May 24, 2015

In & Around The Garden

The bad news is that we have not gotten a good rainfall in over a month. Between that and temperatures in the low 90s, many things in the garden are suffering. I just can't seem to keep everything watered well, which is a concern. Anyway, here's what's happening in and around my garden.

I only planted two rows of peas. I planted turnips too but they were a no
show. I won't have a huge harvest but we'll have some good seasonal eating.

Kale is doing well. 

So is my lettuce and multiplier onions. Radishes
have mostly been harvested with a few left to go to seed.

Beets! This is the first time in several years the deer haven't wiped
out my beets. Also broccoli here, although it hasn't flowered yet.

My chicory volunteers every year. I love the blue blossoms and the
goats love the greens. Garlic in the background is near harvest time.

Green beans planted up in double rows. I planted cucumbers between the
double rows but with no rain they haven't sprouted, but weeds are growing .

This is the first time in a long time that I've mulched with straw, but we had all those bales from our make do pig digs so I've been using them.

Volunteer dill transplanted into the cabbage row. I started
the cabbage plants early but they have been slow to grow.

I planted 4 rows of popcorn but hardly any has had a chance to sprout. The
rows are filled with volunteer marigolds and amaranth. I leave the marigolds
and pull the amaranth. The roots are thrown into the compost while stalks
and leaves are chopped and dehydrated for the goats' winter mineral mix.

I leave other "weeds" as well. This is a row of heartsease.
It has medicinal value and makes a good ground cover.

It appears that only about half of
my sweet potatoes have survived.

Elder is beginning to bloom

A few red raspberries

A baby Gala apple. Do you see how lop-sided it is? I learned from Anna
Hess's The Naturally Bug-Free Garden (highly recommended) this is a
symptom of poor pollination. Our bees arrived too late to help this year's
apple crop, but will help correct will all fruit pollination in the future.

That's my garden report for the end of May. Hoping and praying for rain soon. How about you?

40 comments:

  1. Your garden looks wonderful. We've had almost no rain for more than a month and a very dry winter. Water reserves were already low at the end of april. Rememeber my last frost date is May the 22nd? This year things were looking so hot I planted earlier. A huge unexpected frost on the night of May 18th to the 19th wiped my garden. Even the pea plants suffered. The good news is that the popatoes and peas I planted in a microclimate terrace I build this winter are doing great. Not only they were not affected by the frost, they are big and flowering.
    I have to go back to planting everything now. Sigh.
    Lucía

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    1. Oh Lucia! What a heartbreak! Weather is the biggest challenge to gardening, not to mention the most unpredictable factor. I hope your second planting does much better.

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  2. Ouch! I hear you on the rain. Same thing here. Every time I check the long term forecast they call for rain but by the time the day actually rolls around it disapates.

    You know June will likely turn into a monsoon...

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    1. There never seems to be a balance!

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  3. Wow, your garden is way ahead of ours! The only thing up at this point are the onions. Like you, we are rain free, and hot. The forest fire hazard is at extreme, and all open fires are prohibited. We need to do a joint rain dance!

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    1. Ian, I'm actually afraid that I'll lose my spring cool weather veggies because it's getting too hot too quickly. Isn't it crazy how the rain is so unfairly distributed?

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  4. Your Garden is still looking good. I did a video on mine on Friday. Yours is leaps ahead of mine but I had a frost on Monday night so I can't be too early with everything. We've been lucky with the rain though and its fallen at the right times so far. I want to makessome hay at the end of next month so I hope the weather keeps smiling at me!

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    1. Kev, glad to hear you've gotten such good rainfall. Frost is the other problem! Our last frost is usually around April 20, and I've learned to wait until after that to plant my summer veggies!

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  5. I'm hoping for the rain too. We have only had 1/3" in May so far and not much in April either. We are officially in a drought. First the record snows, now very dry weather. If only I could average it out my garden would be happy. Loved the look at your garden.

