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Garden Walk in the Rain

June 3, 2015

Finally some normal June weather.  Everybody (animals, plants and humans) is breathing in a sigh of relief with several days of rain!  I just did a walkabout this afternoon between showers and snapped a few photos of the garden crops.

Over the past weekend we were able to get most of the garden planted except rows left open for fall crops.  I felt pretty smug on the weed front on those hot sunny days.  Now with three days of rain I’m not so smug anymore.  There is nothing like real irrigation to germinate seeds, whether it’s weed seeds or garden seeds.  I look at this and see only weeds, but actually the plants look pretty good if ignore the pesky weeds, most of which will disappear when we thin the vegetables.

Dryland garden plantings in order in the photo starting at the bottom:
Music garlic, just showing the first tips of scapes.
Red Cored Chantenay, two double rows (Jane).
Turga parsnip, one double row (Jane).
Lutz beet, one double row.
Brilliant celeriac.
Cascade Ruby-Gold flint corn, Welcome TSW sweet corn, three rows.
Purple Viking and Desiree potato, three rows.
Uncle John dry bean, one row.
Pollinator row, dill, cilantro, zinnia, calendula, centaurea, sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos, cerinthe, torch and I forget…mostly anything I find in my seed box that needs to get gone.
Joan rutabaga and Gilfeather “turnip”, one row. (My dogs go bazacko for Gilfeather)
Sweet Meat, Musque de Provence winter squash, Spookie pumpkin one row.
Dark Star and Cocozelle summer squash, and hills left open for Naked Seed pumpkin which is giving me fits and starts and may not happen this year.
Three fallow rows.

Same garden from the other side.

Main garden

Main garden

Ugh, I’m really struggling here with weed management. Seed plants and early planted dahlias are giving me the fits here.  It’s funny what you see when you’re on the tractor, you find things you lost in a field and kaboom ideas hit you too.  I decided next year, NEXT YEAR, I will use plastic mulch on my replanted crops for seed.  Saving seed is a messy business if you like the look of a weed free garden.  In fact so much so, that seed companies tell you that if you think you want to save seed for them as a business consider this, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game than gardening.  Tall, unruly, ugly-looking plants and weeds are your future if you want to do any biennial seed saving.  Keep that in mind.

There isn’t much see here since it’s all above the keyline and it’s almost all direct seeded except a small brassica planting.  Next garden post I should have something to show for our work.  More carrots, beets, parsnips, cucumbers, summer squash, and some flowers got planted out this weekend in this garden.

Turga parsnip flower

Turga parsnip flower

A lot of our garden action is still going on in the greenhouses.  In a span of a couple of weeks, outside we planted winter garden, then summer garden, and now we’re working on our fall garden seeding which puts us back in the greenhouse.  Gardening is like that, first you have nothing planted and then all of a sudden you have no room to plant anything, and you’re seeding more for the final planting of seeds whose fruits you will eat this winter.  I told my family the garden season was over this weekend, and summer hasn’t really begun! They covered their ears.  Rantings of an old seed lady, I’m not into cats, so Old Seed Lady will have to do and actually fits me much better.

Besides seeding in flats in the greenhouse we are barely keeping the kale and romaine at bay…tough I know 😉

I swear you would not believe we eat kale three times a day, have enough to supplement the hens and baconators and these plants keep rewarding us with phenomenal growth.  There is just something about the hen-pecked compost that the brassicas love.


Sugar Sprint peas are about done,.

The carrots are sizing up nicely.

Kohlrabi is about one of my favorite brassicas.  If you just want to say no to row cover, grow these.  They seem to be immune to most brassica problems…and they are delicious.

In the other greenhouse (we call it the lone wolf), with drip irrigation and plastic mulch, we don’t spend a lot of time in here.  I turn on the drip once a week, and other than attempting to prune and trellis tomatoes and pick strawberries we don’t come in here as often.  You could view that as a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Same greenhouse, different view.  Strawberries, peppers, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and a row of brassicas on the cool edge make up the plantings in here.  While we aren’t spending a lot of time in here right now, that will change as the solanums start to need harvesting.

So that concludes the “garden” tour this first week of June, I hope things are growing well in your gardens too!



