Garden Update
July 5, 2010, 10:47 am
Filed under: Garden | Tags:

Oy, more than two months of gardening unblogged?!  Well, better than last season, which went almost completely unrecorded (at least online)…  First of all, here’s that strawberry pot picture I may have gone so far as to promise last time:

(taken the day of planting)

(taken about a month and a half after planting)

I believe I left off last time in the middle of the garden frenzy of April, rushing around trying to get things in the ground.  In fact, the day of my last post, Matt met me at work and we borrowed their truck to haul compost from the Verona site to Elef.  It was quite hot that day, and when we got to the site, the operator had taken the day off, so there was no front-end loader to fill up the back of our truck in a matter of seconds.  We had to do it by hand.  Ironically, that wasn’t the worst part– the worst part was the traffic between there and Elef.!  Anyway, we got the truckload to the garden and backed it up over part of the fence on the south side to start topping off last year’s rows with it, being very careful not to bury (too much) the stuff I’d been too impatient not to already put in the ground.  The main task was to meld the west ends of another two rows (like we’d done last year at the southwest corner where we now have potatoes) for this year’s winter squash.  That done, we could spread the rest of the compost over the other unplanted rows.  Partway through, the other gardeners showed up and started chatting.  We were a little tired and sweaty and possibly not as smiley as we might have been, but it was good seeing them and talking some things over.  Little did I know how little time we had left working with them.
I came back later that evening to transplant alliums and brassicas in the fresh compost, and then did just a smattering of transplanting in the raised beds at home before calling it a day.  Here are the alliums:
And the brassicas (cabbages, in this case):
The garden looked pretty neat and tidy, just little specks of green on black:
That was my last gardening for a while, between going down to Chicago the next weekend for my sister’s senior recital and then leaving for New Orleans for about a week the following Tuesday.  The flora was a little different there…
Meanwhile, back at home, there was some despicable garden drama.  Checking his email on his phone as we were waiting for our flight at the airport on the way out, Matt read an email from the owner of our garden site (Elef.).  I won’t even call it an email.  It was a tirade.  It was rude, unfounded, ill-considered and manipulating and it very nearly ruined New Orleans for me.  I was furious and heart-broken.  The long and the short of it was that he accused us of not doing enough fast enough (we still had hard frosts predicted!  It was only the end of April!) on his yard as our exchange for using our gardens.  The other two sets of gardeners were so infuriated that they almost immediately dropped out, leaving us thoroughly frustrated because we wanted to do the same but already had so many plants in the ground, so many hours logged and expenses paid, both last year and this.  We discussed it endlessly as we wandered around New Orleans, in brief down moments between hanging out with our wonderful friends Ken & Ellen, etc.  I had a hard time being rational about it.  When we got back– and we really did have a fantastic trip despite that preoccupation– I started drafting a counter-proposal email.  It ended up, believe it or not, with our sending him a check for $237 in exchange for our use of the garden for the rest of this season…  But that’s all I’m going to say, or I’ll lose my temper all over again.
On the very very bright side, the day after we got back, my d’atil plants arrived from Tennessee!
He had packaged them up very carefully and called before he sent them and when they were supposed to arrive, to make sure they were in good shape and to give me tips on growing them (rabbit poop!).  I had asked for seeds last Fall and received a couple of whole peppers to dry seeds from, but had bungled it so badly that none of the seeds germinated this year, so after extensive Googling, I finally found the Tennessee grower from whom I ordered them and paid an arm and a leg.  Well worth it, though, if I get even a few d’atils off of the two plants I bought.  I do love my d’atils.
I kept those in a sheltered place for a few days but started hardening off a host of other seedlings to get ready for transplanting.
