't ever remember seeing anything like it, at least, not with black aphids. Species of tree evidently mattered very little - what a mess under the trees! This year, I have not noticed a single black aphid.

Lacewings are incredibly happy on summer evenings with our backdoor light. Of course, I see them in the garden, usually frightening them off plants and hoping that they soon return to eat some more green aphids ;). I have to be careful under the backdoor light not to frighten them into the house. I rescued 2 early this year. Dang near the only two I saw! Well, that is an exaggeration ... but, not much of one.

Butterflies? So few blues and sulfurs. Seldom a swallowtail coming through. I should have gone back to where I used to park at an earlier garden where I would see time and again, it seemed like always, black admirals.

Steve
 

Ridgerunner

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I'm still learning as this is my first year down here.

I got good lettuce, radishes, and chard this spring. By spring I mean I planted before Thanksgiving. They didn't grow much in the colder weather but things stayed alive. They grew some on warmer days. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower lived but did not head at all. A total bust.

I got a lot of things planted when danger of frost was passed, which means early March. Sweet corn did well, sort of. I planted in sections two weeks apart, too close but I fertilized heavily with nitrogen. The first three plantings did great but the later in summer I got the worse they did. Small poorly pollinated ears even though I hand pollinated. Then I planted another round when I pulled the first. Those did fairly well. I had the last of the fresh corn last night. I never saw one corn ear worm the entire season.

I planted BlueJay bush snap beans. We ate a lot of green beans but they eventually got tired.

My "network" dried beans I planted on March did OK but when I planted a second round in June I consider most of them a bust. Ausmus Holler, which is still segregating, did great but most of the others would not set on beans.

Eggplant did well. The tomatoes did what I expected. Did well early but quit setting on when nights got hot. I kept some alive and they are setting on again now that the heat has broken.

Cucumbers took a while to get going but once they did they did great.

My summer squash and zucchini were destroyed by squash vine borers, some planted early and some planted late. I got four grubs out of some of those plants. Those borers are relentless.

Purple hull peas were probably the star of the season. I planted a 2' x 4' section of a raised bed and they really spread. They took up at least a 6x6 area and that was with me turning runners back onto themselves. For a good part of the summer we were eating black eyed peas two to three times a week plus I have some in the freezer for this winter.

I have about ten things planted for this cool season, either transplants or seeds just coming up. At least I got these in the ground by the recommended time this year. I'll see how they do.
 

Dirtmechanic

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Brassica are basically a winter crop down here. Some folks grow for the leaves, instead of heads because of bug pressure. They bolt fast in the heat. I finally started eating from the fall garden, well -second garden really, yellow squash is giving a few. The sun has really changed a lot since June and I could use a sunnier spot.
 

flowerbug

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Bug populations do have ups and downs. I wonder how much it can be accounted for. There is so much scientific specialization and it reflects our complex world.

Early summer 2018, local trees were covered with black aphids. I don't ever remember seeing anything like it, at least, not with black aphids. Species of tree evidently mattered very little - what a mess under the trees! This year, I have not noticed a single black aphid.

Lacewings are incredibly happy on summer evenings with our backdoor light. Of course, I see them in the garden, usually frightening them off plants and hoping that they soon return to eat some more green aphids ;). I have to be careful under the backdoor light not to frighten them into the house. I rescued 2 early this year. Dang near the only two I saw! Well, that is an exaggeration ... but, not much of one.

Butterflies? So few blues and sulfurs. Seldom a swallowtail coming through. I should have gone back to where I used to park at an earlier garden where I would see time and again, it seemed like always, black admirals.

Steve
it is ok that bug populations fluctuate, i would expect it in a healthy system as the predator/prey cycles do their thing. the main point of diversity though is that in a diverse system when some predators and preys are going through their ups and down there are also others doing the same thing. yes, it is chaotic and has various peaks and valleys, but it will work much better than a system with only one primary predator and only a few selected preys. the measurement would be via how productive that system is in terms of food and continued abilities to function over the long haul.
 

ninnymary

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i was interested in those until i see they're a hybrid. looking for a shorter season melon that will do ok here. don't like the honeydew sorts, much prefer more like canteloupe or water melon like plants. i know very little about melons.
Send me your address and I will send you some Baker Creek Petite Gris de Rennes melon seeds.

Mary
 

ninnymary

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In Ag, main problem is that have gotten smarter. Use more machinery & science to offset labor. So Farms can be larger (have to be to offset machinery, science and labor costs). Consumers (us) want cheap food and farmers inputs go up. Strange as it sounds, the higher inputs give the best ROI. You can’t “buy low inputs” to make better ROI.

One of the reasons I garden, can grow what I want. It’s also next to worthless on the market place-invaluable to me. Why I like this forum as people tell me what varieties are boon/bust. Plus great recipes on how to best eat them (@ninnymary thanks for salsa recipe-love it).
Looking for a small box, just sayin...

Mary
 

ninnymary

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Boons - Tomatoes, peppers, apples, plums, persimmons, figs, raspberries.

Busts - Honeynut Butternut squash and zucchini

I did notice a lot less bees than usual even though I have gradually increased my pollinator plants.

Mary
 
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