beet, beetroot, carrot, cucumber, daikon radish, dragon heart carrot, duck nest, fledgling, garlic, green bean, potato box, pumpkin, radish, rainbow chard, red onion, spring onion, squash, strawberry, tomatillo, tomatoes
The potato box.
Actually, it’s doing really well!
So well in fact, that my husband added more potatoes and the second set of boards to the side since all of the plants finally took off and grew two feet out of the blue!
Yesterday, while my husband was “busy” at work, he was scouring YouTube for information on potato boxes and noticed that we had kind of made a mistake…
For the potato box, you are supposed to plant all the potatoes in the first layer, all at once! But from what he saw of multiple videos and articles from people trying out the potato box, they all started with just a few potatoes, evenly spaced in the base of the box like we did. Initially, we only planted 9 potatoes – and it seems that is what most people are doing. So here’s the thing, we had to mound up some extra compost at the base of all of our tomato plants because they developed these root bumps (probably from when we pinched back most of the yellowing and dying branches to encourage them to grow stronger, healthier stems) and this is what we expect and want to happen with the potato box.
As the potato plants grow larger, they will develop root bumps at the “base” of each of the plants. This is what we want to cover with dirt and put up more boards to protect, since each of these sets of new roots will cause more potatoes to grow, above the “old” potato buds that are growing and will eventually (*fingers crossed*) get harvested in the fall. But we learned this about one set of boards “too late” … !!
We buried about nine more potatoes in the second layer with more dirt and boards so now the husband unit thinks we will get meager little potatoes from that set of potatoes … but we hope to get quite a bounty still! In fact, at the rate that the potato plants are growing, he expects we will need to build the potato box another set of boards higher than we planned!! Hopefully that will mean we get a boatload of potatoes in the fall!
That’s the thing with all this vegetable gardening. You can sing to all your plants, cover them lovingly with straw during cold spells, build crude (and silly) “shelters” for your young plants to protect them from rather aggressive rainstorms and wind, water them, provide them with extra heat and all the sunshine that your sun dances bring about but in the fall – you will really have a sense of whether it was all worth it, or if possibly some of the plants have decided to “rebel” and die. Because let’s face it, it takes real effort to plant, grow and ultimately kill your plants.
So let’s get on to the other plants shall we?
Here in the UK, we had a really “rough” week and a half or so of high temps, dry air, long, sweaty nights (thanks to the lack of A/C) with all the fans running and windows open (hoping not to wake up to HUGE spiders lounging around the house) and absolutely no rain.
Within an hour or so of watering the plants in the evening, the top of the dirt would appear very dry, as if we hadn’t just taken our time to run back and forth for forty minutes with the watering can giving all the water each plant seemed to need.
Then, even with a hose ban due to the low water tables, we have had just over two weeks of endless rain and gloomy days. Lots of jokes are going viral on Facebook at the lack of “summer” and our rather ridiculously “short summer” that we are experiencing…
Really, I think that because we are about 10,000 years overdue for tectonic plate shifting events (I’m talking major ones where the Pacific Ocean will devour – or should, according to geologists, most of the United States so that Indiana will become the new Washington state), it has had a real effect on the seasons and the timing of them. This will slowly and surely change until what we expect to be fall will be the new summer and the winter to be fall. In fact, according to scientists, the cycles in which typical summertime bugs appear are strong evidence of this. Believe it or not, it cannot be denied that the past few weeks of June have really felt like what May should have felt like. All those April and May showers that will bring flowers are happening about a month later than we expect. So this should mean a late start to fall and “extended harvest” season for our veggies, right?
We will just have to wait and see…
The rain has had some effect on our other veggies though.
For all the onions and other root veggies that we planted that require really moist soils to germinate and really take off – the rain has been fantastic!
For the plants that are more sensitive to large amounts of water, like tomatoes and tomatillos – we have really seen some struggle in those plants.
Actually the tomatoes with some sun the past couple of days and warmth, despite the rain, most of them have developed those lovely yellow flowers holding the promise of little baby tomato buds that should be setting in real soon!
We even planted tumbling toms that are small little yellowish-orange cherry tomatoes that are meant to be grown in a hanging basket. These were started indoors until they were large enough to really survive being outside then transplanted into a hanging basket. Given, our basket is probably a bit too small and we fit about seven plants in it???…. We will see what happens with them!
The tomatillos have been reduced from 8 plants to 2 that seem to still be hanging in there, although they look very tender and fragile… so with any luck there will be more sun in the coming week and the heat and sunshine should cause them to really take off and develop into stronger plants and hopefully get to the point where we can start trellising those babies!
The carrots are doing well-ish…. the Dragon Heart carrots seem to be struggling in the germinating department. They either have and the tops look rather like some of the weeds we have growing alongside them, or they haven’t germinated and we are just taking really good care of some weeds that really don’t need to be looked after. Honestly, because who wants to grow weeds where they have planted beautiful veggies??
Rainbow chard is really loving their mostly shady, partly sunny spot along the back side of our raised beds and growing stronger each day. I absolutely can’t wait to see all the beautiful colors that are supposed to spawn from these! I have a couple recipes to use chard with and can’t wait to find more!
You can also see that the mizuna is starting to really develop. I’m going to look into freezing these greens since we are going to use them for making hot pots over the winter! I hope to keep these growing all year round!
