Sunday, June 6, 2010

What a difference a day makes

The sun came out yesterday. After I don't know how many consecutive days of rain, the sun finally came out. It shone and shone. Working outside, I was warm, then hot. The sky was blue with just a few wispy white clouds. It was great.

Of course we're back to grey and rainy today, but there you go.

While the sun was shining I went out to the garden to see how the veggies were responding to the unusual warmth. Would they even know what the sun was for?

The first thing I saw was the row of potato buckets. I have been mulching heavily with straw as they grow, and they seem to like it because they're the fastest growing plants in the garden, even without the sun to cheer them on. It's time to add more straw, I think.

I have also been piling straw around the leeks and fennel, to blanch the stems of the leeks and the bulbs of the fennel. These still have a long way to go, but at least they haven't drowned in all the rain.

When I lifted back the row cover I found happy carrots. After growing nothing but strangely shaped and rust-fly damaged carrots last year, this year I am determined to do better. This bunch have been getting the star treatment, with a deeply dug and composted bed, obsessive-complusive weeding, and a row cover to keep the bugs away, and it shows. I even pulled one up just to check, and although it was tiny, it was blemish-free and tasted perfect.

This bed has something of everything in it: cabbages, radishes, spinach, chard and along the edges, beans. I've had a few problems with this bed: the cabbages are happy enough, but everything else has been growing very, very slowly. Either that or dying. The beans have been such a disaster I have recently replanted them, and now the new seedlings are emerging only to be eaten by something. This bed has a long way to go.

On the other hand, the garlic is happy. I keep checking for scapes, but so far no sign of any, which is an indication of how far behind we are, compared with last year.

Another of my gardening resolutions for the year was to take better care of the blueberries, and it seems to be working. Bushes that were almost bare last year are sporting a healthy batch of berries now. We'll have to put up nets soon to protect the bushes inside the vegetable garden from the birds.

And the strawberries are coming along s-l-o-w-l-y. We mulched them with straw as soon as they started to flower, to protect the berries from catching leather mould from the soil, which happened last year. I'll let you know how it works.

According to the weather forecast we're in for at least a few more days of at least showers, if not rain. I'm thinking I might haul out a few bags of the raspberries we froze last year and make jam and pretend it's summer...


Paula said...

It's all looking good, even if it's behind- I mean, so what. And you have strawberries! What variety? Are they the same plants as last year or did you have to replace them?

You haven't written in a few days; I was worried your arthritis was acting up again. Hope all is well.

Toni aka irishlas said...

We had a horrible spring last year. Constant rain and cool temperatures. I had to replant the beans three times before it became dry enough for them to grow!
The bottom line - things were late, but, we were able to get enough veggies to freeze and can to last through winter. Yours will catch up.

I like your idea about pulling berries out of the freezer to can...

jeanives said...

Like Paula I was concerned when you weren't posting for a few days - in fact was going to phone today to check up on you. You've created a responsibility!
And I don't even want to talk about beans ours are so tragic.

Miriam said...

You women are wonderful, and I'm sorry that you worried. We actually skipped town for three days: a one-day road trip to Campbell River, a town 3 hours north of us, to get a sink (it's a long story that I'm sure will one day make a blog post), and then an overnight trip to my dad's place an hour away to escape a charity garden tour that was happening next door (550 people - it's a good thing we left!). All is well on the arthritis front, if not the bean front!

Miriam said...

Paula, I forgot to answer your questions about the strawberries! I have no idea what variety they are - we inherited two beds, with about 100 square feet of them, and this is now at least the third year of production. I've been following the advice I've read about "renovating" the beds, which translates into mowing the plants down in the fall, and they have come back strong in the spring. I've been somewhat fanatical about weeding, as the beds were infested with clover when we got them, I mulch with straw through the growing season and then with a fresh batch to overwinter, and I compost in the spring. That's all I know to do!

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