Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Conquering Weed

Finally made it back out to the garden and my, oh my, oh my! I can't believe how the weeds have overtaken everything again in just two weeks. It's down right depressing to try and nurse crops through such a cold season and yet the weeds grow so supremely. I don't get it. Anyway, I was going to take some pictures of the garden for you but I'm too embarassed to take any until I can get it looking half way decent again. Do you know that the beans I rescued from thistles are again buried in more thistles! And I pulled those thistles out with the roots intact, too. Wow. The spinach and Senposai both bolted so those rows are shot. I will pull them out and till that area. Maybe I'll just go ahead and plant some oats or rye for a cover crop and be done with it. I would surely like to plant some beans, but I just don't think they will grow. I actually had more frost damage out there on my cos romaine.

The Bulls Blood Beets are looking good -- nice greens but no beets. The Danvers Half Long carrots are growing well (they need thinning and weeding) but they won't be mature for a while yet. When I pulled the weeds from one row, I discovered fennel growing in the "understory", so as carefully as I could I pulled the weeds and left the fennel. The rain we had yesterday afternoon should give them a boost. I also found pole beans growing in the weeds around the pole tepees -- not as many as I originally planted, but at least some are growing. The Golden Amaranth is doing nicely; I'm not sure where it should be growth-wise because this is the first time I've tried growing it, but at least it is growing and doesn't seem to be bothered by any pests - yet. The Sweet Annie is growing but still very small. I have spied some borage and celery in the weeds in the rows I haven't gotten to yet, so I may find more surprises as the weeding progresses.

The tomatoes are looking very nice, but no flowers or fruit yet, and because of the cold temps we have at night, I'm not sure we will get any fruit. The hops look GREAT! Even the new rhizomes I planted this spring are taking off -- must like my sandy loam soil. The Cascade and Williamette hops are loaded with flowers; it will be exciting to take my first harvest from them.

In the high tunnel the Cherokee Trail of Tears and Rattlesnake pole beans are flowering, the sweet potatoes are at least green, and then everything else has at least gotten a bit larger. I hope to give everything another good drink tomorrow. It would sure be nice to get at least some cucumbers, but there are no flowers on anything.

In the OZ (the far garden sections near the fruit tree orchard) the corn, winter squash, and pole beans are buried in weeds; only the potatoes in their hills are discernible. What a mess!

We made our firewood for this winter:

There are five nice piles, and the chickens already like roosting on them.

I told Tom I want to make more to be sure I have wood for making maple syrup next spring, but, of course, he ignores me. He and Ed finished cutting up some basswood into small pieces for kindling and then today he took Dad's log splitter back to him. (Our splitter isn't working and it will be a couple of weeks before it can be repaired.) We are going to help Dad get his wood split and stacked. I want to be sure he has enough wood (I hate that outdoor wood furnace he has; I don't think it was properly installed and it burns through wood like a locomotive!) I really think this is going to be one bitterly cold winter based on the way the wild animals are acting. There are so many stories in the newspapers about bears breaking into people's homes or animals being bold -- like those !@#$% foxes by me -- I think the critters know what the winter is going to bring and it certainly has me worried.

Where I pulled the garlic in the garden boxes behind the house, I planted Wong Bok Chinese Cabbage, Detroit Red Beets, and Provider green beans. The chickens picked out most of the seeds already, but there is some Wong Bok coming up. I will try planting one more time and put some Agribon over the box. This Fall I will plant the garlic out in the field near the high tunnel where it will be easier to water it.

In the rest of the boxes the sorrel is going to seed, the spinach seed stalks are drying out, I'm waiting for the cos romaine to send up its seed stalks, and the onions are nearly ready to harvest. The chickens have decimated the shallots and potato onion tops, but I've left the bulbs in the ground for the time being. I think I will lift them in about a week to cure and separate them, and then I'll replant them out in the field this Fall with the new garlics. BTW, besides growing garlic from my own stock, I have ordered a new variety from Ronnigers: Kettle River Giant. Let's see now -- I have Samarkand, Inchelium Red, German Hardy, Czech Tan, Shvlisi, and now Kettle River Giant. I think I'm turning into a garlicaholic. :D Well, you can never have enough garlic and onions!

That's all for now. Take care and may the racoons leave your garden be!

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