Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A Worm in the Apple

Garlic scapes again! These ones are growing in my garden, with shallots behind them that are about to bloom. This is some of the good news from our garden. Unfortunately, we have discovered that our soil is very poor. It's acidic; somewhere between pH 5.25 and 5.5, and very low in all the nutrients. Rude people might call it sand.

The solution - or at least the only way to ameliorate it - is to amend the soil with lots and lots of compost and manure. Mr Ferdzy has built a little compost complex using found materials.

Another crop which is producing right now are the snow-peas, although they are not growing very high.

The other thing Mr Ferdzy has been scrounging are plastic bottles to try to water some plants at the roots. For a while we were taking walks at dusk on recycling night and returning with our arms full.

We are growing two sets of tomatoes. The further set are ones we bought, and are likely to produce some fruit if it ever warms up. The closer ones are ones we grew from seed, and they are struggling, between the poor soil and the fact that we started them off with water from our well, which turned out to be full of salt, which they hated. (Our peppers hated it so much they didn't even bother to come up.)

These are our root-vegetable beds. They are doing the worst of any of our beds, with not even the weeds doing well. We've given them up for this year - no carrots for us.

The potatoes, on the other hand, are doing really well. Not only are the plants very high and bushy, they presently have beautiful flowers. These blue ones are the nicest, I think, although some are pink or white.

And to close, here's a picture of Mr Ferdzy weeding the asparagus. It's in bondage because without all the 5' high weeds to hold it up it is inclined to flop. Because we can't remove the roots and clear the bed, it's the one that has more weeds than any other bed. We also need to patrol daily, as asparagus beetles have started to show up.

After some thought, we have decided on the Worst Weed in our garden. We considered giving that honour to various plants: bladder campion, which has 4' deep roots; twitchgrass, wild lettuce, purple vetch which all spread by underground runners; and the one to which I have given the prize; horsetails. They spread by underground runners as well, and if you miss a small bit, it reproduces at a phenomenal rate. The roots are tough and wirey, yet somewhat slimey, and after you pull out as much as you can they are back in less than a week; maybe a day or two if the weather is amenable.


Kevin Kossowan said...

Fantastic to see your garden!! Tough growing year in general. We just got 30mm of rain yesterday - an end to our drought for a while.

It's a tad frustrating establishing a new garden, no? There are days that I wish I could skip 3-4 years ahead to be reminded that my design plan isn't as ridiculous as it sometimes seems.

Christine said...

You and your husband sound rather busy with those horsetails. I love the pics. Thanks for sharing!

City Girl said...

Wow! You have such a nice large garden! We have a tiny city lot so I'm very envious despite your difficulties w/ the soil. Looks like a lot of fun. I love the pic of the garlic scapes...they look so pretty!

Marnie said...

Oh dear, sorry about all the trials and tribulations in your garden. Some day you'll survey your lush plots as you think back to the difficult early days, but until then, it's just more hard work.

I've never seen a potato flower -- pretty!

Ferdzy said...

Kevin, it has been a tough year. In our case though, it's been mighty chilly and wet. I think I know where YOUR rain went - WE got it in the spring.

Christine, City Girl and Marnie, we can't really complain. It's what we want to do and if it isn't perfect, well not very many things are. At least the soil is very easy to dig! We'll figure out what does well and how to encourage the rest with time. (And garlic is a totally cool plant, for sure.)