May Gardening 2020

I planted my first row of sweet potatoes last month I plan to plant another row in a week or so once my new clear plastic arrives. My old plastic was unfortunately not UV treated, so it disintegrated into thousands of pieces. I am making extra sure my new one is UV treated. It is 4 year plastic and only $10 more than my previous supply for the amount I used.

A peach on my tree with a bit of leaf curl

I purchased a few tomato seedlings as backup for the several small ones I planted from seed. I spent less than $2 and all are doing well so far.

I also purchased a wintergreen plant and some lavender. Lavender attracts bees and can be used for scent in soaps or flavoring lattes while wintergreen can make a good tea, in root beer, and interesting berries.

Wintergreen and lavender

I transplanted my sunchokes to gallon bucket pots for now until we can get a raised bed built for them.

I have harvested several carrots so far. My self-seeded beets have been pretty fibrous, so I might feed most to the chickens. They may have cross pollinated with my chard, causing them to be more fibrous.

My potatoes have grown a lot. Slugs and ear wigs have chewed holes in the leaves, but I think they will still survive. I am now irrigation them now that my four sprinkler irrigation system is up and running.

I have been feeding a couple beet and chard plants to the chickens daily and transplanted my 2 year old kale plants elsewhere to make more room in my irrigated garden.

I have a couple peaches and cherries on my trees this year! And lots more apples. I planted a passion fruit vine and repaired the drip irrigation emitters that had broken. My grape and kiwi plants that got hit by a late frost have started recovering but are still fairly small. My honey berries that did not look so good last year have taken off and look great. We have harvested several honey berries though not more than a couple every few days. My nine blueberry bushes should help without our berry cravings though.

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries have been growing like mad. We harvest a few handfuls every day. My garden strawberries have started putting on ripe berries too.

Seedlings before the mice found them

A couple mice found their way into my seedling growing area. They ate most of my squash, ground cherry, lettuce, and watermelon seedlings. I caught it the same day but the damage was done. I moved some more seedlings outside where something ate part of my largest cucumber seeding.

While transplanting my squash, tomatoes, and watermelon, the heat of the sun wilted their leaves in minutes. I soaked them very well after planting and they have all recovered.

Several purple asparagus have come up but not old or big enough to harvest.

Garlic is taking over the corner of my garden. Artichokes have survived their first winter and are getting bigger. Not sure if I will get a harvest this year or not. The rhubarb is hanging in there but not thriving yet with this sudden heat this week.

No sign of hopniss, mulberries, or much from my pomegranates yet. But I am hopeful they will come to life soon from being dormant.

My thyme and parsley are putting on new growth while the cilantro, I believe has self seeded from last year. I planted some stevia too and plan to get a rosemary started.

Summer Garden 2018

After expanding our garden quite a bit this year, it is finally a success. The wood chips have suppressed the weeds well so far, and most plants are growing like crazy. 

Corn, Zucchini, and Cucumber Jungle
Corn, Zucchini, Tomato, and Cucumber Jungle

My zucchini plants are producing enough for 1-2 zucchini for the chickens a day plus any we wish to eat.

Young Chickens enjoying Zucchini

I have fed 1-3 or so cucumbers to the chickens most days since August as I planted so many, we have plenty to share with our dog and the chickens. They particularly enjoy the cucumber seeds. We hope they pass the extra vitamins and other nutrients back to us through the eggs.

Cucumbers

The corn is doing well where it gets lots of water. The corn with less water has not done very well. As I only have a couple inches of wood chips on them, I have learned future corn crops need either more wood chips or more water than a couple inches. I also planted a small section of corn in early July for a fall harvest as an experiment. Hopefully they will mature before first frost.

We have tons of chard and kale. The plants have gotten large. We have more than we can eat in salads. I am hoping these perennials come through and keep producing a little this winter to keep us from buying greens year round.

Chard

I had difficulty getting carrots to germinate. I am learning they like the soil damp but not too wet. If the soil dries out, the carrots do not seem to germinate much. I might experiment with some other methods of planting carrots and see if I have more success. I still have gotten maybe a dozen carrots to grow. I hope to get several more dozen and will plant another batch soon.

Baby Carrots

Beans and snow peas are doing great. As I planted a couple batches of peas, I have had peas from around March or April until September so far. The green beans and runner beans are starting to produce right about now.

My tomatoes I planted are still not producing yet, so I will definitely have to plant them inside to get a head start next year. Since I used chicken manure from last year on my garden, I have around 10 volunteer tomato plants growing. One is a weird hybrid between yellow pear and cherry tomatoes that I grew last year. They taste fine. We look forward to the heirloom tomatoes (especially Brandywine) whenever they start producing. I am working on transplanting some into 5 gallon buckets to bring inside under a growing light to try and grow them all winter long.

Yellow Pear, Cherry Tomato Hybrid Volunteer

I planted some wild arugula which is very potent. I also have a couple dill plants that have come up. A row of beets is growing in between some corn, and several varieties of squash vines have taken over a good part of the garden. I hope to harvest lots of squash to feed the chickens throughout the winter and perhaps some pumpkin for muffins later this year.

I planted some yams last fall and some this spring. I only had a couple come up. They seem to do better if you plant the slips rather than the whole yam without any slips, so sprouting in water should help with next year’s. Surprisingly, they showed no signs of life until July.

Potatoes faithfully came up in the spring. Last year I left some in the raised bed. They have come up again this year and produced more. I hope to double our potato yield next year as they are a good portion of our diet.

My watermelon plant is stretching across maybe 15-20 SqFt. I have no melons yet but tons of blossoms. We will see how many we get before frost.

Strawberries are producing constantly. We get a couple a day. I transplanted some runners from last year to our large garden, which receive sun earlier in the day and year. I hope they take off for a large harvest next year.

Overall I am happy with the garden this year. It is much more productive than the small raised bed garden we had last year. I hope to expand it even more next year with more irrigation, chicken manure, and wood chips.