We have almost 4 inches of rain in the big gauge from the past 72 hours. Over 3 inches of it on Monday, enough to put a gully through the mulch at one place, and another gully down the driveway.
After only having 0.75 inches in the previous 45 days, we certainly needed rain. It came down in sheets, thick enough to obscure the green forest around us in a blur, drumming on the roof in that thick quiet hum, like standing in the middle of a power station, feeling the electricity thrum through you.
The garden loved it.
A couple of weeks ago, right after we put the peppers in, it got down to the upper 30s at night two nights in a row. It seems to have halted the peppers’ growth a bit, hopefully they will pick up again now.
We direct seeded Greek and Genovese basil this past week to augment the container plantings, as we harvested some lettuce plants (enough for 2 weeks of eating). There is still at least a month’s worth of lettuce out there. We harvested all the spinach we had left, as it was starting to bolt.
The haricot verts are growing well, as are the cucumbers. We filled in a few gaps where some seeds didn’t germinate with new seed.
This is our first really successful planting of snow peas. We have tried them 3 times before, and were about to give up on them in this environment. Lo and behold, they are growing up to 6 feet high, and we’ve now harvested 2 meals from them, with a lot more coming. The blossoms are lovely on them.
Some of the potatoes are blooming. Apparently voles ate 8 of the stalks coming up, ruining at least 4 hills of our potatoes in the lowest box and 2 hills in another box.
Our onions are doing waaaay better than last year. The sets are still much farther ahead than the seeded ones, but one of the varieties of the seeded ones are far ahead of the rest. Hopefully they will make this year. At this time last year we already knew the onion crop was a failure.
Carrots are happy in several box locations. The rabbit has not been caught again leaping over the 2 foot high fencing.
We started 9 each of the watermelon and charentais melons 3 weeks ago. Only 4 charentais and 3 watermelons germinated. We will direct seed once we put them out in place of where the sugar snap peas are now.
There is apparent deer nibbling on some of the potatoes in the box at the edge of the woods, but they must not have been a meal of preference because it has been relatively minor overall.
Two of the 8 eggplants have been lost to voles, as have a few more celeries and 2 ancho peppers. I’m stunned that they’re attacking eggplants and peppers, and it brings out the Marvin the Martian in me (“I hope you realize that this means war”).
Traps have gotten 2 of the little you-know-whats so far. We’ve disseminated mothballs in the mulch and down some of their holes and placed mouse traps out for them. In addition, we gave up and bought some warfarin. Warfarin has the least risk and rate of secondary poisoning (things that eat things killed by it). I am limiting it down their holes in boxes with fences and covering netting. We don’t want to be killing hawks, and I don’t want the dog, or even the rabbits and squirrels to get at it. On the other hand, we really need to get the voles, or they are going to destroy the garden. We’ve never cared if voles or moles or anything dug in the yard, but the count is up to over 10 celery plants, 6-8 potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sugar snap peas. We don’t have the space, the inclination, or the resources to afford to house a vole colony, though we don’t like putting down even controlled bait stations. When even the resident rabid animal welfarist says “kill them”, I know it is time.
Garlic is looking like it should. We plan on grabbing a garlic every week and eating it, not only to enjoy the fresh green garlic, but to monitor the grow of the bulbs. Summer and winter squash seedlings are spreading their big leaves, already you can see the variegations in the leaves from the house. The tomatoes are growing like there is no tomorrow.
We have achieved broccoli! We have 4 heads of broccoli making. This is the first broccoli we’ve started ourselves and we’re very excited. The cauliflower is looking indecisive. The (mostly) early heat this year may inhibit this spring’s crop; several of the farmers I’ve talked to have indicated that all the field broccoli looks fairly stunted in this county.
We’re trying to figure out why stuff we’re growing in containers inside and on the porch don’t do as well as things we put in the boxes. It’s the same dirt, and we try to treat them the same. The only thing we can figure is that maybe the containers dry out faster than we think. They all look a bit leggy compared to the same stuff in boxes. I’m going to seed some more mycorrhizal fungi into them; maybe that will help.
This update is late because of the weekend goings on, see the previous post.