Monday, August 5, 2013

Garden Report

My post about magically appearing zucchinis made me think it's about time I reported on the progress of this year's vegetable garden.

Most crushing disappointment: the onions. I should never have boasted how well we grow alliums here at Mucky Boots, because this year the onions have been a disaster. Germination was about 15%, so I replaced all my seed and began again, and still only had a 50% germination rate. All of which put me a few weeks behind. And once the seedlings made it into the garden they went on strike, and have done very poorly. In past years I have been harvesting my onions by this time, enough to almost see us through the year, but this year we'll be lucky to get a dozen onions big enough to eat. It makes me want to cry, which I guess is appropriate given it's onions we're talking about. I'm just glad the garlic did fine.

Most frivolous success: nasturtiums. My companion planting book suggests planting nasturtiums among squash plants to attract pollinators. I took this advice to heart and now my wildly vining, sprawling squash plants are entwined with wildly vining, sprawling nasturtiums in vibrant reds and oranges.

Most practical success: Cucumbers. I grew some pretty good pickling cukes last year, but my heart belongs to long, elegant English cucumbers, with which I have had no success. But this year I have four lush, healthy plants flowering like mad and already producing fruit. Best of all, I ate the first one a few days ago and it was the juicy, tasty essence of cucumber-ness.

Most gloat-worthy success: The winter squash. Unlike the zucchini, which produced three and promptly quit (why am I the only person in the universe who can't grow enough zucchini?) the winter squash plants are pumping out more squash than ever before. I have squash growing in beds, between beds, up a strawberry tower, along the ground, and even up the middle of a stand of dried up daisies. There are still a few things that could go wrong before harvest time, but it's looking good, and given my past failures in this department I'm giving myself permission to gloat.

Winners of the "Never Again" Award: cilantro and parsley. I can't grow either. The cilantro bolts the instant I turn my back, before I have a chance to harvest any leaves, and the parsley just sits in the dirt and looks at me, refusing to grow past the seedling stage. I've tried, and I give up.

Winner of the S-L-O-W-E-S-T Growth Ever Award: the cabbages. I don't know what the heck they're doing - I planted early varieties and they're barely starting to form heads. Was it too cold? Then too hot? Too wet, then too dry? They're progressing, just very, very slowly.

Winner of the "I Like It After All" award: broccoli. Last year it was kale, my formerly favourite vegetable to revile. This year it's broccoli, which I had decided, once I regained my sense of smell, I didn't like. But that was supermarket broccoli. My own broccoli, right out of the garden, lightly sauteed so it's bright green but still with some crunch, with a squeeze of lemon overtop? That's an entirely different story.

How has your garden been faring?


k said...

I'm sorry about your onions, but I am so inspired by your squash. Next year, if I can find room, I have to try some squash.

Paula said...

Cabbage take a long time, but remember they're leafy, so if they're not growing, I would suspect a nitrogen deficiency. They also like to be in full sun.

I think out of all the Sweet Meat squashes I planted in with the 3 Sisters, I'll be lucky if I get one- what a disappointment. They're supposed to be terrific keepers.

Paula said...

What I'm saying is, good on you for getting the winter squash to do well!

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

I'm with you on the onions. I just buy them. I've tried to grow them many a time with NO success whatsoever. Chives? Yes. Garlic? Yes. Onions? Oh, hell no.

That's quite an impressive English Cucumber you have there. My, my.

Alison said...

Do you plant your onions from seeds or sets? I'm just assuming there's a difference; we always planted sets when I was a kid.

My biggest successes this year, as you know, are the peas and the marigolds! The garlic did well, too, I think I had 100% germination, and all but one made it to harvest.

Everything else did so-so. I still have one squash plant alive, but no fruit or flowers, so it's a waiting game. The cherry tomatoes are doing ok, and I just discovered three more green ones on my brandywine--but the plants themselves look like something out of a zombie movie, lol.

Miriam said...

Alison, I start with seeds. One year we also did sets and thought the seeds actually did better.

If you lived next door I would bring you some squash! Or maybe I would grow the squash and you would grow the peas and we'd swap.

Paula, thanks for the suggestions about nitrogen! I have some alfalfa meal, so maybe I'll use it to give the cabbages a boost.

Lindsey, you are so cheeky.

k, thanks for stopping by! But please don't be inspired by ANYTHING I do because it's likely a fluke and will not be repeated...

jeanives said...

I pulled out the nasturtiums because they were full of aphids, gross. I've harvested one zucchini, some lemon cucumber which are very odd because they look like lemons, and I might get some corn. But then I live in a condominium with about 10 square feet of veg garden. Squash hasn't done anything, tomatoes are okay, beans just getting underway, one deformed pepper,...

Shim Farm said...

Well, I give you an A+ for effort!

We might lose our wheat this year, the weather's been that bad. That would be a first.

All of my beautiful flower planters were almost washed away. Last year, I thought it would be nice to plant only white flowers. Well, I can't tell you how ugly they look when it rains incessantly, and the blooms rot away before they even open. Urk.

I did, however, find a sour cherry tree on our property. How we've never noticed it before, I'll never know. It's planted in a row of apple trees, and it must be really well hidden, because the birds didn't find it, either. I actually got a bowl of sour cherries I promptly gave away LOL.

One of our crabapple trees is just dripping with little red fruits. Providing I find the time, there will be more crabapple jelly in our future!

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