Monday, May 21, 2012

Are We Sure this is Spring?

It's hard to take spring seriously when it is already looking so much like summer out in the garden. The zucchini have begun to make good-sized squashes, some of which have already made it onto the stove:


The first green beans will be coming in tomorrow:


And the peppers are already beginning to form. These, I think, are Spanish Spice:


These are Feherezon:


Is that not crazy? Elsewhere in the garden, the patch of onions that I planted from dry sets (little dry bulbs) all sent up flowering stalks before the plants even had a chance to make bulbs, so the harvest from that patch is not going to be what I had hoped for. In addition, the few good bulbs in the patch will need to be eaten fairly soon since they've been split by those flowering stalks.

The onions I planted from a little bunch of slender green starts made smaller-than-usual bulbs and then threw in the towel a week ago; the tops turned brown and fell over. Onions usually don't call it quits until the end of June. Everything I've read indicates that the alternating warm and cold weather is behind the early maturity, and the early flowering, of the two crops.

The garlic is finishing early, and strangely, too. The leaves are beginning to yellow, so I pulled a couple of bulbs to check on how the crop is coming along. This is what I got:


It's hard to imagine that these two garlic bulbs were growing within two feet of each other in the bed, but they were. They are different varieties, but the two shouldn't be so very different in size! I am guessing that the rest of the garlic harvest is going to be equally strange; however, I am going to wait until the tops are absolutely brown before pulling any more from the ground. I'd like give any remaining tinies the opportunity to get bigger!

In the good news column, the Yellow Marble cherry tomato has been busy making little tomatoes. There are lots of these on the one plant of this variety:


Most of my other tomato plants, all started in the house in mid-March, are flowering, and a few have tiny tomatoes on them. Their timing is just about right, based on the usual unfolding of the gardening year.

Since the zucchini are being nicely productive right now, I went ahead and poured a little fish-emulsion fertilizer on them, to keep them going. It would be a shame to risk letting the plants slow down this early in the season!

Also today I turned under the pea vines. The harvest from the peas this year wasn't great, but that is my own fault. It turns out that bunnies really like pea vines in their "bunny salad," so I brought pieces of the plants in to Moonpie (our momma rabbit) and her babies most days while the plants were trying to make peas. I'm pretty sure I would have had more peas if I hadn't kept harvesting pieces of the vines.

By Friday or Saturday, the vines will have decomposed enough that I will be able to replant that space. At this point, it's hard to know what to put there. Some of my crops are running about a month ahead of their usual schedule. Considering the strangeness of this year's weather and its effects on the garden so far, what will June and July be like? The answer, probably, is "continued craziness."

2 comments:

  1. Sorry I missed the plant sale on 5/12 but my gardem was calling. My garlic is looking done. I planted 3 varieties and one of them - (a red type I will have to go back to my notes and get the name) didn't really form well at all and has some type of rot/fungus that my resarch says was probably in the clove I planted. I ordered from a reputable source but things happen. It looks like the elephant garlic is going to be huge. And then there is one more soft-neck white variety. It's all coming out by this weekend - the leaves are quickly turning yellow. My English peas have done pretty well but they are fading fast. I just had a short row - a "double row" about 12 feet long. But - I would say I've had about 3 lbs of the sweetest little peas ever. My corn is about knee high and green beans (pole beans) are climbing the trellis. YOur tomatoes and peppers are a good bit ahead of mine. Squash and cucumber hills are looking good but not even blooming yet - they were only planted a couple of weeks ago. This weather has been a mystery this year and the plants seem as confused as I have been. Let's hope for continued rain showers and a good growing season.

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  2. Hi Barbara! I missed the plant sale, too. After returning from another trip to Oklahoma (with another trip planned for late next week), I was a "zombie woman," and just did my usual Saturday volunteer work at the little farm, rather than driving out to East Cobb for the MG plant sale and garden tour. I'm glad you were able to get some work done in your own garden. In my mind, almost all garden-time is "quality time"!

    My elephant garlic results are going to be mixed, I think. I only planted three cloves of that particular kind of garlic, but two look as though they are going to be small, and one will be large. The leaves are turning brown on all the garlics, so I will probably be pulling those up later this weekend. I have a few, small tomato plants - that I started from seeds in early April - to put in that space. The late-planted tomatoes help make sure that the tomatoes keep coming into the kitchen in October.

    Hope you have a good weekend!

    -Amy

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