Our 2022 garden: wind damage repair, and an unexpected harvest

This evening, I headed out to see what I could to about fixing the wind damage in the garden. Particularly with the corn. I ended up stealing some bamboo stakes running across the hoops in a couple of other beds, but that still only gave me four. I did have one more, plus a stick, already in the sweet corn, supporting a couple of stalks that had fallen over previously. They were still standing, while the corn around them was flattened!

I ran twine between the poles from end to end of each row, wrapping the twine once around each stalk in that row to hold it up. Even as I was working, I had the wind pushing the stalks, so I scrounged up another pair of sticks. I set them up on either side of the middle, then ran twine between them, catching the support twine in between. This way, whichever direction the wind blows, there will be some support.

Some of the stalks where still trying to fall over, but I could only find one more stick. It was enough to add extra support to the twine in the rows.

The cobs are actually filling out quite nicely! Some of the silks are even starting to dry up, and they should be ripe soon.

The hard part while doing all this was trying not to step on the poor little bean plants on either side of the corn. Since I was there, I checked them over and found a pretty decent little harvest!

I didn’t have a container with me, but I managed to shove them all in a pocket. 😄

There was have it. Our very first harvest of green bush beans, planted late to replace the ones that drowned out.

When watering this bed, I do try to make sure to water the beans more directly, but as I was harvesting, I could feel that they could really use more water. We’ll have to focus in them a bit more!

The next area I worked on was the group of ground cherries that had been flattened.

I managed to find a couple more sticks – I think my daughters intended them as walking sticks! – and grabbed a couple of short pieces left over from hula hoops we used to make row covers last year. The ground cherry plants are a lot more delicate than other plants, and I felt the twine might damage them more, so I threaded it through the pieces. As careful as I was, I could hear branches cracking as I lifted them. I’m not sure all of it will survive.

They are, however, still covered with many flowers, so we’ll still be getting more berries developing.

Once these were done, I started on the kulli corn. I completely forgot to take pictures, though.

One side was fairly easy to do. I lifted the netting up, then used the existing scavenged T posts to hold the twine, which I wrapped around stalks to hold them up. This was on the north side of the bed, and the gust of wind had come from the north, so it was pretty easy to reach things.

The other side was far more difficult. We did lose the top of one stalk completely, and the others were leaning onto the nearby bed of tomatoes. If the net wasn’t there to hold it, they would have fallen onto the other bed, but instead they created a sort of arch.

The tomatoes themselves were outgrowing their supports and falling over. I had to add more support to those, just so I could keep working on the corn without breaking tomato branches. Some of the stakes were leaning over from the weight of the tomato plants, so I just zig zagged some twine between them to pull them together, which gave me enough room to work on the corn.

With the corn, I ended up doing much the same thing; zig zagging twine bank and forth, wrapping it around the top line of twine that was already there, to support the netting. I was able to wrap twine around a couple of the bigger stalks in the middle of the bed to give them extra support, but there really wasn’t much I could do for them. I can’t even guess how well they will recover from this. 😔

Then I went back to the tomatoes and added higher support from end to end to catch the newer growth. They’re looking much better now. There were even a few ripe tomatoes to harvest!

That done, I checked the late garlic in the next bed and decided it was time to dig them up.

The two by themselves on the left are the only two survivors transplanted from the bed the tomatoes are now in. I didn’t bother keeping them separate when I moved the bundle to the canopy tent. We’ll let them dry a bit, then brush the biggest dirt off and either lay them out or hang them up to cure. I’m kind of impressed by them. They’re pretty big, considering what a rough time they had of things! It’s a shame. The bed where only two survived had 90 cloves planted in it. The other one had over 80 cloves planted in it. This is all that made it.

This fall, the garlic will be planted elsewhere. I kept the biggest bulbs from the one bed that did so well, but would really like to plant more. We shall see how it works out, when the time comes.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, and a survivor

Here is today’s morning harvest. 😊

I found a little round cucumber lying on the ground and picked it, leaving the others to get a bit bigger. There were a few peas to pick, as well as some carrot thinnings. I would have thinned more of the purple carrots, but they are a very long variety, and our soil just doesn’t want to give them up!

