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“Who’s That Chewing on MY Step?” or, Garden Update June 1

Hidden Treasure

Many of the steps that were created out of the Washingtonia palm trees are doing just fine.  However, there are some that were squared off with a chainsaw and their whiteness and neatness really stood out on the hillside.  They stood out a little too well, apparently, because something is gnawing away at them!

Chew Marks

It can be either rats or bunnies, and I’ve only found bunny scat in the straw.  In defense of my nice stairs, I’ve sprayed them with Bitter Apple, which is a product used to spray on doctored pets to keep them from licking or chewing on bandages.

Heart of Palm

I spread the straw over the steps again.  I’ll see tomorrow what has happened.


Other finds around the garden are my first (and probably only) two cherries!  Cherries are not known to grow in our Zone 10 climate; however, there are a few hybrids that are supposed to be ‘low chill’.  Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, so I’m thrilled that this tree is giving it a go.


The magnolia trees are blooming, and a transplanted Blue Girl rose is much happier in the Blue Garden, which is also the Bee Garden.

Blue Girl

A vegetable garden is a stern taskmaster.  After all that waiting at the beginning of the year, plants are flourishing.  This is the best garden I’ve ever had.  After all that work building raised beds, lining them with aviary wire and filling them with good soil, it had better be good!

Last Two Beds

I have two more raised beds to level, line and fill.  I have more pumpkin seedlings up and I need the beds ready to plant.  I can’t believe it is June first already.

Today I put up strings for the pickling cucumbers and the pinto beans to climb on.  Those two beds, which are the newest and which have the least amended soil, are still doing very well.

Strung Up

I also staked the three yellow tomato plants, and three ‘soup bean’ plants, as well as planting more of those beans by more stakes.

Bean and Tomato Stakes

I had no idea that fava beans grew up!  I mean, the beans don’t dangle like other beans do, but grow straight up, like huge fat caterpillars.  Crazy!  I also read where the young leaves are tasty so I tried one… then I ate several.  They are much more flavorful than pea shoots.

Fava Beans

Scarlet runner beans grow down, but are slightly fuzzy, which is a little creepy.  They can be eaten young, or let dry on the vine.

Runner Beans are Fuzzy

I planted a white and yellow sweet corn, now that the popcorn is well up.  I’ll wait a month to plant the full yellow sweet corn, not only to stagger harvests but because corn will cross-pollinate.  Meanwhile, I have my trusted rubber snake watching the bed.

Corn snake

This package contains carrots of various colors, so I planted some just for fun.  I’ve heard that some of the darker colored carrots aren’t that sweet, but I want proof.

Crazy Carrots







When spacing seeds for corn or other plants which need room, use your trowel as a guide.  It is about a foot long, and corn needs to be a foot by two feet apart.  Plant corn in blocks so that they can pollinate better; the pollen will drift off the tassels onto the silk of the neighboring corn.

Trowel Ruler

I also planted cinnamon basil, which has the most wonderful aroma.  You can use it in cooking, especially for sweets, but I just let it go to bloom, then cut some and set them in water in the house for the perfume.

Cinnamon Basil







This bed contains garlic, shallots, bush beans, tomatoes and basil, all of which are contending for sunlight.  The bed receives sun all day and the rows are planted south to north, so the plants won’t shade each other for any length of time.

Full Bed


The sunflower that was pouting last week has trouble staying awake this week.  Her heavy head just can’t be lifted.  Lesser goldfinches love to eat the leaves, leaving them skeletonized.

Heavy Head

Of course, the best thing that is growing in my garden is this volunteer melon, which appeared under the peas I just cut out, and now that it has found the light, so to speak, it has grown one and a half feet long and going strong, and has a flower!  But what is it?  A remnant from melons I planted in the past?  Seeds from the compost from melons I have eaten?  There’s nothing like a mystery!

Volunteer Melon



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