Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Walk Through the Garden, June 16th

My post title should read, "A Walk Through the Garden to Survey the Carnage, June 16th." Remember this post when I dreamily acknowledged that though problems were surely on the horizon, my spring gardeners' optimism had gotten the better of me?

Yeah, well... I'm still a gardener in Texas.

So, walking through the garden today...

Always plant enough dill to share with the swallowtails

Just as predicted, the blight got me... well, it got most of my tomato plants anyway. How could it not with all that rain, despite my best mulching efforts? We've also had our share of tomato hornworms, flea beetles, and a plague of grasshoppers which took out my green beans practically over night.

I've had a theory about gardening in my part of Texas for a while now and thought this year I might put it in to practice; I think that the heat of summer should be approached like the dead of winter around here, and as crops come to an end beds should be put to rest, to be replanted in the fall. It takes so much to keep stuff going through July and August... water, effort, pest control... and it's almost impossible to get anything to thrive beyond weeds when temps get into the high 90's and crest the century mark.

So this year, as I've harvested and cleaned up all that has finished or been lost, I've topped off the soil with composted chicken bedding and fresh straw mulch and I'm just walking away. I may regret not trying another round of beans or some new squash, but there's always the warm fall weather and the mild(ish) winter ahead.

Speaking of harvest, the carrots, onions, and beets are done, and I must say this spring was great for roots!

On Sunday I pulled a full five-gallon bucket of carrots and I made five braids of sweet yellow onions, now hanging in the pantry to cure. I have no idea what that weighs, but it was a lot.

We ended up cleaning, tipping, and splitting all the carrots and packing them in to two huge crocks with garlic and dill to ferment into carrot pickles. It took almost all day and could have been an overwhelming task, but I had really good help.

So there we have it, our garden in mid-June. Not quite as full or green as about a month ago, but still giving us plenty to keep us all busy. Oh, and there's still a little optimism to be had-

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