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The term succession planting implies that you can plant at least once…

June 21, 2010

our continued wet soil, and cool conditions have made the possibility of a full-fledged garden this year a pipe dream.  If we see the sun at all, it is for a few hours.  Instead of weeding the garden,  we are building fires.   I have resisted planting some warm weather crops for fear of suffering the same plight as my friends – they have replanted their beans three times and now if the third planting rots, they will have used all their saved seed.

We have been enjoying greens daily from the April plantings that did make it.  The cool weather has kept all but the arugula from bolting.  Even the bok choy is holding on and providing a daily crunch to our morning frittata.  A hint of summer showed itself the other day – we finally found a garlic scape!  We are not in the throes of summer here like the rest of the country – it feels more like March and things are on hold.

The soil is too wet to weed – but the cabbage seems to be holding it’s own.

Found a few root maggots in the bok choy.

Got the peppers planted in the brooder/greenhouse.  Potatoes, tomatoes, and onions are planted.  Just waiting now for the soil to dry out to plant some fine seeded root crops.  Clods won’t do for small seeds.

But I have hope – flats and flats of hope!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 7:15 am

    We are experiencing the same conditions and held off planting many of our crops including beans until this past week. Yes, the salad greens do like this weather, I have winter density romaine and other lettuce that I planted last fall that still has not bolted to seed….crazy. How do you think your tomatoes will fair this season with such a late start, we are a bit concerned about having enough time for ours? A few years back we ended up with mostly green tomatoes and finished ripening them off the vine in our greenhouse, I suppose this year might be the same.

    • June 21, 2010 7:41 am

      Our soil is just too wet to work. I don’t hold out much hope for my tomatoes. I let them suffer terribly while working with Della and subsequently they showed me by setting fruit. I am trying mine with the SMR red mulch since I have to plant them outside. A huge gamble, since we never have been able to get tomatoes to ripen reliably without a hoophouse. I did put in 5 tomatoes with the peppers – so at least I will get a taste, and I will guard my salsa and remaining canned tomato sauce just in case!

      Gosh, the greens have been amazing – the Joi Choi is so sweet we have been using it like celery – delicious. I have had to laugh though it has been so cloudy our red mustards have hardly colored up at all – pale and wan like the rest of us 🙂

  2. June 21, 2010 7:32 am

    I hope your weather improves and you can at least get some short season stuff done. We had that kind of year last year…virtually no garden at all. It isn’t too good this year, also too wet, but at least some plants are growing..sort of.

    • June 21, 2010 7:59 am

      TC, me too – hopefully this week it will warm up a little. One good thing is the pasture, it is growing like gangbusters. So I better not complain!

  3. June 21, 2010 7:35 am

    I share your misery with all the PNW rain and cold. Our only saving grace this year is that we planted late (for us – which was 6/5 for corn, 6/7-8 for tomatoes and 6/13 for beans and the rest)…and the soil in our “big garden” is so rocky it’s draining quickly. The corn looks great and I’ve seen a couple of bean sprouts, so we’ll see. I think my tomatoes are gonners, though. Most have black spots on the leaves…I’m thinking a fungus got them. Grrr.

    • June 21, 2010 8:05 am

      Amy, I was debating planting corn or not – we hardly ate any this winter. So I think I may only plant a small patch. It may be early blight on your tomatoes – it’s been a terrible year for that. Hopefully not though.

      The worst thing in building fence in thigh high wet grass! I am soaked by the time I get done, and it too warm for rain gear! But the cows aren’t really drinking any water though, so I guess everything is a trade-off 🙂 Hoping for a little sun this week…

  4. June 21, 2010 8:03 am

    Fortunately my beans and peas have a good start but just about everything else has needed replanting or at least augmenting. I try to use succession planting in my small garden, but my second planting hardly ever has time to reach maturity before fall weather arrives. I know the weather has been cool, but lots of my crops have been bolting early. Maybe they just think they should. – Margy

    • June 21, 2010 12:49 pm

      Margy, I read an Alaska blog and she is in a warmer area than we are right now! That’s the down side reading blogs from other locations – it makes this season seem so much worse!

  5. June 21, 2010 8:17 am

    We didn’t try for working the soil at all. Just piled on a thick straw/grass clippings mulch and planted seeds into hills made on top of the mulch from Bi-Mart planting mix. It doesn’t seem to take much and, yes, everything seems to work, except the corn is too slow and slugs carried off all the cucumbers.

    I’m so-o-o-o-0 cold every morning, it takes me until eleven to peel myself off the woodstove and venture into the garden!

