It is ironic that I am late to start blogging about the garden this season, since I started planting so much earlier. Actually, it makes perfect sense. I am feeling lazy. Not so lazy that I would not do a garden– I want to eat it, I just don’t want to spend so much time on it.
I have been less organized: I still have not activated the drip system though almost everything has sprouted. I was more slipshod in my soil preparation, fertilizing in spots and sometimes not even tilling the whole box or making sure the fertilizer was mixed in. Still, I am having more success with the plants I started from seeds. Maybe preparation is less important than water and timing.
By hand-watering, I spend more time looking at the plants and weeding. I may also be giving them more water, which is sort of a problem since elsewhere I am trying to save water. But lettuce needs what lettuce needs, and the lettuce is the most surprising success so far. I am not sure what kind of lettuce it is. The picture on the package looked like butter lettuce but it was an Italian seed company and I don’t think they call it the same thing we do in English:
I decided to give up on using netting to protect the seeds. Instead, I got the idea that maybe some garden ornaments would intimidate small birds. I have no idea if it worked but so far my crops have been undisturbed.
I left planting the lettuce until last, since it was such a disappointment last season. It took forever to start and when it did, it did not produce much. The only things I have changed are the above-mentioned flooding and I may have planted the seeds less deeply than last year. Whatever the reason, the 20 or so minutes I spend hand-watering the vegetable garden seems to be paying off.
The beets also seem to appreciate the individual attention and extra water. They have come right up in large numbers:
Last year it seemed to me that we had a hard time keeping up with the zucchini. I had the two plants in the garden and a couple of volunteer plants in the back pasture that I watered with a bucket. Nevertheless, my mother requested more zucchini. So instead of last year’s four plants, we now have seven. I anticipate way too many zucchini.
In keeping with tradition, I am tending two volunteer zucchini plants, found again in the back pasture. Feeling lazy, I transplanted them instead of carrying buckets to them. They looked pretty awful after being ripped up and replanted but they have bounced back nicely:
I know, there are three plants there. One of them, the smallest, is an orphan that sprouted late in the Black Beauty bed. I did not have the heart to toss it out but I knew its elder siblings would quickly overwhelm it. Oddly, the zucchini were the hardest to start this season. I probably planted seeds three times before they finally took, but they did. Hence the straggler.
There are a few newcomers to the project this season. These were all purchased as plants instead of started from seeds, in keeping with my laziness. The first to go in the dirt were two yellow squash, planted May 1:
Another request from Mom was for cucumbers. She selected two burpless cucumbers:
She also brought me one lemon cucumber, which has taken the spot where the failed strawberries lived last year:
This year’s experiment is peppers. I grabbed a few at the feed store and put them in one of the melon planters from last year. They have not made much progress since I planted them on May 16. Too much water? Too little? Too much fertilizer? At least they haven’t shriveled up and died:
I put peas back where they were last season. I might not have raved enough about how good the peas were but I enjoyed them very much once I started eating them. I have no idea if these are the same kind of peas since these came out of a plain white envelope I found in a drawer. Whatever sort of peas they are, they look pretty happy. They were planted on May 16:
As much as I enjoyed the cantaloupe I grew last year, the prospect of fending off sundry thieves and Labradors dissuaded me from planting those again. Instead, I went crazy with my other favorite from last year: the bell peppers. I think I might have planted too many but I have already lost one to a catastrophic stem injury so maybe more is better.
I tried to repeat the tomatoes from last year but when I looked for plants I could not find an Early Girl, so I planted a Better Boy and a Lemon Boy. A couple of weeks later I did find an Early Girl so we will see just how much time she can make up by being early. So far she seems to be keeping pace:
I also transplanted what I believe to be a pumpkin found in the back field:
I base my belief that this is a pumpkin on the fact that it looks like a larger version of the Japanese pumpkins I planted last year. Also, I found it growing in a burn pile where I had thrown out last year’s Halloween pumpkins. I don’t think it is a stretch. I have been told that it might not produce fruit if it is the only one of its kind around. I am keeping an eye out for another, but for now the little guy is on his own.