Garden Update - Hilltop
Here we are at the end of June & the theme remains the same….HOT and dry. Our grass is in a sad, sad state:
|Those patches of green...weeds (of course!)|
I’ve started to water it – something that I don’t normally do, even during those brief periods in midsummer when it turns brown. However, I learned my lesson on waiting too long to water a few years ago when we had a similar drought – the grass went from dormant to dead and weeds filled in the empty spots. So, I’m lugging the hose around and doing what I can to get some moisture into the ground.
|No blackberries this year....|
|Squash in new bales:|
Seminole Pumpkin, Thai Rai Kaw Tok, Jing Orange, Chinese Miben,
Patisson Panache Jaune et Vert, Zao Feng, Romanesco Hybrid
The new bales are doing very well and they hold one of the best looking squash plants:
|This Jing Orange winter squash is the|
largest, healthiest looking of all the bale squash at the moment
Each bale contains 2 plants (other than those where one died), for a total of 16 plants in the bales. Now before you call me crazy because you are one of the lucky ones where squash grows like a weed, I am not so privileged. So I’m hedging my bets, growing a lot of plants and hoping that I get at least one or two squash from each plant….which I would consider a success, especially for winter squash.
|Squash in old bales:|
Sweet Mama, Thai Rai Kaw Tok, Romanesco Hybrid,
Patisson Panache Jaune et Vert
I also have 2 butternut squash plants in the corn bed:
|Dorinny Sweet Corn & Walthum Butternut Squash|
Those “weeds” you see in the corners are actually lemon balm & alyssum, which I’m hoping will draw in some pollinators. Last week, I found myself thinking that the squash seemed much too small still...but then I took a look at what the butternut squash/corn bed looked like on June 20th, 2015 (it was a great butternut squash year) and they actually look better this year!
|Squash/corn bed - June 20, 2015|
Behind the corn/squash bed is the carrot bed:
Mokum, Amsterdam Maxi, Bolero, Yaya, Starburst Blend
The soil was somewhat dry in the above photo and the carrots are still tiny, so they are pretty hard to see - here's a close up taken after I watered:
The carrots have had rather spotty germination, most likely due to the dry conditions. I did cover the bed with Agribon and water every day until they germinated, but that may not have been enough considering the heat.
I also noticed that some of the soil on one side of the bed appeared to be mounded, as if something had tunneled underneath. Not good. The soil on the hilltop is nowhere near as rocky as that in the main garden - a blessing and a curse as this may mean that voles are more apt to tunnel into the beds from underneath.
I'm sure you are wondering what those big plants on the left side of the bed are - well, they're volunteer potatoes:
|A couple of volunteer potato plants|
I decided to keep them going to see what they would do. I'll end up loosing some carrots, I'm sure, but I'm planning on doing another sowing once the strawberries are pulled from their current bed, so it's not like I'll be wanting for carrots (if all goes according to plan...ahem).
If I do end up harvesting a few potatoes from these volunteers, so much the better as a couple of the Linzer seed potatoes that I planted back in the spring didn’t coming up (the empty spot at the bottom left):
Linzer Delicatess, Yukon Gold, Roko, Caribe, Bintje, Viking
The Linzer seed potatoes were SO tiny and they were from last years crop so, in a way, I’m not totally surprised that a couple didn’t make it. They probably didn't have enough reserve energy to get through all that soil. All of the others, however, including 4 of the 6 Linzers, did emerge and they seem to be doing just fine.
|Caribe & Roko are now flowering|
All of the allium beds are also on the hilltop this year. Remember those tiny, whispy seedlings that I transplanted at the end of April?
|Onion seedlings shortly after transplanting|
Many people growing onions from seed for the first time (including myself) think “how on earth are these tiny, fragile things going to give me a crop of onions in a few short months?” Well, here they are now, 8 weeks later:
|Onion varieties grown this year:|
Ailsa Craig, Copra, Rossa di Milano, Red Wing, Jaune Paille des Vertus
I’m covering the onion beds with netting as I’ve had leek moth* issues in the past. The big problem this year has been the wind. More than a dozen times I’ve found the netting either fluttering in the wind or completely pulled from the supports. I think it gets windier on the hilltop than in the main garden, so that may be a factor, but it also seems as if it's been windier than normal this year and those winds have been stronger. So far, I don’t see any leek moth damage on the seedlings, so that’s good.
I wish the same could be said for the garlic.
Varieties grown: Music, Persian Star, Portugal 1,
Sweet Candy, Porcelain, Pitarelli & Duganski
|Tell-tale signs of leek moth* on scapes|
The asparagus ferns are large & floppy:
|Guelph Millennium Asparagus|
in it's 2nd year (from seed)
They were totally blocking the pathway beside them so I tied some balers twine to rebar in an effort to create a sort of “fence” along the side of the bed.
The blueberries are….alive:
|Blue Crop blueberry bush|
That’s about all I can say about them...hopefully this will be their "creep" year in the sleep, creep, leap trio. The haskaps are looking quite a bit better than the blueberries, especially now that I cut back a bunch of overgrowth that had migrated from the other side of the fence these are in front of:
|This was a very overgrown area &|
the cardboard is my attempt at keeping that growth at bay
And that’s it for the hilltop – I’ll do a post on the beds in Area # 1 & #2 later this week.
Ok, now for a peak at one (of several) garden projects that I’m finally in the process of completing….anyone for a wild guess? Hint: I’ve been talking about doing this for over a year now.
That's right - the drip irrigation is finally being installed! This is a rather tricky process when you are dealing with raised beds because they are just that – raised beds and not flat ground. What also makes it a bit more complex is that I want a mainline pipe with a shutoff valve going to each individual bed...if you're gonna do it, may as well do it right.
|The tubing comes in a roll and, even after letting it sit in the sun,|
it still maintains a bit of a curve during installation; this bit should flatten out in a day or so
With one area done, I'm starting work on the next....the hilltop beds. Not sure I'll get much on that done today, however - with todays forecast of 31C/88F (37C/99F with the humidex), I'll probably be more in than out.
*I originally thought that the alliums were being attacked by onion maggots but have subsequently realized that, in fact, I was dealing with leek moths so have adjusted this post accordingly.