Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Slow Going: Garden Almanac July 2013

After such a promising, and bountiful spring - the early summer garden isn't very impressive.  Everything seems so, very, very slow.  It was really wet and cooler for a long time; now it's just humid.  Of course, it could be that the garden is performing about the same as normal.  We're around a lot more this summer, so it's easier to be impatient.

The strawberries are done, but they're sending out lots of runners so I should be able to fill in many bare spots come fall.  

The early corn is short, but putting out tassels - I anticipate small ears.  Not surprising as that is the poorest soil in the garden.  

The peas are done and those beds are ready for my fall planting.  This week I'll put in broccoli and cabbage seed in one bed.  Then, in a few weeks I'll do a winter planting of kale and winter lettuce.  As we get closer to fall I'll cover them with double row cover.  

The beans are doing well, but are covered in bean beetles. I've managed to freeze about a gallon and we've eaten fresh beans multiple times.   I'm attempting to have a no spray garden this year.  I always use organic methods - but this year I'm trying to see what happens if I don't use any pesticides.   I'm hoping that the beneficial insects will be more bountiful and in the long run I'll have less bug damage.  So, for the moment I'm just squishing the bad bugs and removing eggs.  I may crack and spray right before we go on vacation.  Have any of you done a pesticide free garden?  How did it go?

Bean beetle in the pupae stage

Bean beetles in the larval stage.

Scarlet Runner Bean Tipi - loaded!
 The tomatoes are loaded with green tomatoes.  I did pull two plants that looked like they had late blight, and I sprayed with liquid copper.  Late blight is terrible.  A few summers ago it killed all of my tomatoes.  This summer has been so wet - perfect breeding conditions for late blight.  Hopefully, a weekly spraying of copper will keep it at bay.  Just one summer I would like more tomatoes than I know what to do with.  Maybe this one will be it.  I'm so eager for that first real tomato.  But, so far, only green.

The garlic has been harvested and the lettuce is finished.  I planted fall beets, carrots, turnips and parsnips last week in their place.  Those seedlings are up and looking great.

The onions, look pathetic - they're all very small.  Blah... guess I'm buying onions again this year.

The Swiss Chard is performing better than anything else in the garden.  We've been doing a lot of chard based dishes.

Only a few of the sunflowers germinated this year (old seed).  But the ones that did come up look great.  I don't think there's anything that's much more optimistic or joy filled than a sunflower against a blue sky.
 The sweet potato vines are growing like crazy.  I hope that means that there are lots of sweet potatoes under there.

The eggplants and peppers look great.  I'm just waiting for the fruit to get bigger.

The cukes and winter squash have taken off.  We should be harvesting cucumbers in a few days, and it looks like the winter squash will be a bumper crop.  That is if I can keep the squash bugs at bay.  Hands down squash bugs are my most pernicious pest.  I hate them. They are so hard to kill, and they reproduce so rapidly.  At the moment I'm winning.  I'm going out almost every day to remove eggs and squash the squash bugs.  The summer squash and zucchini are not doing well.  They both looked good at first, but all of the rain started causing the fruit to rot before it could grow large enough.  Now, something is killing my zucchini.  It's not squash bugs or squash borers, and it doesn't look like any disease I've had before.  At this point, I'm hoping that one of my local garden friends will have too much zucchini and they'll share because I think those plants are gonners.  I haven't totally given up hope and ripped them out yet, but I think their demise is imminent.

We've been harvesting a little bit of broccoli, and a very little bit of cauliflower. I think this is the last year I try to grow cauliflower - it just doesn't do well for me.  I'll load up at the farmer's market in the fall instead. The cabbage is almost ready to pick, and the bok choy is growing fantastically.  Looks like there's some sauerkraut and kim chee in our future.  Soccer Boy will be thrilled.

The potatoes will be ready to pull in the next week or two.  I've already dug into the ends of the hills a few times so that we could have new potatoes.  They are so, so very delicious.  Last year's potato harvest was pathetic.  I'm hoping for a few bushels from this year's planting.  We returned to the hill method, so hopefully the crop will be good.

Most of the eating corn did not germinate, and it was too late (and too wet) to replant.  However, the dent corn (Bloody Butcher) came up fantastically. We're going to try to eat some of the dent corn green, and see how it tastes.  If it's a bit too corny and tough then I'll just have lots of homegrown cornmeal this year - nothing wrong with that.  Farmer Dan grows much better corn than me anyhow.  I'll just stock up on my end of summer trip to the farm.

Optimising my space:  Three Sisters Hills growing in the bare spots in the strawberry patch.  I allow milk weed to grow for the bees and the butterflies (especially the monarchs).

Egyptian Walking Onions - I'm hoping eventually these will solve my onion issues.
We're still getting a few red raspberries, and some of the bushes look like they'll set a fall crop.  The blackberry bushes are humming.  We're picking those every other day, and lots of berries are making it into our mouths and into the freezer.

I haven't done much canning or freezing yet.  I've put up a few quarts of sugar snap peas and a few freezer meals (mostly quiche).  Overall, the garden looks good - I'm just impatient to be have enough to harvest for most of our meals.  Hopefully it will pick up soon.  I'm eager to fill that freezer and replenish the pantry.  How's your garden growing?

1 comment:

  1. Your bean tipi is beautiful! We don't use anything on the garden- safe or not. We just try to create the healthiest environment for the plants and then cross our finger:-). Often we lose a plant here or there, or pick bugs off and just try to roll with it- good and bad.:-)