Salad gardenOur beautiful spring salad garden!
I realize it has been a while since I've posted an update on the homestead. Partly that is because we've just been too darned busy, and partly because, well, it has been a slow and frustrating year when it comes to gardening....

Our early warm spell gave way to an unseasonably cold April and May, and between the cold and the rain, and then some dry spells, everything has been quite delayed. For some reason, I also experienced numerous problems with seed germination for both our peppers and melons - both of which I re-planted several times indoors before I got a good crop of seedlings to plant outside.

Luckily, it seems that summer has finally arrived! With a few weeks of hot weather, we seem to be getting back on track, and I finally feel close to finishing "the final frontier" of our garden - the last few beds that we did not get done last year. It has been exhausting work, and I'm ready to take a break from forking and shoveling dirt, but the light at the end of the tunnel is giving me the incentive to push onward and get it done!

Check out the pictures below to see how everything is growing so far...


Not only are things finally starting to grow now, but our garden also is starting to look pretty amazing - thanks in large part to my awesome husband, who has worked really hard to put together some beautiful frames for our beds! Not only will these keep our garden looking a lot neater, they also help reduce weeding, and keep our plants out of the "moat" whenever it rains.
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The final frontier! Only 4 beds to finish...
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The gorgeous garlic, & our beautifully framed beds!
He also set up some little hose supports for the drip irrigation - just a little thing, but it makes me happy - and looks way better than the old wooden blocks and stakes I was using before!  :-)  

I'm taking a lesson from last year, and setting up the irrigation hoses early, before all the plants get too big to work around. It has also been a lot less rainy than last year, so I've been driving myself crazy watering everything by hand, which is such a pain - I'm so happy to have a couple of drip hoses already set up. The bales dry out fairly quickly, so drip irrigation works great for them - the slow drip of water helps the hay absorb the moisture better than just dumping it on, and I feel like they stay moist a bit longer, with less wasted water.

We are still using a gravity feed from the rain tank for watering, so we don't get enough pressure to use a spray head, but it seems to work very well for the drip hoses. We may need to look into getting a pump for when the water level in the tank gets lower, but so far it has been full enough to work very well on its own.

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First set of hoses in place! Tomatoes, potatoes, and melons are happy...
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Irrigation hoses coming soon for the bales of tomatillos, peppers, and squash...
As you can see in the pictures above, we are including hay bales in our garden again this year. In fact, we have expanded to both ends of the garden, with melons and squash on the ends, so they can climb the fence as they loved to do last year.

We tried putting down cardboard between some of the bales to kill out the grass - with partial success. I did not get all of the cardboard down in time to tuck it under the bales before they got too wet and heavy, so there is a lot sprouting up around the edges (which seems to be party central for ticks, for some reason), and some of the dreadful wild morning glories are still sprouting up through it (my mom said they are actually called bindweed).  I would love to have a nice mulched area here, but that will probably have to wait until next year.

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Our gorgeous salad bed!
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Finally planted corn here this weekend...
With such a late start, we did not have salad greens ready in time for my birthday as I had hoped, but they came on strong by Memorial Day - with loads of beautiful, tender, sweet lettuce in multi-colors, and fat, sweet, juicy, crunchy radishes gracing our salad bowl still! I planted a few weeks apart in succession, so we should be having salads for a while as long as it doesn't get too hot.... The second crop is just about ready to start harvesting.  And the peas just started blooming, so we should have snap peas soon.

Everything else will be late. I haven't even got my cucumbers out of their indoor pots yet (last year I think they were already climbing the trellis by now), and just put in some corn and a few beans this weekend. A few more peppers, plus okra, and green beans will be filling the final beds (once I get them finished - hopefully within the next week or so!), and we'll be DONE with planting - well, until fall crop planting time next month.... :-)


If I can muster the willpower and fortitude to finish off the 4 remaining beds, and keep up with the weeding, I think we will have a beautiful garden this year (fingers crossed!)...

I hope your garden is growing well for you if you have one! And if you don't, what are you waiting for? :-)

If you have gardening questions, or just want to learn more about sustainable and organic gardening, please "Like" our Sustainable Gardening Facebook page - we have a very active community that loves to share tips and helpful info!

Happy gardening!

Rose.
 


Comments

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