Thursday, July 12, 2012

How does my garden grow

Very well, apparently, even though the weather was horrendous through the end of June and into the first week of July (all temperatures in Fahrenheit, of course):

Heat wave
(list stolen from the local paper's website)

I took down the half-assed string trellis I made for the blackberries since it was already starting to sag. I also wanted to attempt to redirect the insanely prolific snake gourd plants to grow and climb in the other direction so they wouldn't smother the berry plant. I put a large round tomato cage in there and sort of wove the squash vines through it and it worked somewhat. As you can see, they are doing almost too well:

20120709 garden 005
In fact, they're growing so wonderfully that (provided they keep going strong into the fall), I'm thinking about lobbying next year to build a teepee or A-frame out of wood and planting snake gourds along the base to create a vine-covered hideout for Nico. I got the idea from this very neat guest post on frequent commenter Ruth's blog (hi, Ruth!).

I also added stakes to the sprawling grape tomato area and wrapped twine around the four stakes to make a cage of sorts. It does seem to have helped a lot with keeping the plant contained:

20120709 garden 007
All our tomato plants are covered with oodles of green fruit. I suspect they're all going to ripen at once and we'll be up for days processing them all into sauce to freeze.

20120709 garden 008
I'm pretty sure my poor blueberry bushes got sunburned, but so far they seem to be hanging in there.

20120709 garden 012
My zucchini plants, however, are not doing well at all. I don't know if they finally gave up in the heat or if the nefarious squash cutworm got to them. I lost my last two years' zucchini plants to cutworm, but I was hoping to avoid that fate this year by planting in raised beds with new dirt. One of the plants seems to be regenerating with new growth so I haven't given up all hope, but they really do look pathetic:

20120709 garden 010
Sadly, they look worse already in just the two days since I took these photos.

At least the zucchini harvest that might turn out to be my last for the year was a whopper:
20120709 garden 002
I see lots and lots of grating in my future.

The pepper plants continue to look great but produce little. I really suspect that I impeded productivity by crowding them in the bed. Every time I go out to water now I think about what I like about this year's garden and what I want to do differently next year. Right now, I'm thinking:

>> Add another long thin bed for tomatoes and grow only eight plants, four in each long center bed

>> Spread the peppers across the entire back bed (and maybe add a few more varieties)

>> Find a way to squeeze in another bed near the front by the blueberries for zucchini

>> Skip the snap peas - I'm the only one who ate any, and I didn't eat enough to justify the space they took up in the bed. Then I skipped ONE day of watering and all of my pea plants died, which I thought was a bit overdramatic.

>> Attempt to add onions, per MB's request (any advice on onion-growing is welcome!)

>> Grow multicolored carrots with Nico

Even with the changes I'd make, I think this is our most successful year of gardening yet. It's very encouraging!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the shout out!
I am also planning my fall garden based on my summer mistakes LOL.

EvilDucky77 said...

Peas aren't something you should expect to do well all year. They are an early spring crop! Though you could plant some again in the fall where your dead ones are once it cools off. Also I've never had pepper plants be very productive. I dunno what the deal is but I suspect they just don't do well in this area? *shrug*

velocibadgergirl said...

The pepper plants at the farm were covered with huge peppers, though! :(