Thursday, 4 August 2011
A Garden Update
Last Thursday, our drought finally broke with - wait for it! - 120 milimetres of rain! That's just shy of 5" in one swell foop. We were so, so, dry though. There was no flooding, the ditches hardly rose, and by the third day, it had all vanished except for a tiny little puddle in the wet beds, and it was back to needing to water again, at least a few things. That brought our total rainfall for July to 129 mm, by the way.
A lot of things in the garden flopped after the rain, like the potatoes in the potato box. They are fine though, and perking up again. We won't know the scoop on how this potato bed worked until the fall, but I can say that the plants are huge and healthy looking.
We pulled out our turnips and quite a number of the beets are gone too. Along with the space opened up from moving the leeks, we had enough room to plant some rutabagas. I have no idea how they will do - they have gone in almost a month late. Hopefully there will be some, just on the small side. Which is not totally inconvenient in a 2 person household.
Our onions this year are beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. Had a little trouble with cut worms early on, but other than that they have been completely trouble free and big.
Sweet potatoes have been much less impressive. They got off to a very slow start with our cool June, and have had to fight with the potatoes for space. Our potatoes sure are looking good this year though. We should be digging our first variety this week. That'll be Envol, a very early potato that we got from Pinehaven Farm.
We ate our first - and looks like only - cauliflower this year. It looks great in the picture, but my sister-in-law had to spend a lot of time picking little green worms out of it. We are having a lot of trouble withe the brassicas. They don't form well, and they are absolutely smothered in cabbage butterfly larvae, the aforementioned little green worms. Not that little, either. We are going to have to do some thinking about how to deal with these 2 problems next year. On the other hand we are getting some decent if slightly tatty cabbages, so it isn't a total loss.
The melons are mostly looking very good, and have formed a fairly impenatrable sea of vines. The occasional green hump can be spotted cutting through the waves. I did notice one vine wilted for no detectable reason this morning though. I pruned it out but that's the sort of thing to make a gardener uneasy.
After several years of struggling to get peas and beans to grow, they are finally doing well. I think inoculating them with bean inoculant has really helped. Also, getting on top of the watering and staying on top of it.
The bad news was that we have a virus in the beans this year, almost certainly yellow mosaic virus. Interestingly, it has had little effect on the peas, but the beans almost all show some signs of it. Some are much more resistant than others. We are still getting lots of beans, but we will take notes about which ones do the best.
Still, the snow peas had pretty much given up producing in the hot weather, so we have pulled them out and replanted with peas. We'll see if they actually produce before fall.
The beans, in spite of the virus, have been producing scads of beans. We have picked around 3 bushels so far (that's 32 quarts, or 128 cups!)
Our trellis system has mostly held up. A couple have cracked under the strain and had to be repaired. Our better stringing system than last year means that the vines stay in place better, but it also means that when the wind blows the whole trellis wants to move.
If you look at the right side of the picture you will see a large piece of machinery. We have decided to put in the deer fencing that we have been talking about ever since we moved here. In another week or two it will be finished, and hopefully we can take down the electric fence and move around the garden freely. Unlike the deer*. BWAHAHAHA!
*We hope. The fence is U-shaped, closing off all sides except the front, facing the road. They don't generally come from that direction, but if they start we will have a problem, having a giant, U-shaped deer trap.