Catching Up

Lisa and I started this blog as our garden journal 15 seasons ago. I haven’t been updating, but we still need that journal. So here goes the brain dump. Expect multiple entries.

Tomatoes and peppers. Late blight has become a yearly occurrence. Tomato varieties in particular need to be chosen with this in mind. The blight will especially destroy fruit, but will take out entire plants. Peppers get leaf curl and deformed fruit, but don’t die, and the peppers are usable, if very small and cosmetically unsellable. Potatoes are only hit in the worst of years. I suspect some serious breeding in the mid-nineteenth century. In the classic Irish tradition however, if your potatoes get it, your entire crop is gone in two days.

I need to do some serious deforestation. The okra and the bell peppers simply refused to either grow or set fruit. Then when the leaves fell of in October, both set fruit. They still didn’t grow, but let’s be real. It was October in Vermont. And of course all that fruit was lost to frost.

My asthma will no longer allow us to heat with wood, so the plan is to wait a few more weeks until things are good and frozen, then stockpile the logs to inoculate with mushroom spawn in the spring. Neither shade nor moisture will be an issue here.

I didn’t quite manage to get everything we fenced last Spring cleared and tilled. I’m going to put finishing that ahead of fencing more garden. I do have another 20 rods of fence earmarked for expanding pasture, but the ground will freeze any day now, if it hasn’t yet.

No more black plastic. It makes the rain run off, and unless your plants are 8 inches or so high, will bury them, break them off, or uproot them depending on how it feels. And the trash is a granola guilt trip. Use a low tunnel instead, and don’t forget the dripper line irrigation.

Our alliums and carrots also failed to thrive. I believe it was a combination of no sun and soil that isn’t as good as it looks. Both are fixable, I just need to do it.

By contrast, the beans and peas were happy. We planted the dried beans too late, so very few ripened, but had we gotten them in a month earlier all would have been well. The bunnies liked the frost killed plants though. Our snap beans dated to 2011, and while they did well in 2013, just didn’t germinate this year. The few plants we had thrived, but there were not enough of them.

We also had a total failure of the parsnips. The carrots germinated fine, but didn’t grow well, see soil and sun, above. Anyway, all seed older than 2013 has been fed to the birds, except for the pelletized carrots of which we have thousands. Even if their germination implodes like the parsnips did, I’ll just carpet bomb the beds.

Stay tuned for more.

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