Garden Update

It’s great to have a garden again. It’s small this year, only three 12×4 raised beds, but it’s a start, and we have a lot to learn about gardening in the Ozarks. For a start, the growing season is two months longer than it was in New England. Our last frost date is April 15 and the first is Nov 2. That fall date is actually six weeks later than in New England. There were always a few hard frosts in mid-September, which would take out the tender crops, even though there would then be two weeks to a month of Indian Summer. Even though we hauled out the blankets, by the second or third frost the tomatoes and peppers were toast.

Meanwhile, our spring garden is doing well, despite a late start and our ignorance. We didn’t get the beds finished till late April, weeks after the cool season transplants should have gone out. Then we lost most of the lettuce and cabbage plants we bought to the chickens. The lettuce from seed is doing well, though. I didn’t bother with cabbage seed, it’s already too late.

I bought onion and shallot sets up at Baker Creek, along with a pot of leek plants at Lowes. The onions and shallots are the happiest alliums I’ve ever seen in my life. I have to keep reminding myself that the leeks are actually doing fine, they’re just not ecstatic. I was a tad worried about day length, but just hoped that Baker Creek wouldn’t have inappropriate sets in their store. The few I’ve picked for scallions are already bulbing up, so all seems well. I’ll do proper research next year.

Also bought (too many) potatoes there, our old favorite All Blue, bought in from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine, and some Yukon Gold. The blues are in a packing crate that Lisa picked up, and I’m filling it with mulch as they grow. Once again, the happiest potatoes I’ve ever seen, and they’re in bloom before we could have planted them up in Vermont. The Yukon Gold and some sprouted reds from the kitchen are in a terrace bed that I’m putting in. They’re just up in the last couple of days, but I have high hopes there too.

The tomatoes and peppers are in and setting fruit. It too them a while to get going after transplant. The peppers are doing fine, the first set of tomatoes has just taken off. We bought three more a couple weeks later and they have yet to take off.

I’ve done succession plantings of carrots and radishes already. Carrots happy, but the second set of radishes seems to think it’s too hot(!!) I’ve had radishes bolt in July, but never just curl up and die. And this is May. I got one short row of parsnips in, but we’re just out of room.

Peas and beans went in the same day. The beans love it, although we have chicken issues again. The peas look like I’d expect month old pea plants too. I’m concerned that they went in too late.

I used okra and cuke seed that I’d bought last year, and had germination issues. The plants that came up seem happy enough, but I’m not used to 50% germination. The okra was also slow enough to come up that I think I’ll try to start transplants next year.

I’m having to water every day that it doesn’t rain, something I remember from Michigan, but not in May. Weeding is very light so far. The purchased soil and compost seem to be seed-free.

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