Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Garden News Part Two

First, I want to explain all of the straw bales in the last post. We had been trying to come up with a compost system for the whole last year and nothing was coming together. I saw a system described in Eliot Coleman's "Four Season Harvest" based on straw bales that end up being part of the compost in a few years. We had priced the bales at $5 at the nurseries and ended up being at the right place at the right time to find a farmer who sold them for $2. We hadn't thought far enough ahead of the situation to realize we only needed half of the bales to start with so ended up with half of them in the garage. That's OK for now because the cats love them. Cats? Cats???? We haven't given a cat the time of day for 40 some years but Ken wanted some barn cats and happened to mention it to the goat folks and pretty soon somebody showed up with cats. I liked them immediately because they matched the dogs in color so we kept them. Juniper tried herding them for a week or two but has resigned herself to their wild ways.
The garlic that we replanted last fall, after learning that garlic pretty much likes to be planted in the fall, was ready to dig last week so Ken dug it up for us and Kei Chi and I braided it three days later. So authentic!! Now we just have to get used to using fresh garlic instead of those handy jars of pre-chopped stuff. The asparagus spouts are getting bigger and bigger and are starting to look like asparagus for gerbils instead of asparagus for crickets. Next year for people we hope. The cucumbers are planted along a chicken wire support and just starting to bloom as I got them in so late. Next year, I'll try something similar for the peas which were going gangbusters until a really hard rain just washed most of them up out of the dirt. The tomatillos we planted for fun and for salsa and they are just pretty, like little lanterns hanging on the plants. Inside the bonnets they are about the size of small cherry tomatoes so I guess they grow until they fill them up. I may put some more photos up on Picasa where I don't have to explain and you don't have to "listen."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Garden News

I've been very negligent about garden posts because the weather, rain, rain, more rain and mud, had me pretty depressed for some time. Ken kept telling me to accept what I couldn't do anything about but it took me quite a while to get into that state of mind. We had gotten a really early start and perhaps bit off more than we could chew: an enclosure around the septic tanks, a second herb bed, sodding around both of those beds plus the front yard, setting up our tiny greenhouse, making a compost pile, building an asparagus bed and building a second raised bed for carrots and celeriac. May was gorgeous and we were getting lots done and then it was time to get all those lovely hardened off plants plus all the seeds into the ground and it wouldn't stop raining. By about the middle of June we had had 5 inches of rain and counting. The green bean seeds and the lima bean seeds rotted in the ground and when I reseeded them it started to rain again. I got the viney stuff in very late in June and had to reseed most of it plus the okra. Today, the middle of July, things finally feel like they are coming together. We have green beans and limas and most of the squash up, and although the rows aren't full we will get all that we need. I'll put more current photos in the next post.