Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid July Garden - 2012

We had several days of on and off thunderstorms rolling through, which resulted in a lot of rain. Although we've been watering the garden every morning for the past couple months, the amount of (weed) growth down there just in the last week during and after all that rain has been incredible! We've got tomatoes and cucumbers, still very small, but far earlier than last year. In fact I don't even know if we ended up with a cucumber last year at all. I would love to claim that the plant growth is due to the chicken manure we added last fall, but I suspect some of it has to do with the better weather this year, and the better job of regular weeding and watering I've been able to do.

The onions have been growing huge. The ones on the east side of the garden, where the soil is a little different, and where the water regime is a bit better, have been doing just amazing. On the other side of the garden, where the water pools due to the watering system we have, and due to the ground slope there, aren't doing quite as well as these below, but they are still doing at least as good if not better than last year, so I'm quite satisfied. It has been interesting seeing the difference between the starts I planted inside in February and the seeds I direct seeded in the early spring. The direct seeded at first seemed to jump ahead, but now I don't notice a difference between the two groups.

Of course in addition to the weeds, we have other green things growing quickly too. Like this little grasshopper. The chickens have been seeming to do a good job of keeping the grasshopper numbers in the field between the coop and the garden down in numbers from last year, but within the garden fence, where the chickens don't go, there have been some areas where the grasshoppers have been surprisingly prevalent. They seem to love sitting on my cilantro patch and are just shredding the leaves as the plants go to seed. I think we'll still get lots of seed, but its been astonishing seeing the grasshoppers just sit so densely in that patch.

We've been harvesting tubs of raspberries and the last of the shell peas. I was dismayed to find what I am fairly certain are pea weevils. I'm thinking of devoting a whole post to them in the next week or so as I learn more and decide on a management strategy to avoid or reduce their presence in the garden next year. We have gotten a lot of shell peas though; I've frozen 2 batches of peas in the freezer after blanching, for use as a side dish or an addition to a couple of pasta dishes we make. I think there may be one more smaller batch tonight as well, before we pull the plants and feed them to the chickens, or wait a bit and feed them to the pig in the next couple weeks.

My herb patch is doing quite well, although my husband has decided that the basil variety (sacred basil if I recall) that I chose this year isn't his favorite at all, so we've been letting that go a bit. The chives have been frequently mowed down for twice baked potato casseroles, and the dill garnished the top of some grilled salmon the other day. The cilantro is pretty much past picking but soon we will be able to harvest the seeds and replant. The sage and oregano and thyme and rosemary are still fairly small, but they've got another month or two before we need to harvest before frost, so still lots of time to get our acts together there.

The corn, which got frosted as it was emerging, has been a bit spotty this year, with some definite patches where we could use another couple plants, but I'm happy with how large it is growing, and we even had one plant that was definitely knee high by the fourth of July :) Looking at this picture, I can tell I need to get in there and do some weeding in the next couple of days!

The rhubarb plants that I traded for this spring have just taken off, and I'm really looking forward to harvesting rhubarb next summer. There are also a lot of radishes going to seed in the picture, which my husband requested to seed out in the bottom field for his deer garden. As long as they get out of the way of the corn soon, I'm leaving them in there, but they do seem like they are taking over!

The winter squash (butternut and hubbard) are really taking off with the heat we've been having around the thunderstorms. I keep having to rearrange them so that they end up not completely entwined with everything else! I can see here in this picture I obviously have missed one of the hubbards trying to take over the broccoli... I'd better get that taken care of before the hubbard sends shoots into the ground and wraps around the broccoli! The green beans that I replanted are doing alright here, but not as well as the dry beans have been doing. They are almost at the flowering stage, which seems way earlier than last year. Loving this warm summer!

The pumpkins are also doing great, and having blossoms already. I expect they will totally take over this end area before the fall, and likely we'll have more pumpkins than we really need, but I figure the pig will eat anything we grow like that this year!

Well, that's the mid summer tour, how is your garden space doing this year?

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