It looks like we’re really heading into summer this week. On the upside I won’t have to water the garden! Summer is usually like that here. It will be hot and humid and then thunderstorms will roll in during the afternoon. I’m fine with this as long as there’s no hail or crazy wind! And weird though it sounds I’m also ok with it being warmer. It got cold again at the end of last week, and for whatever reason this year I’m looking forward to hot weather. Maybe it’s because of how intense this year has been?
So far I’m pretty happy with the garden. I picked lots of strawberries yesterday. I think I might try making scones with the alpine strawberries, or maybe pancakes… For the big ones they’re either going to be pie or jam, depending on how much I have. I really look forward to being able to say I made jam from my own fruit. It will feel like I got all the check boxes or a full score or something. We’ll see…
I’ve also gotten to eat a whole bunch of lettuce and cress from the garden. The cress is bolting sadly, but I plant to fill that space with more lettuce and plant more cress again in fall. These are two more garden success stories, starting lettuce inside worked amazingly well, my Ice Queens are even making heads this year! And my buttercrunch is huge and beautiful. (I love buttercrunch, it’s my favorite!) The cress was also really good. I mostly used it in sandwiches and sometimes a little mixed into salads, but I really liked the flavor, so it’s going into regular rotation, at least whenever the weather will cooperate.
For the rest of the salad bed, the radishes are ready to harvest (and are starting to bolt…) and there are a few carrots, but as usual, carrots remain a challenge. Maybe I’ll just plant more lettuce? And the cucumbers have germinated (or rather 4 out of 5 have, slot 5 refuses to cooperate even after 2 tries, so I guess cucumbers aren’t meant to grow there?). Also given the recent comprehensive demise of the chard (and I was so looking forward to trying it!!!) I’ve planted bush cucumbers in that spot because I really love pickles, and this year I’m going to get a decent amount.
As for the rest of that bed, the broccoli is coming along nicely, though I’m really hoping it will make nice big heads before the heat gets to them. The Pacman broccoli plants are maybe 1/3 or 1/4 bigger than the Sun King ones, but both have heads about the same size. Unfortunately I’ve been having to make a daily squishing of cabbage loopers (my mortal enemies). I used to pick them up and throw them, but that took extra time and there’s always the chance they’d make it back, so now I squish them and wash my hands after. I figure 90% of what ends up on my hands is liquified broccoli leaves… (Note to self: pick up Bt at Johnsons today, put it on the broccoli and then actually put up row covers like a responsible person). The eggplants are still there too. They’re holding out with the recent cold weather, and flea beetles that have covered their leaves in tiny holes. (Second note to self: see if Johnson’s has an organic gardening solution to flea beetles and cover the eggplants like a responsible person!). Yeah, so as is obvious my major failing with that bed was not putting up row covers like I had planned. Also there’s whatever killed the chard, which suddenly wilted. It couldn’t have been cold since the eggplants next to them were fine, and I don’t know of any chard diseases, and there was no insect damage… Some morning doves did ‘decorate’ them right before they wilted so maybe morning dove droppings are deadly to chard?
I also need to do some thinning. My bush beans are all up and growing nicely, so I need to go out and clip one for where they all came up. Putting in two seeds was the right choice given that they were older seeds and in a lot of places only 1 came up, but now I need to thin them. Their neighbors the slicing tomatoes are doing ok, they aren’t as happy as the cherry tomatoes in the grow bags, but I think that has to do with the extra shade from the neighbor’s oak tree and the fact that the ones in the grow bags have the best soil ever (yay gardener’s gold!). The Early Girl in the grow bag (my back up in case of another tomato apocalypse like last year) is also doing reasonably well, but I need to get another bag of soil to finish filling up the bag. (Note to self #3….) The only big gardening fail here is that I broke the growing tip on the Hartman’s Yellow trying to adjust it to keep it in the cage. It has a big offshoot right next to it, so hopefully it will be ok? But yeah, that was a major fail, and I was trying to be really gentle! New rule for me: don’t touch the tomatoes! Unless it’s a major issue, leave them alone! Or if absolutely necessary move it incredibly slowly.
Hm…who else…the garlic is doing well. We even had scapes for breakfast yesterday. Getting scapes is almost better than the actual garlic. They’re so good! And my marigolds are blooming. They’re more a creme than a pure white, but I still think they’re pretty. My catnip or rather the cats’ catnip also appears to be getting established, which is a good thing. And the potatoes are huge, they also have pretty white flowers, which I think is a good sign. The bad part is I caught a squash vine borer on them. So Note to Self #4, cover up the squash seedlings. Hopefully none of them are infected, especially since they’re so small right now, but we’ll see how it goes. Worst case scenario I’m going to be replanting in July.
On the upside, it looks like most of the basil, and more peas than I expected survived the cut worms. And the pole beans are starting to climb too. So I have high hopes for pesto, at least 1 meal of peas, and a summer of beans. Oh and my container corn is growing, I lost one seedling that got shadowed by the potatoes, but the rest seem to be doing well. I really need to thin them too.
Other than that, the peppers are doing good. It looks like they might like a little extra fertilizer, but they look happy and are producing some nice wax peppers. The other berries are mixed. My currants are actually doing really well, except for the fact the deer has pruned them again for me. The raspberries are mixed. But I didn’t do a great job planting or weeding them so that’s probably why. I have rhubarb, but even though I thought I got a red cultivar most of the stalks are green which weirds me out. I should just be brave and ignore that…
So I’d say so far I’ve got more successes than not!