Wednesday, 3 July 2013
Midsummer in the Garden
Spring planting is done! Now we are into watering, weeding, picking and processing - as well as planning our summer and fall plantings. Each Monday morning we walk through the garden and make a list of the chores for the week.
We decided to plant as much through plastic and mulch as possible this year, and it is really making life so much pleasanter. Still behind on trimming the grass though; nothing new there.
Our celeriac is spectacular, the best we've grown so far (knock wood) and even the squash, melons and cucumbers are surviving quite well. There is a steady supply of cucumber beetles, but we start each day with a quiet, comtemplative 20 minutes of bug killing and so far we seem to be keeping on top of them. Squash bugs have been present, but relatively scarce.
The leaf beds still look pretty sparse but they are now all planted. Leeks still need to be transplanted to their final spot; that should happen this week. Early planted cabbages are starting to look like they are thinking of forming heads, all the other brassicas are looking much better than usual, probably because we treated the beds with lime and Borax at as we planted them. Saw my first cabbage butterfly yesterday, so I guess the days of the cabbages and brassicas being relatively hole-free are now numbered with a pretty small number.
Swiss chard is ready for the first picking, or at least thinning. We are growing 2 new (to us) varieties this year, Green Perpetual and Lucullus, both from William Dam. Actually, I remember growing Lucullus in our allotment garden days and want to see if it is as good as I remember.
Peas are pretty much in full swing, in fact the Tom Thumb are nearly over. Mid season peas are mid, and late peas are just getting geared up. Yay peas! I could eat 'em all day. This is going to be a super year for them, I would say.
The chick peas are flowering. It's hard to see, as they are very small, single blossoms, but the plants are looking really lush. The beans are all doing well too.
Peanuts and sweet potatoes have been in for a while, but we are still sometimes getting cool enough nights that we should be covering them, although we are not always sufficiently organized to actually do it. Still, they look okay.
Tomatoes are doing well, although the second bed has never really caught up from their late planting. Fortunately these are all canning tomatoes. I won't mind doing my canning a little later in the summer. Cucumbers are surviving the beetles and a few even look like producing cucumbers this week. We picked our first zucchini yesterday, and more look like they should be ready in a day or two. They seem to be slow to really get started, somehow. Maybe I am just impatient.
Overall, I think we are more on top of the weeding than we have ever been so far. We actually feel like we are having time to relax and enjoy the garden... very different from last year when, honestly, we should have covered the whole thing in plastic for the year and walked away.
We are even getting extra projects done. We got a number of the paths laid down with landscape cloth. We still have to get to one of the local landscape supply places and pick out a gravel to cover them (and have it dumped on our driveway, and haul it into place with wheelbarrows - whoohoo!) but it should happen this month and meanwhile we already feel that the cloth is really reducing the weeding and the grass trimming. We have bought quite a number of shrubs to go into our newly landscaped areas, and I have some perennials I have grown from seed to go in as well. We may even tackle the overgrown mess I call my flower cutting bed this year...