I grabbed some of the smallest Red of Florence onions for today’s cooking, and decided to grab a few little turnips, too. There was one Magda squash I went ahead and grabbed. There was also a single green zucchini, and one large-ish sunburst squash, that I left to get a bit bigger.

The yellow bush beans are almost done. I couldn’t see very many developing pods left as I picked these. The purple Carminat beans are very prolific! There are so many more of them, compared to what’s on the green pole beans.

In that pile of green pole beans, however, there were two extras.

They are from this one little bush bean plant, grown from a leftover seed of our first planting of green bush beans under the sweet corn. The second planting of green bush beans are starting to develop pods, while this lonely original had a couple ready to pick.

I’m happy that this year, we at least have plenty of these two varieties of beans. The Red Noodle beans still show no signs of blooming, though they are at least starting to climb the trellis more. I’m curious about how the shelling beans will turn out, given how incredibly small and fragile the plants turned out to be. There are a lot of pods developing, too.

We planted so much this year, with hopes of having lots of food, in many varieties, to have over the winter. I always expect to have at least some losses. I didn’t expect to have so many total, or near total losses! Which makes me extra thankful to have what we do have.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: mulching, growing and harvesting

I didn’t get a photo of the finished squash patch last night, so I got one this morning.

All the paths are now mulched, too. There’s no carboard under the paths, so I expect things to start growing through, but at least it will be more sparse.

The plants themselves are seeing new growth and lots of flowers. It’s a race against time and the weather to see if we’ll have anything to pick this year.

I love that you can see the giant pumpkin from so far away!

I swear, this thing is visibly bigger, every day.

Of the two other pumpkins spotted, this one is making it and growing fast. The other did not get pollinated, and withered away. I see no other female flowers, so we’re probably just have the two.

In checking the Red Kuri squash and Apple gourds, I found both male and female flowers blooing at the same time, so I went ahead and hand pollinated. The Red Kuri is doing well, but with the Apple gourds, all the female flowers so far have withered. This morning, I found a female flower on one plant, and a male on another, si I made sure to hand pollinate

Thankfully, tomatoes are self pollinating.

The are so many of them changing colour right now! I have to check myself, to make sure I don’t pick some of them too early.

The one big Sophie’s Choice tomato I recently picked was enough for the girls to make a tomato salad out of it. I’m glad they’re enjoying the variety.

I finally picked the one bigger golden zucchini this morning. There were not a lot of yellow beans to pick, but there were more of the pole beans, with many more little ones on the vines. There will be more peas for a while, too. There may not be a lot of quantity from each of them, but altogether, it’s pretty decent.

The only down side this morning are my pain levels. I over did it yesterday, while pruning the trees. I was so distracted by the heat, I missed my other “time to back off” warning signs. Frustrating.

Ah, well. That’s what pain killers are for. Today is going to be a hotter one, with possible thunderstorms, so it’s not going to be a day for significant manual labour, anyhow.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, and first purple beans!

Check it out! Our largest morning harvest, yet!

There were very few yellow beans to pick this morning. The bush beans seem to be winding down. There were more of the green pole beans to pick, though – and our first purple beans!

There are still a few peas on the first planting, while the second planting of peas are getting into their prime. I found more cucumbers than expected. Enough to make a decent size cucumber salad.

I finally picked the one Sophie’s Choice tomato that was looking like it could have been picked a while ago. It didn’t seem to be getting any redder, so I went ahead and grabbed it. I also grabbed the reddest Cup of Moldova tomatoes. The one that fell off while I tried to get the clip loose has ripened indoors, so there are two of them for my husband and the girls to taste test later on.

I picked what seemed to be the largest of the turnips to taste test as well. They are not a large variety and golf ball size is supposed to be when they have the best flavour. I also pulled a couple of the largest looking beets, to see how they are, and… they’re not doing well at all.

But we have something. And something is better than nothing!

