Evicting the Ants and Gardening in the Fall

The morning glories had to be taken down. The ones that ran up the flagpole began to die and look dreadful, but as I suspected, I was only able to cut and tear down as far as I could reach. I have to take down the flagpole, Captain America style, to remove the ones at the top. Also, though I had judiciously trimmed the ones on the mailbox away from the opening of the box all season long, I believe it was the presence of the vines that brought the unwanted residents. It seems we had a rather prolific ant colony happening in there.

Our mailman actually held our mail on Friday because, this is so gross, about half of the inside of the mailbox was coated in black ants. He must think we are completely crazy but we did not know about it until my husband peeked in there on Sunday afternoon. He brings in the mail every night when he gets home from work. When he gets home, it’s dark out and he didn’t notice the ants. For some reason, they were NOT all over the mail when he brought it inside. The infestation must have happened very quickly I guess. Well, I ripped the vines down, opened the box and used my garden hose to wash away the colony. A few of them seem to be trying to hang around, but most of them have vacated. I’m leaving the box open for a few days to make sure it’s not all cozy in there for them.

The fall garden is coming along, though I was too lax in July and should have done smaller, more frequent plantings of greens throughout the summer. Right now, I have a lot of lettuce, beets and broccoli raab all about the same age, but I’m afraid if I do a small planting now and waited to do another, it would be too cold to plant anymore this season before everything froze up.

The keyhole garden has been fantastic all season long. Everything I plant in there seems happy to hang around and do really well. Broccoli, chard, lettuce, volunteer melons out of the center compost basket and a volunteer tomato will probably be giving me the last tomatoes I’ve got left out of all my gardens this season. Yay for front yard food!

The greenhouse plants are recovering nicely after having to be disassembled and reassembled to make way for Hurricane Irene. It is VERY wet in there, so I’m a little worried about mildew, in fact my squash have some powdery mildew happening on the young leaves already. I need to get out there and spritz them with milk. For now, I’ve left the lettuce boxes out on the patio as they don’t need to be in the greenhouse yet. I’m using the greenhouse space to pot up some strawberry runners so I can move them to the front yard gardens. My back yard strawberry bed is getting really crowded.

The loquat tree is really becoming a pretty substantial little potted tree! I’ll be moving it into the greenhouse when it gets colder at night and I am hoping it can make it through the winter. I wonder if the leaves will fall – they are so bold! I love them! The front garden is really filling in. I’m so glad I put thyme and marjoram in there with the shrubs. There’s no reason NOT to tuck edibles into the landscape. They are beautiful and such a perfect ground cover to fill in empty space. Bok choi looks great under the garden arch where the squash were in the early summer.

The fall garden is fun, but not as fun as the spring. In spring, I had the whole winter to psych myself up to start digging and planting! We have had a lot of rain this season and the bugs are crazy out there. I can’t spend too much time in the yards without getting eaten alive. It’s damp out there most of the time lately and I’m starting to get all “girly” about sticking my hand into the plants to pull a weed or to take off fading foliage. The moisture is making everything slick and slimy. I can’t stay away completely though, how can I? Take a look at this beautiful volunteer squash and these mounds of nasturtiums have come up from only 3 or 4 plants! Pretty incredible.