Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is this Really Summer?

Today is a cool & misty kind of day. Not really great weather for doing much in the gardens other than wandering around to see how things are coming along. I've noticed I've not posted much this summer & it's mainly because I'm slightly depressed about the state of my attempts to grow food. Things aren't doing so well this year - it's cool, cloudy & generally not great weather for veggie crops.

My potatoes & lettuce are loving it though. I should remind myself of that more often, but I'm honestly getting tired of eating so much lettuce!! I know I will miss it dearly in the winter (unless I can figure out how to grow it during those months), but right now, I want to be crunching on beans & peas, roasting tomatoes & adding other veggies to my meals.

This spring I spread out my lettuce starts through-out the veggie beds thinking that I would eat most, if not all, of it by the time things were ready to plant carrots, beets & parsnips. Well, as you can see, the lettuce is still growing well - not bolting, not turning bitter & rather healthy (few slugs).

I've also seen a lot of squash volunteers coming up in random spots. We ate a lot of squash this winter & I actually want to grow my own - bought seeds & started them, but those seem to have disappeared, either from birds or slugs or critters in the soil attacking the roots. It's the volunteers of unknown varieties that are doing well. Go figure...

Now I hope they will start to flower & set fruit so that I can see what variety they are. They actually might just be the ones I wanted anyway...

This is my first year for potatoes. I had no idea that they really should be in a bed of their own & hence, they are crowding out the beans. Lovely plants, pretty flowers & it's so much fun to just stick your hand in the soil & pull out some little spuds.

But who knew they would produce their own fruit?!! I'll probably have to remove these before they develop any further (research needed), but it's amazing the changes that happen after only a few days.

Next year I'll dedicate 1 whole raised bed to potatoes so that I'm not worried about the competition for space.

It's my first year also for peppers. After an early near disaster in dealing with an aphid infestation & burnt/diseased leaves, the pepper plants have made a come-back & put out a 2nd set of flowers. There are small fruit developing & I hope that eventually the sun & heat will come so that I'm eating red peppers instead of green ones.

I really need a 2nd greenhouse to house these as I have learned that peppers require more space than 1 gallon pots. They also like more heat than the tomatoes & since I'm constantly leaving the greenhouse door open on 'nice' days, the peppers really aren't growing to their potential.
Beans...mmm...I love beans & this is where they are at. Pretty sad. They are being crowded out by the potatoes & the volunteer squash. They were also heavily attacked by bugs early on, so I'm very happy that they decided to put out flowers & are now putting out beans.

Again, next year I think I'll dedicate a full raised bed to just beans next year. I did try growing runner beans, but they haven't made an entrance into the world & I don't think they will at this point. Sad - would have been nice to see those lovely red flowers!

Another first for me are lemon cucumbers.

They don't look very happy do they?

I have no idea what's going on & frankly, at this stage I'm not inclined to try to figure out how to 'fix' the problem. They are putting out flowers & I check on them frequently to see if they are developing fruit & since I know that they are supposed to be small when ready for harvest, I won't make the mistake of trying to grow 'big' cucumbers. I miss the taste of fresh cucumbers. I have grown weary of the long English cukes we get from the store. Absolutely no flavour!

Please, cukes - give me a few fruit this year...

So while depressed about the state of my veggie beds, I must take joy in the state of my flower beds. Really, this is the year for wild flowers & they are stunning, even if the tall foxglove are falling over with the rain. I can see that I will have lots of seed to gather this fall to spread around the few remaining bare patches of the yard, transplants of goldenrod to dig up where they are starting to take over, and divisions of daisies & lady's mantle to move around.

While I was pulling my hair out last year due to the deer eating everything, this year they seem to be leaving me pretty much alone. Well, I have noticed a few lily buds are missing & a hosta has been tasted, but the devastation from last year is not noticeable. The shrubs are making a come back (now growing very low to the ground, mind you, instead of tall & stately), I feel that I am working WITH Nature instead of AGAINST Nature this year.

So while it's not a great day (or season) for gardening, I will fill up my hummingbird feeder & watch these funny little birds gathering up on my deck.

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