Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Early June Garden Update - Part I
I took this picture shortly after 8:00 PM today. A storm front is moving across our area tonight and tornado warnings have popped up in several parts of the state. Though not as dramatic on film, the approaching clouds have cast a strange yellow glow over everything outside. It was quite remarkable actually.
In this picture, you also get a better sense of how our gardens are laid out. The large maple tree on the left casts a huge shadow over much of yard during the morning hours, and as a result, the side garden (bottom right) gets only about 5 hours of full sunlight a day. My leafy vegetables, legumes, root crops and alliums seem to do fine under these conditions but I grow most (if not all) of my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn and melons in the back garden, which gets full sun throughout most of the day. I'm sure all of us would wish for more sunlight in our gardens (at least I do). Thankfully, it seems all is not lost in part-shade.
Anyway, I thought I'd do an update on how things are growing at the moment. Looking at these pictures, the garden looks rather bare compared to this time last year. Hopefully that will change soon. In no particular order:
Yes! We now have mini-crowns of broccoli. This particular variety is called 'Bonanza', which I grew for the first time last fall. I've been pleased with it so far as it's relatively early to mature and produces plenty of side-shoots. We'll see how it performs in the summer heat.
Hopefully this one will be ready to cut in a week or two.
Despite the cooler than average temperatures of May, my green soybeans (edamame, 'Envy') germinated relatively well - at about 75%. The garden pests went crazy for them last year so I may have to cover them with some netting or row cover this time around.
My bush beans ('Contender' and 'Dragon's Tongue') germinated at about 65%. Some of them emerged from the soil rather mangled-looking. As a result, I had to pull those up and re-sow the bare spots. Beans have never performed well for me. Hopefully that will change since I'm growing a lot more this year.
Since taking this picture, the shell and snow peas have begun to flower. Better late than never I guess. On a high note, it looks like the wire trellis I put up is working out well.
My long beans have taken root and are starting to grow again. I was a bit nervous since beans tend not to transplant well. I wonder how long it will take for them to climb atop the hoop house frame.
It seems to be another good year for garlic. The stalks are tall and fat with no signs of rust thus far despite the mild and wet weather we've had. (I've become obsessed with homegrown garlic so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.)
Finally, I first noticed this little guy last summer. He's about 3 times the size now. I'm not quite sure where he came from but glad that he found a nice place to hibernate during this past winter and decided to stick around. Hopefully he'll find mate and eat his weight in slugs every day.