Monday, June 16, 2014
Mid June Garden Update: Chard, Squash, Onion Braids, and Waiting For Tomatoes!
I think the rumors that this is finally an El Nino year may prove true. God has been watering my garden every week for about a month now - including one eight inch gully washer that really DID wash a gully into our driveway - washing the gravel down onto the side of the street with the force of the runoff. I need to go shovel the gravel back into place.
It was so COLD this year! Every time we thought winter was over we would have a cold snap! I think the temperatures slowed everything down. Many things kind of just sat there, waiting. Then the past couple of weeks, things have started happening. I've been gathering Swiss Chard for about a month, baby beets with their tops on for a couple of weeks, and yellow squash all this past week. Just picked the first cucumbers today. The grasshoppers have arrived and we are having to share with them, but they are not the plague they have been the past two years. The Deer Fencing WORKS and deer have not entered my garden since I hung the mylar on it!
My onions are finished for the year. Have I mentioned that I really LOVE growing onions. You can plant them during that cabin-fever time when it seems like spring will never get here, freezes don't hurt them.
They mostly take care of themselves, and when they are ready to be picked their tops just fall over one night. They are easy to gather and store for a long time.
This year, I planted late so a lot of mine were small. I braided the large ones to hang for storage, and tied little net bags for the small ones. If I can raise enough onions next year, maybe I can demonstrate how to make the braids at the farmer's market.
So far, so good on my tomato plants. The vines all have green fruit on them but none ready to pick yet. It was about 3 weeks ago when I saw the first baby tomato, and over time each other plant has developed fruit. I have lost 3 plants to an odd ailment in which the leaves curl up lengthwise and feel hard and leathery. The plants continue to flower and even put on some fruit but they seem to dehydrate from the inside out and gradually shrink in on themselves. There are no yellow or brown spots. Everyone else I have talked to around here has mentioned this happening to their tomato plants too. From what I have read, it may have something to do with the cold nights and hot days. I have fertilized them twice since planting.
The Eggplant is starting to set fruit and there will be peppers to pick soon (peppers are another thing I really enjoy growing, but I only planted two kinds this year). Only one melon plant came up so hopefully it will bear a few cantaloupes for us. I need to plant black eyed peas and some more beets.
All my jars are washed, and I bought more Food Saver material rolls for freezing. Ready to start preserving any day now. I have already made one batch of purple plum jam, and hope to go next week to pick peaches at a Pick Your Own nearby - look over on my right sidebar for a widget to a great site for finding U-Pic farms and orchards in your area.
Now if those tomatoes will just hurry up and ripen!!! :-)