Friday, 14 June 2013



The middle of June, soon the days will start getting shorter, but we are now starting
to enjoy the bounty of the garden.  Lettuce, peas, bush beans and strawberries!  And it won't be long before we are picking raspberries.  The volunteer potatoes are trying to take over the garden and the Sweet Meat Squash is sending out a nice healthy vine.  

* * *  THE GOOD * * *


Our helpers in maintaining soil quality.  Compost workers!
If you have good soil you should be able to find these helpers
in moist places around some plants.  If your compost pile
is working right there should be loads in there!

* * * THE BAD * * *


A different type of wireworm and beetle.

Size comparison

The CUTWORM  Another nastycritter
Shown in the picture is 2 larvae cases plus the active cutworm

In the past we have been bothered by cutworms and wireworms.
Not wanting to put poison in areas of the garden that produce food,
we decided to try beneficial nematodes.  We purchased a package of
nematodes from a local garden centre and kept them in the refrigerator
until we were ready to apply them.  You need warm soil and you have to 
apply them with a good amount of water so they disperse into the soil where
they hunt out various larvae etc.  (Look it up on the internet!)

Since we applied the nematodes we have been seeing a large number of
"critters" that look like wireworms only they are dark grey in colour and
seem to be thinner than wireworms.  Most of these are near the top of the soil
with many of them dead on the surface.  The local nursery confirms they are 
wireworms but I am still baffled by the size and colour as they don't match what
we have seen in the past.  I might have to send samples to the Canadian
Dept. of Agriculture to have the species confirmed.  There are a huge number
of different varieties but these look different than any I see on the internet.


Ever see what you think is a giant mosquito?
It is probably a Crane Fly !

In the larval stage the Crane Fly can make a mess of a lawn.
Circular patches of dying grass usually indicates damage done
by the crane fly larva.  If you turn over a segment of the sod you 
will likely see some of these worms.  Nematodes will do them in!


A garden that is thriving is a beautiful sight.

I guess an explanation is needed - the closest bed is 5'x8' and is home to a variety of plants.
The big plant at the left end is potato, and there are a few of them that volunteered from last year.
They are gone beserk!   At the right end of the bed is our Sweetmeat Squash and it has grown a huge amount.  Last year the same variety grew up onto the roof of the greenhouse so this year I am giving it a helping hand by putting a plank up for it to climb on.  Last year the squash that hung from the vine were more pear shaped than squash shaped!  The scarlet runner beans are hidden in behind the potato plants and a very large chive plant is also partly hidden.
The "tent" covers our 4'x8' bed of strawberries.  They are LOADED!  I made the framework to support mesh to keep the birds out.  I then had to add a strip of plastic along the bottom as the birds were hopping up and getting the berries along the edge.  Then I added a very think plastic drop sheet (for painting) to keep the rain off the berries, and we sure did have a few days of downpours.  ("showers" according to the weatherman - ha!)

 Ahhh yes, the greenhouse.  Beets on the left as well as lettuce and peas.  All doing nicely.
On the far right the tomato plants are getting huge and I had to trim off some of the bottom leaves as they were shading the carrots.  Closer in, the bush beans are producing & we have tried them out.  A new (to us) variety that is OK but perhaps not as tasty as the "Royalta" (purple beans) that we grew last year.  The Egyptian onions are falling over, even though tied up (sort of ) and are producing "bulblets" that I am harvesting and setting out for green onions.  

 Janet's flower garden at the front of the house is doing a good job with the Dianthus spreading and the Alyssum that self seeded from last year is doing great.  The variety is "Carpet of Snow" and that is as close to snow as we like to get!

At the end of the bed is a clump of Lavender and also in this bed you can see
Pansies, pink Geraniums and Chrysanthemums.
The bed looks better and thrives better being mulched with cedar bark mulch.

Our "watchdog" likes to lay on the back of the sofa chair and keep an eye on who is going past.
I took this picture as it was the first time we had seen her stretched out like a surfer with both hind legs out catching the sun.  If another dog goes by she kicks up a fuss and "yodels".

And that is how things are here in "The Warm Land"  -  Cowichan Valley