June 21, 2016

Sunchokes and Late June Vegetable Garden Growing

There is a promise of a great harvest in all the vegetable plants that are still in their early growing stages in the ground.  There is also some balance with nature, I think, with milk weed plants growing around the garden and even within the garden beds.  I have seen a green frog and a handful of birds around the garden.  The daily watering has been attracting this wildlife as nature has not given us a proper rain in many days.  It's so dry that even the thistle weeds are wilting in the side yard.


Tubers: 

The sunchokes are growing very well.  I planted the tubers this spring after having them shipped from Nova Scotia.  I think every single tuber grew.  The plants are about 1 foot tall now with similar leaves to a sunflower plant.  They have strong stems and are thriving.

I just planted a sweet potato slip.  I had only one plant that had roots big enough to survive the planting.  But it is thriving and I am hopeful that my first year of growing sweet potatoes will still be successful.


Directly Sown seeds:

Only about half the beet seeds that I directly planted in the dirt germinated and are growing.  They are about 4 cm tall now.  Just having the purplish-red leaves and stems.  The plants at the side of the garden bed with more sun are twice as big as the side with more shade.

The kale that was also planted directly is about the same size as the beets but seems to be more sturdy and has a pale slightly bluish tinge to the leaves.  About 99% of the spinach seeds did not germinate.  I have a couple of very lonely looking tiny spinach plants growing.



Just about all the bean seeds and pea seeds germinated and are coming along well.  So far the new mesh fence has kept out the local bunny.  The parsnip and purple top turnip seeds have all germinated but are only just tiny plants at the moment.

Planted Seedlings:

The broccoli is a big disappointment.  The seedling stems were so delicate that half of them broke during transplanting.  The few that survived the transplanting are starting to look more hardy but still seem delicate.  I think if a chipmunk walked over them they'd be done for.

About half the cucumbers seedlings are doing well.  I'm not sure what is happening with the base of the stem with some of them.  The stem is going thin and light brown and very dry looking, yet the leaves seem to be growing and are a healthy green.

The melons are doing well.  But have only about 3 sets of leaves on them at this point.  All the tomato plants are doing well, as are the marigolds that I planted near them, but no flowers yet on the marigolds. 

Perennials:

One artichoke plant survived the winter.  But it looks like three plants are growing from the same spot.  I'm hoping we'll have lots of artichokes from this cluster of plants.  It has huge leaves already, looking dark green with lots of prickles.

Rhubarb has layer of wood ashes to deter insects.
The rhubarb is finally doing well.  I put a thick layer of wood ashes around each plant and that has kept the bugs from eating the leaves.  I was a bit worried that it would affect the soil chemistry too much but the rhubarb leaves are a dark green and have redder stems than usual.


I decided to plant the rocket and sea kale seedlings into the garden.  They were both quite tiny when I planted them, but I had started losing track of watering them in the house as they were the only seedlings left unplanted.   So far both don't have any shock from transplanting.  The asparagus which is on it's second year is growing well with lots of ferny looking shoots.

Trees/Shrubs:

Both newly planted honeyberry bushes are doing well.  There was a couple of berries but the chickens got them.  Also the current and gooseberry bushes are growing but are still small, so that the chickens have eaten most of those too.  The two new plum trees have also taken root with lots of new growth.  I've been giving these plum trees a deep watering about once a week.

Overall, the garden is doing well.  I walk the paths every day to check on the progress.  The plants are growing steadily, but it is hard to be patient for harvest time.  In the meantime, I'm pulling weeds as they appear and mulching as much as I can to help trap in the moisture.  I wonder if the whole summer will be this dry.

START YOUR OWN HOMESTEAD THIS WEEKEND, BE SELF-SUFFICIENT