Garden Update

A crab spider peeks out from an African marigold in my garden

I mentioned in a recent post that I was converting my vegetable garden into a pollinator garden. It was my intention to do the bulk of that work next year.

Well, I’m ahead of schedule. I realized rather quickly that it was a huge mistake to grow crookneck squash. I had THREE plants (because I’m ridiculous), and even one was insanely prolific. I pulled two of the plants out, chopped them up, and composted them. I thought I would just stick with one, but even that was producing more than I could handle. I got sick of eating squash, and I don’t have time to chop, blanch, and freeze every single time I picked it. I was leaving bags full of squash in the park behind our house for people to take.

It was more trouble than it was worth.

So I pulled up the remaining squash. Kroger is selling late summer perennials for a great deal: 5 for $10. So I bought coneflowers and coreopsis to plant where the squash was growing. I was at Kroger again a couple days ago and got more coneflowers and some Shasta daisies. (Not native, of course, but I love them.)

I already have sweet alyssum growing (from a 25 cent seed packet I bought at Dollar Tree), which is an annual but often reseeds. Same with the giant African marigolds I planted from seed next to my tomatoes. I hope those come back next year.

I am leaving room for these plants to spread out, as they will inevitably do. Since we’re going to have a mild weekend, I can do some serious weeding and mulching out there.

I am still growing vegetables, by the way. My Better Boy tomatoes (I know, a fruit) are prolific and starting to ripen. I just ate the first one yesterday and I have another ripe one on my kitchen counter. The bell peppers have been coming in. All the onions have been harvested. And the carrots are progressing.

I will miss tomatoes. I can do container tomatoes going forward, I suppose, though I like the bigger, slicing tomatoes. But otherwise, I am happy to do my part to help out our pollinator friends, and it means significantly less work for me once the plants are established.

And so it begins …

The weeds have defeated me

I mentioned in my last post that I decided to convert my vegetable garden to a pollinator garden. You can see why. I’ve been fighting the weeds for 5 years — even going so far last summer as to put a plastic tarp over the entire garden to kill them. Two weeks after I removed the tarp, they were back.

I have spent countless, pointless hours fighting this losing battle. Which is why the pollinator garden idea appeals to me so much right now. Not just because I actually want to help pollinators — they need all the help they can get — but once the garden is established, it will be low maintenance. The native perennials will control the weeds, and I won’t need to water nearly as much.

I had some open spots in the garden. So even though I plan to do the bulk of this project next year, I thought I’d get a head start.

yarrow, black-eyed Susan, beebalm, butterfly weed

We have a local garden center around the corner. I went there this evening and picked up some native perennials to get started.

I will document this project as I go along. I’m excited to get started!