The potted peanut plant died from heat and drought, but not before making a few little peanuts for us. How cool is this?
We have to dig through the dirt to see if there are many more, but this was exciting!
Not much has changed. If you look closely you’ll see that the cucumbers are just starting to grow, the squashes and melons are sprawling across the lawn, the cabbages and carrots are ready to be picked and processed, the garlic is gone, and the sweet potatoes are leafing out nicely. The strawberries are alive and sending out runners, and I still need to get out there and plant a bunch of fall green beans for my wife.
An experiment that ended up happening this year was to start cucumbers from seed outdoors in late May instead of early May. When I read what I just wrote it just sounds like no big deal…a couple weeks difference…”so what?”, right?
Well, it has me nervous because by this date I usually have fruit set and instead I have baby plants that haven’t even reached the trellis yet.
I’m also trying a row of bush-type cucumbers. Supposedly these set a good amount of fruit without getting over 2 feet in vine length.
I mentioned about a month ago that this year I have grown the best beets I have ever grown, by far. That was pretty easy to say, because in other years the greens grew about 6 inches high, if that, and I got almost no size to the roots.
This year, my beet greens are much bigger and healthier looking, thanks to thorough, deep digging, purchased organic fertilizers, proper weeding and thinning and frequent watering. But I’m not growing these beets for their greens…I don’t even enjoy the greens.
I want BEET ROOTS! Wednesday I picked the biggest beet that was out there:
The beet seed was sown on around March 29th. I took this photo 69 days later. The packet claimed that I could harvest these in 55-65 days and even this one isn’t big enough to cook and peel!
I have to face facts now. At some point, if I want to have better luck in the garden, I’m going to have to move it….
I took this photo of my garden at 11 a.m. No part of the garden has yet been touched by the sun this day. 30 or 40 minutes later the far right (west) side starts to get sun, and 90 or more minutes later the back corner finally gets illuminated.
I spent many, many hours making that garden be “just right” down there…but now I see that the grass is sunnier on the other side of the yard. Hopefully I will be able to live with the current situation and put off the big move for a long time. Many parts of the garden get 6 or more hours of sunlight.
For now, I’ll let these beets grow for several more days. I’ll add some more “K” fertilizer, which is supposed to help out roots. The longer I leave the beets growing, the more I risk them turning into fibrous, woody roots that are inedible. Hopefully that won’t happen too soon.
I have focused in on the 2-3 inch heads that are starting to form on my Primero purple cabbage plants. The outer set of leaves is probably 18 inches wide right now.
Purple cabbage tastes the same as green cabbage and can be used interchangeably in recipes. However you have to be aware that it will bleed and stain the other foods, like a beet does. Why grow purple cabbage organically? Because it makes the worms so easy to find!
Edit: Above I said that these were “Primero” cabbages. They are in fact Red Acres cabbages. I am growing both this year, and they look very similar.
I can’t tell you why, but this year I have not seen any evidence of the moles that normally live in my back yard / garden. I also haven’t yet seen a flush of June Bugs. They normally show themselves in early May around here, so some refer to them as May Beetles. Also, in all my digging, I haven’t seen a single Japanese Beetle.
If they all stay away, I’ll be OK with that.
My tomatoes have been getting blight (I believe it’s septoria leaf spot) earlier and earlier each year. I decided that I need to move them completely out of my main garden area this year.
I built these four 2 foot by 2 foot raised “bed” boxes up by my back porch. They’ll get great sun and they’ll be in new dirt that shouldn’t already be innoculated with whatever blights my other soil is carrying.
The tomatoes will grow up these uprights and shade our picnic table. I’ll just tie them up as they grow. Tomatoes need at least 4 square feet when placed next to each other in a raised bed garden. But since these will have lots of airspace all around them, I’m planning on planting each of these boxes with 1 tomato and 2 basil.
This is my urban back yard, as viewed from the back fence looking towards the house. See if you can spot:
The yard slopes down to the south, with a creek beyond my back fence. Most of the garden is between 4 and 8 feet below the level of the house, so I would have great water pressure if I set up rain barrels. They’re just so expensive! I need to make DIY rain barrels!
I had a chance to work in the garden for a couple hours today. Wow, it was nice to be back out there again!
At some point I decided to remove a majority of the hay that was covering my garlic bed. The hay won’t be needed unless oddly bitter cold returns without warning, but it was causing some of the plants a little trouble in growing.
I grabbed up a big armload of hay and carried it to my compost pile. I went back for a second armful and saw movement after my first grab…
I moved them to this sideways planter box outside my fence and completely covered them with their nest and lots of hay. I hope the mother finds them and makes them a new home in another yard, even though I know they’ll just be a big pain in my garden this year. I feel I owe it to the universe after what happened in 2010.
It is amazing to me how completely hidden these rabbit nests are, and how you never see the mother coming and going. You have to be not only right on top of them, but deliberately tearing up ground cover before you’ll stumble onto baby bunnies.