Garden Log – 2020, May

This month I will be adding the final beds for this summer down in the meadow. They will be for the remaining squash, tomato and okra as well as patches for watermelons and pumpkin. I really wanted to try sweet potatoes this year but I have yet to find a way to get vines or slips. Additionally I am still being indecisive about where to place a strawberry patch. I have several in containers but they are everbearing varieties that produce only tiny berries. I do have the 5 that survived from deGroot, and though they are growing slowly they are still hanging in there.

I definitely want to make note of what has grown well from the spring planting. So far things look promising for Spinach, Radishes, Kale and virtually every herb we tried. Even the basil that apparently cannot handle the liquid kelp fertilizer (it seems to burn the leaves even at very low concentrations) has perked back up and we are planning to make a big batch of pesto this week. I was not aware dill could grow quite so large, either. It currently towers above everything. It is all really quite a pretty jumble in the herb bed.

Struggling, I suppose one would say, is the broccoli. Either I planted it a bit late or the weather changes too fast here in Alabama. My grandmother had told me she thought it was the latter as she has never known of anyone to grow it in this area. Even though it bolted, I did a little research and after cutting the bolting, flowering heads, small shoots have appeared off the sides. While these take a bit more gathering work in comparison, they are actually quite good and apparently the leaves are also edible and have a pleasant “broccoli” taste… which makes sense of course. I fear that the turnips are having a similar problem, though we grew them for greens more than the actual root anyway, so it was not really a loss. We simply will be getting no “bonus” turnip roots. Additionally, I have to note the deer issue. We have a little “herd” that wanders across the property occasionally. We see them about once every week or two and it is a delight to see them. They are very pretty and have gotten a little less “skittish” of us of late. They do unfortunately like to get into the garden. This month our bean plants on top of the hill must have been too much of a treat to pass up, as they ate the leaves off of every one! The plants are still a live and maybe they will recover enough to do something. A few days later they were sprouting new leaves so maybe we will still get a few beans. Fortunately they left the ones down in the meadow alone. Those were planted right next to radishes, onions and kale. Not sure if one of those dissuaded them or if it was just dumb luck.

What is blooming, otherwise? Well we have a new batch of irises and the tiger lilies have begun blooming.. pictures to follow. They are really lovely and of course the insects love them. There is a constant hum around the garden these days.

The beds that were layered in “reverse”, ground-compost/soil-cardboard-mulch as opposed to ground-cardboard-compost-mulch, have subjectively performed better, and I am certain that is the method I will use from here on out.

Every single comfrey root cutting that I planted has now sprouted, which I am excited for, as it will help tremendously for compost/fertilizer from here out.

The grape vine is still snaking along its post. The peas have virtually overrun their bed and they are really pretty to see in bloom. I have even gotten a few early pea shoots that I “tested” right out of the garden and they are amazing. They will be great on summer salads.

Most of the tomatoes have grown well and I have caged most of them at this point. I have left a few to let them hang over, at the direction of a few permaculture teachers, suggesting that it helps the plant to “hide” the tomatoes. We shall see how it goes. I’m not sure what some varieties are as about 25% of my tomatoes are reseeded voluntary plants, which I would prefer over purchased one anyway as they should be better acclimated. That will be a study in progress, though.

Enjoy the photos and I hope this helps someone else as much as it helps me to document and practice. As always..

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