Sunday, May 5, 2013

Around the Yard

It's been raining for the past couple of days - about four inches so far - which means I haven't been able to get any gardening done.
Rabun County Garlic

I have, though, been out between downpours with my camera, to celebrate the good things that are going on out there.

To start - the garlic is looking very good. The stems are thickening nicely, which bodes well for the likelihood of my harvesting large cloves. Usually, plants that are more slender when the bulbs start to form make smaller cloves.

Since I am lazy and would rather peel a few big cloves of garlic rather than a whole lot of little cloves, this development is making me pretty happy.

Thicker stems on onions translates the same way - into bigger bulbs - but my onions aren't coming along quite so well as the garlic. These things happen.

The lettuces are making nice, big bunches of leaves, and I expect to be having a lot more "yard salad" soon.

SloBolt Lettuce
Peony, bowed down in the rain.
The weather in the past month or so has been decidedly cool, which is a little bit frustrating in that the summer crops are lagging as a result.

However, I am expecting to see spectacular flowers on the peonies this year. When they bloom in hot weather, the petals open unevenly - the centers expanding more rapidly than the outer layers - and the flowers never make it to the lush, full bloom that they achieve in cooler springs.

This is definitely a cooler spring, so I have high hopes for some beautiful flowers.

In spite of the cool weather, in which we are still having nights with temperatures in the 40s (degrees F), the peppers seem to be doing well enough. Most of my thirteen little pepper plants have flower buds on them. When we Finally get some warmer weather, these should all do very well.

A Napoleon sweet bell pepper.
The potatoes are starting to send up little flower buds, which means that actual spuds are beginning to form below ground. If I were especially impatient for some little new potatoes, I could probably dig around under the mass of plants and pull some tiny potatoes out. I'm going to wait, though, for the big harvest in June.

Potatoes sending up flower buds.
The fall-planted strawberry plants that I got from a friend are making lots of flowers and green berries. I've put a frame around them that I need to get covered up with netting soon, before the birds figure out what I'm growing.

An ever-bearing type of strawberry, unknown variety.
The zucchini are making a slow start in the cool weather, but a slow start is better than no start! I am looking forward to the first harvest of squash; it's so much better fresh than from the freezer.

Raven zucchini, off to a good start.
It's also good to see the comfrey in bloom. Bees like comfrey flowers, and the leaves are a useful addition to the compost heap. Comfrey has a very deep taproot that brings up nutrients from much farther below the surface than many other perennials. The compost, when comfrey leaves are added, benefits from the dive down to the different layer of soil nutrients.

Comfrey in bloom.
I am hoping to make more progress on getting the summer garden planted in the next week. It's a little weird to be waiting for warmer weather this far into the spring!

2 comments:

  1. Last Saturday night/Sunday (4/27-28) I had 3.9" rain. The when the rain started this past Friday night it dumped 3.5 " by Sunday morning. We got a little sun Sunday afternoon and then 2" more of rain by last night. You do the math - it all adds up to squishy. My husband and garden laborer insisted we get the tomato plants in the ground Friday afternoon before the rain. I raised them from seeds so if they are totally waterlogged I may be out of luck. I'm hoping for the best. My peppers aren't quite ready to go in the ground. They would have drowned for sure. I too have some Napoleon Sweets- my first year for this variety. I didn't get garlic in this past fall so will be counting om the farmer's market this year. My English peas are 12 - 18" high but no blooms yet. I'm hoping sun this week will start the blooming process. Beets have good looking leaves. I should be able to harvest a few by the end of the next couple of weeks. I didn't get my flowering broccoli cleared away and the bed "fluffed" for my squash seeds before the rain started last Friday. I'll have to hope for dry enough soil by the end of this week. It has been a cool spring. I enjoy reading your progress. Do you make radish pickles? I've never tried but I need to do something with my bumper crop.

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  2. Hi Barbara! It's all squishy here, too. I was hoping that the ground would dry out enough by Sunday for me to finish getting the majority of the summer crops into the garden, but the forecast is pointing toward yet more rain.

    Last year, the yard was parched by the drought, and this year we have buckets and buckets of rain. Isn't Mother Nature a hoot? I hope all of our plants survive the soggy spring!

    At the Extension Office, people keep bringing in spotted or wilty/brown leaves of their favorite ornamental shrubs - that have never had troubles like these before. The parade of fungal problems is like something out of a landscaping horror film; the fungi are loving this cool wet weather!

    If we don't get a break from the rain soon, it will only get worse. I've even had a call about a mildew-infected cucumber patch, and it's only May.

    Thank you for the update about your garden. I love to hear how things are going for other gardeners! My peas aren't blooming yet, either, and I've not yet pickled any radishes (I've never managed to grow more than Joe can eat). I will poke around the FACS area today, though, and let you know if I find anything.

    Hoping for a more moderate rest-of-spring,

    -Amy

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