After a rough start to the growing season and its endless rain, the pessimism is slowly fading away as the landscape turns more and more green with each visit.
We lost a lot of seedlings in rainstorms that, in some cases, dropped two inches of rain in one night. Our garden had washout damage that took most of our onion seedlings with it. The beans from our early seeding had a hard time breaking through the hard ground created by the rain. But some did, and our second seeding, for our drying beans, are pushing through the ground right now. It’s a beautiful sight.
Beets are forming under delicious greens and the savoy cabbages are beginning to take shape.
Our tomatoes were looking pretty sick a few weeks ago. Sitting in the damp soil gave them all early blight. We were pretty heartbroken, but ruthless picking of sick leaves and branches and recent dry weather has turned them into pictures of health. Some plants are already bigger than any plants we’ve ever grown on our lot in town.
The pepper plants are beginning to blossom and take off. They seem to be a lot slower than the tomatoes, but they’re coming along.
Our herbs are beautiful. I’m continually impressed by basil that is grown in my parents’ soil. We’re going to have about a dozen waist-high plants in a couple months.
I also picked up some Red Fife wheat seed. I planted it late, but was curious to get some in. We’ve now got access to a small flour mill, so I thought I’d try growing some. What we grow this year will probably just become next year’s seed.
Our hops are happily climbing and so are our beans. I’m not sure if we’ll get actual hop cones this year, but it’s a start. The bean trellis we built blew down in a storm a few weeks back, but nothing was damaged, so we put it back up with some reinforcement. I can’t wait until it’s a solid green mass of beans.
Zucchinis are beginning to grow as well as pumpkins. We planted some giant pumpkins, the only non-practical thing in the garden, but the kids will love seeing them grow into massive boulders. They’ll also serve as a bit of a distraction while we’re weeding.
Some of the pests are ugly, others are beautiful. The first thing we do on every visit is sweep for Colorado Potato Beetles. First stop is the potatoes, second the eggplants and a third sweep through tomatoes. We’ve heard mulching with cedar works to keep them away, but so far, it’s not a huge task to just walk through and flick any we see into the affectionately named Death Jar.
The other “pests” are the Swallowtail Caterpillars. They’re the most beautiful creatures and are slowly munching away at our dill. But knowing they’ll turn into swallowtail butterflies and be off soon, is helping us tolerate them.
The garden is definitely looking up, and I can’t believe we’re going to have ripe tomatoes soon. Just looking at all of this stuff, and thinking back to starting it all with tiny seeds in our tiny porch blows my mind. To think that, on this small quarter-acre, is enough life that we can eat year-round and give us free seed for next year is an incredible feeling.