I had done some recordings to make another garden tour video in the morning, but after going over them, I went back out to re-record most of them in the early evening. The final video will have a mix of both. I have this terrible habit of using the wrong words for things and not even noticing. Like saying “purple corn” when I meant to say “purple peas”. That sort of thing. I might have time to work on editing it this evening, but I’m not sure just yet. It depends on how things go after I get back from my mother’s, this afternoon.

We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden

While most of our garden is behind, with a few outright fails, we do have a few things doing well.

So far, we have five Red Kuri squash developing, and I just pollinated a new female flower this morning. The plants themselves are doing well in this location, growing in the chimney block planters. I really hope we will have more of these, and that there it enough growing season left before first frost. We quite liked the ripe one we were able to taste test last year.

I’m really impressed with the ground cherries! I had my doubts that they would make it after transplanting, as this spot got so incredibly wet, but survive they did, and are now wonderfully robust. The first time we tried growing ground cherries, it was in a container on our balcony. It did well, but these are doing even better. There are so many fruits forming! While watering a couple of nights ago, I noticed something light coloured on the ground that turned out to be a fallen ground cherry that had ripened faster than all the others.

I ate it.

It was delicious.

My daughters are surprised I like these so much, as they are related to tomatoes. Whatever is in fresh tomatoes that makes me gag is not in ground cherries, I guess. I find they have such a wonderful sweet-tart flavour. I don’t think the rest of the family are big fans of them. That’s okay. More for me!

Part of the reason we chose this location is because I’ve read they self seed easily. I’ve even seen it on lists other gardeners have made for “things I regret growing” because they can almost be invasive.

I just don’t see that as being a problem. I would love it if we had more! And if they fill in this area, that’s okay, too.

In the background, you can see the kulli corn and the yellow bush beans. Both are doing very well in that new bed. The corn took quite a while to recover from being transplanted, so I’m very happy to see how well they are growing. No sign of silks or tassels yet, though.

The Yellow Pear tomatoes, on the other side of the corn, are also doing well. The plants are much taller and fuller than the ones in the main garden. Their fruiting is not as far along, though. Which makes sense, since they were started indoors at 4 weeks before last frost, while the ones in the main garden area were started 10 weeks before last frost.

Speaking of which…

While checking to see if any suckers needs to be pruned away, I noticed one of the Cup of Moldova plants seem to be falling over, even though it was staked. Looking closer, I found the clip had come loose – and had a tomato trying to grow into it! I tried to be careful about removing the clip, but the tomato fell off in the process. The plant is now once again secured to its stake.

As for the tomato, slightly wounded and deformed by the clip, I brought it inside. It should continue ripening.

The Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes are looking quite prolific! The Sophie’s Choice plants are much shorter and stockier. One of them is so short, there is no way for me to clip it to its stake. The stake is basically just there for the plant to lean on, but the bigger the tomatoes are getting, the more it’s leaning in the other direction.

Ah, well.

We are greatly anticipating being able to start processing tomatoes. Mostly, I want to make tomato paste, which takes a long time to cook down, so we will probably do crushed tomatoes, too. Pretty much the only thing we use other than tomato paste is crushed tomatoes in chili.

I’ll have to go over how to save tomato seeds again. It’s more complicated than with other seeds. My mother had always saved seeds from her tomatoes, but she just dried them. None of that letting them ferment in water, thing! 😄 It worked for her, but my mother always did have two green thumbs!

With our average first frost date being Sept. 10, we have just over a month of growing season left. There is still time for productivity! In the end, it all comes down to the weather.

The Re-Farmer

2022 garden: morning in the garden

Just a little big of progress in the garden.

The sour cherry tree by the house has lots of ripe berries, ready to be picked. I’ll have to get the girls to do it, though. A ladder will be needed to reach the ripest ones at the top. This is the most cherries we’ve had since moving here.

We got a pretty decent amount of yellow bush beans this morning. Not enough to make it worth blanching and freezing, never mind canning, but enough for a couple of meals this time.

The purple pole beans are getting more pods, though they are still very thin. I saw the first of the green pole bean pods this morning – tiny wisps of pods! Still no sign of pods, or even flowers, on the red pole beans, while the shelling beans still have lots of flowers, but no pods that I can see.