We planted 6 brussell sprout plants, of which three seem to really be thriving…. but in varying degrees. One is certainly doing better than the rest, the one next to that is struggling to keep up, and the one beside that is still just a baby – growing like the tortoise. Slow and steady.
All the radishes got thinned out a few days ago and we spotted a small tiny red radish poking it’s head out of the soil – tempting my husband to pull it up and eat it. So far, he has managed to resist the temptation. Although we do have a row of beet root that only seems to have two plants out of a two foot row of seeds that are really coming up. Sadly. And I just found a new recipe that caused me to fall back in love with beets…
I refuse to touch the ridiculous amount of cabbage plants that we have planted. The areas of the bed that they occupy that gets more sun than the rest seem to be bringing about taller plants, while those in the shade are developing in width and not quite as much as in the height department.
Our hopscotch pepper plants seem to have just stopped growing. They are just small, cute, perfectly green leaves that are neither suffering in any way we can discern, and also refuse to grow any taller or larger. Dunno what can be done – just hoping that the sunshine that I hope will come in strong in the next few days will encourage them to just start their sudden growth spurt.
The daikon radish is an interesting specimen. It is sown in a very long row, alongside our strawberries and the half of the row that gets more shade than the rest seem to be really growing the radishes well while the area that gets more sun each day is struggling to keep the little sproutlings strong and growing – it is in fact very sparse. *shrugs* I’m not too worried about it, since a full six or seven foot row would have provided us with way more daikon than we could consume or find people to take from us, so it’s almost a blessing, but we now know for future sowings that this is one that we will keep in a consistently shady area of the garden.
The red onions are doing well, growing taller. Although their stems are still quite skinny – is that normal?
The spring onions aren’t really coming up… just a small little one inch batch of a two foot row…. that’s ok though too, although we use lots of spring onions – the initial dry spell must have kept the soil too dry for the seeds to germinate. So next year, we will start them inside if we are going to plant them outside during a warmer spell so that we can bring more of them to “adulthood” than we managed this year.
We had absolutely no strawberries come up yet, but we are seeing little green buds right now – which is odd since it is officially too late for strawberries. That is the magic of our garden, things come up when they shouldn’t and sometimes re-crop themselves when they shouldn’t and grow in places that we had never had plants before or that we hadn’t intentionally or unintentionally seeded…. Odd, I know.
The green beans have been thinned back from five trough planters to two that are still going strong after all the rain. So hopefully, since their little tendrils have begun taking to the netted trellising that we have put up, they will start to grow stronger and taller and we can pick some beans in a few months!
There are some really great childhood memories of a neighbor named Mr. Tom that had his own vegetable with his wife (who died shortly after we became his neighbor) and since they LOVED green beans and string beans and any other kinds of long, stringy green bean varieties, they would have long rows with tall, netted walls chock-full of beans to be picked. After school, if my mom was out running errands and we had forgotten the key (again) we would spend time with him until she got home and he would have us help him to pick any of the veggies that were ready to be picked – some of which we would put in a plastic grocery bag and take home to eat! I hope to fill Mei’s childhood with memories like these, growing, picking and eating the veggies that we grow in our own garden – no matter where in the world we are living.
At this rate, I could probably keep a scrapbook devoted entirely to gardening! We would be able to keep memories of all the things we planted, the different gardens we kept and what worked out, what didn’t and what we did with all the things we grew. Whether it was finding new favorite meals to make with them, bags full of veggies we shared with friends and family or new hobbies that developed like canning! Hmm… I smell a future craft project developing…
The crookneck squash is doing really well and we will soon need to provide some ground cover outside of the designated “garden” area to train the budding blossoms. This is true also of the pumpkins – which are growing slowly but steadily outwards.
Cucumbers. They are a funny thing… it might take another year of growing them to get them right. We watered them during the dry spell in a way that burnt a few of the leaves and eventually the plants attached to them died… so there are only a few plants left and they are growing strong, green, itchy leaves so we might get some cucumbers in the end. Only time will tell.
Our exploding cucumbers seemed to germinate and promptly die. Sadly. That was the one crop we were really thrilled about this year!
I didn’t think we could successfully grow corn, but it is looking really good for corn right now since they are about a foot high and getting B-I-G!! The variety that we purchased that is “guaranteed” to grow well in our region seems to be keeping up to their promise! I can’t wait to wrap them up and stick them on the grill…. it’s my favorite way to make corn on the cob – and corn on the cob is a really fun food for Mei to eat! She struggles with actually getting the corn off the cob but she enjoys nawing on it until she gets just one kernel loose, making all of her happy “mmmm… yummy!” noises as she eats.
The eggplants are hanging in there and showing promise, so hopefully we will get tall stalks developing soon since they are growing somewhat slowly as well!
One last piece of news? ANOTHER fledgling was spotted in our yard! It seems that the jungle that is our yard is a real hot spot for Spring animals! Patella found this one while we were busy gardening and teaching Mei how to weed (she doesnt quite have the hang of it yet…) and I managed to snap a shot once it hopped into our small side yard and we were able to lock Patella out so it could catch a break. Eventually we chased it out into some underbrush that Patella can’t quite access and haven’t heard or seen of it since, so I hope it’s ok!
The husband unit also found another duck nest in our front yard -just on the opposite side of the yard that last year’s nest was at… photos to come!
Until next time!! Gotta get back to my sun dance!!