Garden Daybook 7/11/13

It's too wet! small

Sixteen straight days of rain. Back up the ark and lower the ramp! The yard is wet – those are my feet in our back yard – on the lawn, the garden is wet, and the back field has standing water. It is difficult/impossible to work in the garden. It’s too muddy to plant fall crops and forget about pulling weeds . . . pull and you hear a squish and get a weed with its roots encased in a ball of mud. GADS!!

When I began my Garden Daybook I promised to share the good and the bad. Today I have some bad! Our system of mulching the tomato bed with newspaper topped with straw has always worked well for us and has pretty much eliminated weeding for the rest of the summer. Well – not this summer! AARAAUGH!!!

straw mulch gone wrong small

This year we laid down the newspaper and straw and thought “All right, the tomato bed is done!” A few weeks later we started to notice a green mist forming over the top of the straw. What the?! It didn’t take us long to realize that the straw was FULL of seeds and those seeds had germinated on TOP of the newspaper and were pushing their roots through the paper to the moist soil below. AAARAUGH!! So now we have to tediously scratch up the newspaper and grass and flip the every thing over to expose the roots. The problem is that the soil is WET – and I mean WET – and we have to stay out of the tomato bed until things dry out. Meantime . . . . the green is filling in . . . and getting taller . . . and growing thicker roots. The job of “flipping” will be more tedious and time consuming. Gads!!

Speaking of tomatoes . . . is anyone else growing one of the new blue tomatoes? We have two varieties. Blueberry and Indigo Rose. Here is our first Indigo Rose tomato. It is gorgeous. It is definitely BLUE! We cannot wait to taste a blue tomato!Indigo Rose small

Some plants are beginning to show stress from all the rain. The Blue Lake Pole Beans are climbing but their bottom leaves are turning yellow . . . a sure sign of too much water. There is not much we can do except wait for the soil to dry out.

beans yellowing small

The sweet potatoes – off to a slow start – have finally begun to send out their vines and cover the ground. Sweet potatoes will grow rampant vines that shade out the weeds, overflow the raised bed, and cover the neighboring path. The vines in this picture are a mere hint of what is to come. Notice the standing water between the mounds!

sweet potatoes vining small

The Calendulas in the asparagus bed seem to love the rain. They have been in bloom for a month and will bloom until frost. I love this simple, dependable, old fashioned flower. I call Calendulas my “happy little flower”.

June 12 Calendula 1 small

Companion planting guidelines say that Calendulas help asparagus fight off the ravages of asparagus beetles. Because this bed has been infested with beetles I seeded the calendulas last fall. This spring I sprayed individual beetles with Spinosad. Now we wait and see what happens to successive generations of the beetles. I can truthfully say that the end of the bed with the Calendulas is taller and healthier.

calendula and asparagus in July small

The Yukon Gold potatoes are blooming, their nightshade flowers are telling us that the plants are beginning to make tubers. The leaves have some flea beetle damage – tiny shot holes – but the plants are mature enough to continue growing and will produce tubers.

potato flower small

Most of the garlic is already yellowing – it’s early this year – and ready for harvest. I pulled the Khabar garlic, a hard necked variety, cleaned off the mud, trimmed the tops and roots and hung it in my garden shed to dry. This cluster is the bare beginning of all the garlic I have to harvest but it rained, HARD, again last night and the bed is too wet – again. The weather is so frustrating this year – I hear thunder as I write this and there is a severe thunderstorm warning flashing on the TV. Gads!!!

garlic Khabar small

Between weather challenges and going back to the office for a week – he’s supposed to be retired – Greg has managed to almost finish a cobbled area in front of the garden work table. He dug the area out, lined it with landscape fabric, shoveled in small gravel, and laid the cobblestones. The graveled area at the end of the cobblestones will be laid with large pieces of sandstone. I can stack pots and store wheelbarrows on the stone without worrying about weeds. Because he got such a good deal on an entire pallet of cobblestones we have enough leftover – we hope – to cover the paths between 4 raised beds. OOOHHWEE! That means no more weeding on those paths!

cobblestone work area small

The weatherman says that today is the last day of rain for at least a week. Yay! I cannot wait for things to dry out – how long do you think that will take?! – so I can get back into the garden and show the weeds who is boss. I need to start seeds of broccoli and cauliflower, plant kale, lettuce, carrots and beets for the fall garden. The summer is screeching by at the speed of light. The days are already getting shorter. I cannot run fast enough. Let’s all send out a prayer for sunny skies and light breezes. Please!

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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