Gardening Update 07/05/23

Gardening Update 07/05/23

It’s been a while since my last garden update so I thought I would write up a quick one today even though my garden is in pretty bad shape. It looks like my last garden update was in April of 2022. Every year I think my garden is worse but this year really takes the cake. I barely started any plants and we did not do our yearly pilgrimage to the store to buy starts and flowers so everything is pretty weedy. Anything that I planted this year was bought last fall in a fit of productivity. I was surprised by the number of emails I received from Territorial Seed for delivery of horseradish, wasabi, potatoes, onions and asparagus. I have planted most of it out but some of my plants were murdered by the squirrels immediately so I will have to replace them again next year. My horseradish is doing pretty well. I planted it in pots so it would stay contained and I am looking forward to harvesting it in the fall.

I left onions and greens in the garden last fall and those are doing really well. My kale and collards flowered and are now producing seed pods which I will spread in a couple of areas to promote them to grow as a ground cover instead of the weeds I have. I would rather have edible weeds that I like than everything else popping up. My greens are some of the first plants to flower every spring so they are also great for the bees and the bugs to pollinate. My elephant garlic is also flowering right now which is great. I spread that around to form clusters so that I will have a continuous supply of that as well. Garlic is also a great pest repellent for some plants to grow side by side so I will plan out my garden according to what works well next to it.

Speaking of wild kale starts. I have a large patch of kale growing in one of my less productive beds. I was finally able to pick some this week and will continue to do so until all of it bolts. I am going to till under a large number of the starts, currently it is like a carpet of kale which is pretty cute, to help build this soil back up. I have had issues growing in this particular bed the past few years and it is due partly to the way the sun moves but also the soil needs some revitalization. I have tried fertilizing and other amendments but for some reason this bed just doesn’t produce much. It is my oldest bed but I added a ton of new soil last year with my potatoes and still it is having a hard time. It may be time to completely redo it but I just haven’t had the time.

My potatoes are doing just ok. I really need to add some more soil to them but I am also having an issue where someone is digging up my new potatoes and eating them in the garden bed. I am sure it is bunnies or squirrels but I haven’t caught anyone yet. The slugs really like the potato feasts being left for them and finish them off. We are having a much larger issue with pests straight up eating our fruit and veggies this year. I am hearing from others that their fruit especially is getting eaten very quickly too and it makes me think the animals are extra hungry this year. We did not get any of our strawberries and usually we have so many they fall onto the ground and get eaten by bugs.

We have a bumper crop of raspberries this year and there are way too many for us to possibly eat. I offered some to my neighbors and we are going to freeze a bunch to make food magic with. We won’t go raspberry picking this year since we have so many at home but we are out of blueberries so we will probably go pick blueberries once they are in season.

Our blueberries are looking great this year too. I have made more of an effort to water them and we have some great looking berries. I really need to revitalize the berry patch as well.  It has been taken over by grass and some weeds and all of it needs to be pulled out and mulched. This will probably be my project for later this summer. I want to take out a large section of grass from that area too to add more flowers.

This year I had several pears start to form fruit although now I am only seeing a couple on there. My pear tree has a rust infection that I need to treat as well but I have not had time to take care of that yet either. Hopefully I can get to that soon and by next year it will be better.

We have a lot of apples again this year. I started thinning them this week but some of them are too tall for me to reach without a ladder. We really should be netting our trees to prevent the worms that are prevalent in Washington state but every year I forget so it never gets done. Our apples mostly feed the squirrels at this point so I am ok with a few bugs. I need to do a second thinning next week and keep up with the extra watering I have been doing which really has helped.

I should probably talk a little bit about my side yard. This side faces south and I did have it well weeded in March but two weeks of ignoring it right when the sun came out and it looks like a completely neglected yard full of weeds. I have been working on this over the past week and it is slowly getting better but it looks like I am going to have to do another mulch application ASAP. It has been a few years and needs it again. I also have some larger garden beds I would like to install but that will be a larger project since I need to level the slope a bit first. Maybe I can get this done in time for next year.

The highlight of my garden this year by far has been the garter snake I found earlier this week. It is nice and fat from eating all of my slugs and I am beyond excited to see it! Garter snakes are a sign of a healthy ecosystem and that has been one of my goals with my garden for the past few years. I really want a place where nature feels free to hang out. I did notice we had was less slugs in the garden this year and now I know why! I am only seeing the larger ones which are way too big for this small snake to eat. Last year we had frogs which I have not heard this year at our house but my neighbors do have them in their yard so maybe they moved because of the snake.

 

Links:

Territorial Seed

Raised Garden Bed

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

Garden Update 04.30.22


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