April 29, 2015

Spring Gardening

We are so behind in the garden! There was all that rain. Then we had to take down a giant pecan tree that was rotting in the base (and standing next to the house). Then there was more rain. And more rain. And more rain. I'm slowly finishing the planting while also trying to tame this jungle of a property. Lots of fun stuff to do! Also, I can't find my camera so pictures today are brought to you by my terrible cellphone camera.

In the past few weeks I have planted:

tomatoes - Matt's wild cherry, Illini star, Illini gold, San Marzano, Blue Berry (which I wasn't crazy about last year flavor wise but it did grow spectacularly so it's getting another shot) and Cherokee Purple. I might find a spot or 2 for a few extras once everything else is planted.

beans - Viollett's Multicolored butter beans (gorgeous!). Some kind of insect kept nibbling these guys
Violett's Multicolored Butter Beans
off at the base. Replanted multiple times and finally in toilet paper tubes. Also, only a few of my Pencil Podded Black wax germinated. I planted them out 3 times and finally filled in with Kentucky Wonder.  Still to go are a few varieties of dry bean left over from last year and green garbanzos (!).

peppers - I don't even know what's out there at this point. Peppers hate wet weather so most of the ones I grew from seed died in the weeks of rain. So sad! I've replaced them with a random assortment of various peppers from a few different nurseries around here. I know there are some Cal. Wonders and Chinese Giants out there (a variety I grew from seed one year). Pretty sure there are some Purple Beauties as well. Not sure what else other than the usual Serranos and Jalapenos.

cucumbers - The squirrels are going to drive me to drink. I have cucumbers in 3 places and I've planted part or all of each section 4 times because the bastards keep digging them up! I think they're over it now and cucumber are finally growing strong although not as big as they would have been if they were 6 weeks old. Sigh. Varieties this year are: Thai Petch Tsai, Straight 8, Suyo Long, and a few Lemon.

okra - Eagle Pass (a Texas variety)

squash - Surprisingly my squashes are doing well in spite of all this rain (and in spite of the fact that I forgot where my dahlias were and planted on essentially on top of the dahlia before it came up). Since the vine borers usually get them and I don't have enough space right now I only planted the classic Dark Green Zucchini and the bicolored Zephyr.

tomatillos - standard green variety from the nursery.

eggplant - Louisiana Long Green and then a purple asian variety I don't remember the name of. I didn't grow my own eggplants this year.

flowers and herbs - basils also hate the wet so they're struggling. The marigolds are doing ok but I think they'll be happier when it dries out. My dahlias from last year are all coming back from the roots (and they're huge!) plus I put in a few extras. Papalo has come back in a few places from seed (yay! love that stuff!)

Once the squashes die, as they inevitably will from the borers, I'll put in corn. Probably Country Gentleman and Oaxacan Green dent although there are other options in my box o' seeds.

The pecan tree we took down was next to the main section of garden so I'll be extending the beds into the area previously shaded. That will double the garden space in that part of the yard and those beds should be ready for fall. I'll just be doing my usual cardboard mulch and leaves/wood chips except this year we have manure. The tallow beds are still in the works but they won't be ready for a few years anyway.

I read an interesting blog post from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange about Jewels of Opar and I plan to give those a try this summer. Always looking for ways to get my greens fix in the summer.

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