    • June 21, 2010 12:48 pm

      Risa, I hear you on the fire – it feels so good, and I hate to be getting into what I thought was seed for next years wood pile! I wish I had cucumber for the slugs to carry off. sigh…

  6. June 21, 2010 9:16 am

    Oy vey, it seems to be a very weird year. It’s been dry here, but I can water…you can’t stop the rain. My garden is late and if I can keep all the critters out of it, I just might harvest something…someday. My garlic failed, my carrots failed, the deer ate every last beet that I was waiting for, I killed the rats that were eating my slave labored celery…how dare they….don’t they know how hard it was to grow those things! The chicken that scratched up my beans and corn 3 x is in the freezer. I just read a blog about a lady who put up pickles!!! Pickles? I haven’t even gotten a blossom. Weird that’s all I can say is it’s just weird weather. At least we have chickens to harvest! And boy are they tasty!!! Chicken and potatoes! Other than that, I might just have to buy from a local farmer if my food doesn’t make it….I too hope you get some sunshine, the flats do look lovely though! 🙂

    • June 21, 2010 12:46 pm

      Diane, the varmint wars are non-stop I swear. The slugs have devoured the tatsoi, but aren’t eating the senposai greens, or the bok choy, and they seem to have only a partial interest in some of the lettuces. I agree it is a wierd year – hopefully there is some normalness on the horizon!

  7. June 21, 2010 9:23 am

    I’m down in the Willamette Valley south of Portland, and I’m lucky that my stuff is doing okay, despite the lousy weather. I only had eight tomatoes, which were under cloches of one kind or another until a couple of weeks ago. Since they’ve been out in the cooler weather, their growth rate has slowed way down, but they are two feet tall and putting out blossoms. I even see the occasional bumblebee, so I have hope. My squash and melons, except the hapless honeydew, are all doing well because they were under bubble wrap during the colder part of the spring. I seeded stuff in the garage way too early, then it got leggy and I had to put it out early, so then I had to baby it or lose it. Thank goodness the hail that hit the Tualatin Valley last week didn’t make it this far east!

    Maybe folks without tomatoes can get some with an early variety? If it makes anyone feel better, I did have to restart beans again, but that’s because the slugs got’em. I’m still learning all this, and feel like I’ve learned a few good lessons. I didn’t write them down tho’, so I’ll probably forget and have to relearn them. Got my winter Territorial Seed catalog. That winter chart got torn out of the catalog and stuck in a plastic sleeve, which is hanging from twine in the garage by my seed bench. What a great little chart! Thank you for turning me onto it!

    • June 21, 2010 12:51 pm

      Paula, congrats on your garden! Sounds like it is going to do well. The slugs are definitely liking this cool and damp – normally my garden is like the desert to them and they don’t venture out. Not this year though!

  8. June 21, 2010 9:41 am

    I think most of us on the wet west coast can relate. Greens are doing great, other things, besides getting really tall, are taking their sweet time. Slugs and rabbits are having a feast. Potatoes, which I got in nice and early, and have been eating for a while now, have all got blight, so they will all be getting dug up pretty quick. We are drowning in grass, and I’m dreading having to try to hay it all IF we ever get the appropriate weather. And February was so great and got us all thinking it was going to be such a great early spring….
    Anyway, always fun to read about other partners in the damp and coolness:)

    • June 21, 2010 12:43 pm

      Karen, we have noticed an explosion of rabbits this year too – but we are sans barn cats at the moment so that doesn’t help. I guess I should be glad I didn’t plant my potatoes earlier – now I can just worry about late blight 😦

      The frogs are loving this weather though!

  9. June 21, 2010 11:45 am

    My lettuce started bolting with our first hundred degree day, back in March. I finally found a variety (Jericho) that won’t bolt or wilt, it’ll be the majority of my lettuce garden next year. The first two cucumbers on the vine are looking to be made into pickles and my tomato plants are heavy with green fruit. But, all that loveliness said, if I want to do anything in the garden, I have to get out into it before 6AM or it’s just too darned hot!

    • June 21, 2010 12:41 pm

      Peggy, we love Jericho too! Summers aren’t that hot here but they are dry and hot weather varieties do very well – Anuenue and Simpson Elite are two that do as well as Jericho and Parris Island but they are leaf lettuces. I always trial mine without watering so if they do well and don’t bolt or get bitter, they go on my summer lettuce list.

      As cold and wet as it has been here, I definitely would not like your heat – stay cool 🙂

  10. becomingherby permalink
    June 21, 2010 12:40 pm

    Sorry to read that your soil is too wet for planting. I imagine this is a huge problem in your area where you get snow in winter. Will you manage to get enough growing before the cold sets back in? Being from a subtropical area, I cannot truly grasp the problem that the wet soil is causing but am reading with interest so that I can learn and understand.

  11. June 21, 2010 4:14 pm

    I feel so bad for all of you Pacific Northwesterners — Up in the Northeast we had such a rainy summer last year that we hardly got anything out of our garden. (This year, though, its the complete opposite – the creek across from my house is almost dry!!!) The one good thing that came out of last summer’s rain was that I learned about sprouting seeds. They’re certainly no bright red tomatoes or sweet ears of corn, but they’re quick, tasty, easy and don’t require sunlight. Also, they’ve got tons of nutritional value and lots of different varieties to choose from. I hope, though, that your weather clears up soon – its early yet so there’s still hope!

  12. June 24, 2010 9:28 am

    Succession planing for me means re-planting the cuke seeds that keep getting nailed by slugs…. On my third sowing!

  13. June 25, 2010 11:34 pm

    What a weird weather year…we had a really mild spring and now summer’s here with a vengeance…would send you some of this heat if I could!

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