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    1. Daphne, I agree about averaging it out! Too bad it doesn't really work that way. :) I have other seeds planted, but without rain they haven't come up yet. As long as the birds don't get them we still have a chance!

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  6. We've had nothing but thunderstorms here...I would send you the rain if I could.
    I haven't started our garden yet. I'll get my plants from the nursery when I do as they can grow in the safety of the greenhouse instead of exposed to hail here...that and our temps have been far too low to support anything...well maybe spinach? humm I should toss some seeds out and see what happens.

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    1. Renee, I've really been wishing for a greenhouse lately. It's on our to-do list, but probably a couple years down the road. Here's hoping you get some real nice spring weather soon.

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  7. We've had nothing but rain! My plant date is May 10, but cold rain delayed me for two weeks. I finally got everything in yesterday. Fortunately, I planted three early tomatoes in a wall-o-water, so I'll still have some early, and I did greens in rather early as well. My poor seedlings are nitrogen deficient , I hope I can baby them back into health. Seems like everyone has a garden challenge right now.

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    1. Melanie, I just hope the rains don't wash away whatever you apply for nitrogen! I worry about that with some of the finer minerals.

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  8. Have you considered a drip irrigation system? Check out www.Dripworks.com for very reasonably priced kits for home gardens. Easy to put together and doesn't waste water. Combined with deep mulch you can still have a productive garden in heat and drought. We have used this in the past and could easily re-install but luckily this year has started almost too rainy here in so. MO. Our garden -(gardens; we have 3 huge ones) are doing great. Worst problem is getting enough sunny days for the heat loving plants.

    Even with bees it can be a challenge to get good pollination in an orchard. Just 'cause you think the blooms are glorious doesn't mean the bees would rather work something else! We had a terrible fruit harvest last year d/t a bear destroying our hives but this year the new colonies are thriving and loads of baby apples/cherries. Unfortunately our last winter storm caused the loss of all our peaches and pears. Every year different on the farm.

    I enjoy reading your posts. We've been homesteaders since our hippie 60's but always something new to learn.

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    1. Diana, thank you for your kind words! Your comment about the bees tells me I'd better plan on adding several colonies next year, LOL. I rarely see bees around so I imagine mine will have lots of goodies to choose from.

      In regards to irrigation, I use a PVC pipe with holes in it hooked up to our rainwater collection tanks via a garden hose. This works really well and we're hoping to expand this system.

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  9. Fabulous! I am so envious. We finally sold our big farm and am now on The Poor Farm and struggling with first year garden blues! Digging through thick sod and soil in need of lots of organic material. But we are happy to be here. Will be visting your blog lots more now.

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    1. Donna, that is absolutely fantastic news! I know you must be thrilled to be there. Looking forward to following your progress and adventures!

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  10. So weird to see you growing in summer what are winter crops for us - kale, peas, beans. Summer is too hot for these here.

    Do you harvest your kale from the bottom or top(ish) of the plant? And, at what size do you harvest the leaves?

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    1. Dani, I think about your shade gardening often!

      I harvest the kale by leaves. The smallest leaves I put raw into salads, the medium ones I steam, saute, or can, and the large ones I chop up for the goats. They get some fresh and some dried.

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  11. Oh how I wish I could spread the water we have to you and other parts that need it. We're expecting 8-11 inches (no kidding) over the next couple of days. It's just crazy. Sitting here with a downpour happening as I type.

    For the struggles though, you are keeping it going. Hope the bees are well. Ours are doing fine, but I worry about so much rain for them. I guess they adapt.

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    1. If you send the rain, I'll put it to good use, I promise!

      My bees are very busy bringing in pollen and (I assume since I can't see it) nectar. I worry that the pollen will become scarce if it doesn't rain soon, but so far so good.

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  12. You are so right about the bees pollinating your apples. You will notice a difference, with nicely proportioned fruits. You may also notice a difference with your beans too as bees seem to love bean flowers and honey bees pollinate from the front, whereas bumble bees often cut into the back of the flower to get to the pollen/nectar.

