And Hope Springs Eternal…

IMG_2665Just look at those veggies!

Aren’t they wonderful!

They would even more wonderful if I grew them.

Which I didn’t.

Some came from a local farmer’s market and some from my sister. (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)

It’s been a very discouraging garden year.

After our early success with kale and lettuce – we have had one disappointment after another.

Massive amounts of rain drowned entire crops.

More than once.

I’ve replanted tomatoes three times and the ones in the ground now are sitting in water after the heavy rain again over the weekend.

Cut worms devastated young seedlings.

Bunnies got through our bunny-proof electric fence.

And the things that did manage to grow were choked out by weeds that grew fast and furious because of all the rain.

We mowed the garden three times and just last weekend took the weed-wacker to it.

Yep. It’s been a rough gardening year here.

At times I’ve been ready to give up.

Then I think of fresh green beans and grilled zucchini and corn on the cob smothered with butter and a crisp watermelon fresh from the patch…

…and I go out and pull some weeds and throw some more seeds in the ground.

You never know – next week might be dry.

We might have a fabulous autumn!

Maybe we’ll have a late frost!

And hope springs eternal in the heart of a gardener.

 

A Garden Search and Rescue

My garden – as our Amish neighbor’s would say – had “gotten away from us.”

T’was a mess.

I guess that’s no surprise considering a late frost – then lots of rain – and graduation – and then more rain and even some hail.

At least it’s planted – well most of it – thanks to my husband who added “help my frazzled wife plant the garden” to his endless list of projects this spring.

This week’s goal was to perform a garden search and rescue. Our mission – to find the vegetables and rescue them from the weeds.

The tomatoes and peppers were easy. They were well mulched and somewhat protected, so they are still looking good. We even have a blossom or two!

tomato

We discovered the first planting of corn and green beans – except for the last third of a row of beans that went AWOL.  Must have washed away. We replanted.

The peas were pretty entrenched in grass and weeds. When we finally freed them, they rewarded us with several blossoms.

The onions and radishes looked pretty good, when we finally found them. And we were able to salvage some of the lettuce, but the spinach was pretty beaten up by the hail.

radish

(Note – it doesn’t seem fair that the weeds right next to the spinach escaped hail damage – while the spinach plants were ripped to shreds. Just saying.)

But in all the hills of summer squash, spaghetti squash and zucchini that we planted just before graduation – there are only 4 plants.  The rest of the seeds must of washed away. They’re probably in Missouri by now.

And then there’s the 140 cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower plants.

neglected cabbage

The poor things were mired in mud, beaten by hail, and over taken by weeds. They were in definite need of rescue.

It was a massive job.

A week full of muddy “character-building” hard work that our children should someday thank us for.

But we did it.

This mission is complete.

Operation: Save the Garden

It stopped raining. Finally.

We’ve now had an entire week of gorgeous weather – mid 80’s – low humidity and a light breeze.  🙂

The farmer’s are making hay as fast as they can – and we set out to save the garden.

You may remember my grass-covered corn patch of a week ago. Well – look at it now!

We worked really hard to find the buried corn! It had some hail damage and 3 rows had to replanted – but it’s growing!

Remember the watermelon and cantaloupe plants that I transplanted to replace the ones that never came up? They were covered with grass as well.

Tall grass.

Impossible to weed it all grass.

Made me want to cry to look at it grass.

So we got creative! We took cardboard boxes, cut out a hole and slid them over the plants. Then we took hoes and chopped the grass down around the plants and covered the entire area with cardboard boxes. The whole thing.

We used every cardboard box on the farm. Toward the end the kids were even dumping things out of boxes and ripping them down. It was a last ditch desperate attempt.  But we did it.

Then we covered them all with grass clippings. The kids said it was kind of like laying carpet! It looks great and so far it’s working with just a few stray blades of grass peaking through where the cardboard pieces meet.

And those yellow looking tomatoes? most of them have greened up beautifully – and I even have a couple of blossoms! 🙂

I lost several pepper plants, but still have a few that look pretty good.  I even have one baby jalapeno pepper growing.

Things are most definitely looking up!

I’ve linked this post up at The Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

The Great Strawberry Saga

It was just a year ago that I started my new strawberry bed.

Just one year ago that I hauled all that smelled chicken poo in the wheelbarrow across the farm yard and tilled it all in with my handy -dandy Mantis Tiller (the wonder machine).

Just one year ago that I planted over 70 strawberry plants. Yes – 70.

I had such high hopes.

Ha!

Then it rained. And rained. And rained.

When the sun finally came out – the weeds grew and grew and grew.

About mid-July I gave up. I had green beans by the bucketful to take care of, county fair, company coming and a VBS to plan. I had no time to spend in a strawberry bed.

I didn’t even look at the patch again until last week.

I got on my hands and knees and started digging out weeds. I had some of the kids help me and turned it into a hide and seek game. In all – we discovered 8 strawberry plants.

Yes – eight.

I’m not so good at math – but it seems to me that adds up to over 60 plants that didn’t make it.

Let’s see now. There’s seven people in my family and eight strawberry plants. If each plant produces 3 berries this season we can all have about 3-1/3 berries.

So much for strawberry shortcake, strawberry preserves, and strawberry pie.

But I’m not giving up! My friend Dorothy offered me as many strawberry plants as I wanted and I intend to take her up on that.

I’ll replant and mulch well and wait another year.

Yep – I’m sure I needed that exercise anyway!

Now where’s that wheelbarrow…

I’ve linked this post up with my friend Myra over at My Blessed Life for her Friday Fails and over at the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.