Garden Status Report #3

Heading out to plant the hops. They’re doing well. They seem to have a weed-like vigour. Maybe because they’re in the hemp family.

When you are new to gardening and farming, the learning curve is steep. For starters, you learn pretty quickly that you have no control over the weather, and to be specific, you have no control over the rain.

For our region, the general rule of thumb is that you can safely plant your whole vegetable garden on or after the Victoria Day (May 24th) weekend. You can start hardier seeds and plants before that, as soon as the ground is workable. However, because of this year’s wetness, everything had been delayed waiting for the ground to dry out.

Peppers on their way out to the field. Roma’s are the classic paste/canning tomatoes.

We did manage to get some stuff in the weekend before – our onions, brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli), beets, carrots, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. They’re all pretty hardy and can go in as soon as possible. We also planted four variety of potatoes that will, hopefully, feed our family for the year (banana fingers, purple peruvian, chieftain, and yukon gold). We planted a few too many, so we’re discussing opening a chip stand.

As for the warmer season vegetables, they were taking over the greenhouse. We were really anxious to get them out into the field, and we had a small window for planting in our schedule so we planted our tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and pumpkins during the long weekend. We put up some supports and planted pole and bush beans, and hops went in next to makeshift poles while they wait for their trellis. It was a lot of hard work, sometimes even planting in the unstoppable rain, but so worth it.

We made the bean supports out of Sumach, which is a weed-like tree that grows out of control. No imported bamboo necessary.

Our push to get everything into the garden was probably a little premature. The cold days that followed hurt a lot of our cucumber plants. We lost over half of them to what we believe is a mixture of cold and rain on top of transplanting shock. We were also worried about how the single-digit temperatures would affect our bean seeds as they tried to germinate, however, they’re doing fine and are starting to break through the soil. We’re going to seed over where we lost cucumbers and we have more watermelon plants in the greenhouse to replace those failures.

One of the cucumber survivors. They didn’t transplant well and we lost about half.

But this year is all about learning. Lesson one was the weather, and lesson two, I have a feeling, is going to be all about weeds. We’re banking all of this experience, and we’ll be that much further along next year.

6 comments

  • Buy straw to mulch with….makes things SO much easier with regards to keeping weeds down and the soil nice and moist underneath (less need to water). You have to make sure it is straw though because otherwise if you use hay you'll have weeds EVERYWHERE! With straw all you'll get is the odd wheat stem growing up. Then come fall you just till it all under and the soil gets a lovely feeding and enrichment from the straw used as mulch during the growing season.

  • So our bean poles, the actual poles, are sprouting. I thought I had let the sumach dry out enough, but I guess not! I hope there's no issue with them growing too much. I just pinched out all of the sprouts.

  • Pretty pretty pictures. Lemme know when the chip stand's open. I never met a chip I didn't like. Even those cherry grape flavoured potato chips that were out for approximately 1 week when I was 5. ~ karen

  • Mmmm- yep, sign me up for the chip stand too! It's definitely been a tough spring, but it certainly looks like you're making the absolute most of it. Amazing pictures as always. Just a suggestion- last season, I direct-sowed some cukes into the garden fairly late in the season, and they grew pretty vigorously. If you've got seed left, maybe just try dropping a few where you lost your transplants – worth a shot!

  • You'll be able to teach me so much for next year. this post really kicks me in the ass. i gotta get that soil into the garden boxes!

  • @Kris That's what I just came in from doing! Re-seeded… I have a feeling they'll be a lot stronger and catch up. We actually lost probably 80% of them.

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