Garden update: The volunteers

Garden update: The volunteers

Whenever a fruit or vegetable is thrown into a garden, compost pile, etc., and its seeds start to sprout on their own, they are considered volunteers.

Most of our garden’s squash, pumpkin, decorative gourds and watermelons are volunteers. We also have other volunteers — squirrels.

Cucumber and squash plants sprouting from spots where squirrels hid the seeds.

The same critters that ate some of my baby plants are digging up recently planted seeds and redistributing them throughout our yard.

Luckily they are in spots that aren’t prone to flooding. If we manage not to mow them down, maybe we’ll have a few more vegetables than we expected.

The seeds they replanted are from a packet I received from the University of Florida Extension Office’s Victory Garden program. It contained beans, cucumber and summer squash seeds — all in heirloom varieties.

The planting season for summer seeds ends around June 1, so I’m lucky to have gotten them in time.

I’m currently working on the online class offered through the victory garden program. So far, I’ve learned about the history of victory gardens, soil sampling, and garden planning. I did not garden plan. Next time I’ll be a bit more vigilant in doing so, to avoid a tangled vegetable mess.

The harvest so far

As of right now, the spring plants are doing their best to get their production done. It’s rained for almost two weeks straight, with about 4 inches of total rain accumulation.

The lettuce is done, having produced enough for two meals. The spinach is still going. The herbs are still going too. The cilantro is about two feet tall and fell over due to its own weight.

Cilantro blooms will turn into coriander seeds.

Besides my herb plants, the biggest producers at the moment are snow peas and beans we planted back in March.

I have been told to wait until the beans are 3-5 inches long, so that’s what We do unless they look like they’re damaged due to insects.

Bug battle

I have gotten rid of the caterpillars eating my cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. At least, I can’t find what else is eating these plants. There are no signs of bugs, but the latest holes look too small for something a rabbit or squirrel would make. Maybe their grubs or cutworms.

This week, I found aphids on my snow peas and sunflowers. I started spraying the plants with a mixture of vinegar and water before the UF Extension Office people said the bugs aren’t bad. I took a ladybug over to the garden, hoping it would tell its friends about the aphid feast, but I’m not sure they got the memo.

As usual, here are some photos from the garden this week.

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