Garden Update 6.24.13–Getting Frustrated
While the garden and orchard have been enjoying a lot of time and attention, I’m afraid this will not be their best year–at least I certainly hope not.
In the past, I’ve had amazing luck with seeds. I plant, I weed, I water, they grow. It’s a lovely relationship. This year, the MR built garden beds, added a ton of fresh soil, and I planted and waited for the process to begin–it hasn’t. I planted peas; the bunnies pulled them up and ate them. I planted beans; all but a few failed to show. The carrots, lettuce and beets are stalled at tiny. What is going on?
When even the weeds don’t seem to be growing, that should be a clue. Perhaps the dirt isn’t as fertile as we could wish. I’ve side-dressed the microscopic plants with organic fertilizer and am hoping for the best. While I’ve always been a proponent of direct-seeding, maybe transplants will give our garden the head start over bunnies and slugs that it needs.
At the farmers market last week, I picked up an eight-ball zucchini, and this week when someone offered asparagus starts I decided to go for it. So me and Sweet Miss made the trek to Maltby for asparagus and a trip to Flower World. Our stop at the fellow freecycler’s home was rather depressing. It was her first year gardening and she had lush plants exploding from multiple raised beds. I’m still just waiting for something to happen.
I’m hoping these new transplants will survive and thrive.
We picked up a few treasures at the nursery and headed home with our bounty. First we bought flowers for the little bed slipped between the drive and the deck. While I love the daffodils, it will be nice to cover up their aftermath with some vibrant summer blooms.
I know, I know, they’re still in their pots, but the rain will stop and I’ll get them planted and looking great before you know it. When it’s pouring down rain, and the wind is blowing the doors open, I feel justified in staying inside.
I have a strong sentimental tie to both dahlias from our first home and delphiniums from our last home, so they were an easy choice. Sweet Miss vetoed any white blooms, so we opted for lilies. We have a few beautiful yellow plants in the tiny strip next to the garage that are thriving. I was out of gas, and Sweet Miss offered to drive, so I said sure–not a good choice. She still had a large box in the back of her small car and some of the plants were a little worse for the wear by the time they got home. It just means we get to enjoy some of our flowers inside as well.
While we were out and about, the MR suggested we pick up some grape vines for the orchard. We bought Steuben grapes which are good for eating and wine making. Let’s be honest, the chances of us making wine are fairly slim, but it’s an option.
Along with planting the our new vines, the MR put a drip system into the orchard. Crazy as it may seem, that man loves to go outside, work hard, and get all sweaty.
While the deer have eaten most of our fruit this year, at least we’ll enjoy a couple of apples and our trees and berry bushes will be well-watered. The deer don’t seem to have touched the currants, and I was excited to pick my first bowl this week. Lime, raspberry, and currant popsicles are on the menu (just like last year). I was happy to see a few blueberries on our bushes as well. When the MR transplanted them from our old house, he must have dug up some poppies, too. I love how these beautiful blooms blanketed corners of our old yard. Sometimes I miss that small well-manicured space.
All is not gloom and doom in the garden arena. I finally got busy and planted some seeds. It’s late, but my seeds are getting old, I figured I had nothing to lose. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll remember that I went to a seed-starting seminar way back in February. The lady from Diggin’ Food had all sorts of fabulous ideas that I wrote down, blogged about, and never quite got around to.
Well, when I was still anxious and on task I did ask the MR to get an automatic light for the china hutch. I know you’re following me. When you think seed starting station, you immediately think china hutch–me too! Well, the speaker had suggested that fluorescent lights from the garage are the perfect grow lights. I have them under the china hutch; same diff. She also stated that seeds require 16 hours of direct light a day and suggested that a timer would aid those who can never remember to turn on the light. Are you raising your hand?
Like I said, I had some old seeds, my sweet, handsome man had installed the programmable light switch, all I needed to do was plant some seeds. So in went the five-year-old pumpkin seeds and the four-year-old cantaloupes. I did have some watermelon and cucumbers from the last few years and decided to plant them up too. Well, lo and behold, those cucumbers took off like they were on fire. They’d sprouted in just two days, and here they are at a week.
The big fellow on the right is a Knucklehead pumpkin–a supposedly a very knobbly fellow. He took a little longer to appear, but he’s catching up oh so fast. And those old seeds that some might just have thrown our are making an appearance, too.
I offered a friend a cucumber at church. Maybe I can talk her into taking a pumpkin or melon off my hands. With this unexpected success, I’m not sure I have room for all these beauties. The MR said cucumbers in the flowerbeds was a no go this year.
My seed guru said to keep the seedlings within a few inches of the light, so those old books in the sewing room are coming to good use. I’ve always run into problems when transplanting cucurbits, but I have a plan. I usually have waited till they’re starting to vine to plant them. I wanted them to have a great start, and they’d just go outside and pout. The woman with the answers said that when the first true leaf is about to unfurl, those melons and squash need to go out in the garden. This could be the week when my planting beds go from bare to bountiful.
Cross your fingers, and wish me luck!
Are you plagued with a slow start in the garden? Have you enjoyed that first sweet harvest?