I'm not sure what happened yesterday, but the last few paragraphs of the post failed to appear. I got cut off right in the middle of recounting my garden successes, which are few enough that I really want everybody to hear about them!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Let's see, here's the tail end of yesterday's column: My first crop of potatoes - April - rotted in the ground and I had to re-plant in May. Those potatoes are doing okay but the ones that really took off are the late potatoes I planted in mid June. I thought it would be too late but those taters look better than almost anything else! Other things which are doing well are my celery (slow to start but now taking off); cabbage; eggplant...
... and tomatillos - this is the first year I've tried them, too, thinking they were a hot weather crop, but they've done so beautifully that I think I will plant them every year. Of course, I may be jinxing them, because although the foliage is exuberant and they are covered with pretty yellow flowers, no fruit has set yet.
My winter squashes are also looking fantastic, and the buttercup has about twelve fruits set. We also planted one giant pumpkin vine because the feed store was giving the plants away free if you entered the "grow the biggest pumpkin" contest. Normally when I plant pumpkins I plant sweet pie pumpkins, but a free plant is a free plant. Well, that vine is now enormous, almost scarily enormous. All by itself it takes up a full 4 x 8 foot bed and sprawls out over the grass. No pumpkins yet, though. Lots of flowers. I doubt we will bother with the contest - I'd rather have several smaller Jack O' Lanterns and no one giant.
I planted eight green cabbages in the area my neighbor plowed for me, which is another new crop for me. Those guys are doing spectacularly - giant, bright green, and forming heads. Wonder what I will do with eight huge cabbages? Sauerkraut?
My pickling cucumbers are doing the same thing they did last year - lots of vine growth and lots of flowers but few cukes. Not sure what's up there, must be pollinators, no? And the chile peppers were an almost complete failure. Most of the plants died, after a long period in which they just stayed the same size, which was baffling. For like eight weeks I had small, healthy looking, shiny-leafed pepper plants about four inches high. They never changed. Then they started to die. These were the ones in the greenhouse - the few that I transplanted outside are all alive, though not looking very impressive.
My tomatoes are my biggest disappointment. About half of them got early blight, due I presume to the cold wet spring. The other half lived and have set fruit, but the foliage is dying back already and the tomatoes themselves are thick skinned and refuse to ripen. They look dehydrated, but that can't be. I water them obsessively. My sister says they may be in containers too small for them and have stunted roots.
Anyway - I am feeling pretty good about this year's garden. I have even started my fall garden - about twenty mixed brassicas: kohlrabi, red cabbage, cauliflower. There's not much doubt this will be my best year up here so far. I will never be what you might call a stellar gardener, and I'm so grateful to know good gardeners with whom I can trade animal products for vegetable products, but I do enjoy it, and it's very nice to have a few success stories.