26 June 2009

Garden Tour

My how the garden grows! Rainbow after a thunder shower only 10 days ago...

The view from the kitchen table this morning. There's a lot of bare ground in the foreground, that's where the cutworms have done the most damage, even getting into the herb beds. I was pretty surprised to see them cut herbs like savory, dill, cilantro, parsley, fennel, anise, basil, calendula, and poppy flowers seem to be a favorite treat of theirs. I removed all of the onion seedlings from the middle bed and will transplant them back into clean ground. We are working on constructing cutworm fences around the seed beds. They can climb, but not very high on slick vertical surfaces. I'll post more on the fences when we have them constructed and tested.
Here's another angle of the herb, greens and roots beds. We lost all of the beets, turnips, chard, spinach, direct seeded lettuce/mesculun, and a few plantings of carrots and parsnips are still struggling along. I scout the mature lettuce bed regularly, they only cut of the outer leaves of the larger lettuces, revealing their presence. Thank goodness there is only one cycle of cutworms per year, and it is coming to an end in a few weeks. So we will still have time for some later plantings of carrots, beets, greens and herbs.
On the left is the first planting of carrots and parsnips, they emerged before the cutworms, and got a bit of a head start. Still, the patches show the damage they have done. To the right, is the potato patch, and they are doing great this year, just starting to flower. The Potato Beetle damage is down to a minimum this year, we are finding only about 5 adults a day, up to 20 on windy days when they blow in from potato farms. To the right of the potatoes, the mulched area, a row of cukes, zukes, and winter squash beginning to flower. And to the right of the vines, my plot of small grains and seeds: popcorn, sunflower, amaranth, millet, quinoa, poppy seed, hulless oats. The cutworms have been working their way down the grains as well, and we are just starting to weed in there, so I'm self-consciously omitting a picture of them! I plan to do a post on these small grains and seeds as they mature.

This is my wild, overgrown perennial/biennial herb bed. I underestimated the amount of room the perennials would need in their second year. I left some biennials (caraway, parsley, mullein and chicory) to go to seed in the same bed, so next year the nettle, alfalfa and comfrey will have enough room to expand.
A quarter acre plot of Hard Red Spring Wheat for bread baking, and about 1500 row feet of dry peas, to harvest for the chicken's winter feed. On the right you can just see the newly worked ground, 3/4 acre, for planting grains next year, with the market peas and beans moving into this grain plot. To the left of this picture is about 2000 sq ft of millet (not worth picturing as it is just emerging), to be harvested for chicken feed.

In the lower garden, our green beans and baking beans, as well as our dry peas and shelling peas. As well as a row of Naked Seeded Pumpkins between the peas. We got a few inches of rain this week, warm nights, and a hot sunny day today, so everything is growing by inches.

Next to them, the brassicas and ground cherries. The Flea Beetles never did make it down to the transplants, after giving my turnips and radishes a hard time. And now I can hardly find a Flea Beetle in the garden, I'm pretty sure the Soldier Beetles finished them off, their population exploded around the time the Flea Beetles' declined. The cutworms were beginning damage some of the brassicas, so we stuck small nails along side the stems to prevent them cutting the entire stem off, they still climb up and take a leaf here and there, but we scout these areas too, and dig them up.

My first promising tomato on an early ripening Latah variety. These are bare, spindly plants, but they produce plenty of fruit, and always ripen earliest. The bushier Cherry Fox and Roma tomatoes are twice the size, but just starting to produce green fruits.

Hungarian Hot Wax and Carmen Peppers just starting to flower. We spike them with nails as well, to prevent any cutworm damage. We've been babying these peppers along for nearly 4 months now, I don't think I could stand to see one of them toppled.

And our first crop of snow peas in the market garden is about a week away, they started to flower a few days ago. The succession of peas and beans stretches out to the millet and wheat crop. We spaced our successional plantings by 10 days, and in the early spring, those 10 days make a big difference, but our last two plantings are nearly identical in size. It's amazing what a little heat and rain will do!


Chiot's Run said...

Everything is looking good!

randi said...

wow, I got exhausted just reading about the extent of your gardens! You've a right to be proud of your hard work for sure. Am very sorry about the cutworm devastation...only when you grow things you actually eat do you feel the full impact of such things. But you are rallying beautifully. We'll keep our hopes high, shall we?

Margaret said...

Your gardens are amazing and your hard work is evident.Those cutworms, what a pest, can't believe how much damage they cause. I have problems with the flea beatle but it's now under control. They really did some damage to my yound eggplants.


Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Chiot's, it does make me happy to see more green than brown when I look out at the garden.

randi, you bet, hopes are bouying!

Margaret, thank you. It can be heartbreaking to watch pests mow down a crop, but as I'm learning, there's many things we can do to curb the damage and still enjoy organic veggies.