41 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2015 5:47 pm

    Good to hear you’ve had that welcome rain Matron. I have suuuuch horrific veg envy as we are officially into winter now and it’s hit with a vengence (nights of minus 8 celcius and nasty wind off the snow). There are still fodder beets and cow swedes in the patch, and the stash of cow pumpkins is undercover and off the ground. The weeds are horrific as that patch was plowed for the first time this year (done by hand – by me – previously) and so many of our native grass seeds germinate on exposure to light. So. PRESTO! Dense grasses that DH is just not motivated to work on and now the seed bank is worse than ever *sigh*. I will continue to drool over your orderly rows of weed free loveliness before I start the hard work of rehabilitating the patch next spring.

    Oh, and we’re in the run-down to heifer Annie calving too. It’s freezy here but at least it’s not raining, lol.

    • June 3, 2015 6:06 pm

      Ooh heifer calving! I can’t wait to see the baby. My calves are a way off yet, hopefully I can get the gardens in shape before then. We’re headed to 90’sF this week, not looking forward to that. Lots of Ozs in my Instagram feed, so funny to see pumpkins, tomatoes and frost!

      • CassieOz permalink
        June 3, 2015 9:59 pm

        Annie was AI’d with Jersey semen so we have a 50:50 chance of another milking lady. I’ll KFC the pics when it all happens

  2. deb permalink
    June 3, 2015 6:47 pm

    So enjoy seeing these lovely rows of growing splendor. We are still dipping in the 40s at night, but things are beginning to perk up here, but nothing like yours. What beautiful Kale!
    Went out to the potato patch and found very large bear tracks all the way across it. He side stepped the plants somehow, and must be a big one, as the tracks sank about 4 inches in the soil. Makes me think we need to consider some electric tape around the field….

  3. June 3, 2015 11:22 pm

    We´re still setting up beds, so I´m missing out on the first part of the season 😦 I can get starts at the farmer´s market, though. Do you have recommendations as to what I can plant from mid-june on that might actually produce something this summer? We have similar climates and there´s just 2 of us. Or maybe I´ll just plan on a fall garden and stop stressing.

    • June 4, 2015 4:57 am

      Coco, oh my gosh, anything but tomatoes, peppers etc will still produce if planted now if planted by seed. There have been times I couldn’t get my garden planted until late June, it still worked out. Transplants aren’t necessary but they are nice.

  4. June 4, 2015 2:09 am

    Here in Western mass, we have 40’s at night until tomorrow, so I haven’t put out the warm loving plants yet. Hope to tomorrow, when the temps go into the 50’s at night. Crazy weather! No greenhouse, so we do what we can.

    Also next to no rain for the month of May coupled with a hard time finding mulch hay. Everything was stressed even though I watered once a week.

    But we finally got 3 days of steady rain, found a source of organic mulch, and the planted ones are looking a lot better. But I bet it will have had a serious effect on production for this year.

    Love seeing where you are and why in these blog posts!

  5. Beth in Ky permalink
    June 4, 2015 2:54 am

    You had not mentioned your daughter in a while… is she married, in college, farming?

  6. epeavey1 permalink
    June 4, 2015 4:09 am

    Too many weeds here in Georgia, got the rain we needed and a million weeds popped up using duck composting straw and old straw to mulch and smother the weeds. Ellen fro Georgia

  7. barefootfarmflower permalink
    June 4, 2015 6:22 am

    Musque de Provence is my all time favorite winter squash. And I’m just beside myself with disappointment because the seeds that I’d been saving for years were picked up in a windstorm and scattered to who knows where. So aside from any plants that might make it through their wild planting unscathed- I won’t have any actually planted this year.

    My sugar sprints are planted outside and they are just now starting to take off. Not really as sweet as I thought they would taste, but hoping the “prolific” description rings true.

    I was out looking at the area that I had left open for fall crops and I’m wondering if I left enough. Time will tell. I’m excited because I’m trying some dry land gardening this year and so far it’s doing amazing!

    I love it when you list out your seed varieties. I usually try out one or two. Uncle John dry bean sounds interesting. I’m only growing one this year and it’s Kenearly Yellow Eye.