We should be able to harvest the garlic from this bed pretty soon.

One of the Baby Pam pumpkins is starting to turn colour. This variety doesn’t get much bigger than this. From the looks of it, these are going to be the only winter squash we get out of this patch, other than maybe one kakai hulless seed pumpkin. Even the Teddy squash, which are a very small variety with only 55 days needed to maturity, will likely not get a chance to produce anything. The green zucchini still isn’t producing; they did have female flowers, but no male flowers bloomed at the same time to pollinate them. We do have some golden zucchini developing, though, and some Magda squash I should be able to pick in a few days. Maybe even a yellow pattypan squash or two.

The paste tomatoes, at least, are coming along nicely, with more of them starting to blush.

I was able to harvest more green onions from the high raised bed. Most of these will be dehydrated, and there are lots more I can harvest.

The handful of pea pods are almost all from the second planting. The first planting is, amazingly, still blooming!

Most of the onions seem to be growing well. Some of the red onions have very different shapes, and they are starting to be noticeable. I’m thinking of picking one or two for fresh eating, just to see how they taste.

The one surviving type of turnips are finally starting to have visible “shoulders”. We might actually be able to pick some, soon.

I don’t know what to make of the potatoes. They’re done blooming and we should be able to harvest young potatoes now, but I want to leave them as long as I can. The plants themselves are nowhere near as large as potato plants normally get. There was so much water in that area, I’m sure it stunted the growth of the ones that survived. I still might dig one plant up, of each variety, just to see what there is to see. Will the lack of foliage translate into a lack of potatoes, too? I was really hoping to have a good amount of potatoes to store for the winter. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to last the entire winter for the 4 of us, but it will help us decide if these are varieties we will get again or not.

Every time I’m in the garden, I’m thinking of next year’s garden. One thing is for sure. It is nowhere near big enough to meet our goal of providing sufficient amounts of food to last us until there is fresh produce again. We planted so much, with the expectation of losses, but this year the losses are just too great. Which has really surprised me. I did not expect to get less productivity this year, compared to last year’s drought. Mind you, during the drought, we were watering the garden beds every day, twice a day. This year… well, adding water is easy. Keeping water out is not. Still, even if everything had gone well, we would still probably need double the garden size to meet our long term goal. Short term is to have enough to supply our needs for at least 3 months – the hardest winter months, when we might find ourselves snowed in or the vehicles frozen.

Every year we garden, we figure things out a bit more, from what weather extremes we need to work around, to how much of anything we need to grow, to what we like enough to grow year after year. More me, half the enjoyment of gardening is analysing the results and using that information to make decisions for the next year!

That’s one good thing about having hard gardening years. You do learn more from it, than from years were everything goes smoothly.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: first!

The kulli corn was starting to get restricted by the protective netting, so my daughters re-wrapped the bed for me this morning. It no longer has a “top”, so the corn can reach its full potential height of 8 ft now. They also did it in such a way that it is now easier to reach under the netting and into the bed. I was able to do a more thorough weeding. With the bush beans under the corn growing so vigorously, there wasn’t much to weed, though I definitely wanted to pull out the burdock that had managed to start growing in there!

In the process, I realized that there were actually some beans ready to harvest!

There it is! Our very first harvest of bush beans!

I suspect these yellow beans will be the only bush beans we will have a chance to harvest. I don’t think we’ll get anything from the green bush beans planted near the sweet corn. Though they were a second planting, after the first ones did not germinate at all, they had more than enough time to reach maturity, but I don’t think they will. They are just not thriving.

Hopefully, I’m wrong on that.

The pole beans at the A frame trellises are blooming, but no pods are forming yet. The shelling beans are blooming and trying to clime the tunnel trellis, but are very tiny. The red noodle bean plants are much bigger, but they aren’t even blooming yet – and the tunnel trellis was planted before the A frame trellis was ready!

At least we’ve got these yellow beans. They are doing great in that new low raised bed!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: new growth, weeding progress and sad harvest

While checking on the garden (and putting back cardboard mulch that was blown around), I spotted some new growth.

