[Homestead] Summer happenings
lynnw1366 at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 7 10:12:08 EDT 2009
> In early Spring, late winter, I planted a flat of Red Burgundy seeds.
> They came up fine and I transplanted them fine, but the largest one is
> only slightly larger than a quarter. I'm not sure what I did wrong.
> I guess I will plant more red onions in a month or so and hope that by
> this time next year they will make bulbs.
Bev; give the onions more time. I start my onion seeds in Jan/Feb, and the
large ones (Ailsa Craig) are just starting to bulb up now (golf ball sized
right now...they will get huge by August). I also have Walla Wallas that are
about a month behind the Ailsa Craigs.
Summer hasn't arrived here yet (or maybe it came and went and I missed it).
We get into the 70's during the day, but drop into the 40's some nights. And
it's been raining almost every day. We just had a good dry spell...3 days
without rain, but we had a thunderstorm overnight last night, so we are back
in the mud. The cool weather crops are loving it The peas are starting
flower buds for a second round! The celery and lettuce are phenominal. But
the peppers, eggplant, and winter squash haven't grown at all in the past
month. I have cucumbers and melons in the greenhouse, and I actually have to
shut the windows at night to keep it warm enough to make them happy. The
tomatoes (and I have over 100 plants this year) are doing well despite the
cold, rain, and late blight which is hitting all around me. The Big Beef are
loaded with golfball sized fruit; other (heirloom) varieties have small
fruit. I have a few Stupices (an early heirlom tomato) that are almost ripe.
I have a few plants from seed I saved last year; they were Mortgage Lifter,
but the save seed has come up with potato leaves, so it must have crossed
with something else, or reverted to an earlier form. I'm anxious to see what
I've been using the few dry days to get some hay in. This year some of the
desirable plants seem to be increasing. I have a small area near the road
where I have my hay delivered in the winter, and this year it's full of
birdsfoot trefoil. In fact, trefoil is everywhere this year (it's sort of
the northeastern equivalent of alfalfa...which doesn't grow so well here).
I mainaged to get that all cut and dried and in the barn before the rain
hit. I also found some hairy vetch there. I left that to go to seed. I like
using hairy vetch as a cover crop, but it's so expensive. If I can start
collecting my own seed, I can use more of it.
I also have chamomile growing in my driveway. There have always been a few
plants, but this year the whole driveway is covered with them. I've
harvested and dried some.
I always plant a lot of leaf lettuce because it normally goes to seed after
a few weeks. This year, because it's cool, the first planting is still good
while I'm transplanting the third planting into the garden. The slugs made
my Chinses cabbage look like lace; I stripped off all the bad leaves and
there was a small core of uneaten leaves, but it took 3 heads to get enough
for stir-fry. Potatoes are just blossoming now, garlic should be ready soon.
When the garlic is pulled, those beds will be the winter garden; I got Eliot
Coleman's new book and plan a fall/winter garden of carrots, beets, endive,
lettuce, as well as leaving the leeks and parnips that are there in the
ground as long as I can. I'm doing a fall planting of peas, but I keep
reading that fall plantings don't do as well.
The strawberries (Alpine and everbearing) didn't set many fruit, probably
because of all the rain. They are still in constant blossom, but few fruit.
I have a bumper crop of pears, and a few peaches, but NO apples. I have 4
producing-size apple trees, and they had blossoms, but the frost must have
gotten the fruit. Funny, because the pears weren't affected at all by the
frost, and lot of the peaches survived. Maybe it depends on the exact stage
they are in when the frost hits. I'm continuing to spray the peaches and
pears with Surround, and they look good.
I'm starting to be overrun with cucumbers, lettuce, and greenbeans, so I've
been trying to find the best way to sell them. I tried selling through a
local farmstand, but what they offered to pay for my produce wasn't worth
driving there. The farmers' market is once a week, and I have produce more
often than that. If I man my own farmstand, I can't be in the garden, so
I'm thinking of using an honor system and not leaving anymore produce or
money out there than I can afford to lose. People here are generally honest,
and ther are quire a few self-serve, honor system stands.
So far, it's a a strange, but not unproductive gardening year.
Tioga Co. PA
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