What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Edible Gardens in Early July

I've been meaning to show you the 'completed' garden for a while now.

Come to think of it, I've been meaning to show you a painted diagram of the gardens too because I like doing that sort of thing, but seeing how I haven't yet painted the garden layout... 

and seeing how many of the things I had planted didn't actually COME UP...

I guess it might have been a good thing I didn't show you my hopes for this garden because you won't know just how dashed they are.  ;-)

For example~  I was excited to try my hand at growing POPCORN this year!  I planted five rows and several varieties.  This is what has become of that:

Four measly little shoots.


But really, the sweet corn isn't much better:

Sporatic and blotchy.  And we can forget about this "knee-high by the 4th of July" bit, too.

My sweet pepper plants have been eaten at best- possibly without any chance of rebounding, at worst- completely to the ground.  Of course, our hot peppers are doing fine- but only Matt loves those!

None of my lettuces/spinaches have come up at all.

None of my cilantro or dill has come up at all, despite additional plantings.

The basil is stunted.

Many of the 'seed' plantings had a bad turnout and I wonder how much of that has to do with being planted in hay.

And the bugs- oh, the bugs, and slugs and vicious little beasties!  This has been the worst year I have known for pests and I am not accustomed to being so overcome!  I have very little knowledge about organic pest control because I've always been lucky, I suppose...so I think a fair amount of pest research is in my (very near) future.

I wonder about the effects of hay in this regard too.  It seems like hay may be a beautiful place for beasties to burrow and live.

I feel sortof bad for blaming the hay- it really does help so much with weed protection and moisture retention- but it is the one big change I have made this year.  Not sure if these problems are a coincidence or a symptom.

Nevertheless, there has been some progress.

Here was the hay garden at the end of June:

And here it is this week, in early July:

The tomatoes are flourishing after the usual week or two of freaking out from being put into the big, rocky ground instead of their nice little cozy, crumbly little starter pots.

And I am very excited about the staking system I have in place.  I couldn't afford to go all-in to the whole trellis-fence staking this year (fence is expensive!!!) but I bought two rolls of it as an experiment with leftover cages and some wooden stakes Matt made for me to supplement.  The fence looks like it is going to work marvelously at this point.  I can't wait to see how it holds up to mature, heavily fruited plants!

If it does well, I will gladly never look at another tomato cage in my own garden again- and good riddance!

Mid-June I had a kind neighbor come and till me up a new 'patch' for pumpkins and sunflowers.   The animals were very curious about the whole thing.

It is next to the potato patch (on the left side of the picture).

And here it looks this morning~

This will likely be a tilled garden simply because hay is such a lot of work and by the time pumpkins start going crazy- there isn't much opportunity for weeds to grow anyway.  

But I may change my tune.

Along the back and pasture-edge are the sunflowers.  With a few scattered in among the pumpkins for good measure.

Because when you have a seed packet- why save the last few seeds?  Really!


The garlic is nearly ready to be harvested...

And the swiss chard should have been already!  That is on this weeks' agenda.

This is the potato patch- which likes its' new home (and needs to be hay mulched) ...

And the flower "cutting garden", right next door.

 These ladies would be nice 'pest control' if they didn't also scratch up my plants!  Now that gardens are in, they are stuck in the fence again until fall when they can be put to work cleaning things up.

I am not their favorite person right now.

The garden has more bare spots that I had hoped for (thanks to the non-viable seeds) so, though I thought I was through with the planting, I will try to fill in those spots with late crops like peas, radishes, lettuce and spinach (I WILL have fresh lettuce and spinach.  The end.)

There are always disappointments when gardening- it's just the fact of life.  My biggest one so far are the pitiful sweet peppers.  I will be sad not to eat crisp, fresh beautiful peppers from just outside the door. The popcorn is a disappintment too- but not as much so because that was an experiment anyway.

A few other new-to-me things: eggplant and okra.  We'll see how they go!  I have never even EATEN okra, let alone GROWN it, so it should be interesting...

In just a few weeks this garden will look entirely different and I'll be in the harvesting mode.  

Can't wait.

How does your garden grow?


rebecca said...

I have to say, this post was a relief to read. Even expert, prodigious gardeners have flops! Last summer my zucchini failed. Zucchini of all things! So did my cucumber and I only got one pumpkin. It was a bit of a relief as I had a baby early October. This year everything is going right except for my spinach and Swiss chard. I have three square foot boxes with two zucchini plants and five pumpkin plants in the ground. And new this year are raspberries and apples. I love my little garden but I would be happier to see it tripled. Now I just need to convince my husband.

lydia.purple said...

just something i read recently... grind up eggshells and spread around your plants for pest control. they kill slugs and snails and some other pests... just look up 'eggshells for pest control' on pinterest for more details.

Rebecca said...

Rebecca- my zucchini gave out early last year too and my pumpkins did okay but were not as large as they should have been either. I laughed when you called me a prodigious gardener. The truth of the matter is I am a PRACTICING gardener. Every year I practice more.

Lydia- eggshells surround! I utilized that tip (one of the only I know besides beer) a week ago. The problem hasn't gotten worse, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Bugs don't like beer? Really?!

(Them bugs be crazy)

Leslie Ferguson said...

My issue has been sprouting seeds from the wheat straw. I used wheat straw to mulch everything but my sweet corn and ended up with the prettiest stand of wheat you ever did see around my tomatoes, squash, and peppers. The sprouts are easy to pull by hand or disturb with my hoe, but the whole point was to spend less time weeding. At least the soil moisture is more consistent thanks to the straw. Your garlic looks fabulous!!

Leah T. said...

Our garden is growing well for the first time in 5 years! It was so wet this spring that we weren't able to get out on the garden spot. We abandoned the hay mulch method this year 'cause of the rain and the weeds which took over. We built several raised beds instead. Though we'd like to quadruple the number if beds, we are very pleased so far! Everything is growing beautifully and weeding has been a breeze! We just harvested a bunch of herbs; dill weed, parsley, sage, chives, and basil. We even made a small batch of pesto! We'll definitely be continuing with the raised beds.

Leah T. said...

Scott posted about our garden this afternoon, http://www.northcountryfarmer.com/?p=597. :)

LBP said...

My garden has been pretty amazing this year! The exception is the tomatoes don't look real good, but there are lot's of green tomatoes on them. I use Captain Jacks for pest control. It is organic and works very well!

Rebecca said...

ANON~ they LOVE it, actually. So much, they end up drowning in it. What a way to go...

Leslie- perhaps you need to put it on more thickly? I've never had any problem with it- though I do use as old and cruddy hay as I possibly can find.

Leah- thanks for sharing that! I enjoyed so much reading it! And SEEING YOU and seeing your little Samuel for the first time since birth (boy, is he darling!). I'll write a note over there too when I get a chance but for now, I have to leave to go to an Amish auction that starts in 15 minutes....ack! Stupid computer!

LBP- good tip! I'll remember captain jacks. And so happy your garden is doing so well for you!

Renata said...

Your garden is lovely Rebecca! I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you've had. Last summer I had to loose the whole garden because we ran out of water. It was so disheartening. Thankfully our winter garden is going much better!
I haven't had much success with seeds in hay. I'm not sure if It would be better to mulch after they are all up a bit. It would be painful for having to weed during that time, but it may help get a more successful rate of germination. I think I may experiment this coming summer if we have more water.
Have a lovely day