It’s been hit and miss in the garden this year. Back in May, I was all excited about the MR expanding the garden, in February I told you about the Seed Exchange, and a few weeks back, I shared some recipes in anticipation of the currant harvest. But where are my weekly updates? Where are my lovely rows of vegetables overflowing with vibrant plants? Well…
Like I said, it’s been hit and miss. The broccoli starts I picked up at the hardware store looked pretty good. Three were thriving and one had a problem. When Baby Girl invited her crew over for cheese fondue the first week she was back from school, we were able to use two of the crowns. I was surpised that the largest plant had just a beginning to form a crown but pleased that the fourth plant was finally starting to grow.
It’s been over 10 days, but the plants I harvested from are slow in forming side shoots. The MR says we’re in for a few weeks of warm weather, so I’m hoping for progress.That’s one thing about buying seedlings to transplant, you don’t know much about them. Those little ponypacks didn’t mention vigorous side-shoots, slow to bolt, or large, sweet heads. That’s why I like starting my own plants from seed. Maybe next year I’ll be more organized.
Last year, I threw away all my Walls-O-Water that had sprung leaks, and whose channels had morphed into one, so the MR ordered me replacements on Amazon. I was surprised that they were red, but the plants from a friend at Bible study are looking good behind their walls of protection. She was growing San Marzanos, and I loved the pasta sauce I made when I grew them a few years ago. (Check out Harvest Time.)
We also managed to plant peas, and beets, lettuce, and spinach before we left on vacation in April. The peas were a bust. Only three sprouted, and I’m still waiting for pods. The lettuce succombed to slugs, so I bought starts at the farm stand and planted them just before the 90-degree weather. Perhaps I should have kept them inside rather than putting them out in the scorching sun. But the beets, one of my favorites, were looking great.
I was so excited. The MR doesn’t eat beets, but me and Sweet Miss love them, and the MR’s folks have been visiting, and they like them, too. We’d get to enjoy that sweet, tangy, earthy goodness together. The beets just needed a few more days in the ground to be perfect. When I went out to pick a few, this is what I found—the horror.
I don’t know what is ripping the tops of my beets and eating them down till just the point is left in the ground. I’m a little grumpy; I picked a few small ones and will add them to a salad. That’s just going to have to suffice.
The cucumber plant next to the beets I picked up at the FFA sale. The first of many cucumbers (I hope) made it into a refreshing avocado soup I had for lunch this weekend. Just when I get my hopes up, critters come along and cause trouble. The MR has bolstered the fencing, I have crazy bolted onions growing along the edge. I add sluggo, keep the weeds back, and still they come in.
Cocoa has been catching mice right and left around the garden (we have the dead bodies to prove it). Maybe they’re the culprits. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets, farm stands, and the grocery store. If we had to rely on our garden for food, we’d be in dire straits.
Now if it were the orchard’s responsibility, we’d be doing better—if you like currants that is.
We’ve enjoyed strawberry-peach-currant crisp, currant shortbread bars; and after a trip to the berry farm, I’m planning on a batch of the MR’s favorite popsicles featuring currants, Greek yogurt, and raspberry coulis.
Man can’t live by sweets alone, but they are awfully tasty. We also have the promise of many more currants and blueberries, and for the first time quite a few of our stone fruit.
Both types of plums are starting to ripen.
We’ve had Hollywood plums at the last two houses but weren’t able to find any when we were at the nursery picking out these trees. It will be interesting to see whether the family enjoys the Beaty plum as much as the old tree’s fruit. Baby Girl was just saying the other day how much she misses sweet, juicy plums during the summer.
The Shiro Japanese plum stays yellow, and is a huge departure from what we’re used to. But this year, I’m hoping we’ll each get to enjoy at least one plum on its own. In the past, we were splitting one or two fruit between the four of us—usually after some bird had taken the first taste.
I didn’t get a picture of the plumcot, but it’s looking great, too. The fruit is supposed to be ready for harvest in June; I’ll have to keep my eye on it. They’re all still fairly small trees, so the harvest won’t be massive. Picking fruit from the orchard just makes me happy.
We don’t have as many apples on the Enterprise apple tree this year, but the Chehalis is covered. In the past, we’ve noticed fruit trees going in cycles of a year of plenty followed by a year with just a few. I wonder if the pattern will continue.
Since this isn’t my livelihood, and it’s supposed to be a relaxing hobby that benefits my family and gets me out in the sunshine, I can’t get too crazy about critters eating my beets. It does get me going though.
For now, I’m just going to focus on our successes. We have some amazing fruit in the future. Cross your fingers on the broccoli and cucumbers.
Any tips or tricks to keep the critters out? What’s growing in your garden?