    • June 4, 2015 7:05 am

      I’m not sure if Musque will ripen here, I was going to put it in the greenhouse but Nutterbutter won out in the space race, we’ll see, the Musque really pouted when it got cold here a couple of weeks ago. I’d have to say Sweet Meat is my favorite mostly because I know it will produce and keep a year without me doing anything but harvesting and storing, I still have so many left…
      Sugar Sprint isn’t as sweet as Sugar Snap, but I like it because it’s virtually stringless so it’s pretty easy to blanch and throw in the freezer.

      Uncle John is a local to me variety, I got the seed from the family that brought it west to our town when it was settled, it’s like Taylor’s Horticulture and it does well here so I grow it and think fondly of the folks that gave me the seed 🙂

  8. June 4, 2015 7:41 am

    Nita- knowing that you’re planting to feed three people, how long are your rows? Would you make them any shorter if you weren’t planting for your animals? Do you have a rule of thumb space-wise per person? I’m trying to get a sense of how inadequate my garden is for subsistence….

    • June 4, 2015 9:01 am

      Paula, The dry garden is approximately 100′ x 100′ and that includes the headlands that are a tiller width, so roughly 90 – 92 feet by the time you take off that headland space which is in fact a great slug barrier BTW. The other garden is closer to 175′ long and we just divide the rows usually at the keyline, and depending on what we plant, hardly do I ever plant a 175′ row of anything. I always have extra too, you know so you could definitely get by on a lot less and if you irrigate you could use a lot less space or plant more intensively.

  9. June 4, 2015 12:50 pm

    I love reading about your garden. I have had a relatively small backyard garden for many years, but just this year rented about a quarter acre of ground to garden in. It’s been an interesting learning curve; my experience did not translate as well as I thought it would, so I keep feeling like a beginner!

    • June 4, 2015 1:05 pm

      Well, that feeling never goes away! I’m always learning new things and trying out new plants! Gardening never gets old 🙂

  10. June 4, 2015 1:16 pm

    Weeds. Ugh. Rain. Ugh.

    I hate to complain about rain but I didn’t complain last summer and where did it get me? Moldy hay. That’s where it got me.

    Well, heck with that. This summer I’m going to whine about rain. And fuss. And complain. And sprouting weed seeds is all the more reason for me to whine and fuss and complain.

    But I never felt smug on the weed front. Not even once.

    • June 4, 2015 3:08 pm

      It’s a fleeting moment, about like getting the dishes done and then coming back to the kitchen in five minutes and there is dirty dishes!

  11. June 4, 2015 1:44 pm

    My peas are barely getting started! Arg! It’s been a bumpy start! Thank goodness for the rain right?

  12. Bee permalink
    June 4, 2015 4:37 pm

    Mammoth Melting Snow Peas still pumping them out, but I think the Amish Snap peas are about done. Red Wethersfield and Walla Walla onions up and going, lots of lettuce — mostly Paris White Cos — and the German Butterball potatoes are coming along nicely. I just pulled the fall-planted garlic. Also have green onions, bok choy, cabbage and celery. I’m prepping more beds in the kitchen garden with fresh compost preparatory to seeding summer squash, bush beans and cukes. Have a couple tomatoes in the kitchen garden because “I-am-not-a-gardener-Mother” daughter couldn’t resist the started plants when she went to town the other day. I keep telling her, it doesn’t matter what you call yourself — if you buy seeds and plants, plant things, harvest things and pull weeds, you’re gardening! The rest of the solanums are waiting to get into the big garden, which needs a good watering first. However, hubby must first clean irrigation ditches, and he’s doing right now.

  13. Ali permalink
    June 4, 2015 7:01 pm

    Oh my gosh! Me and my daughter have garden envy! What do you do to protect from critters in your open beds?

    • June 4, 2015 9:42 pm

      Ali, what kind of critters?

      • Ali permalink
        June 4, 2015 10:15 pm

        Bunnies, field mice, voles, ground squirrels. You know… basically anything that would think your garden tastes like a yummy buffet but weren’t invited:)

        And what do you do to your kale to find three ways to eat it each day??

        • June 5, 2015 5:07 am

          Dogs! Deer, elk, and all the littles you mentioned fall prey to the dogs, and our mama kitty. We tried once to fence out the deer and elk and found it was easier to fence in the dogs, and train them to keep the ungulates at bay. GGD, Garden Guardian Dogs 😉

          Kale: smoothie, sauteed, chips or salad. It’s so easy to grow and we like it better than other greens like spinach or chard so we eat it the most.

