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sir archely

Ups and Downs

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So, it's about time that I wrote up another garden update. Things are going back and forth. Early in May I was extremely pessimistic about how the garden was going. The seedlings looked terrible, needed to be transplanted, and I didn't think they would survive. I also didn't end up making any cold frames, so everything pretty much went straight from the basement growing station to being in the dirt. Not a good thing. I did try to harden them off a bit by turning the heat mat off, not giving as much water, shortening the time the lights were on, and getting them outside for periods of time while I worked up the soil. I was also disappointed about how my beds looked. When they dry out, they dry out to what looks like rocks on top, but is really all the clay. So much clay. arg. My first cucumber transplants died off in the garden, the first bush beans failed to come up at all, the pole beans came up but got chewed up to the point where I wasn't sure if they'd make it, and the place where the potatoes went in was soaked with a spring storm and waterlogged. The asparagus crowns only put up one shoot each, and they're very spindly and short. The best one broke off at the tip in the wind.

Then... things started looking up. The garlic has been up, and does its thing with no trouble at all, and very little maintenance. Maybe I'll just go all garlic next year. The peas came up and never looked back. Those things grab on to anything in the area. I swear I see the little vines moving while I'm out there, and I can push them gently in the direction of the trellis and they just latch instantly on. The vast majority of the pole beans made a great recovery from the early setback, and are just starting to get high enough to climb. I started some more cucumbers, and it looks like it was just too cold for them earlier; these are going great. The replanted bush beans seem to be growing superfast to make up for the earlier lost time. The asparagus is doing just fine, and I'm sure it'll be even better next year. It's typical to have to wait a couple seasons before you can harvest anything from it. I turned up a potato to take a look, and it was happily sending out shoots, not rotted at all. The spinach is going gangbusters, as is the mesclun mix, and the lettuces are starting to form some good heads, thought it'll still be a bit before I can harvest any. I did take some mesclun mix, a bit of the spinach and some lettuce from the store to make a nice little salad, so that was my first eats from the garden. All the other seedlings [onion, zuchini, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, basil, parsley, tomatillo, celery, melon, strawberry, sage, dill, swiss chard, sage, oregano, and i think something i'm not remembering] have really recovered well from the transplant shock. The different zuchini varieties are doing especially well.

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A minor setback was that I accidentally mixed up some of my tags from the seedlings, and couldn't remember what was what. Not usually a problem with very different things, but tomato and pepper plants look pretty similar at the outset. Plus, there are four varieties of tomato, and at least that many pepper. One of the hot pepper packs was a mix, so I have no idea what's going to produce from that batch. So.... the upshot is that my peppers and tomatos are all mixed up, not something I wanted, and I have no idea which is which variety. Oh well. I also have a shitload of pepper seedlings left, because I accidentally planted double the rows of one of the types. I tried to plant a good cross-section of the types planted, but I really have no idea what will come from them.

I also cut another long bed along the fence in the back for planting a bunch of sunflower seeds. The tallest of which says it'll get about 12 feet [3.66 meters] tall. And another bed on the side of the house for some summer bulbs. The flowers are coming in nicely as well. The evening primrose in back is growing amazingly well; so well i'll probably have to trim it back a bit. Hasn't started setting blooms yet though. The allium bulbs came up in back, did their thing, and are done already. Whatever I planted next to them (i can't remember) came up and is starting to flower, but the stalks did not come up close to straight. The marigolds in the garden have begun blooming, and the nasturtiums are growing well. We put a bunch of hostas, coral bells, and impatiens in as well as gladiolus, dianthus, and both calla and canna lilies. The coreopsis is just starting to put out blooms, as are the daylilies. I've got more marigolds, nastutiums, and some cosmos in the basement, germinating. I'll put them in where I have the room. At this point, I have no idea where that'll be. Hopefully all of the flowers will bring some good "pests" like bees and lady bugs to my neighborhood. Plus some of the oregano, dill, parsley, basil, marjoram, and rosemary are potted for in the house. I'm experimenting with some extras to see if I can grow any food just inside. Celery, eggplant, and strawberries for now.

Tonight I also had the pleasure of putting the first bucket of kitchen scraps into the compost bin. Very exciting.

Anyway, things seem to be going well. Weeding and watering is what I'm doing these days. I'll report back when I've got my first real harvest. The pics are from a week ago, and it's amazing the difference even just between those and what it looks like today. Imagine everything about twice as big as what's in the pics. Maybe i'll put up some intermediate pics as well.

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