Here at the beginning of June, we have great things to report about our garden! We almost fear reporting them, because we don't want to count our chickens before they hatch count our tomatoes before they're ripe. And we worry that critters in our neighborhood will read this update and launch a full-scale attack on our tiny garden. (For any varmints reading this post, our garden's doing terribly! Nothing to see here!)
It's been almost three months since we planted our first seeds. Much has changed since then. The plants we grew from seed have exploded (and a few, sadly, have imploded). Other seedlings we ordered have been planted and are thriving. Here's a look at some of those plants, what's faring well and what's already finished for the season.
We're really most excited by and most interested in our tomato plants. Tomatoes, truly, are why we garden. But then again, isn't that the case for most people?
A month ago, we reported that our tomato leaves were spotty due to, we guessed, the cool air. Well, that has changed dramatically. The plants are huge -- some already nearly four feet tall -- and the leaves are uniform in color. Because of the size of the plants, we've had to stake them. We used large poles that we had purchased last year, and just tied the plants to the poles with loose velcro straps (sorry if that sounds a little Fifty Shades of Grey...)
And there are tomatoes! Dozens and dozens of tomatoes. Some -- especially the black pearl variety -- are already at least two inches across. Most are still very tiny and very, very green, but it's a start. We couldn't be more pleased with them.
We've found ourselves with a kale plant from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture -- the weekly farm subscription that we get from May through November). The kale plant has thrived. We keep cutting and eating, and it keeps coming back. It's a marvel.
Also mindboggling? Our carrots. The tops of the carrots are massive -- easily eight or more inches long. In fact, they're so large that they're falling over when it rains. We were initially concerned because, though the tops looked healthy, the carrots themselves remained very small. That's changing now, with our carrots now about 3 inches long and getting fatter by the day. The variety we planted should only get about 5 inches tall, so we're going to have a bumper crop of carrots soon.
This is one area we would have planted differently if we had it to do over. We haphazardly scattered the carrot seeds (too much seed, it turns out) and have had to spend many hours thinning the plants. They're also taking up a huge amount of one of our raised beds -- probably 12 of the 16 square feet in the second bed.
We need to start scrambling for carrot recipes, and we also need to decide what to plant in their place once we harvest them. Any ideas?
Like sisters who just can't get along, our pea plants have absolutely strangled each other to death. (Okay, really terrible, awful sisters.)
We're confused about what happened. The variety of peas we purchased was billed as not needing any support -- meaning that they would entwine with one another and support themselves. And we planted them exactly as instructed. Only half of them came up out of the ground. We got a total of about a half-pound of peas. They were okay -- but not nearly sweet enough. Earlier this week we ripped out the remaining pea plants. Our poor track record with beans/peas continues.....
We did a plant swap with our friend Trevor. We gave him some of the small-variety tomato plants we ordered, and in return he gave us some large-variety tomato plants, along with a squash plant. A month ago, we were certain the squash was going to die -- it had lost most of its leaves and just looked sickly. But with warmer weather it has bounced back and now has its first flowers. We're going to have squash, y'all!
The sad news about our garden is our beets. Another year, another beet bust, or so it seems. The beets started out so strong -- they were the first plants to poke through the ground after we planted seeds. The tops were looking great, but now they look, well, like zombie beets, with motley leaves and a bit dead in the eyes.
Herbs: We're swimming in herbs. Oregano is in serious need of a trim. The parsley we planted from seed is growing huge. The basil is faring okay -- oddly, though, one of the plants died last week. We're not taking it as a sign of bad things to come, since the other two basil plants adjacent to the deceased are thriving. We'll likely purchase a few basil plants after the carrots are gone and there's more room.
So that's the garden as of the first week of June. We credit a lot of our success so far this year with our watering system. Placing the water on an automatic timer has given our garden regular, appropriate amounts of water -- something that we weren't always doing as well when we were watering by hand.
So now we need to plan what to plant next, after the carrots are gone. Have a suggestion for anything unusual we should try to grow?