Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Garden Update

I didn't really plan to make a garden update so soon after my last one, but a lot has happen in my garden since last week, so I thought I would tell you about it.

First, is to mentioned that it rained. While this isn't an event in itself, this is the first rain since I installed my rainwater collection system. It wasn't a big rain storm, no thunder or lightening. It rained hard for a few minutes and then slow and steady for about an hour. Well, the rain barrel is completely filled! So much so, that water spilled out the overflow valve! Wow, my 55 gallon drum is too small to do the job!! It usually rains a lot harder here in the summer. I am going to attach a hose to the overflow valve to move the runoff to a part of my garden. Today, I will order a second barrel to hook up to the overflow valve. Let me also make the comment that this rain barrel is hooked to the smallest section of roof line on my house. Now I know why people who harvest rainwater from their entire roof alway bury a huge tank underground in the back yard. The amount of water you can collect this way is unbelievable!

Next, I harvested the garlic and some of the carrots. The garlic is decent sized but not as big as I would have like. Ditto on the carrots. The carrots averaged about 3 - 4 inches long. A little small for me. However, since we had such a cold spring and then it turned hot (well, not hot for me but hot for carrots) I guess I shouldn't complain about the size. Instead, I should be thankful that we got a harvest at all. Besides, they are in part of the garden where the average sun is only about 6 hours a day. If I want bigger garlic and carrots, they are going to need to be planted somewhere else with more sun! There are about 25 garlic bulbs total and I don't know how many carrots (I didn't count them.) Here is a picture of a handful of each.

Third, my husband and I did something unusual for the garden this past weekend. It was time to net the strawberries and blueberries to keep the creatures from eating them. The past years, I just draped the netting over the plants. However, I must tell you that I have always found this practice to lead to less than satisfactory results. The bird netting gets caught on the berries and we always lose a lot when we go to remove the netting to pick some. I would estimate that we lose about a quart of blueberries and a half quart of strawberries each year. 

Well, no more! This year we installed a series of pvc pipes to keep the netting off of the berries. We were discussing this earlier in the year and my husband mentioned that what we really need were camo net supports. (My apologies to anyone who has never been in the service and doesn't know what camo supports are.) While camo supports are available at Army/Navy surplus stores, they are too expensive to purchase. Instead, my husband went to the home improvement store and got some pvc pipe and we made some net supports. They aren't pretty but they are working beautifully. Even better, you can't see them from the road so my neighborhood association won't be asking me to take them down.  For just a few dollars worth of pipe, we got functional (if not very pretty) supports! Here is a picture.

The ones over the blueberries can come down about mid July. The ones over the strawberries, will stay there until November. You may be able to notice some of the rocks I used to hold down the netting so the birds will not fly under it. I will admit the birds love the new 'perches' sitting over the blueberries. Even with the netting draped over them, every morning I noticed a bird 'meet up' happening on them. It never crossed our minds that the birds would love sitting on them. If I have the camera out some morning  I will try to get a picture of all of them.  They look similar to the way you see birds sitting on telephone wires. I do so hope they don't poop all over the blueberries! If they do, then I may have to break down and purchase the cammo net supports after all!

Lastly, I repotted the tobacco. While repotting this year, I lost a lot of the tender root system from the old pots. Much more than I was comfortable with. So, to allow them time to recover, they are in shade half the day. This will set them back a bit, but hopefully in a few weeks I can move them to the front yard to plant in the ground. I will probably lose a few leaves while they recover, but I don't anticipate any problems once they get their 'feet' back. This variety is a different one from last year. This year, I planted wild tobacco. It is more potent than cultivated varieties, but doesn't grow as big. I also have some of the cultivated variety called 'one sucker' in my front yard. It self-sowed itself in the same place I had it growing last year. Once it gets bigger, I will take a picture of it. Here is a picture of the baby wild tobacco. 

Next up on the chore list is to replant the peanuts that the chipmunk ate and cover them so they will germinate! Then, I will need to add some compost to the raised beds and get the squash and green beans planted.

A gardener's work is never done!


  1. You could always paint the net supports green to blend in and no one would ever see them. Great post!

    1. Thank you Ladyhawthorne!

      I am so focused on work that it didn't occur to me to paint them! I should have more time in July so that is exactly what I will do.

      I appreciate your comment!!


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