This is the first year we're growing vegetables at our new home. I was saying a prayer as I planted seedlings and seeds because the soil in this area is virtually builder's sand. Plenty of soil amendments - - compost, garden soil, blood and bone meal...plus anything and everything else I could find to improve the soil - - were generously added.
Almost immediately the caterpillars showed up to feast on my tomato plants. I did a lot of plucking and squeezing in an effort to get rid of them. Once the temperatures cooled down a bit I noticed the cats disappeared. Pickle worms pierced the cukes, and powdery mildew finished off the leaves. I find cukes very hard to grow. I gave up on them since I'm not a big cucumber eater anyway, and replaced them with bush green beans . . . a favorite of mine.
It's taken the tomatoes a while to ripen . . . with Sungold being the first . . . but now they're all slowly turning color. And, the lemons, too are ripening. A cocktail citrus tree was planted, so hopefully next year this time we'll be enjoying some homegrown citrus.
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On a different note, I made this horrifying discovery in my garden yesterday.
I almost had a heart attack when I saw him perched in the tree, especially since Nutty... the squirrel we raised . . . was darting all around this tree and at one time was about a foot away from it. Fortunately, the snake was in the process of digesting an earlier catch as you can see by his bloated mid-section.
Apparently, I disturbed him when I moved some large pots on the side of the house. I didn't see him at the time but am thankful I did eventually discover him and doubly thankful that the "Wild Animal Evictors" came by and evicted this non-venomous Coat Whip (one of Florida's largest native snakes) from my garden. I don't mind black racers but I'm not willing to tolerate a BIG snake in my garden.
For all snake lovers out there . . . don't worry he wasn't destroyed just relocated to an orange grove quite a distance down the road.