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garden production

Its a rainy Sunday so a good chance to update my readers on how the garden has done so far in 2010. I knew the rain was coming so I got my grass mowed and cleaned up the flower bed around the mail box. The little blue asters are looking lovely. I also pulled out the grass around the original lilacs and some other this & that’s. The “low car challenge” (only using my truck for one weekend trip this month) is forcing me out of my usual pattern. I couldn’t pick up a mum or or other fall plant and am largely stuck with what i have at home to work with which is plenty.

Looking back it hasn’t been a great year for the garden. We got a lot of rain and it came down in buckets turning my clay like soil into cement. Nonetheless I eat out of it a couple times a week  most of the year. The big hitter was my strawberry patch where I pulled out a good 10 quarts. I added 4 new plants for some genetic diversity and it continues to spread so next year promises to be that much better. My other berries, well maybe next year. Both the blackberries and the black raspberries flowered and then it seems I missed a critical watering and they produced nothing. I ate some nice blackberries on some hikes and they were plentiful in the market so next year I will try to be more on it.

I did OK on lettuce, arugula, and such. I did a green leaf, arugula, and a mescalin mix and got a lot of salads or at least salad supplements. At $12 per pound at the market its worthwhile to grow your own organic mixed greens.The kale struggled but nonetheless I’ve served kale at least 5 times and will have it again this year. The rabbits had their share but it bounced back. Fido is on varmint patrol and the plants i got from Malavika did better than seed so if I get Dad to build my cold frame I should do well next year.

Okra has done well, except for the half the deer ate obviously. I’ve had it four times with at least two more to come. Tomatoes struggled but I’ve had fresh sliced tomatoes more days then not since they came on and have made a few dishes with the uglier ones. The yellow teardrop tomatoes which came up volunteer in the rhubarb bed where my biggest producer and the black plumb did well. Everything else not so much. Just too much rain is word on the street. Next year I’m re-tooling as I put a lot of time into them for not so much tomatoes. I am going early with plastic around the cages with some and some I am waiting and putting in after it warms. I am also going to lime the soil I had a lot of tomato rot (especially the green zebras, a total loss). My hybrids sucked so i will try another variety.

The herb garden is another high point. I pull all the thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon, and sage I can use fresh. Sage was huge and I had more than I need for the whole year by March. I gave away a lot of plants and have 27 smudge sticks going and still have some fresh.  Marjoram washed out and I let my big beautiful rosemary die, my most tragic loss of the year. Trying to motivate to deal with and dry herbs.

cucumbers I got in late and let them get overgrown with grass but I’ve had 3 meals out of them with one more coming. Garlic struggled and I came out with 2 survivors. Very tangy and tasty one was. the other I planted. My peppers were almost a complete loss with only coming up with 2 banana peppers. I have a hot pepper on the way. Again just two much rain. I continue to try to build up my beds adding 3-6 inches  of organic matter every time I turn it over.

Which brings me to soil development. It just looks better and better. I am not hitting the totally red clay anymore its all black and the topsoil is deeper. Lots more earthworms and moles have moved in so I can assume I have more grubs. I only added outside compost twice so I have almost closed the loop. My compost produces well and is odor free and not drawing bugs.

What else. Second try at rhubarb was an utter failure. First little plants and then roots. Third time is the charm right??? Horseradish looks good though I am curious to see how that is going.  My witch hazel looks good and am looking forward to making my own this fall (european style). I had a delicious volunteer pumpkin and I have a butternut coming as well as two acorns.

I also even planted squash this year. I did just a few yellow summer squash and two made the cut and were doing great with some decent production and then they were dog trampled and quickly died. This is going to be a bigger problem as Fido and friends get bigger and not yet calmed down. Yesterday he and his friend trampled my new garlic and tore up my new bed of lettuce. It hasn’t come up yet so i’m hoping its still OK. My fall chard bed was almost a total loss. Heavy rain blasted all the little seedlings except some under the shelter of the mighty Okra. but the dogs trampled the couple of survivors and I am not optimistic. I plan to put in a lettuce bed in the front yard. Ha, take that dogs.

Onions were almost a total loss. they need to be earlier to be bigger when the big summer rains hit. I don’t have the soil for root crops but I still got a handful of little tasty onions with one survivor holding on trying to get bigger in the clay while the dogs jump on him. I am not optimistic.

Lets see what am i forgetting. The persimmon got bigger and i put in a new paw paw tree as well. Behind the fence, take that deer. Sunflowers were a wash. some bugs ate them all. Well that’s all I remember there may have been more. Best innovation was moving the bird bath into the garden. Get a drink eat some bugs while you’re in the neighborhood.

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