Our 2021 garden: some pruning and cleanup – and we are forewarned!

While doing my rounds this morning, I decided it was time to do some pruning and clean up around the squash and melons.

With the summer squash, I cut away a lot of the bottom leaves, and anything dead or dying. The zucchini didn’t really need it, but the sunburst squash needed quite a bit.

Noting for next year: while I am happy with training the summer squash to grow vertically, and will probably do it again next year, I now know to make extra certain the support poles are more secure. I thought they were, but as you can see in about the middle of the squash bed, one of them has fallen right over under the weight of the squash attached to it – and I’d already added a second support pole with it! The zucchini on the far right of the photo is also tippy.

We are in a strange sort of state right now, where the squash and melons are continuing to bloom and produce, recovering for the extreme heat and dryness over the summer, but also dying off as they reach the end of their growing season. A couple of Halona melon plants were completely died off and got taken out. The single melon on the ground ground had come loose from one of those.

The three biggest Red Kuri squash are coming along nicely. The mottled green one is quite noticeably bigger. With the colours and slightly different shape, I find myself wondering if it got cross pollinated with one of the nearby Teddy squash.

Speaking of which…

There’s a new one! Of the two plants, one of them now has four squash developing on it. šŸ™‚

After I finished pruning the squash and melons, I went through the other beds, doing a bit of cleanup, and found this.

We’ve somehow lost a sunflower!

It doesn’t even look like it was bitten – there is no sign of critter damage anywhere. It looks almost as if it were cut! It’s also in the middle of a row, in the middle of a sunflower block.

Very strange.

I took the seed head inside and put it in a very small bowl, shallow enough for the barely-there stem to reach the water. šŸ™‚

As I was finishing up in the garden, the grader went by on the road, and the driver stopped to talk to me. He let me know that he’d seen a black bear – a big male – on our quarter section, and he thought it was heading for the newly dug out gravel pit for water. He’d actually seen 7 bears, just today! The most he’d ever seen in one day – and it wasn’t even 11:00 yet, at the time I talked to him. He suggested we might want to pick up an air horn to carry with us, so if we see a bear, we can use the noise to scare it off.

One of our neighbours, about a mile away, has been posting photos of a bear that’s been raiding – and destroying – his bird feeders. I would not be expecting any to come to our feeding station, though. With both bird feeders broken, I’ve just been tossing a scoop of seeds directly on the ground, so there’s not a lot to tempt them. Especially since we have zero saskatoons and chokecherries this year, and almost no crab apples, thanks to that one cold night in May. Even the ornamental apples in the old kitchen garden, which would normally be full of tiny bunches of apples, and birds eating them, have nothing. No hawthorn berries, either. Between the drought and the wildfires, this loss of berries would be quite widespread, and the bears are starving at a time they should be building up their fat reserves for the winter.

I really appreciated the grader driver stopping to let me know. I have never seen a bear in our yard, but this is not a normal year, so we will have to keep our eyes open!

The Re-Farmer

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