Garden Update: Defeated

Garden / Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Garden Update: Defeated

I love spending time in the garden. I hate owning up to the fact that I’m failing miserably in the garden. I hate June in the garden when it is too wet. I hate all the weeds and the bog that is the “main garden plot” that is basically useless. Grump. Grump.

But in an effort to be human, I decided to take pictures tonight of the state of the garden and post to remind myself 1. not to be so overzealous next year because everything fails and/or 2. remember that it is only June and there’s plenty of time for the garden to grow. (Which I suppose it true but when I see real gardeners nearby posting photos of zucchini and summer squash when I’m basically harvesting greens, well…) All of these plants below I have started by seed. HWMMS has just started working on making mulch with the new wood chipper attachment on the tractor, so it looks sort of sparse in areas.

Six weeks ago, this area looked like this…so nice, such potential.

The “main garden” plot is a freaking weedy bog mess. We have to do some serious work on the lack of drainage issue over here before anything is really going to flourish. Last year I attempted to put the tomatoes over here…I didn’t get a damn thing.  We did however get a few cucumbers and gourds, so I know something CAN grow here.

The half plot you see a photo of here contains two rows of potatoes in the far back, several rows of mixed beans (wax, green and purple) and a few rows of sweet corn and a row of glass gem corn in the middle and a bunch of different root veggies on the left (turnips, kohlrabi, carrots, beets and radishes) and then another plot of beans (Edamame, Yellow, Purple, Cranberry and Cannellini.) The slugs are eating the beans something fierce, not to mention a likely critter or two. The only beans really thriving are the Edamame. And if I admitted the amount of time I have spent already weeding this area of the garden you would never believe me. Let’s just say it’s been more than 10 hours. At least. I feel like an utter failure.

Parsnips failed to germinate.

Calypso Beans and Hidatsa Red Beans failed to germinate.

And while I’m at it…all the mushroom plugs we tried to plant last year? Also a fail.

Since last year, HWMMS has cut down a bunch of half dead trees and one very large tree that was creating shade over this spot in the afternoon, so perhaps this will help? We’ve also invested a significant amount of money in several large truckloads of fresh compost/manure to spread into our garden plots before planting. Last year HWMMS worked his butt off putting in posts to try to keep out pests, but we skimped out on the fencing purchasing a basic netting which didn’t do a darn thing and we haven’t tried to rectify this situation yet this year since it doesn’t matter anyhow because when it rains, you can’t walk on this land if you tried without sinking in to mid-thigh.

Grrr. Note the frustration?

On the right hand side of this garden plot we planted spring wheat and barley.

WHICH SEEMS to be doing well. Except I have a feeling I didn’t broadcast the seed enough and it is crowding itself out. Perhaps next year this whole area will only be wheat and barley since that’s the only thing that wants to grow so far. That said, I have no idea how to harvest either of these grains if they do actually grow! But I do have a grain mill attachment for the KitchenAid Mixer in case I learn how. 🙂

On the left hand side of this garden plot (which isn’t pictured because it was too wet for me to try and you couldn’t see the wee plants anyhow…) I have about  a dozen watermelon and a dozen gourds planted. They are a few inches high and quickly going to be surrounded by weeds. Half this plot is still empty, I plan on moving some of the other vine plants into this area once it dries up a bit. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Like that will happen.

On the far left of the “main garden swamp” is another new area HWMMS decided to till and we tried to plant a bunch of vine veggies by seed: yellow squash, spaghetti squash, pie pumpkins and gourds. I would have to say about 15% of these seeds actually germinated. We have a few plants here and there which I plan on uprooting and replanting somewhere else but for the most part the seeds were a giant fail. I actually am going to blame myself for this one because I pre-soaked the seeds too long before getting them into the ground. And after getting them in the ground, I neglected to really keep an eye out on them and water when they sprouted. At least I know the plants growing are the hardier stock!

Not pictured is the 6ft by 60ft section of tilled land that runs between the driveway and the woods where we literally tossed probably 1000 pumpkin seeds I saved from a party last Fall and HWMMS went back through and tilled the seeds under. We have done little to no maintenance to this area (no compost) and there are HUNDREDS of pumpkin plants coming up. I will eventually have to thin them out (which makes me sad…) but we plan on letting then vine naturally and take over the little bit of grass that is left in that area. There’s also a 6ft by maybe 20ft section tilled in the shade where I sprinkled a ton of red clover. I tossed a bunch of sunflower seeds over there too, but I think the birds got most of those since I pretty much only see pumpkins coming up.

Speaking of sunflowers…

During the Spring this section of the porch is filled with daffodils, but during the Fall—SUNFLOWERS! I need to think this patch out pretty soon too so these babies can grow!

Peanuts. These are peanuts. And they really haven’t grown much.

Garlic. There is another patch to the right that’s not pictured. I snipped the scapes and the stalks seem to be pretty thick, but we will see.

Scarlet Runner Beans. We have a random small tree growing that acts as a living pole to our clotheslines and I planted two climbing roses nearby. While the climbing roses are just barely taking hold I decided to throw the runner beans here to see if they will climb. So far so good.

Not pictured are the three dozen bare root strawberry plants and the two bush cherries to the left and the six rugusa rose bushes and plot of asparagus to the right. This section of the garden runs along the other edge of our driveway (opposite all those crazy pumpkins.)

The next section of the garden happens to be in the front lawn. Because, well, the main garden is a swamp and HWMMS loves his new tractor and doesn’t want to mow more than he has to? Also because we REALLY want tomatoes and peppers this year and the front lawn is 1. sloped so drainage isn’t a problem and 2. the one area that gets mucho sunshine on our property.

