Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It has been over 6 years since I did any vegetable gardening.  I had just begun to learn gardening for the New England region when I became too ill to continue.  So now I feel like I am relearning everything (not sure how much I knew and lost, either).  

The good news is that my grey matter seems capable of learning all over again and I am going for it.

Backyard beds June 14, 2012
My tomatoes are thriving and blooming.  So excited at the promise of fresh, organically-grown tomatoes.  The basil plants attract slugs and are growing but are very holey.  

In the far bed my carrots are finally growing after a second sowing.  I will not bother growing carrots in the future most likely.  They are inexpensive to purchase and take up a lot of space that I think would be better used for more garlic now that I know how well it does in that particular spot.  

My sugar snap peas (on left trellis in rear) are finally blooming.  I am pretty sure we will never get these in the house but will be a favorite "snack from the vine" kind of treat for all.  

Suyo long cucumber
 I have been disappointed in the cucumbers that I planted: Suyo long cucumbers.  They only seem to germinate at 50% and then are not doing well in our cool New England spring weather.  This is when I really wish I had a greenhouse.  Really and truly.  I planted an oriental cuke because I buy the hothouse cucumbers vs. the more common cucumbers when I shop.  This experiment might not be a success.  I will sow some more seeds and wait for warmer weather.  They might just take off when we get another week of higher temps.

Over 100 slugs
Yesterday, I went out in the rain and collected over 100 slugs from my gardens.  Next time I will wear rubber gloves, though.  Slugs can carry a parasite that causes deadly meningitis.  I sure did a lot of hand-washing yesterday.

These slimy guys do a lot of damage; they seem to prefer basil and lettuce to most everything else.  But I don't want to share my lettuce.  So the slugs must go.  

I had a thought this morning while doing my rounds: is there some type of substance I can put on the ground around my garden beds to keep the slugs from climbing the wood frames?  After a quick search I found that lava rocks, copper strips, and diatomaceous earth can all be used as a slug barrier.  Hmmm, I have a huge 50 lb. bag of DE in my basement.  That will be my afternoon gardening task.  I'll let you know how well it works.

Sugar pumpkin
Finally the pumpkins are growing.  Finally! We had an early spring, then a heat wave, then 4 weeks of fairly cool, wet weather.  Temps have been mostly in the 60's to low 70's during the day and in the 50's at night.

Now we need to see some warmer weather so my heat loving plants can start really growing.  

I have had no luck with the pepper plants.  The one plant that I had in the driveway grouping attracted slugs which ate it to a single, leafless stem.  It finally succumbed.  The seeds I planted in my front garden haven't even come up.  I think I might try to plant some inside and see if I can get them to germinate and give them a little head start before transplanting.  I knew peppers would be a challenge in New England but I was hoping I could grow some because we eat a LOT of red, yellow and orange bell peppers around here.  The boys love them raw, sauteed, in their eggs, well, in pretty much anything.

Sugar snap pea
Oh, the beauty of a pea blossom.  Took 10 tries but I actually got a decent closeup.  A camera that can take closeups and macros is on my wish list (when that million dollar check comes in the mail -- I can dream, can't I?).  

Considering this is my first season gardening in a very long time, I feel fairly successful.  Gardening is all about experimenting: failure and success both teach.  

Thank you for sharing my garden with me today.  How does your garden grow?

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