The Garden is Growing and Growing
My heart swells every time I look out my windows and see the garden. It is growing and growing!
Of course, growing best and fastest of all are the weeds.
Why is it that the weeds seem to grow so much faster than everything else? I’d hoped that by covering the field in black plastic tarps for a year and more would kill all the weeds in the dirt. But, it didn’t do anything like that. It bought me a week or so before the weeds started up in earnest, but they’re still there.
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Luckily, Jasper brought out his Red Dragon propane torch and he’s been tackling the worst of the areas for me. I have to tell you, there is a real (probably perverse) thrill to watching the crab grass, the morning glory, the sow thistle and all those tiny weeds that are too small to pick get burned to a crisp. A task that would have taken me hours to do with much back-breaking stooping is done in a matter of minutes.
Of course, we can only use the torch in the beds that haven’t yet been planted, or in the walkways without straw. The rest of it, in between my tightly sown rows and around the crops already growing, I have to do the old-fashioned way, by hand.
I have spent so so many long and tedious afternoons weeding.
My plan in the fall is to cover the beds with thick layers of cardboard, compost and manure, straw, leaves and then top them with wood chips. Supposedly that should keep the weeds from running as rampant as they have been, if Back-to-Eden gardeners can be believed (and oh, I really hope they can be!).
Besides the weeds though, the rest of the vegetables really are growing wonderfully. It’s been a great year so far, with long stretches of nice warm weather interspersed with short periods of drizzly rain. Just perfect.
The turnips, which I sowed in pots in the unheated greenhouse back in February, are ready to harvest, and I’ve eaten some already in a delicious recipe I’ll be writing about later this week. Their greens are also super tasty sauteed in butter and turned into pesto. The next thing I want to make with them is turnip fries, and I’ll let you know how that goes!
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The turnips are growing alongside the onions, which are doing amazing! I’m growing two rows each (about 200 total) of Walla Walla sweets, Red Wings, and Copra storage onions. In my opinion, one can never have too many onions.
I need to side dress them soon (and so, probably, should you if you’re growing onions) with blood meal to really give them some oomph for the summer!
Three rows of potatoes (Red Norlands, German Butterballs and Yukon Golds) are also doing amazing, as are all the carrots, radishes, beets, lettuce, chard and green onions that I planted wherever I could fit them in. They are literally everywhere in the garden, tucked into any and all vacant nooks and crannies.
And hallelujah! The corn is growing like a champ! I planted two different kinds – Bodacious and Sugar Buns – and both are coming up strong. I planted them in hills this year, each 12 inches apart with about two feet between rows. Hopefully that will solve the spacing issue we had a couple of years ago, and the watering issue will be a moot point this year as well.
I expect to be eating lots of corn!
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The peas are living up to all my winter-time fantasies. The sugar snaps are tall, taller than me now, and flowering profusely. The Lincoln shelling peas are so bushy and full of flowers that they’re practically falling over. They’re the only shelling peas I’ve planted so far, but I’m thinking about trying another (mystery) variety that I collected from my sister-in-law a few years ago. They’re a tall growing variety, so I’ll have to make some trellises or tee-pees for them.
And then there are the flowers! This year I’m making a concerted effort to grow heaps of them. Zinnias, cosmos, nasturtiums, calendula, alyssum, sunflowers, cornflowers, marigolds, hyssop, chamomile, and lots of others that I can’t even remember. They’re all out there, planted hither and yon and also in charming rows between all the utilitarian food crops. I want to fill my house with fresh cut flowers, and I want to offer them up to all the hard-working little pollinators visiting our garden, too.
All that’s left to do now is to sow my french beans and my shelling beans, transplant my cucumbers, and to seed my last successions of dill, green onions, lettuce, radishes, turnips and peas.
Then it will be time to just sit back in my chair under the old apple tree, cold beverage in hand, and admire all the work we’ve done.
For a short while anyway, until it’s time to start weeding again.