Here it is a Monday, mid June, and just in time for summer I notice my first tomato blooms. With almost two inches of rain this last weekend everything is soggy and I am in the house nursing an injured back. Seems I have overdone it and pulled my back and spent most of the weekend watching it rain and lying on a heating pad. Getting around a little better this morning and did a short walk through of the garden.
The above tomato is an heirloom Brandywine variety. Already strawed and enjoying this regular rainfall, the stems are thickening nicely and they are putting on new growth and blooms. A sure sign that they are adjusting to their new location since it has only been two weeks since they were transplanted. I am checking them regularly for signs of fungal diseases that are so common in extremely wet years.
We have been working on getting straw laid down around all 54 plants and then we will start caging them. Along with these Brandywine plants we are trying a new Oxheart heirloom tomato. They seemed a bit spindly at first compared to the Brandywine but are thickening up now and seem to be catching up with the other variety.
Early Jersey Wakefield, my normal cabbage variety for over a decade, are also enjoying these rains and cooler weather. This is the second planting as most of you will remember we lost the first to groundhogs. Hopefully now it is a simple matter of monitoring these for cabbage worm damage and allowing them to size up. This garden was initially remaining too wet with a thick straw cover and we made the decision to pull the straw off and allow the garden to dry out more. It seems in hindsight that it was a good call because the soil has dried considerably and the plants are doing better.
The broccoli is also doing well now other than some slight rabbit damage which the dogs work on daily. The large puppies have now figured out that chasing rabbits is fun and we could not be more pleased with this new past time. Sure beats digging holes! We are hoping that the temperatures remain mild to allow these spring crops that are late to continue mature before the heat of summer arrives. Time will tell but we are already making plans for sowing a large fall crop of peas, cabbage, beets and broccoli in case these fizzle in the summer heat. Notice the small weeds in the photo above springing up with the recent rains.
The beets are sizing up nicely and we are hoping for a good crop of pickled beets for the pantry.
For those of you that think my gardens never have weeds...Here's Proof!!!!
As soon as my back recovers this is going to be my first order of business..canning mustard greens. We sure enjoy these canned greens in the winter when greens are scarce. Behind the mustard is a lettuce row and we have been enjoying wilted lettuce salads regularly from the Black Seeded Simpson which is a loose leaf lettuce. We have also been eating wonderful salads from a (new to us) romaine type lettuce called Jericho. The extra loose leaf lettuce goes to the hens who just happen to love it and a hand full to the goats as a treat. The weeds go to the rabbits, chickens and goats who all eat them : )
The straw around the potatoes is probably a good 12 to 18 inches deep now and they are blooming their heads off. They look green and healthy which is a good sign.
My rainy days are filled with cleaning and cooking now and the days it is dry and not raining I rise before daylight and head to the gardens...hoe in hand. When the rains come regularly so do the weeds and sometimes it is everything we can do to stay ahead of them. Some crops like the mustard I know I will be harvesting soon and what few weeds are remaining will be pulled when we harvest. Therefore I concentrate on the younger plants that still have a long time in the garden and can not compete with too many weeds. The mustard rows, once harvested will then be spread with rabbit manure and worked in with a potato fork and we will make them ready for the next crop. More than likely this will be where some of my fall crops go.
For now there is work to be done and I will show you some more tomorrow.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter