July 31, 2010

The satisfaction of watching Swallow Tailed butterflies working the Echinacea has almost made up for the agony of watching the Japanese Beatles devour the roses.   I'm thinking about what to plant for fall.

We are ready to double the size of the garden.  Why not?  It was a nearly complete failure this summer.  Doesn't failure inspire everyone to double the project?   I'm only just now figuring out our climate is well suited for three season gardening.

What were the adults of my youth thinking, carting us off to the beach in high summer and gardening under a scorching sun?  Well, it was all lovely and I'm grateful.  But its taken me forever to understand the beach is at its best in October and I can plant, here, from April through October.

Our most bountiful crop was the haul of garlic this year.  My best garlic ever with nice fat toes.  I left it to cure outside but the chickens found a way to perch over it.   So that harvest is lost.

I accidentally planted runner beans where we only had room for bush.  So all of those plants got ripped and composted.  The zuchinni and cucumbers died.  I don't know why.  Had I known they would fail, I could have let the beans go.  Oh well.

Our soil is too high in nitrogen for the peppers to set flowers so we'll have no peppers this year. But, hey, cheer up.  The pepper plant survived and that is a huge improvement over last year.

Basil and tomatoes are still going strong.  The parsley was beautiful.  Chard, and kale before that, carried us through early summer.    We are noting the successes and vowing to remember what has worked.  We planted an "Amish" variety of tomato.  I strongly suspect they are basically Romas.  I thought I didn't like Romas.  Wrong!  Romas do make the best sauce.  Who knew?

Its time to replant garlic, parsley, cilantro, chard, kale, collards, and maybe even some bush beans.   All of these can grow here, I've learned, up to and occasionally through the first frosts.


RegularMom said...

My garden didn't do so well this year either. It was so much hotter and so much drier than last year. And then there was that RAID in which something took all my cukes and watermelons. (sigh)

I didn't get a single decent leaf of lettuce this year at all. And after a month or so of good production, all my squash plants just up and died.

But I still got some food out of it, and I'm going to plant some more things before winter to see what I get.

What I love most about the garden this year is how even the deaths of things had something to teach me.

And when I'm out there, I always think of you. :)

Katherine said...

Isn't it weird that our squash plants died of mysterious causes in two different states? It must be a squash conspiracy!

But seriously, you're right that the learning is as fun as the producing. Have you thought about a garden diary? I should keep one but haven't. I'd love to have a gorgeous diary with copious details and notes, sketches, and inspiring quotes. Yeah, I'll get right on that...

I think of you when I'm working in my garden too. :o)

regularmom said...

I'd love to do a garden diary some day. Of course, these days, I have no extra time for it. But, it would be short entries this year:

Another raid last night! The last watermelon is gone. And there are half-eaten tomatoes hanging off the fence rails, rotting in the sun. AARRRRRRRRRGH!

Then there'd be all this cursing. :)


True story, btw.... whatever it is that raided my garden a few weeks ago came back again last night. Tomatoes everywhere. It's a mess.

Anonymous said...

our squashes die every year. They set beautiful flowers and even make fruit, then the damn squash beetles bore holes in the stems and they die. I have heard that you have to keep them under row covers, making sure they get pollinated....I may try this year, with pvc pipe bent over the rows to hold up the cloth. I will let you know.

Xenia said...

Hey - Anonymous is me.....not sure what happened there!


Katherine said...

Xenia, I'm so glad its you. :o)

Its weird about the squash. When I was a kid, around here, squash was almost a trash vegetable. It was so prolific you couldn't give it away. I think at my house the problem must be a soil imbalance? Not sure.

Anyway, happy gardening! and love, K