On a homesteading blog.
For 5 minutes I contemplated skipping it and hoping you wouldn’t notice, but I’ve decided against it and offer as my only excuse that I try to keep a schedule with garden posting being done on Saturdays and they’ve seemed so very full and busy these last few weeks, I just haven’t had the time.
So here is our garden progression for July and I’ll try to pretend like I don’t have two weeks worth of knowledge about what August will be like out there.
I’ll also pretend like I have all 4 weeks worth of photos when I don’t because my 2nd memory card has vanished off the face of the earth taking with it 2 weeks worth of images.
Last week of June
~ I know the maps say we’re still in a drought, but I think we’ve been getting enough rain- and sometimes in goodly amounts- to keep me from having to water. One less garden task to worry about is a good thing. As much as I love being out there puttering around, “babies don’t keep.” Once again, I’m completely sold on garden mulching. My soil is staying nice and moist and looks pretty happy under there. And weeds! Do you really see too many (ok there are some persistent thistle in the lower right corner) but I only weeded twice in July! And both times it took about half an hour.
~ I mentioned earlier this week that the cucumbers have done amazingly well. I *think* they’re done and now I’ll let them die back and the ones I’m saving for seed mature for a month or so. I’m happy this might be the seed stock for our future gardens.
~ It’s a jungle out there. The beans and the tomatoes have just about grown together. This area is nearly impassable and it’s quite obvious that this small garden space alone won’t supply our families needs. I know the perfect grain “field” in which to expand for future years.
~This year I successfully raised about 125 tomato seedlings. To think it could have been more. Even when it came to transplant time, I probably planted about 66 plants. I never imagined that those little seedlings I started in my basement would ever make it to be 6 feet tall. I tried to stay on top of staking and pruning, but it was more than I could handle, what with babies not keeping and all, and now it is a sea of tomato plants. I can’t logistically see how harvest time will not end with trampled plants, let alone finding hornworms if they’re in there. I’m hoping at least what they say about the Heinz variety coming on all at once will be true and those at least will be fully productive. And of course that’s if they get enough sun to even ripen.
Over space tomatoes is the lesson learned here. Next year, I’m shooting for like 4-5 feet between each row. 2-3 is definitely not enough even though it might seem like it in June.
~I have two zucchini plants that have been swallowed up and hidden by the aforementioned tomatoes. I can’t find any zucchini’s when they’re growing on there, but more to the point neither can the cucumber beetles. Those little stinkers are my worst garden enemy and I can’t find anything to take care of them that works. I’m losing plants overnight to bacterial wilt and am down to 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, and one acorn squash.
August, September, and November are the big harvest months around here and I’m looking forward to seeing how many things will do this year. Despite the hot, dry start and the abundance of garden pests, the death of the one guinea fowl that visited the garden, and the pullets that won’t stay in the pasture and away from it, I’m staying relatively optimistic and looking forward to what the rest of the season holds.
I’m also going to be a bit more proactive about fall gardening this year. Mid-July I planted the last of my 2011 parsnip seed, carrots, chard, kale, and mangle beets (for forage) in the spent barley patch. I started spinach, cos lettuce, and Walla-Walla onions in the basement for transplant in the next couple months. I’m planning on filling the grain space with tons of lettuce because we never seem to have enough and extras can always go to the chickens. Next month, I think I’ll start photographing that area to watch the progression there. It’s always such fun for me to see how differently things can look from one month to the next and from year to year.
I’d love to hear about your experience with fall gardens though, especially if you’ve managed it with little materials or expense. I’ve dabbled in it a couple times, but with very little success.