All the rain we’ve had lately has not, of course, stopped my work at the farm, but it has given me plenty of excuses not to check on any of my gardens. Those excuses ran out yesterday afternoon, so I visited both garden #1 and garden #3 to do a little work.
Garden #1, closer at hand, needs more work than I was ready to give yesterday, though I did harvest a large bundle of lavender and planted a Black Cherry tomato seedling as well as a few basil seedlings. I’ll have to get back there some evening to tackle weeds and plant more seeds.
But garden #3, shown above, provides a glorious contrast, thanks to the faithful daily work of my fabulous friend Jen. She tells me that she likes to begin the work day with her cup of coffee and about an hour of soothing weeding in the garden. She took the time recently to mulch most of the beds after her husband mowed more of the lawn, and the difference from how the garden looked three weeks ago gave me a frisson of delight when I stepped into it.
So let me give you a tour:
The root crop bed, site of our first harvest, is looking much better with a thick grass mulch and clear lines of vegetables. We have harvested several radishes and Hakurei turnips (top two rows), so Jen has planted more of each, and those new seeds are springing up already. The rutabaga (bottom row) are coming on strong, so I have hopes of having a nice little harvest of those for once. And I think my mother will end up having a bit of her long-desired salsify later this year, too.
Although we’ve had to replace a couple of spindly tomato seedlings, all in all the plants are looking robust and beautiful. Jen had to find bigger stake-type material in the brush pile out back in order to keep tying up the tomatoes!
At the edge of the tomatoes, a line of carrots bushes out, well nurtured with both grass and coffee-ground mulch. It will be a while until we harvest these, but I am already salivating!
Looking at the patch of brassicas, it’s hard to believe that less than a month ago they were small, spindly seedlings. Apparently they are very happy in their new home, and the recent rains have provided them the nourishment they need. The onion crop is looking good, too, and if I get any kind of yield out of this bed, with crops I’ve never had luck with before, I will be thrilled.
Slowly but surely, the cucumbers are coming into their own, with faint fringes of dill joining them. The butterhead lettuce (bottom row) that had looked so pathetic coming out of the flat has rebounded beautifully — I think we may have to pick some this coming week!
Potatoes! Wow! The first blossoms are ready to open, and it won’t be long now before we start harvesting new potatoes. I hope to leave some in the ground (especially the Red Golds) for a later, larger crop to keep over the winter, but I am definitely getting hungry for some smaller ones.
The back section, where I planted dry beans and grains so recently, needs far more work. Knowing how much work Jen has already put into the garden, I assured her that I would take care of this section, so I spent time weeding in here after wandering around the garden. If I can get some mulch laid in here, too, that will help, but for now I am determined to keep the ragweed and other invasive plants from taking over.
With all these weeds, discerning the crops amid all the greenery can prove difficult, but at last I found my flint corn seedlings, sturdy and surprisingly well-protected. Granted, weeds are hardly the best way to “protect” crops, but given this plot’s tendency toward mud and the number of corn fields I’ve seen under water recently, I wonder if the extra growth — sinking their roots into the soil to keep it from moving more freely — hasn’t helped more than hindered at this point. Still, this will be the next section to weed, perhaps later this weekend.
Finally, the greens. Truly, I think they have benefited from the recent rains more than anything else to grow so thick and lush. In fact, the broccoli raab, beginning even to bolt, provided me with so much delicious greenery — more than either Jen or I can eat or preserve right now — that I harvested a pound of the very best leaves…
…washed and packaged it, and took it to the market. Yes, my first produce to sell myself! This has been a momentous week!
Now I will have to keep a closer eye on the gardens — and keep working on them more regularly.