Anyhow, since the internets have been filled with garden posts recently, I thought I'd give y'all a quick update.
As you may have gathered, it's been an unusual year so far. I don't know what the statistics say, but this is the hottest and driest spring that I can remember. Last month felt a heckuva lot more like July than April, and we've been having temperatures about 20 degrees above normal since March. I'm trying hard to "go with the flow" but I must admit, things just feel "off" - it's not supposed to be 90 degrees in April and May!
AAAAACCCCCKKKK! I guess I was a tad bit premature in declaring a miracle, as the lovely rain showers just turned into hail (no wonder the Catholic church has such stringent requirements). So far it's only about 1/4 inch in diameter... nothing like the whopper we got back in July.
Well ANYHOW. I guess we'll see what it looks like once the sun comes up, but as of today, this is where the garden stood.
So we'll start with the casualties. The spinach started bolting several weeks ago. Spinach is hard to grow here because we generally get a few hot spells sometime in May, which makes it bolt before it gets a chance to grow any meaningful leaves. So I've taken to planting the spinach in the fall and wintering it over. I just plant it in September and cover it with frost cloth and leave it until spring.
It generally does quite well... it's even survived a few weeks where the thermometer never got above zero. And I even get to harvest a tiny bit throughout the winter.
So this year was a mixed blessing... it was so warm so early, that the spinach started getting MUCH bigger than it usually does... but alas, the heat was too much for it and it bolted in mid-April. That's a new record, but I'm trying to look on the bright side. I'm harvesting it as quickly as possible and then I'll plant some beans and squash there.
I also planted some chard late last summer after the hail storm wiped out my crop. It did so-so - to be honest, I wasn't expecting much since I planted it in August, and I didn't even bother to cover it over the winter. It too is now bolting, but it did provide me with enough small leaves for salads, so I suppose I can't complain.
Plus, I started some new seedlings inside back in January, and they were transplanted about a month ago. So soon they'll be producing.
I got the peas in early. They say that here in Denver the peas should be in the ground by St. Patrick's Day... but it was so warm this year that I jumped the gun by a few weeks. They're doing marvelously, although I fear the birds got some of them. But I planted some more in the empty spots, and they're coming up now, so hopefully that will spread out the harvest a bit. I only plant snow peas and snap peas because the kind that you have to shell just aren't worth the trouble IMHO. Plus, snow and snap peas are really one of nature's most amazing treats!
Note the rather um... unconventional trellis system. In the past I've just stuck more fence sections in the middle, but it made it rather difficult to harvest, so I decided to get creative. So far it's working... but it's not exactly a thing of beauty. Hey, at least I didn't use duct tape!
I started the cruciferous stuff inside back in January, and transplanted the first round about a month ago. Some of the seeds didn't germinate too well, so a second round went in a little over a week ago. I planted a combination of broccoli, kale and collards.
I've had a real mixed experience with cruciferous stuff in general, since it also doesn't deal well with the heat. The problem isn't generally that things bolt, it's that they become totally infested with aphids once the weather turns hot. But I read on the internet that if you mulch the area with dried banana peels it will ward off the aphids. I meant to try this last year but the hail had other ideas. Anyhow, I ate bananas all winter long and dutifully saved the peels... but HOLY MOLY... my "mulch" is pretty darned sparse. Maybe I should go to a smoothie place and ask if they'd give me their banana peels or something! Anyhow, we'll see how it does.
I started the tomatoes, peppers, & eggplant inside in March, and, as usually happens, the tomatoes came up fine, but the peppers and eggplant are straggling. 5 of the 6 tomatoes got so big that the outgrew the little outdoor make-shift greenhouse, so I already put them in the ground with Wall-o-Water plant protectors.
I hope they survived this evening's hail... but otherwise they're doing great.
Some of the cucumbers were also getting too tall for the greenhouse so they've been planted too.
The rest of the cukes, a few squash seedlings, and the two peppers that finally decided to germinate are still in the greenhouse. No signs of life from the eggplant though. Sigh... I may have to give up and buy a plant or two from the nursery.
|I've got it's front open so you can see inside.|
|Note the volunteer squash & peas growing in the middle of it. I'll just leave them there and see what happens.|
And speaking of gifts. I've got a whole slew of volunteer potatoes.
I have a terrible time harvesting those things. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to skewer a good percentage of them, and clearly I missed some too! Anyhow, this year I decided to try planting them in containers. That way, when I harvest them, all I have to do is dump them over and sift through the dirt. I fear my containers may be a bit small, but we'll see what happens. If all of the container potatoes plus the volunteers produce spuds, it will be a bumper crop!
Then there are the green onions. The green onions were another interesting experiment. I planted them one year and they never came up. But then late that fall they started sending up little shoots. I harvested a few, and the rest wintered over nicely. I was delighted! I sort of have a "fishing" philosophy with harvesting them. I usually dig up a chunk... separate out the big ones, and re-plant the smaller ones. As long as they've got some roots on them, they take really well. I've kept the same batch going for nearly 10 years now!
The main problem facing the onions at the moment is that they are being taken over by oregano! I bought a tiny little oregano plant 15 years ago, having no idea that it could survive the winters. Well, survive it did, and I must say it's rather like an invasive species! Not sure if I'll get to it this year or not, but I'm gonna try to dig at least a chunk of it up and re-locate it someplace where it can grow and spread to its heart's content!
In a few weeks I'll probably plant some basil, beans, zucchini, pumpkins & squash. Although, to be honest, I'm gonna go easy on the pie pumpkins this year since I still haven't finished cooking up last year's harvest!
Anyhow, that's the garden report from here.
How about you? Do you have a garden? How is it doing? I'm actually really curious to hear if everybody else is having the same crazy weather as we are, and how y'all are coping.
MONDAY UPDATE: I know you were all hanging on a thread waiting to hear, so I lust wanted to report that everything survived the hail (whew) and now we've got a nice steady rain falling. So the miracle is back on!