Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The garden in July

Okay, almost a month later and things are looking a bit more active. We recently installed drip tape in the hopes of managing better with our low water pressure. We shall see. It's rained fairly regularly since we got it hooked up, so there's been no real test yet. Summer appears set to start tomorrow though. Tomatoes are big enough to be out of their cloche. They're actually in need of better staking at this point. The previous stakes had been cut to fit under the cloche. We have a few tiny peppers on the pepper plants. Those will probably remain cloched for the whole summer. I don't trust it to be warm enough for long enough to ripen peppers otherwise. The Spawn has some nice flowers coming along in her row. Her watermelon is pretty sad looking. I'm never buying starts from that person again. They've all done poorly. Other purchased starts have done all right in varying degrees, but not those. I may throw some more watermelon seeds in the ground just on a lark. Couldn't hurt and maybe the people who are saying we're in for a long hot summer will be right. The herb row isn't doing so well. A lot of them got toasted on one of our unexpectedly hot days. We've had so much cool, rainy weather that when the sun DOES shine all of the sudden, the plants get sunburned. Even the WEEDS got sunburned. The next row has the green onions, which are bigger than chives, at least. The beets are doing reasonably well. The first round has golf-ball sized beets, which may be all the bigger I let them get. I really like the greens better than the beets. The cabbage and cauliflower is limping along. Some never sprouted and I may replant. Not sure if it's worth it though. The carrots are doing pretty well. I'm getting better at seeding them so I don't have to thin as much. Yay for that! I'll probably do one more round of carrots to finish off the row. I haven't decided if I'll let the volunteer nasturtium stay in the row or not. I do like to have pretty stuff in the garden too. It's especially nice when it's pretty AND edible. The greens are doing reasonably well. One of the chard varieties bolted--called Perpetual Spinach, ironically enough. The rest of the chard is going gangbusters. I'm about to start harvesting and freezing some of it. Vegetable mallow is almost big enough to start harvesting from. Sorrel is coming along, but not harvestable yet. Luckily there's a ton of volunteer sorrel, which is weird since I didn't PLANT sorrel last year. I'm not complaining though. Olympia spinach is ready to harvest now. I had to take out all the Bordeaux spinach since it bolted very quickly. Grr. The various cucurbits are coming along well. The cucumbers got sunburned pretty badly and I've replanted them. If the replants surpass the originals, I'll yank the first round. We've had a couple of blooms on one of the winter squashes already--male flowers, but ya gotta start somewhere. It's getting difficult to keep that area weeded. The next row is an "empty" row, but it's getting radishes planted in it until the squashes take it over. The first round of radishes is all eaten, in fact. I never knew I like radish greens until we had this garden. I still don't like radishes, they're all for the Better Half, but the greens are nice sauteed in a bit of bacon fat. Most of the broccoli is doing well. Our favourite variety, Thompson, seems to be doing the best. We had poor germination with the Veronica, so I ended up moving some other seedlings around. They did survive their move, but only time will tell if they'll thrive in their new locations. Not a whole lot visible in the second row of greens. Quite a few seedlings, but still pretty small. More chard and spinach, some purslane, I think, and leaf amaranth. The lettuce row is finally getting to the eating stage. If we can keep 'em watered, we should be good for quite some time to come. There's more purslane and a Strawberry Spinach there too, since they're good in salads. Bush beans are pretty sad, mostly. They got badly burned and some never recovered. The ones planted in the north section of the garden did better, for some reason. They do get shade earlier in the day. The pole beans are all over the board. The Withner's White didn't germinate worth beans, if you'll pardon the pun. I 'spect it was too cold and wet for them. The yard-long beans are really just poking along, but at least they are growing. The others are doing quite well and need to be strung up soon, soon, soon. The corn back in the SE corner is...annoying. Replanted starts and had covers over them. When I took the covers off, half the corn plants got eaten AGAIN. We're thinking crows now, since we spotted one casing the joint the other day. Luckily I still had more starts and we RE-replanted. They'll stay covered until they don't fit any more. If they're not big enough then, I give up on corn for this year. Not visible are three very happy rows of potatoes. They're doing SO much better than last year. They were really in too shady a spot. I note though that a few volunteers came up in that plot and they're all doing much better than they did last year too. I guess they like all the rain we've been having. I think that covers the garden. We've also acquired seven turkeys (lost two to, we think, a marten) and twenty-one ducklings. Our Anconas all went broody and hatched at least seven ducklings. Only one of those survived and that because the Better Half rescued it. The duck barn isn't as tight as we'd like. The ducks are fine, but something had some tender young duckling for a midnight snack. Anyhow, the ducklings are more Anconas, to fill out our flock, which got rather pruned by a coyote last year. Wish we could have a dog or two!

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