A garden is the best alternative therapy.

I planted several seeds of each of the squashes and cucumber, not quite sure what the germination rate would be. Because all of the seeds germinated, I had to say goodbye to a few of each so that the remaining plants would have the room and resources they need to flourish. If you will recall, I planted six organic Black Beauty zucchini seeds, six organic, heirloom Yellow Crookneck squash seeds and five organic Straight Eight cucumber seeds. I obtained the seeds from Seeds of Change online.   ALL of the seeds germinated in the very least amount of time indicated on the seed package.  Not one seed failed to germinate. Needless to say, I was very satisfied. I wish I could have kept all of the young plants, but their sacrifice will ensure a good start to the ones that remain!  Better yet, I wish I had more room to grow a bigger garden, because I have lots of them leftover.

I read online once, and it makes good sense, that instead of pulling the young plant out of the ground, one should just cut it off with some scissors near the base. This ensures that any young roots of remaining plants are not damaged. This is what I did. I left three squash and three zucchini.   In determining which ones to keep, I first looked at the strongest plants.  Then I looked at spacing and positioning.  As you see below, the squash are all beginning to vine in separate directions and they are equally spaced apart.   The zucchini was a little different in that one of them was really close to another and was smaller, so it got snipped.  The other seed was beginning to vine inwards and was small.  It got the snip, too.  I left the largest one because of its size and its distance from the others, even though it appears to be growing inwards as well.  For now, I’ve left four cucumbers, but I will trim down another. The plant I want to keep (front right) has not developed its first set of true leaves, while the other of the four has, but I like its distance from the other two “keepers”.  We’ll see. If it develops a strong set of first leaves, then I’ll cut down the other one.  If the other continues to take off, then I’ll keep it.
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Three remaining squash (9 days from germination)

Three remaining squash (9 days from planting)

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... and the remaining Zucchini.

... and the remaining Zucchini (9 days from planting).

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Four remaining cukes.  I want to keep the front right plant, but waiting on its first set of leaves.

Four remaining cukes. I want to keep the front right plant, but I'm waiting on its first set of leaves to develop.

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And last but not least – the beans. I planted two rows of eight of organic Blue Lake Bush beans. To date – nine days from planting – six in one row and seven in the other row have popped up and established leaves.  The right row (front in the picture below) certainly has developed the strongest looking plants so far.   All in all, not a bad start – even without the inoculate that was recommended on the seed package.

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Bush lake beans at 9 days from germination.

Bush lake beans at 9 days from planting.

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Meanwhile, I am hardening off some newly established cuttings as I move them permanently outside.  I’ve got three spearmints and one peppermint going, as well as eight other flowering plants, which I do not even know the name of.  Michelle bought the mother plants several years ago, and they’ve stayed with us and have bloomed year after year.  They have gotten extremely leggy, however, which is what prompted her to try to grow a cutting.  In just a few short days, it was rooting in the water.  So I decided we should make a few of them, since we loved them so much.  We have one pot going with an established plant, and we’ll be planting the other eight in groups of four in two other pots.

The hibiscus seems to have overcome her invasion of hibiscus beetles. It seems that regular culling of the beetles, along with white pans of soapy water underneath the plant actually worked. I hope to have some pictures of blooms soon – there are several now in the works now that the beetles are gone.  I think it has only bloomed twice in the past month because of the beetle invasion.  I don’t know what they do exactly, but they get inside the leaves surrounding each unopened bulb, which somehow results in the entire unopened bulb falling off.   Good thing they’re pretty stupid bugs – all you have to do is disturb the leaves and they try to flee – right into your fingers.  Then they meet a sudsy death.

And the bougainvillea is blooming again. It’s been about a month since it bloomed last.  It has spidered its way through the fence to the neighbor’s yard and hopefully he’s enjoying the colorful flowers that are blooming over there.   He had a great garden going at the beginning of the summer with cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, squashes, peppers, herbs, but because he didn’t water it enough, it suffered greatly through the heat and drought and some bugs, from the looks of it.  Most of it died, which is unfortunate.  Some of it, like the groups of basil plants, immediately bolted and went to flower without really developing.    I’m also blaming the four hornworms that devastated my pepper plant several weeks ago on stragglers from his garden.   They have since gone to the birds.

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The bougainvillea.

The bougainvillea.

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