It’s a Jungle Out There!

DSCN1199It has been so hot! Too hot to go out and weed, until this morning, and now we have a jungle forming in the garden. At long last the plants are starting to kick it into gear. We had things in seedling form for two months; they just didn’t grow. It was discouraging. We came back from California, expecting a noticeable change and there was very little. UGH!

We had thought the problem was that the compost was getting too hot for the little seedlings, because it does get very dry. We spread straw all over before we left for graduation, hoping that the whole garden would look better when we returned. Not so. We resigned ourselves to getting rid of the noxious weeds this year and little, if any produce. Next year!! (sounds just like my farmer uncles)

DH is a soil man, and he was perplexed. All that wonderful compost and things looked terrible…he finally decided that it might have been a nitrogen fixing problem with the compost. That, and the cardboard we laid to deal with the noxious weeds, might have been too much for the little seedlings. The pure compost was busy fixing (I don’t understand that, so I can’t explain it) and until it was finished, the plants couldn’t get the nitrogen they needed.

The areas that weren’t in raised beds started growing first, especially the tomatoes which

we had really babied along. (It takes A LOT of tomatoes to make a quart of tomato sauce!)  Some of the corn was actually “knee high by the 4th of July” which I understand is necessary to get corn.  (The buckets are to collect extra rain water when we get it.) Some of the corn, (it’s very spotty) is as tall as me now, and I found a baby squash this morning while weeding.

DSCN1205However, the canteloupe, which was an after thought and where we used our little bit of personal compost was going crazy!

 

 

 

Earlier this week I noticed that one pepper plant DSCN1198in the raised bed had suddenly turned a darker green and was sprouting leaves everywhere, also buds…hurrah! He’s the dark one in the lower left.

The green beans are starting to pick up steam now, after looking sickly since May, even with the second planting I did.

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The sprinkling of carrots is taking off, though the onions and garlic are likely a lost cause for the year, as are the turnips, rutebegas and cabbage. We may have a chance now with some beets, and a replanting of spinach should be fine.

 

Get this, though, the lettuce started growing this week. DH keeps reminding me that this is God’s garden, and He will provide the food we are supposed to have from it. If not from here, it will come from somewhere else.

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Seeing this lettuce is a delight; it is called baby romaine, and I was really looking forward to salads. Maybe I’ll get some just when the tomatoes are going, and maybe a lone cucumber or two. (another fail, though one plant is determined, it is only 2-3 inches tall, but is sporting one very nice bloom.)

SOME of the sunflowers have gone crazy now…look at this monster! They are still pretty short, but some are literally growing close to an inch a day I think!

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The grapes are in their glory! They are now four years old, and they have literally covered their corner of the fence. We have grapes in visible clumps, getting bigger by the day, and looking VERY happy. There will be plenty for eating fresh, maybe a batch of jam, and some juice. We will attempt to do raisins, but with the crazy little birds, that might not work so well. We’ll try. No photos of this, they are just a huge wall of leaves!

Too bad I took all the pictures before I spent an hour weeding. By sunset, it will look much better out there, with all the contraband dried up! You probably noticed that we have what looks like grass every where. That is the straw sprouting…its wheat. We  pull the larger clumps and just lay them on the ground, for extra nitrogen. In the fall we will let whatever is left go, and collect the stems. Last year I actually ground a bit up for whole wheat flour, I think I gathered up maybe a cup of wheat kernels, which grinds into a cup of flour.

 

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20 thoughts on “It’s a Jungle Out There!

    1. We try to grow all the beans, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and squash we eat in a year, so it may be a little lean. I will never take my mom’s garden for granted again! We took the grass out of half the backyard to make the space. 😳

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    1. Our issue is bindweed, Canada thistle and sow thistle. They are the worst! The other stuff is not so bad, at least if you pull it, you are sort of done with it! We did do some pulling one day last week when it rained, so the big ones were gone. It looks much better now, though I’ve discovered we have a wee bunny that I think is killing our squash vines by chewing on the main stems! 😳

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  1. If everything takes off you will be very busy later this summer! We finally got some needed rain in 2 doses that were good but nothing like was north, east and (for sure) south!!!! The area is suffering from washed out culverts, bridges and roads!!! Closures are everywhere. The heat has broken but humidity remains. Quilting and family events dominate at the moment. A small batch of pesto was made this morning, using the first of this year’s garlic.Yum!!!!

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      1. Something about the location we have in relation to the level plains to our West, the air currents coming up from the gulf OR down from Canada and the fact we are the “Driftless Region” with the Mississippi winding through gives so much ‘fuel’ to these storms and they hang there dumping rain (like the 10″ they got just South of us!!!).

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  2. I hope your garden keeps doing better! I’m finding this gardening in the north compared to the south interesting! We grow our turnips, cabbage and greens in the fall ,they do better with little to no worms. I would love to grow my own wheat sometime never have , I do grind all my wheat for my bread.

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    1. Me too Deb! The difference in our areas has fascinated me as well! I really just play with my wheat, since this is wheat country, it is a simple thing to ask to purchase a bushel or two from families we know, which is what we usually do. I grind all my whole wheat flour but we will purchase white flour until it gets too costly.

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  3. Your weather has been so different than ours–here it has been quite cool and quite wet. The high tomorrow may be 67! We don’t grow food but the flowers and shrubs are growing like mad. Oh, and we do have two tiny raspberry bushes from which I have harvested a total of 11 berries! Wheeee! Here’s hoping to have lots to eat soon!

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    1. It has been a weird year weather wise. We are expecting more seasonable temps this week, which is good because I need to declare war on the thistles in the yard and it is time to take down the iris bed. They need to be spread out…they didn’t bloom much this year, so it is definitely time. Our raspberries are reworking themselves I guess. The old canes completely died back and there are plenty of new shoots, but they too are a bit stunted! Sounds like your two and getting themselves read to gear up…hope so, fresh berries are wonderful!

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    1. Mary Margaret, we have some wonderful, fertile soil, but it is clayey. About every 4-5 years we have to do a big dump of something on it to lighten it up. We also much with straw and that combo seems to work pretty well. If we can get it we like some rabbit manure, and when we have the chickens we add some of that to our compost, but of course that is a long process since their refuse is so “hot.”

      Horse and cattle manure has bee a big problem because most are range feeders, and that is how we ended up with the noxious weeds. 😁 I have thought about all that great dairy manure that we sold where I grew up, and now understand why those gardeners were so excited!

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    1. It’s that farmer blood, you can’t get rid of it! I keep saying that someday I’ll have a little jersey cow who roams the golf course….well maybe not, those golfers are bit persnickety about what they step in….

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  4. Glad to see so many of your plants got the memo to start growing!! It’s been a weird spring/summer here and I’ve noticed a number of corn fields don’t seem to be as tall as they should be. We have an ice cream stand/farm not too far from here that plants 3 fields of sunflowers every year. They make sunflower seed ice cream and sell bouquets then donate all of the sunflower money to the Make-a-Wish foundation. The sunflowers did not get their memo and only about half of them have started blooming.

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