This is an apple gourd! I’m hoping it was pollinated and will continue growing. It looks like 3 of the 4 apple gourd plants are going to be productive, but this one is definitely the largest and strongest. The fourth one remains barely visible!

We have two more Baby Pam pumpkins developing! I hand pollinated these ones myself, just in case, and it seems to have taken. That makes a total of 3 of these pumpkins trying to grow. As these are a small, short season variety, we might actually have ripe pumpkins to harvest this fall.

The kulli corn is getting nice and tall! It’s time to take the net off and see if we can wrap it around the side, leaving the top open, for the corn to reach its full height.

Those bean plants are huge! This bed was made with trench composting, and it seems to have made a difference.

Rearranging the net will give a chance for some weeding, too, but it doesn’t look like this bed is having weed problems! 😄

The nearby ground cherries are getting very robust!

This is what ground cherry flowers look like. 🙂 I’ve finding quite a few flowers, and developing fruit. I’m looking forward to these!

I was finally able to settle in and weed this overground bed. The netting around it may keep the groundhogs away from the carrots, but it prevents casual weeding, too.

Unfortunately, I did end up accidentally pulling a couple of purple carrots in the process. It’s really hard to pull up crab grass next to carrot greens!

There aren’t a lot of the one type of turnip, but at least there’s something. The Gold Ball turnip are simply gone. They were the first to germinate, and disappeared almost immediately. I’d hoped that, while weeding, I might find some survivors, but there’s nothing. I don’t know what ate them, any more than I know what is leaving so many holes in the other turnips. We planted 3 types of turnips, but only one has survived – so far.

I did manage to have a sad little harvest this morning. A handful of the shelling peas, and a few raspberries.

Which is better than no harvest at all!

While at my mother’s, yesterday, we went looking at the garden plots outside her apartment. She has one little corner with some low maintenance plants in it, but some of her neighbours have better mobility and are growing a remarkable amount of vegetables in those little plots. One person has peas. They are pretty much twice the size of our own peas even though, from the stage of the developing pods, they had to have been planted later than our own. Even so, they were smaller than pea plants should be.

It’s been a hard gardening year for so many people!

The Re-Farmer

Surviving the wet, and shed thoughts

The forecasts for more thunderstorms today have disappeared. Right now, we’ve got bright sunshine, it’s 20C/68F, and everything is still wet, wet, wet!

Of course, I had to check all the garden beds. Not only to see how they are surviving the wet, but to see if there was any damage caused by the deer I chased out last night!

So far, so good.

The rain has certainly been good for the beans! The bush beans between the Kulli corn are growing so fast! Even the beans at the bean tunnel, which were planted later, are growing like gangbusters.

The Kulli corn doesn’t seem too happy, though. They may still be suffering transplant shock. Hopefully, the nitrogen fixing beans will help them grow.

The first potatoes have sprouted! So far, only the All Blue are sprouting. I expected the leaves would be darker than other potato varieties we planted, but I did not expect them to be so deeply purple! I am so happy to see them. I was starting to wonder if they were okay or not. The paths between the beds had standing water in them, which means there was probably a lot of water under that mulch. If it’s too wet, they’ll just rot rather than grow.

There was no signs of deer damage, but oddly, something seems to be eating the turnip greens. The sprouts are still incredibly tiny. Areas I’d seen some sprouting earlier, now seem to have none, while the ones I do find have teeny holes in the teeny leaves. Whatever is chewing those holes must be incredibly small.

I was able to do a bit of weeding this morning. The wet ground does make it easier to pull them up by the roots – if they don’t break, first, which seems to be what happens more often. Thankfully, the winds are high enough to blow away the mosquitoes, so working outside will be more pleasant. We still have loads of soil to bring to the garden, but the area in between the pile of garden soil and where we need to take it is so muddy, that will not be easy. Nor will going through the tall grass. It’s just too wet to mow.

