Friday, July 27, 2012

Almost Time for Salsa!

Wednesday morning, after Daddy Dale helped me by mowing our front lawn, we visited Sean's grapes to find... you guessed it, MORE Japanese Beetles! Uggghhh! There was easily 40-50 of them mating undisturbed or munching away at the tender grape leaves. THAT. WAS. IT.

Notice the mutilated leaves and the dirty looking masses of beetles.
Armed with my newly purchased container of food grade Diamataceous Earth (DE) and a table spoon, I marched outside to battle the hordes of my winged foe. The day was windy, so all that was necessary was for me to stand upwind and hold the tablespoon of DE near the grape plants to spread it fairly evenly all over the grape plant leaves and dusting the beetles in the process. For good measure, I dusted DE over the other plants in the raised beds in front of our house. Then since I was on a roll, I sprinkled a tablespoon down the backs of each goat in the main pen. They did not seem to like it, at all, which is strange because it looks like a fine powder and cannot possibly have hurt them. In contrast, the chickens LOVED being sprinkled with the DE. They treated it like they were getting a dust bath. For good measure, I sprinkled a little on the chicken coop floor, on a singular pile of horse manure in Jasmine's stall and over the hill of manure full of tiny flies buzzing along a fence at the edge of the horse pasture. I was not sure that this was going to have any effect, but felt relatively better for my having done SOMETHING.

A few hours later, at around 2pm, I returned outside to capture some pictures of our garden's produce. Since I was near the grapes, I took a minute to check out if the DE had done anything. It had. Really. There were maybe 10-15 beetles collectively on all the vines and they weren't looking so good. The flies in the manure in the horse stall were gone. This was all very promising, but 10-15 beetles were still beetles too many. Maybe I needed to give it more time? Or, maybe these were other beetles that found the grapes and had not been treated? Or, maybe it just wouldn't work.

When Sean and I checked the grapes tonight at 8pm and there were still a few beetles present on the leaves, but no where near as many as had been on previous days/nights. And, the ones there did not seem to be active, like they had been. So, again, promising results, but not perfect results so far. The jury is still out.

As I surveyed and photographed the various garden spaces, I was very happy to find several yellow blossoms had developed into the promise of several tiny watermelons beginning to grow. The extra heat and natural funneling of water inside black tires seems to be paying off for their growing this season. Our cucumber plants are sporting many tiny cucumbers, too. Our tomatoes are HUGE and full of flowers and fruits. Several varieties of our hot pepper plants are ready to harvest. Others are covered with tiny white blossoms which will bloom into tasty peppers in the weeks ahead. Under the premise that a picture speaks 1,000 words, I took a few to share with you.

Serrano Hot Peppers
Jalapeno Hot Peppers
Mildly Spicy Banana Peppers
Teensy, Tiny, Baby Watermelon



Some of our best and healthiest veggie plants are living in medium containers on our deck. From these, I harvest Basil, Chives, Scallions, Oregano, Mint, Hot Peppers, and Tomatoes. Even if you only have a small area, you CAN still grow some fresh veggies for your family.

Last night, I separated the soft goat cheese I made from a gallon of milk into 3- 5oz plastic tubs. To one, I mixed in fresh basil, garlic, scallions, & oregano. To another, I mixed in fresh dill and peppercorns. To the last, I added garlic and chives. They all tasted really, REALLY good, but did not harden to the consistency I wanted this time. The cheese spread will still be lovely on bagels, or to eat on chips, crackers, or fresh garden veggies. I have enough milk to make another batch or three this weekend and will attempt my hand at cheese again on Sunday afternoon. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Garden and pest update complete, I will turn my attention to the critters happenings for you soon. I am especially excited to candle the latest batch of eggs incubating in my living room area. I sure hope we have a good hatch rate on them!

Thanks for visiting with us.
Sonja ♥


  1. Salsa is our favorite thing to make from our garden! Your garden like it's a lot closer to salsa than ours haha.

  2. I am happy to hear the DE is doing the trick. Your garden looks great!

  3. We got a couple of cucumbers out of our garden and they were tasty! I guess squirrels don't like them, but they sure do like corn.