Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Garden Update, depressing as it may be.

Man, it's been a rough garden year. We normally would have half a freezer full of vegetables by now, and it just isn't that way.

Happily, I'm at least harvesting enough to feed us... though it's still just cold weather crops that are coming in for the most part. The beets are finally getting big, two months later than they normally do. I can think of three reasons for this: the strange cool spring we had, the excess amount of rain, and the fact that my soil is probably a bit overworked and is lacking nutrients. Hopefully I can cure the nutrient problem this fall by using the impressive amount of poo my chickens produce as a fertilizer.

Tomatoes are tough this year all around. I'm growing all heirlooms, which makes them not all that tough when it comes to diseases. Curly leaf virus is going around town, transmitted by a leaf hopper. Two of my plants have succumbed to it now, and I'm watching the others. There's not much I can do about it, aside from just pull the plant and hope for the best for the others. I've also got a bit of blight on two of the plants, the result of the dampness and humidity this year that isn't normal for our area. I only planted twelve tomato plants, with the hopes of eating fresh tomatoes and making salsas and sauces, with the majority of my canning tomatoes being purchased from a local U-pick farm. But so far, I'm still buying all the tomatoes we eat. Handfuls of cherry tomatoes are about all we're harvesting as of yet.

The chickens completely decimated the kale - I didn't even bother trying to revive it, it was hopeless. The chard keeps trying to come back, and it'll just start to get big enough to think about harvesting when the chickens escape again and devour it. I'm harvesting carrots and beets as we need them, plus a few extra beets for pickling. The green beans are coming on strong now, even enough to put a few bags by for winter. I've got parsnips this time for the first year and dug a few yesterday, but haven't tried them yet. I've heard they taste best after a frost.

So yeah... sad times in the garden. After last year's amazing production, I'm a little bummed, but one never knows from one year to the next what difficulties and struggles will befall them. I was all prepared this year for the cabbage moth invasion... and it never came. I planted my squash in barrels in the front yard to avoid squash bug infestion... and they don't seem to be as much of an issue this year for anyone. Instead it's too much rain and heat - two things I can't really fight.

I'm making plans for the fall garden, to be planted next week - greens of all kinds, beets and carrots, and possibly broccoli. It's the greens I miss the most - the chickens destroyed every last bit of anything green and leafy that we tried to grow early on. and I'll just hope for more success next year, I suppose.


Dripping In Sarcasm said...

"After last year's amazing production, I'm a little bummed, but one never knows from one year to the next what difficulties and struggles will befall them."

Isn't that why there was only one true Thanksgiving? lol My tomatoes have done horribly for two years in a row now. Before that, I did not plan on canning and yet I could not get rid of the tomatoes fast enough! And now that I want to can, I can't get any at all!

bammajan10 said...

Please tell me someone took a picture of you in rooster fighting get-up. ;-)
I have zero experience with chickens, so have no idea if nastiness is a normal attribute, but when a chicken holds you hostage he has got to go.

Julie said...

LOL Jan, sadly, my rooster-fighting get up isn't much different from my gardening norm - I have to wear long pants and long sleeves so the mosquitoes don't eat me alive, and my rubber boots can be hosed off if they get muddy.

It's pretty common for roosters to turn cranky like that. Some do, some don't, but ours definitely did. And I agree - it was time for him to go!