What a strange end to May! The weather has gone from snow, to August heat-wave temperatures, back down to risk of frost in a little less than three weeks. However, we have taken advantage of the heatwave to get a lot of planting done, and now we have many of the more tender plants covered to get them through this current chilly period.
All those beds are now planted, although the cabbages are about the size of dimes, so they don’t show up from here. They may not show up at all; the snails are at them. I expect to have to do some re-planting.
Under the covers here, are beans (vulgaris) and Lima beans. The Lima beans are the reason for the cover; regular beans should be able to take these chilly temperatures, if not actually like them. To the right, our early peas are in full flower – can hardly wait – and to the left, the first of three bean beds needing trellises has been trellised. The other two, including the currently covered Lima beans are still to be done.
The garlic really liked the heat, and has grown very tall and robust. Hopefully to also be reflected in good robust bulbs when the time comes. We’ve had a couple of years of poor to so-so garlic and a good garlic year would be appreciated.
Behind them, we are keeping row-cover over the carrots, and also the rutabagas since they happen to be in the same bed. Onions and potatoes in the two beds beyond are still pretty much invisible to the naked eye.
This is the best carrot germination we have ever had. Two factors come into it; the aforementioned heat-wave, and also these are seeds which we saved ourselves. In the interest of science, I sifted our carrot seeds into two batches; the larger seeds and the smaller seeds. I wanted to know if the larger seeds would germinate earlier or more reliably. The answer, on a single attempt, seems to be a resounding YES. The smaller seed seedlings (not shown) are nowhere near this good. Even our purchased seed is nowhere near this good or even as good as the smaller seed, so there may be some epigenetic adaptation to our soil showing up in our own seeds.
These are the Golden Rind watermelon seedlings, planted and up already in the heat, as are all the other melons, squash, and cucumbers. Hopefully this will be a boost to them this season, even if we appear to be moving back into more typical early summer temperatures.
This is by far the earliest we have ever gotten sweet potatoes in. They were ready to go, and the weather was extremely amenable… for a few days. Now they are covered up, but they seem to be settled in and handling it like champs, so all good there.
Peppers and eggplants (and tomatoes in two other beds) are also planted and covered for the moment. Mostly all looking pretty good, although the eggplants are struggling a bit with aphids. Seems early, but no doubt they are also a manifestation of this early heat. We’ve dusted everything in here with diatomaceous earth, which we hope will keep them down to a dull roar.
We started some lettuce inside and planted it out at the same time as the early peas, back at the end of March. We kept them covered, and they settled in well and are looking excellent. Salad ahoy!
This one interests me, as it looks like a cross. That light green, slightly crinkled leaf form, brushed with a bit of a blush around the edges suggests May King. However, it’s got little red spots, like several unnamed (well I imagine they’re named, but I don’t know what they are) types that we got in some mixed lettuce seed. I like the spotted types; they are often quite heat resistant.
Barley is new to us this year. That’s all that grassy looking stuff. It came up very patchily, along with a lot of herbs, because I had expected to plant this bed with herbs last fall and so threw all the old seedy stems into them. Good technique! But wrong spot, as it turned out. Oh well. I’ve planted some experimental peas around those tomato cages. One of them is an eat-all cross; a sort of snowy snap pea. I really liked it last year, so I’m following up on it some more. The other was from a pea that overwintered in the garden then sprouted in the spring. That’s a rare occurence, and I’ve learned to follow up on chances like that. It may be a cross (I don’t recognize it from the seed I saved) or it may be one of the varieties we grow regularly. In that case, I will add it back in to our seed for that, hopefully keeping supplying it with some extra robust genes. If it’s a cross we will have to see if it is any good – many of the pea crosses are just not that interesting as it turns out.
So now we are in the stage of weeding, whacking, and watering. At least that’s what I expect to be up to for the next while. Mr. Ferdzy has trellises to erect and compost to turn. Some guy is supposed to show up late last week (*snerk*) and give us a quote on chopping down a bunch of our dead and dying trees (ashes to ashes, no surprise) and if that happens it will keep us pretty busy even with someone else doing most of the work.
It’s nice to get outside after an anxious spring spent mostly inside. I hope everybody is staying well and safe, and continuing to wear your masks, and wash your hands, and avoid people as if they could be strange dogs who might bite if not treated with respect.