I'm back. It's been almost 2 months since my last post. Too long. Figured I'd do a big pictures post from the yard. It's been an interesting and productive Spring, with a few setbacks as well. Generally speaking the garden is doing great. Let's start with the good then I'll move on to the bad and ugly. I successfully saved seed from my Vates kale and two varieties of Swiss chard. They get tall when they bloom. I'm talking 6-feet tall! I added about 4" of fresh compost to each bed and built a small extension designated for herbs. Cucumber production has been nothing short of amazing. I've got 5 Burpless plants in the ground and I'm pulling about 8 cukes/day. I planted borage as a companion plant to my tomatoes, and it is growing very well. Beautiful flowers and they are edible too. Peaches are hanging from the tree, the pomegranate is still in bloom. Raspberries were a tasty treat for about 3 weeks and are slowing now, but the blackberries are starting to kick in. Figs have also put on new growth and, more importantly, many figs. Not as many as I hoped for, but I pruned them back in early spring to encourage more branching for larger future harvests. The fig espalier is developing fairly well. I also just finished harvesting approximately 50 heads of Inchelium Red garlic and they are drying in my shed. That's a short version of the good.
Now for the bad. My precious, beloved, sacred, and coveted heirloom tomatoes are taking a beating. They grew well for the first 6 weeks after I transplanted them into the garden, and they grew large. I'm talking appx. 4-5 feet tall. Then I started noticing what I believe to be blight. It first appeared on a few leaves, then a stem, a truss of tomatoes, an entire stalks. I quickly pruned those areas, sterilized my pruners, and then moved to the next plant. But it kept moving. So this past weekend and evening I ripped out 5 of my 7 in-ground tomatoes. 2 German Johnson, 1 Black from Tula, 1 Bull's Heart, and 1 Marvel Striped. I don't know why it hit so hard. I immediately tossed them in the garbage bin. I've been careful about watering, 2 doses of organic foliar feed (spaced 4 weeks apart) in the early morning, etc. etc., but I guess a large harvest like last year wasn't meant to be. I'm planning on purchasing a few more plants and probably dropping in a few seeds as well, but I'm flat out bummed.
And the ugly. Despite my best attempt at smothering the grass, it's back. And lots of it. Multiple layers of cardboard, 4-5 inches of mulch, periodic hand weeding of the errant shoot of grass, all for nothing.
Alright, enough gibberish! Let's do the photos, shall we?
|This is a mix of the good and the ugly. Figs down the left, raised beds front and center, berries/peach/pomegranate on the right. Oh yeah, and grass everywhere...son of a...|
|Row of figs down the left wall of the yard. They are all fairly small, but are adapting well to their permanent location. I grow a mix of brown, purple, and green figs. If you look closely, you can spot Scout. She's the hairless wonder dog.|
|Peter's Honey fig. In some areas this plant is putting out 2 figs per leaf, and I don't think that's very common. I'm not complaining.|
|Violet de Bordeaux figs. I will pick individual ants off the tree to protect these, partly because I'm crazy but mostly because these things are heavenly.|
|The Red Haven peach tree is getting very large. I pruned it heavily this winter and again about 3 weeks ago, and it keeps on growing. I also thinned the fruits a while ago, but it's still hanging about 25 peaches.|
|Overhead view of the Red Haven peach tree showing the main scaffold limbs. I'm trying to maintain an open center to allow light in and air to circulate.|
|I haven't sprayed this tree with a single thing this year and it still looks healthy. I hope that holds up for the rest of the year.|
|The Russian Pomegranate also likes its sunny but sheltered location. It's approximately 7' x 7' and was covered in blooms for 3 weeks.|
|A tiny pomegranate and a few blooms in the background.|
|This is a young Haku-Botan pomegranate tree, courtesy of Sybil Mays. It will eventually produce yellow/gold pomegranates. Sybil, this is the little plant you dug up from your side yard. It has recovered and grown ALOT!|
|It's a cucumber jungle out there. By now they've established very deep roots and don't show much wilting during the hottest (98 degrees) driest weather this year.|
|These beasts make a mean cucumber salad.|
|Ouachita blackberries beginning to ripen. I'm not sure exactly what happened (or didn't happen), but I think poor or incomplete pollination led to irregularly shaped berries. Look closely in the picture and you'll see what I'm talking about.|
|Don't ask me how this partially ripened black cherry tomato tasted. I wouldn't know. My dog Diego ate it so you'll have to ask him.|
|When most people draw a picture of the devil, they draw a red devil. The devil is NOT red. The devil is green. Check out this mix of Bermuda grass and some other green beasts that are growing well despite Operation Smother.|
|Bermuda grass a-creepin'. This is the aforementioned ugly. I plan on pulling everything I can by hand rather than using some ineffective organic herbicide or crazy poisonous herbicide. I do not want to mow this back yard ever again.|