Where the water collects is going to help us in deciding where we want to put a foundation for the shed we ordered. If it comes in. With such deeply discounted prices, there is the very real possibility it’s a scam site. I did get an order confirmation right away. If it is a scam, they’re doing a very good job of hiding it. That they are using the Lowe’s brand and images without being shut down is also a point to consider. What we should be getting next is a shipping notice. The shed is supposed to arrive in 3-7 days – or 6-10 days to Canada, under Covid restrictions. Canada has finally lifted the vaxx mandate for flights (masks still required, which makes no sense at all) but truckers still aren’t allowed across the boarder unless they’ve been jabbed, so anything shipped by truck is still going to be delayed. That is an issue only after it’s been shipped, of course. According to the order confirmation email, we can cancel our order within 14 days and get a refund, so long as it hasn’t been shipped yet.

I really hope it’s legit. I’ll keep updating about it.

Interestingly, since I placed the order, I have started to see all sorts of ads in my Facebook news feed about sheds for sale at even lower prices, from companies with questionable names, the same photos used over and over, and quite obviously scam sites. The comments under the ads were all unfavorable, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’m procrastinating going outside. It’s now 21C/70F, which is going to make heavy manual labour quite unpleasant. At least the winds are still high enough the mosquitoes shouldn’t be much of a problem!

The Re-Farmer

Blooming and growing

We had more rain last night and this morning, and while we have some sun as I’m writing this, we’re expected to have more rain and thunderstorms tonight.

The plants and trees are loving it!

The lilacs near the house are so heavy with clusters of flowers, the branches are bowing down with the weight, to the point that even short little me has to duck to go under them!

This is our fifth spring here, and I’ve never seen the white lilacs blooming and well as this year.

The double lilacs in the old kitchen garden had to recover from storm damage a couple of years ago, then the late May killer frost last year. It’s been a while since these have bloomed so heavily!

The nearby honeysuckle did all right last year, as they start budding later than things like the lilacs and did not get affected by the last frost as much, and it looks like this year they will do even better.

Even the hawthorn, which is thoroughly shaded, is blooming.

After uploading the photo, I could see that it has some sort of insect infestation under some of the leaves!

Also, just look at that thorn! Yikes!

Shrubs aren’t the only thing we’ve got blooming right now.

Yes! We have blooming tomatoes! These would be the Sophie’s Choice, which we started very early indoors, then restarted after the seedlings got eaten by cats. An early start was recommended for this variety, even though it is a short season variety, so I’m not too surprised to see flowers on these ones. To see them so soon after transplanting, though, is rather awesome!

While checking the various garden beds, I could finally see the purple carrots are starting to sprout. They’re still very hard to see, but they are making an appearance. The yellow Uzbek carrots are being much more enthusiastic about sprouting! I can’t tell about the Napoli and Kyoto Red planted near the south fence. They were pelleted seeds, so we could space them further apart, which makes it harder to see if those tiny leaflets are carrot, or some weed!

The peas that had already sprouted at the trellis are getting noticeably bigger. In the old kitchen garden, I’m finally seeing some beets, though for all my efforts to pull up and transplant the mint out from the bed last fall, they are still coming up strong, along with some other weeds. The beet seedlings are too tiny and delicate to risk disturbing them while trying to weed.

In the lettuce bed, the buttercrunch lettuce germinated a while back and it won’t be long before we are able to start harvesting baby leaves while thinning the rows. Another variety, Lunix, if I remember correctly, as also started to sprout, but like the beet bed, efforts to pull up the weed roots were not very successful. My mother had planted some very invasive flowers in this bed, and they are incredibly difficult to get under control!

The Kulli corn is still looking a weak, but the bush beans planted with them are starting to come up! I’ve got arrows pointing to the bean seedlings that are in this photo.

Meanwhile, all around the various beds, we’ve got onion sets coming up, and the onions started from seed seem to have all survived and are getting stronger. All of the transplants seem to have not only survived being transplanted, but are handling the heavy rains we’ve had, just fine. The first spinach that was planted are growing their true leaves now, and it won’t be long before we will be having fresh greens to eat!

I am so looking forward to when my morning rounds will start to include harvesting fresh leafy greens, beans, peas and summer squash, regularly again!

The Re-Farmer