Well, it’s July 4th and the garden is chugging along. Rain has been plentiful, but not threatening to swamp us; weather has had some pretty hot, some kind of cool, but a lot of 80-degrees and sunny. So, can’t complain about the weather so far this year.
The usual suspects – kale, potatoes, peas, and beans – are doing well. It was a decent year for strawberries, though we need to tear it all out to get the grass out of the bed. The Other usual suspects – carrots, parsnips, beets – are giving me the usual amount of trouble and promising their usual mediocre yields. The tomatoes are doing FAR better this year than last. We didn’t get blight last year, but the tomatoes didn’t really grow, either. This year’s ‘maters are huge and robust so far, setting fruit and flowers, though nothing is approaching ripe yet.
In a pleasant surprise, I had a very nice crop of turnips (greens and roots) with no sign of root maggot this year. Let’s hear it for floating row cover!
I’ve had some annoying surprises, though. The Purple Peacock broccoli that was so wonderful last year was just pathetic this year. The Happy Rich broccolini that wouldn’t quit last year…quit. I ripped out eight or ten plants of the two and planted rutabagas, because the rutabagas also are doing very poorly this year. A large part of this is due to slugs and earwigs (I think), both of which came in on the straw I used to lightly mulch the seeds. Never used overwintered straw (a.k.a. “slug nursery”) for anything but compost. Duh.
The other curiosity is my three sisters garden. Everything is yellow, and I’m not sure why. My best guess is lack of nitrogen. This garden is just sheet mulched- sod + cardboard + 12″ composted horse manure. The horses were bedded on wood shavings, not straw. So I’m thinking the wood is binding up the nitrogen.I also didn’t inoculate the beans, so they’re suffocating and also not fixing nitrogen for the corn.I just hope it’s not some weird de-worming chemical or something from the horses that’s “poisoned” this batch of dirt.
I did some remedial inoculation today, along with adding some blood meal and greensand; we’ll see if that helps at all. I don’t usually plant a bed the same season that bed was built, but this was pretty well composted so I thought what the heck. I hope next year it will be better once the worms have had a chance to work their magic and mix the compost and clayey subsoil some more.
If anyone has ideas, I’d love to hear them…
And finally…WHO ATE MY WHEAT?? I went out today to see if it was ready to harvest and found nothing but stubble!
There will be posts later this week about baby trees and my first permaculture “guildlet.”