Our 2022 garden: dead plants, and a disappointing harvest

I didn’t head out to do my morning rounds, other than feeding the cats outside, until after I got back from town with Leyendecker, so it was more afternoon rounds than morning!

There were a couple of pleasant firsts that I found in the garden.

This is our very first canteen gourd! Until now, there have been nothing by male flowers. I don’t think it actually got pollinated, but even if it did…. well, it’s September, so there’s no growing season left for it.

I wonder how these would have done, if we hadn’t had such a horrible spring? I wouldn’t mind trying them again. This year was so bonkers, I can’t use it to judge if we can actually manage to grow them here.

It’s the same with the luffa.

Male flowers have finally started to bloom!

Too late for these female flowers. They’re already done, and the developing luffa is going to just dry up and fall off.

There is hope for these ones, though.

Now that the clusters of male flowers are starting to open, there will be flowers available to pollinated these developing female flower buds.

Not that it matters too much. There isn’t enough growing season left. These were started so early indoors, because they need such a long time for the sponges to develop and dry out. They should have been blooming by July, not September!

Ah, well. Something else I wouldn’t mind trying again.

One of the disappointments of the day was found when I took a closer look at the one G-Star patty pan squash plant that was drooping.

It was drooping because the stem was severed! Looks like cut worm damage.

*sigh*

Of course, this happened with the one plant that had the most developing squash on it.

I did get an okay harvest, at least.

Those green beans are both pole beans and bush beans planted with the sweet corn.

What a pain those were! The grass clipping mulch will be great for the plants, but the grass stuck to the beans like crazy. Once they got into the colander, the grass clippings spread to all the other beans, too. Rinsing them off with a hose wasn’t enough. I ended up dumping the beans in a bucket of water, twice, before I could finally get the grass off. Even after swishing them in the water, every bean pod I pulled out ended up with grass floating on top of the water stuck to it, and I still had to hose them – and my hands – off to get rid of it. Who know grass clippings and bean pods would act like Velcro?

There were a few ripe Cup of Moldova tomatoes ready to pick. Those got cleaned off and went into the freezer with the rest.

Now that we’ve brought Leyendecker home from the vet, and I was able to use my daughter’s card to pay for it, we no longer have to delay our city stock up shopping. I still have the tomatoes taking up space in the freezer, though, and I just haven’t had time time to make the tomato paste; it needs to be tended pretty constantly for the hours it will take to get to the right thickness, and too much has been going on. I’ll probably have to split things into two trips, though, so I can make sure the first trip doesn’t have a lot of stuff for the freezer.

Later in the day, I was back out in the garden to see what I could get out of the Caribe potato bed.

This is an earlier variety, and they’ve looked ready to harvest for some time.

The potatoes never grew well, and quite a few never sprouted at all, due to all the flooding we had. I wasn’t expecting much.

The first thing to do was to pull back the straw mulch.

Oh, dear!

What you are seeing in the straw is a whole lot of slugs! I’ve never seen so many slugs all at once before. The whole bed was like this.

The next problem was trying to use the garden fork to dig around where I knew the potatoes had been planted.

We’ve used this bed once before, couple of years ago. I remember digging around in it. What I don’t remember is there being SO many rocks. It was almost impossible to get the fork into the ground, even with how much softer it was with the mulch. What I did manage to turn was full of healthy, active worms, at least, but there is no way we can grow in this spot again, as is. If we ever do, it will have a raised bed on it.

Not that it mattered, in the end. This is all the potatoes I found.

I planted more than I took out. Those two largest potatoes? They’re all chewed up by slugs. One of them is practically hollow.

I wasn’t expecting much, but it’s still disappointing.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the other two varieties will be much better. The Bridget are looking ready to harvest, too – what little there is. The All Blue are a late season variety, and some of them are still blooming, but…

*sigh*

With how successfully my mother was able to grow potatoes here, I had really hoped for better results. Yes, the flooding this spring did its damage, but it’s been a lot of years since anyone’s been picking rocks out of the garden. A lot of years with the frosts heaving more and more rocks to the surface. For it to be so rocky, I couldn’t get my garden fork to dig more than a couple of inches is just insane.

Potatoes are one of those staple crops we want to grow in large quantities for winter storage. Quantities that are more than what we could do in the raised beds we plan to build. With so many rocks in our soil, we still will need to build things up quite a bit to be able to have any crop worth mentioning.

It may be more efficient to get indeterminate varieties and grow in potato towers, instead.

The Re-Farmer

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