  14. June 5, 2015 3:57 am

    Our carrots and beets got nipped, darned weather. Was balmy but dry when we planted, so I watered etc tended with care, and then yeah got bitterly cold and so wet, we counted maybe 10 tiny babies of both, so I yanked the beds and we are replanting today. 😦
    Our onions, peas, beans and brosiccas all look great.

  15. June 5, 2015 5:46 am

    Just curious (mainly because I am continually overwhelmed and unfinished) how much help do you have, if any, and how many hours a week do you put in on farm/garden work?

    • June 5, 2015 6:55 am

      No outside help, just my husband who works full-time off farm and my grown daughter, so basically two full-time people 7 days a week, and one part-time. We’re always overworked and never done too if that’s any consolation. I spend at least 3 hours per day doing cow stuff, the rest fills up the day. Some things are a group effort and others are single, I never fall trees, and my husband never milks the cow. We make it work.

    • Beth Greenwood permalink
      June 5, 2015 10:46 am

      Brookins, the last time I was caught up, my daughter was a toddler (and it was only for about five minutes). She’s coming up on 36. You never get it all done; just take it as a given and focus on the really high priority stuff. No matter what I do, the laundry multiplies, the dishes stack, the weeds take over, and I should have transplanted those seedlings yesterday… something always needs my attention. It can be tempting to cut corners personally, by getting up earlier or staying up later, but then I just get worn out and sick. So take care of yourself even if it means you aren’t getting everything done. Oh, and I personally never watch TV except for the Triple Crown and Breeder’s Cup races.

      • June 5, 2015 10:55 am

        And I only watch the those races to see the beautiful pony horses 😉

        • Beth Greenwood permalink
          June 6, 2015 3:49 pm

          Boy, it was worth it today! Great race. I watched Secretariat win the Belmont back when I was much younger, and today’s race was a reminder of that one.

        • June 7, 2015 6:14 am

          Beth, it was, we took a break and watched about 45 minutes leading up to the race, good stories, and excellent race. Can we expect a Breyer American Pharoah? I remember both Secretariat and Affirmed, what a break in between winners lately.

  16. June 5, 2015 9:21 am

    Your garden is so tidy. You should see the weeds in mine. This is the worst weed year ever with the constant rain we have had for the past month.

    How do you seed and thin your carrots and parsnips? I had such a hard time thinning my carrots and beets because I had put so much seed down to get a good stand. I never really finished thinning. I seeded them thick because last year hardly any of them sprouted. This year they ALL sprouted!

    • June 5, 2015 10:33 am

      That’s what we usually have, you get a couple weeks dry enough to put in the garden, and then it rains for a month and then you have a huge flush of weeds, and then it gets easier as the summer goes because we don’t normally get much if any rain in July, and August and sometimes September is dry too. This year is exceptionally dry for us.

      I do seed fairly thick and spend some time thinning, it just depends on what you want to spend your time doing, I have friends who plant thin, and then flame weed and they swear by it, it’s always trading one task for another. And actually my daughter does most of the thinning, her nickname is Ruthless because she is. She hates to hoe, which I love, so she thins and I hoe.

      • June 8, 2015 9:47 am

        This is not normal weather for us at all! “Rain for a month” sounds like foreign language. 🙂

        So, does she just get on her hands and knees and pick out all the extras, but you prefer to precision chop with the hoe until you get a good spacing? Just trying to make sure I understand.

        • June 8, 2015 11:45 am

          Emily, not here! It rains for months sometimes in the winter 😦

          Hands and knees and thin to correct spacing, I hoe between the rows and she takes care of the thinning, not always, but quite a bit of the time. I always do the hoeing. So hoe to keep the paths clear, and hand work to thin. Which I should be doing today, but it’s hot for us here, heading to high 90’s. Ick.

  17. christinalfrutiger permalink
    June 5, 2015 10:42 am

    All I can say is WOW! 🙂

  18. Tim W permalink
    June 5, 2015 12:02 pm

    Starting more Styrian down here in the lowlands this week. Seed from Uprising. Happy to do you some if that would help. Check, might as well start the whole packet!!

    • June 6, 2015 5:46 am

      Thanks – if the ones I started the other day don’t germinate I’m moving on to something else for that row. The downside of saving seed for too long 😦

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