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    1. Gill I hope so. I didn't know that about bumble bees though - very interesting!

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  13. we need water as well here in Southern Ontario, hoping for some over the next couple of days.

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    1. I hope you get some too! It's so worrisome when it doesn't rain.

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  14. I have a few friends online who are into permaculture beds and food forests; I don't know if permaculture beds would work for you, but it's what I'd be doing if I had somewhere to do it in. Best of luck with your garden either way. ~ Linne

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    1. Linne, we used no-till garden beds for about three years, until the wiregrass (a wild bermuda) took over. I could keep it under control early in the summer, when I could stay on top of mulching, but once the harvest commenced all my time was spent harvesting and preserving with no time for mulching. Last fall my beds had so many wire grass runners in them that I couldn't really plant anything. They had taken over. So we turned the pigs in the garden for some natural tilling. Dan ran the garden tiller one time after that and the ground has been much easier to work and plant. We are working on establishing forest garden hedgerows between our pasture areas, and I think that will be our best bet for permaculture.

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  15. Do you recycle your grey water for watering? Last year we had a drought here in Ireland ( no, it's not true that it's always raining here) and again this April we were nearly a month without water, as our house hold needs are our rain harvesting system we cant use that in times of rain shortage so all washing up water is stored in buckets and delivered to the plants that need water. When we lived in Spain all our water was diverted onto the garden, showers, sinks and washing machine.

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    1. Not yet. We have plans for grey water recycling, but so far only have rainwater tanks for irrigation. It's tough because they eventually empty and with no rain in site there's no refilling. Grey water is a more continuous source. Some day!

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  16. We have had rain but the temps vary. Hoping they are evened out now. It was interesting to read that you planted cukes between your beans. My beans aren't even up yet. How long after you planted the beans did you plant the cucumbers. Since I have a small area wondering if I could save space that way. Nancy

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    1. Nancy, I planted the cucumbers just as the beans were poking up. They are supposed to be good companions. I always try to grow at least two or three things together if I can.

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  17. As its Autumn, our Melbourne water supply is currently sitting at 70% and with expected rains this winter we should be all right for the coming summer ie no drought but that's just down south. In Qld there are many areas with low rainfall. Ave daily use per person here is still 147L which i believe is still quite high. Im hoping to get my irrigation going this spring. I have a 2000L rainwater tank that currently isnt hooked up to a brand new pump in the shed. I have soaker hoses in all the beds so i currently just use them on a timer.

    All my plumbing goes into our concrete slab so its hard to harness the grey water. The washing machine is about all i can divert.

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    1. Lynda, your irrigation system sounds fabulous. I've been using perforated pipe instead of soaker hoses, and was supposed to get more made this past winter. i didn't! Still, even one with our 2000L rain tank system is a big help. That's too bad about your grey water though. Still, washing machine water is a big help too.

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  18. Leigh,

    I so wish I could send you our rain. It's still raining, things remain wet. The water isn't absorbing, were expecting rain through June 10th apparently. Your garden beds are looking really nice even if they're not getting rain.
    I'll be happy when the rain stops so I can check out my garden in detail to see if anything has survived.

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    1. Oh Sandy, I hope your garden doesn't drown! Funny how we can have such opposite problems.

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  19. Words cannot describe how weird it is to see SO MUCH GROWTH!!! We have also had no rain, but I am only at the second set of true leaves for just about everything! WOW! Same dry weather up here. It is odd. Normally, we would be over the average.

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    1. But by the time you look out and see just as much green, ours will probably be dried up to a crispy brown. :(

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  20. I expect you got some rain last night. It rained up here all night long and has been raining on and off since. The weather channel says that terrible weather from Texas is headed this way. Time to move the goats and pigs to the Ark.

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    1. I believe we're fixing to finally get some rain within the hour. The skies are black in the west and we can hear thunder in the distance. Finally! How about you, Harry, are you getting much of it?

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