Monday, August 9, 2010
Once again, my garden is a dismal failure.
I don't know why I keep trying, really I don't. I had a short run of good years back in the mid-nineties, and ever since each year has been worse than the last. I had high hopes when I moved up here - all the space one could want! Unlimited supplies of homegrown animal poop for compost! All day sun!
I didn't know about compacted soil, tons of buried trash, ninety-nine kinds of really bad weeds, or the incredible persistence and amazing vertical abilities of goats. Every year, I have put increasing amounts of work into the garden for decreasing returns. However, hope springs eternal in the human breast, especially in the spring, and this year the early sunshine inspired me to new heights of optimism ( see The Tippler's Garden, What Lies Beneath....., Garden Update, March 11/2010).
Well, spring is a long gone memory, and late summer dog-days are here. My garden has failed again, in new and inexplicable ways. I am posting some pictures in case of any of you GOOD gardeners (Not you, Idiot -Bonjour? I'll bloody give you Bonjour!) might have a clue as to what is going wrong.
I am the only person I know who manages to harvest one tenth the number of potatoes they planted in the first place. I killed all the potatoes I planted in the ground, because I hilled them too high and smothered them to death. These are the ones I planted in the bathtub. The plants looked good and healthy until a couple of weeks ago when they suddenly began to shrivel without ever having flowered. I figured I'd better dig them up, and this is what I got. The biggest one is about the size of my five year old's fist.
These look like nice, healthy scarlet runner beans, right? The vines are about twelve feet long and covered with flowers. And the flowers are covered with bees. The beans, however, look like this:
I don't know what could be causing this. I'd say it was lack of pollinators but I have two bloody beehives not ten yards away. Somebody told me it might be too much nitrogen, and if that's not nonsense it might make sense because the beans are planted in almost pure compost.
My cucumber vines. I planted six seeds, and grew four healthy looking vines, which, however, simply stopped growing at about two feet in length. They flowered like mad - are still flowering like mad - but have set only - get ready - two cucumbers. Between four vines. And one of them is a gherkin. Now the vines are beginning to wither.
Same exact problem with my winter squash. It seems like no pollination, right? But I see bees everywhere. What's the deal? Are they retarded bees? Do they simply prefer the clover and the thistles to my nice squash and bean blossoms?
What the heck are we going to eat come the Zombipocalypse? Blackberries?
Oh yes, there's always zucchini. Nothing can daunt the zucchini.
And mint. That's about it.