Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Family Garden and Potager Update

Well, over in the family garden we had some frost. It nailed the tomatillos we had planted there. I'm pretty sure they are goners, but we'll wait and see as we do have some space. It also nipped the very top leaves of the basil, not a big deal. We have more basil, but only one tomatillo plant growing in the potager.

The asparagus bed is sending up its first tiny purple spears. That is pretty exciting. Where I see top growth, I know the roots are making themselves at home as well.

The 'Reliance' seedless table grapes are opening leaf buds. Pretty exciting to see growth on something that is just twisty dry sticks!

And my brother scared up the first rat snake, of what my sister-in-law informs me is an infestation, but so far I have not seen. Sister-in-law says the snake was four feet long and a bit bigger in diameter than a garden hose. That's a good sized snake! I hope it works on the rodent problem of which I have seen more than a bit of evidence.

The weeds are starting to come, mostly grassy weeds, as are the potatoes! The radishes are up, The 'Early Sunglow' sweetcorn has sprouted. This is a type that does well in cooler wetter ground. It looks like a good germination level. So far, with its reported early ripening it looks like the easy winner for our future plantings as well.

We planted the the blueberries in an area that will be enclosed from rodents and birds. We amended the bed with donkey dung, compost, shredded paper, and peat moss. My two-year-old nephews found the spreading of the bags of confetti-like paper definitely the garden chore they have excelled at to-date.

On each edge of what will be an enclosed area for the blueberries and hazelnuts, we laid down black landscape fabric. Sister-in-law cut holes into it and planted tomatoes. The plan is to use the blueberry caging to tie up our tomatoes, saving us the effort and expense of caging them.

In another 500 square foot area that has been covered by black landscape fabric, we planted the first of our peppers: sweet red 'Carmen', jalapeno, and some Cayenne.

Finally, the sweet potato 'Georgia Jet' slips arrived from Jung's. They looked wilted and dead on arrival. I got home at 8 P.M. last evening to be greeted by these dead things standing upright in a bowl of water. My son had gotten the mail and was intrigued by the the small box labeled 'Georgia Jet.' Not sure what he thought they were, he did do the right thing, I believe, by giving them plant CPR. I, in turn, potted them in 3" x 3" x 6" deep pots of compost and watered them and set them on my heat mat. Knowing they like completely warm soil, a week in nice, fluffy compost on my heat mats and under the lights will be like old home week, compared to the cool nights and indifferent daytime temps we have been blessed with here in central Wisconsin.

On the fruit tree scene in my potager, the apricot 'Moorpark' has several half a dime size apricots. I did not hand pollinate this year. The tree was loaded with buds, but I would guess at this time less than a quarter were polinated. That will probably save me thinning fruit. My 'Seckl' pear is boasting handfuls of rust-colored pre-pears at this point, all the petals having dropped last week. My 'Honeycrisp' is in full bloom, or I should say 1/3 bloom; as it appears that cold snap got some of my buds on the north side where it was not protected as it was on the south side by my massive 'Diablo' ninebark. When 75% of its petals have dropped I will spray both it and the pear with Malathion to deter coddling moth. There is literature out there stating a dormant oil in the winter and two well-timed application of Malathion might be a preferred method of preventing the pests most apt to get my apples.

1 comment:

  1. Rachelle, get a cat for the rodents and shoot the snake! YUCK