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.

Late Summer 2019 Garden Update

Sugar baby watermelon

Though the growing season comes to a close in the next month, we get more produce in August and September than any other time of the year.

Large green cabbage

Zucchini has been producing mad as always. I purposely grew extra plants this year to feed most to the chickens.

My cucumbers and acorn squash turned out to have been mislabeled mini pumpkins. We were disappointed to not have cucumbers or acorn squash, but on the bright side we have maybe a dozen decorative pumpkins for fall.

Strawberries are still producing strong, and some of them (especially the Hula berries) have sent off a ton of runners. Next year should have a monstrous crop.

My onions are not very big yet. I harvested a few early to see and they are only a couple inches in diameter. I will probably leave them until mid fall.

Garlic produced an abundance of seeds and bulbs again. I am planting them farther apart this fall for bigger heads next year. I have probably given away a few hundred mini bulbs for others to plant.

Garlic bulbs

My second planting of artichokes has resulted in two coming up a few inches. I hope to transplant them before winter or bring them inside if necessary.

The watermelon plant has put on one small melon. I am checking daily for when it is ripe.

Tomatoes started on an Early Girl start that I bought to make sure we got tomatoes this year (I planted them too late last year to get any). My Siberian tomatoes have also put on several tomatoes, but they have yet to ripen. I plan to bring some plants inside again this winter to try to get tomatoes all year.

My avocado tree has had leaves eaten quite a bit by bugs or slugs, so I am moving it inside. I had another one sprout too in case this one does not make it.

My pomegranates are doing great planted from seed back in January. One I transplanted to the food forest and the other in a pot so I can move it inside. It got scale inside before, so moving it outside cured it.

Potatoes are mostly finished while some have sprouted for a second time. Several could have used some water to be more productive as some hardly grew any tubers. Others are still growing them and mulch has to keep being reapplied to cover them.

I harvested Chard, Kale, and Carrot seed off last year’s plants. I ended up with about a quart or two of seeds from each variety. More than enough for several years of plants.

Carrot seeds

The Blue Lake Green pole beans are producing several gallons. I did not get a trellis on them in time, so they are growing wild again like last year. Maybe next year I will finally trellis them for easier picking.

Sweet potatoes have taken over the lane I gave them. I plan to harvest them in a couple weeks then cure them. The purple organic ones grew much faster than the few white non-organic ones I planted shortly after. The plants all must be pretty happy because they have blossomed like crazy and the vines grown wide.

Sweet potatoes taking over their row
Sweet potato blossom

Lettuce has not been successful so far. I did have a couple plants bolt which I harvested seed from, but an animal or bugs/slugs keep taking new lettuce seedlings out faster than I can plant them. I have planted several in our raised bed instead to give them a chance this winter. I also planted some cornsalad greens to try.

We have harvested a couple cabbage already. One was a giant. Peppers have also been producing like crazy. I used several Big Berthas for some fajitas.

Peppermint has filled my largest pot. I plan to transplant some into an area where it can take over and keep some in the pot as well.

My corn did not get enough water, so they are all stunted. I did get several small ears though. One runner bean came up of the several I planted again because they lacked water. I hope to setup a much more productive irrigation system next year for my garden to prevent the irrigation issues.

The food forest gave us a couple apples, raspberries, and currants this year. The pink flesh apple we tried so far was not quite ripe, so we are letting the other couple ripen up a bit. Otherwise it tasted like a Granny Smith.

Pink Pearl Apples

My grape vines and kiwi have taken off. Fig trees that I thought were dead have put on quite a few leaves for only being around 6 inches tall. My honey berries are not looking too good, so I may have to transplant them.

A deer got into my food forest due to the electric wire being grounded out at one point to a metal fencepost. They pruned my apple trees, mulberry tree, ate a few first year apples, and ate all the leaves but 4 from my cherry tree. It has since put on more leaves, so I am hopeful they all will be fine.

The Yacón and Hopniss are growing about as tall as me. I am waiting for frost before clearing out the forest of weeds that have also overtaken the area. Then I can also check out the tubers these two plants have left. I decided to try a more popular and savory relative to Yacón, Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) and have planted 5 of these in pots for now. I plan to move them far away from the garden when transplanting to allow them to take over a whole area. Even if we do not enjoy them, I have read that chickens do. One small tuber can produce 25+ pounds of tubers in a single year from what I have read. So this is a great survival food as well.

Now we are planting the winter garden. More on that soon.