On May 7th, I transplanted some scallions over at Elef. and at home, repotted some herbs, tomatoes and peppers that were running out of nutrients in their little soil blocks and seeded more basil and dill inside.  I seeded dill several times total, and maybe one or two made it from germination through transplanting.  I had so much trouble with the potting mix I made, and some things seemed much more adversely affected by it than others.  The basil, for example, did pretty well.  In fact, I got so many starts out of all my seedings that I ended up sticking basil in random places around Elef.  Some are thriving more than others.
On May 12th, I went over to Elef. to check on things and discovered something terrifying.  I hadn’t been over to the garden during the drama with the owner.  In the meantime, the potatoes, which hadn’t been up out of the ground before we left for New Orleans, had done a lot of growing, but then something happened.
I thought for sure it was blight already and emailed everyone I could think of with a set of pictures, begging them to tell me I was wrong.  A friend forwarded them to another friend, and I ended up on the phone with a friend at UW, who works on potatoes with her boss.  They came out the very next morning, while we were leaving for Chicago for my sister’s graduation, and emailed and called afterwards to let me know their verdict.  Get this: frost damage, totally reversible.  I was so embarrassed, but so relieved.
In the meantime, the oats I’d seeded were up, the cabbages were taking off, the hakurei turnips were flourishing, if flea-beetle-bitten and the shallots and garlic looked gorgeous.
We had fun at Carrie’s graduation.
At the end of the weekend, my mom came back to Madison with me!  She not only helped out in our garden at Elef. but came to work with me three times.  Such a mom!  Unfortunately, it meant she got evidence of me in a bee suit.
But she also helped me transplant, seed and lay drip line at Elef., doing all the heavy labor!
She and Matt helped me plant loads of things on May 17th, and she wrote most of the tags, so now I have her handwriting all over Elef. to make me happy.  We transplanted epazote, feverfew and oregano in the herb beds and seeded arugula, catalogna puntarelle, Rainbow swiss chard, Cicoria a Grumolo Verde Scuro and spinach in the salad spiral at home and then went over to Elef. to transplant Early Snowball cauliflower, De Cicco and Romanesco broccoli and Glory of Enkhuizen cabbage and seed Christmas Lima, Dragon’s Tongue, Flageolet, Flor de Mayo, Hank’s Special Baking, Hidatsa Shield Figure, Hopi Lima, Hopi Red Lima, Jacob’s Cattle, Maxibel, Orca and Scarlet Runner beans, buckwheat, Black Aztec, Calico pop-, Floriani Red Flint, Roy’s Calais Flint, Thom Thumb pop- and Two-Inch Strawberry pop- corn, Foxtail White Wonder millet, Easter Egg Blend and French Breakfast radishes, Costata Romanesca zucchini and Delicata and Kabocha squash at Elef.  The only thing I forgot was more carrots, so I ran over on the 18th and three a few of those in the ground.
On May 23rd, we seeded calendula, marigolds, strawflowers and zinnias at Elef., and Matt helped us fix the driptape so that it worked just right.  With a couple of quickly-fixed exceptions, it’s been working excellently ever since.  I attribute much of the garden’s easy beauty this year to the regular water, and it’s meant that I don’t have to go over every day and spend such a long time with the hose.  I can readjust the schedule around rain, etc.
I was so sad when she left Monday morning that I immediately came down with a cold and stayed in bed for two or three days.
I did get up long enough on Tuesday to transplant some more winter squash and zucchini starts (I hadn’t wanted to put them in when we seeded the first batch, in case there was a late frost), cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos, more marigolds, peppers and ground cherries at Elef. (except for the cucumbers) and seed more leeks and cabbage at home.
On May 29th, I seeded more beets and turnips and transplanted nasturtiums at Elef.
On May 30th, I seeded more carrots at Elef. and Matt built me an excellent potato box to put on the driveway at home.  I immediately filled it with county compost and plunked pieces of the last Ozette potatoes in it, hoping for late-season storage fingerlings (the box, freshly planted, is visible behind the strawberry pot in the second, later picture of the strawberries above).
I’ll have to save June Garden news for the next post!  Must clean house now…

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Remind me never to use Posterous to post with pictures again! Geez!

Comment by bekahbeth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: