Monday, June 18, 2012

Early Summer Garden


My cage o' potatoes is filling up. They're holding their own against the flea beetles. But, I have no idea if the potato plant is actually making potatoes under all that mulch. I've heard that the plant will get flowers and then start to die off. When that happens, I get to open it all up and magically, the potatoes will appear. But, I can't look until then...must not sift through cage looking for signs of tubers...must not disturb mulch...
My lavender is in glorious bloom right now, filling up vases all around my house. It smells...well...like lavender, which is an awesome-smelling sort of thing. Yay!

 The asparagus are doing what asparagus do in the summer time, which is looking like some sort of whispy weed and nothing at all like the sort of asparagus one eats. They're my secret asparagus until next spring since no one can identify what the heck they're supposed to be. I'm really glad they're getting so big this year though. Last year they were suspiciously tiny and sickly looking. Way to grow, asparagus! (get it? way to grow...instead of way to go...Oh, nevermind.)
The blackberries are on their way. Some are even turning from green to pale brown already, which is just a hop skip and a jump from black. A few more weeks, perhaps? I just love how dang dependable these things are. They require pretty much no effort on my part, which is nice. Less room for me to mess it up.
And, speaking of messing things up, none of my broccoli sprouted in my broccoli beds. That is why one of said beds is filled with corn. I gave up and went to the garden shop and bought these cuties so I wouldn't get really sad looking at my empty dirt mounds all summer. I'm trying lasagna gardening this year and I didn't make the broccoli beds until this spring. I was supposed to do it last fall, but I lazed out. I also only added like two layers of stuff to the bed instead of the ten or so layers I added to the pumpkin and Black Krim beds. My fault.
While I was at the garden shop replacing all my dead seedlings and un-sprouted seeds, I finally found hops! I planted them in a big pot under my pergola in the hopes that it will help give us some shade in a few years and make some delicious beer (I don't make beer, but my friend does and I think if I give him a bunch of hops he might give me beer in return).
In the lasagna beds that I did correctly, my tomatoes are looking rather lively. I don't have any tomato fruits yet, but at least the plants are big and healthy looking. The Uncle Mark Bagby's have a bunch of flowers, but they don't seem to result in fruit. I dunno. It's only June though, so I'll strive to remain patient.
This cantaloupe is a replacement for my beans, which after several weeks are still a 3" stems with a single leave on top, as you can see below...
 I don't even like stupid beans, but I'm still disappointed that they're not working. Once again, I lazed out on the construction of my lasagna bed and appear to be paying the price. These beds I did make last fall, but I didn't add as many layers as I should have. What's funny is that people say that lasagna gardening is good for lazy people. I appear to have been too lazy for the lazy man's garden. Oh well. I'll add a bunch of crap to them this year, I promise.
Another replacement for my beans... Watermelon! I've never grown melons before and I hope that they'll do better than the beans since the roots are deep enough to reach actual dirt instead of just straw and compost.
My second tomato bed isn't doing as well as my first. But, they're alive and that's something.
I've grown artichokes before and I hope these do as well as they did last time. They're replacing my peas which not only stopped growing but were then subsequently eaten by rolly-pollies, or woodlice if you will. I never knew those weird little things ate seedlings until this year. Huh. Learned something new I suppose. Or, maybe I have the wrong guy. Maybe they were eaten by something else. I don't know. Either way, they were there one day and gone the next. So, hellooooo artichokes.
It's so weird that my potatoes are doing so well when everything else is dying. It's always been the opposite in my experience: Broccoli? No problem! Potatoes? Good luck. Well, at least I'm learning.
Peaches? Still growing. They haven't all been claimed by urban wildlife. Let us hope that I get to eat one this year. If my survival depended upon my own garden, I'd invest in an air rifle for sure. I'd be hunting zombies AND squirrels if it came down to it.


So far, my opinion of lasagna gardening? If you make your beds the way the internet tells you to, it's awesome. My tomatoes and pumpkins are doing really well. But, if you made a mound of crappy dirt and cover it with newspaper and a one inch layer of compost and straw, you're gonna have a bad time. This ought to have been obvious to me, but I combined laziness with optimism and got a bunch of fail. 

Happily, this doesn't mean I have to start over entirely. I just need to layer more crap onto the mounds I already have, which is the same thing you're supposed to do regardless. I'm leaving one of my broccoli beds empty for the year as a reminder and as a repository for some of my yard waste this summer. Also, make sure you flatten the tops of the beds really well so that it can retain seeds when you water. And, make sure your top layer of straw or wood mulch is really thick before winter so that the wind doesn't deconstruct all of your hard layering efforts. That's what I've learned so far. We'll have to see what the rest of the summer brings.

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