Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's July!

It's been a long time since I've posted, and we've been busy! We have experienced a great deal of rain, which has been wonderful for the garden (except for a couple of hailstorms, see below). We are discovering a few things which we will do differently next year, but overall, the garden is coming along nicely.

We installed soaker hoses on timers all throughout the garden, but have rarely used them because of all the rain. When it is not raining, they are doing great.

We have been eating our lettuces, spinach, endive, radishes, scallions, basil, thyme, cilantro & oregano, a couple of jalapenos, lots of kale, and our first broccoli (and boy, was it good--way better than from the grocery store!). The kale is amazing. If I don't pick it frequently it gets big and there's way more than enough to eat. I've been giving it away, along with our lettuces. I blanched and froze my first batch of spinach, and need to get going on that project with the kale.

Most things are doing very well. I'm looking forward to having ripe tomatoes! The first summer squashes will be ready soon. My first snow peas have come out and we may have enough for dinner.

The bush beans have not done well at all. I replanted seeds about three times, and each time only a couple of them sprouted. I'm not sure what's wrong, except that it may have been too cool and wet for them.

We have one red strawberry, about ready to pick, but for the most part the strawberries I planted (from roots) haven't done well. Of the 36 plants started, only 5 or 6 of them have grown. I'm thinking I will buy a few plants to put in so that they have a chance to be established for next year.

The peppers have suffered from the hail damage, but there are peppers growing on a few of the plants. I'm hopeful that more will grow. Perhaps next year I will plan ahead by keeping them under cover for protection from the hail and the colder nights we had earlier on.

The tomato plants are huge. Our first cherry tomato is almost red. I'm confused about the things I've read regarding pruning. For the most part I've tried to prune the suckers off the indeterminate tomatoes as indicated in several resources, but I'm not sure why. I thought that the suckers would not produce fruit, but when allowed to grow, they do. Perhaps the reason is just to get better, bigger fruit from the main stem. I find that if I don't watch very closely, those suckers grow quickly and I've found large branches that started as suckers. In some cases I've cut them off, in other cases I've let them grow. Later, I will determine which plants do better--the ones with suckers pruned or the ones with them growing. I'm sure I wouldn't want ALL the suckers to grow. The roma bush (determinite) tomatoes have not been pruned, as suggested, and are huge and bushy. For this first year, it surely is experimental, and I will learn a lot. The tomatoes we planted in the upside-down planters are growing, but I shouldn't have put two plants in each one, as suggested on the instructions. I think they are getting root bound. We also placed them to close the the edge under the porch, and the rain water from the roof seems to have damaged them. We have since moved them back for protection.

Writing in this blog is beginning to be wearisome, but I want to do it for my own reference, even if few are reading! I'm just antsy sitting here typing when I know I have plenty of other things to do! Hopefully I will post more info and pictures later.


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