Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Garden 13 July 2013

I missed a couple weeks blogging my garden so here is a catch up.

In the past couple weeks I have picked:
         one and a half gallons of green beans
         one gallon of blueberries
         three quarts of raspberries
         23 radishes
         7 spring onions
         lettuce and spinach
         one Hungarian pepper

The three blueberry bushes I have are out of control this year. Winter and spring weathe must have been near perfect. We have already picked a gallon of berries and there are still twice as many on the bushes. I do not eat blueberries but my family does so we are freezing them in two cup incriments for later baking.

The green beans are fully mature.  Two weeks ago I noticed that something was eating the plants; all the tips were nipped back. Both rabbits and groundhogs love beans and bean plants. So I brought my new .22 rifle up from the gun locker and allowed it to warm up (my basement is always cold). The next morning I quietly crept out to my garden area and there was a young groundhog. I made a standing head shot at 30 meters; no more groundhog.  I'll eat groundhog, as I have mentioned way back in  previous blog post, but I didn't think my wife was ready for me cooking down a groundhog in her crock pot this particular day. So instead, it became worm food in my compost pile.

My tomato plants are doing good and there are many small, green tomatoes forming. I buried them deep and my soil is rich so they should produce a good crop. My dad's tomatos, three miles west of my place, are showing some early signs of disease. Hopefully it is not moving down the valley and I will have to be sure to avoid those plants.

My peppers and onions are also doing great.  The onions are very large and strong smelling so I'm hoping they will be sharp and powerful tasting. I have two bell peppers and two sweet Hungarian peppers.  All four have young fruit on them.  I ate one Hungarian pepper in salads last week and it was very tasty. I have not tried any of the onions yet.
I planted six old, (at least five years old), cucumber seeds two weeks ago. Five seeds germinated but it appears that one was eaten. I was only going to grow three plants anyway so this is fine. I obtained the three ladder sections from a neighbor's burn pile. I always grow my cucumbers up off the ground. This takes up less space and keeps the cucumbers cleaner and away from slugs and other ground critters. The fruit grow straighter and are more visible hanging from the vine.

My new strawberry patch is doing okay but not great. I planted 24 plants, there were supposed to be 25, and several died off. Luckily, strawberries send out runners with "daughter" plants growing from them. I am manually locating the daughter plants to fill in the gaps and to keep them from getting too close and crowded, a common problem. You can usually triple the number of plants you have by doing this correctly. You would have  look real closely to see that I use tiny twigs stuck in the ground and crossed over he runners to hold them in place where I want them. I also expose the soil under the daughter plant so that it can root more easily.

Lastly, I have replanted radishes and spring onions in my cold frame. I raised it up off the ground with a brick at each corner and replaced the plastic lid with a mesh lid. This will increase air flow, keep the temperature lower, and partly shade the plants. They are both cool season crops so I am hoping this will allow them to grow properly in the heat of the summer. We shall see...

As you can see there are very few weeds in my garden. I do pick some weeds each weekend but my tillage techniques and close cropping of plants to shade out the soil prevents most weeds from starting. The grass mulch I put down also helps quite a bit.