Garden Status Report #4

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.

7 comments

  • I really wish we had planted or garden this year. Your pictures make me sad that we don't have one.

  • You still can! We're still planting things. The main reason people plant in May other than simply to have fruit as soon as possible is for commercial growing. Starting the earliest gets farmers the best price for their produce. But when you're growing for yourself, that doesn't matter so much.

  • Great update! Thanks for the inspiration. I'm thinking of planting more green beans now. The cool, wet Spring was just brutal on them. Really poor germination.

  • So happy to hear the garden is coming along! Heard a rumour that when you're happier, your plants are too. (;

    Be sure to eat the zucchini blossom flowers too. Yum.

  • Our garden is coming along too. Its much smaller than yours but i may expand next year. Ate the first strawberry the other day, also had a couple raspberries with my coffee this morning. The tomatoes are nowhere near yours but some of the little flowers have been replaced with pea-sized tomatoes. All our peppers have a few flowers each coming out, the salad greens are going just crazy (even my parents drop over to fill a bowl now and then). The Swiss chard has given me a few nice steamed leaves for the last few nights. The potatoes have no bugs as of yet but I'm amazed at how huge the plants are now. The beans are staring to get a bit taller. I went up north for a total of 30 hours and stuff had grown so much in that little time. Cool to watch yours grow too.

  • Gardening is the best stress free house work..And it's true if your happy doing it you have a wonderful and prosperous harvest..

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