I am pleased to report we might actually be winning the war with bugs and weeds. I know this was a pressing concern for all of you.
This past weekend I harvested an entire mixing bowl of banana peppers and cucumbers. And promptly canned all of it, with the help of Old McDonald. We have three jars of sweet banana peppers and three jars of bread & butter pickles. There will be plenty more coming, as we are about to be buried in tomatoes. Our Roma plants are producing like nothing I’ve ever seen. I see a lot of sauce in our future. And everyone else’s.
We have now entered the difficult time of year where everything’s growing merrily (particularly the weeds) and yet nothing is ready to harvest (except the lettuce, that’s still coming.) Maddening.
The back 40 garden looks good:
While we were away at Barbecue University, all the peas and beans came up, much to our delight, because it apparently rained really hard for that week. We need to focus on putting up trellises this weekend, and we’ll see if we’re still so pleased when we’re out there picking bushels of legumes in either the broiling sun, or the mosquito-infested twilight of August. Either way, likely to be uncomfortable while harvesting:
In other news, almost all of the seeds I sowed for herbs have come up. The dill has been a little difficult, but that happened last year so I’m not worried, plus I don’t use a ton of fresh dill in my cooking so what’s coming up will probably be enough. And another challenge is that I absolutely cannot tell the difference between the tarragon seedlings and the weeds. This should sort itself out in a few weeks, because the weeds will grow much bigger much faster. I think. I didn’t photograph it, because who wants visual evidence of their weeding incompetency?
I am currently reading The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden, edited by Thomas C. Cooper. It’s a series of essays by famous gardeners (not that I’ve heard of any of them, though) trying to articulate why they garden. Most of them can’t – they can trace the roots of their interest to a family member, or family tradition, or just an interest – but all of them are universal in their love for working with dirt and plants. It’s a mix of both vegetable and ornamental gardeners (and sometimes folks who are both) and an interesting read. Something to occupy my time while I avoid weeding the tarragon right out of existence.
We finished planting this weekend, in some of the hottest weather we have seen this early in June. It felt unspeakably hot to be out there yesterday, but we persevered. The tally:
125 Mr. Big Peas
120 Sweet Peas
100 Royal Purple Bush Beans
48 Pole Beans
2nd planting of Sweet corn
7 Sugar Baby watermelon plants
4 Moon & Stars watermelon plants
8 Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins
9 Amish pumpkins (those mysterious pumpkins from the purchase 2 years ago in upstate NY at an Amish farm stand)
8 Jack-Be-Little pumpkins
7 Orange Smoothies
And it look like this:
…..which doesn’t look like much at this point. It joins the sweet potatoes, first corn planting (of a brand called Quickie; we’ll see if it lives up to it’s name) and sunflowers. No edible value to sunflowers, really (well, except the seeds) but we’ve always wanted to grow them so this year we finally got around to planting some.
This year we’ve fenced the entire garden. Last year we only fenced the peas, beans and corn, which worked out fine, but once the pumpkins, watermelons and winter squash had matured, something came through and sampled a little bit out of quite a few of the fruits. Plus, this year we have a turkey. We think it’s a female, but who can tell? (It could be a juvenile male. Only time will tell.) This turkey enjoys walking across the corn, and snoozing in the dirt mounds we created to plant the watermelons, squash and pumpkins. So up went the fence. Which works, because as I was finishing up the watering yesterday she walked out of the brush and right into the fence. Someone unhelpfully pointed out turkeys can fly. We’re hoping the dirt isn’t that appealing to her that she’ll fly over and end up stuck. Or knock the fence over.
Last night the first round of corn was planted. We have finally gotten some rain and the ground is no longer bone dry, so J could move forward with planting.
Our beets have started to come up, as have our cabbages, lettuce and potatoes. Still no sign of the parsnips and carrots, but those are usually slower and we have been less-than-attentive to watering. I am going to double-check them tomorrow and see if anything’s starting to pop up; if not I’m going to plant another round.
Our seedlings are looking good and are ready for planting next weekend:
The bottom two shelves are flowers,the top 3 are all vegetables. This is not including what we will sow directly into the ground – namely, the peas and beans – and there are still more growing under the lights on the bigger rack down in the basement.
And the front yard yesterday:
The only downside is that to encourage healthy bulb growth I have to let all the foliage die off and turn brown before mulching the bed. Still, worth it – it reminds me so much of our trip to Amsterdam last spring and the Keukenhof garden. It’s nice to see such color without the jet lag.