I know I have been totally missing for the last few months and I do apologize. As much as you guys miss hearing about what’s going on at our
zoo circus house, I miss telling you about it! But that’s a post for another day. Today, I wanted to share an update on the crazy progress our garden has been making, just in the last few weeks.
In order to support the DreadBrewer’s seed starting habit, we added another grow rack to incredibly cramped garage. Because only losers actually put their cars in their garages….
With the additional space, however, we were able to get some insanely awesome seedlings going. I don’t think our tomato plants have ever looked so good and we have big plans to put them in the ground this weekend. (Though we did go ahead and put a few in pots, just because we had SO MANY plants.)
Sadly, the peppers don’t seem to be doing quite as well as the tomatoes, but they’ve got a little time to catch up before they’re transplanted. We’re also working on cucumber and zucchini seedlings.
Out in the garden, the onions and leeks are thriving and, I’m happy to report, the hardware cloth that we put across the bottoms of the new beds seems to have done the trick at thwarting the voles. We haven’t actually lost any plants to varmints yet, knock on wood. If this proves to be as successful as it promises to be at giving the voles a British two-fingered salute, I fully anticipate that DB will want us to install hardware cloth on all of the existing beds – a prospect that brings a tear to my eye, as shoveling 38 cubic feet of soil out of each bed, flipping it, stapling on the hardware cloth, flipping it back, and then shoveling all of the soil back in was not my idea of a good time the first four times we did it. But, if it’s what we need to do to save our crops, so be it.
Additionally, I’ve got some serious work to do this weekend thinning the spinach, lettuce, kale and bok choy. It’s one of my least favorite garden tasks (second only to harvesting beans), so I’ve been procrastinating and now it has come back to bite me in the butt. I believe we will be having vast quantities of baby lettuce/spinach salads in the near future. In the back of the lettuce/bok choy picture, you can also see the brassica bed. We’ve got broccoli, broccolini, cabbage, and cauliflower in there. Unfortunately, the first seedlings were wiped out by some late-ish frosts and we had to replant. Fortunately, DB has a tendency to grow way more seedlings than we need (see the tomatoes, above) and we were able to completely replace the ruined plants with new ones.
We’ve also got beds of carrots, radishes, beets, and parsnips. I got a picture of the pathetic showing by our parsnips, just to illustrate what’s considered an acceptable rate of germination. Most seed packets will have a germination % stamped on there somewhere to show how well the seeds sprouted at last test; on average, the % is at least 85%. For parsnips, you’re lucky if it says 65%. And I personally think that’s a little high as I must have planted a thousand parsnip seeds and, like, 6 have come up. (Okay, perhaps I exaggerate a little but you get the idea.) If parsnips weren’t so delicious, I think we would throw in the towel. As it is, we struggle on.
The garlic is looking so amazing that we puff up with pride every time we see it. I only hope that we don’t have storage issues like we did a few years ago and ruin not only our eating crop but our seed crop as well. Last year’s storage went swimmingly, so I’m optimistic for this year as well.
I didn’t bother to snap pictures of the asparagus, mainly because we’re having problems with asparagus beetles and it’s just depressing. We typically try to avoid pesticide use in the garden but this is the second year in a row that the crop has been ruined and our principles are going to have to bend a little bit.
Currently flourishing are the berry patches – the blackberries and blueberries look amazing, totally laden with blossoms. The raspberries are a little behind but they’ve got a good start and hopefully we’ll have lots and lots of berries this year and be able to preserve some for the winter. (If we can keep the girls and the birds out of the berry patches, which may or may not be an impossible task.)
I’m sure there are some things I’ve forgotten to list (our peas, for instance) but it’s actually harder than you would think to keep straight everything we’ve got in the ground versus in the garage versus still in seed packets. Not for DB, of course, who has a crazy memory when it comes to the garden but for me. I do have a good reason for forgetting things, however. There is one last thing that we’re growing that cannot be forgotten (but that makes me forget pretty much everything else) and that’s the next addition to the Brewster family!
Yep, we’ve decided to take the plunge into full-on craziness and are expecting baby #3 (aka Wally) in October. The Littlest Brewster is beyond excited that there is a new baby coming and BIT has no idea that her world is about to be rocked when her place as primary lap occupier is usurped.
The list of tasks that DB has for us to do over the next few days is considerable (amending, thinning, planting, transplanting, trellising, you get the idea) and I’m starting to wonder if the trend of my being knocked up and toiling in the garden will go on forever. But there are certainly worse ways to spend my time!