Wow, these next two photos are awful but here they are anyhow. The right hand side of the garden is filled with tomatoes and peppers. Half the tomatoes are at least a foot tall and flowering and half are only a few inches tall. I just put peppers in this week as well, they are tiny. I believe there are about 80 tomato plants and about 20 pepper plants growing. The giant marigolds are from seed, which makes me smile. At least something is thriving! (I also sprinkled a pound of borage seed along the perimeter of the tomatoes and a pound of marigold seeds along the walkway of both sides of the garden, the plants are coming up but probably need to be thinned out to really grow properly.

The left hand side of this garden is cucumbers, cucumbers and more cucumbers. I’d venture to guess that about 25-30 plants are coming up nicely. In the areas that the cucumbers didn’t grow I threw in a few eggplants and gourds. I’ve never, ever, ever, ever had any luck growing eggplant so I don’t expect anything different this year, but I’m a glutton for punishment.

The front porch garden is doing amazeballs, just like last year. Since it’s the closest to the house, it’s the easiest ground to work once the weather breaks so we have lots of early veggies growing here nicely.

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage. We also have about 25 additional brassica plants lined up along the edge of the tomato garden. All of these plants are doing well…although I don’t see any broccoli or cauliflower forming yet. To the left of this plot, we already went through a harvest of bok choy and buttercrunch lettuce. I just planted another crop there to replace. And to the right, there are four climbing rose bushes. Eventually the entire front porch will be red and white roses and peonies but DANG those are expensive, so we are adding a few at a time.

The left hand side of the front porch is filled with two plots of greens (lettuce, spinach, chard, argula and kale) and leeks. I just replaced two of the areas that had greens with roselles which I plan on transplanting to pots in the greenhouse in the early Fall. On this side of the porch, I have four peonies growing, two red and two white.

Front porch garden fail? Snap peas. I thought it would be clever to line the back of the porch with peas…they came up a few inches, blossomed and then like an idiot I uprooted them and tried to see if they would work in containers because I didn’t want them all over the place. As you can imagine, this was stupid. I currently have a few container friendly peas in pots on the front steps and I hope to get something out of them soon.

Also on the porch in pots there is lemon balm, lemon geranium, hops (until we figure out exactly where we want them…), shamrocks, dwarf sunflowers, and pots upon pots of onion and leek and hamburg rooted parsley starters which I will attempt to overwinter this year for the following years harvest.

Around the corner by the garage we have one sour cherry tree (which gave us 20 pds of cherries this season!) And a few additional patches of mixed greens, leeks, bok choi and catnip. Considering the amount of catnip seeds I’ve planted in this spot I’m shocked that there’s only this much growing. Grrrr. This is the area where I attempted, and failed, to overwinter onions. I planted about 100??? And I had a handful of onion greens from this spot but nothing significant.  Experiment, fail.

Last but not least, for the pictures anyhow…the herb garden. Warning, the photos are a bit unruly, however when I compare them to this photo of the same spot only six weeks later, I am filled with happiness. Been harvesting most of the culinary herbs for a few weeks now. Everything except the basil, because it’s not warm enough yet.

What’s growing? Cornflower, Calendula, Hyssop, Yarrow, Valerian, Horehound, Spilanthes, Milk Thistle, Fennel, Rosemary, Sage, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Basil, Holy Basil, Chives,Thyme, Oregano, Borage and Comfrey.

What didn’t grow? Arnica, Eucalyptus, St. John’s Wort, Alum, Wild Dagga, Marshmallow, Chamomille, Stevia, Feverfew, Mullein, Bee Balm and Angelica.

I am however attempting to grow a few of these failures again by seed in the greenhouse to see if I can get anything started. I have an impossible time with sage and rosemary (the little bit I have growing I bought as plants.)

Along the far perimeter of our property next to the woods we have a ton of things growing (attempting to grow) as well. All perennials though.

Starting closest to the road by Bogert Curve there are witch hazel bushes and a variety of mint by seed (orange, pineapple, apple, spearmint, peppermint.)

The cottage garden has hundreds of purple, pink, blue and white Spring bulbs along with lilacs, butterfly bushes, dwarf apple trees, dwarf apricot bushes, lavender, milk thistle and echinacea plants.

The shaded part near the house is where I planted more asparagus along with rhubarb and horseradish plants.

And last but not least, the section wrapped along the backyard is the berry area starting with red raspberry, blackberry and gold raspberry bushes followed by loganberry, elderberry, cranberry and blueberry bushes. (Between 4-6 of each plant.) Oh and a few hazelnut trees. Mind you, most of these bushes are from bare root or 1st year growth so they have A TON of work to do before fruiting. But at least they are in the ground and started.

Inside the pool room/greenhouse we have a dwarf banana, olive, lemon, lime and pomegranate tree potted. And two coffee bean plants and a pineapple plant. And six topsy turvy cherry tomato plants (only one which is bearing fruit despite all of them being at least 4-6 feet of vines!)

On the patio in very large pots there are tomatoes, bush beans, kalettes, jack-be-little pumpkins and container corn growing.

And very very last but not least…inside under the grow lights in the greenhouse balcony area? More tomatoes, herbs, jalepeno pepper, marble pepper and a whole bunch of root veggies. Some to keep growing in containers indoors, some to attempt to transplant outside. Who knows.

Phew. No wonder the garden looks like a disaster. Now that I wrote down everything we have started, I feel a little better about not getting around to all the weeding yet.

I’m hoping for the best. I know last year was a huge bust and a big disappointment. Every year is a new lesson learned and a new experiment to try.

How does YOUR garden grow? Anyone else having the late June/early July gardening blues?


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