Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Garden Journal

Garden Progress May 9, 2015

I got the top on the high bows on the 8th of May. The cover had been on the low bows over the 4 x 4 raised high beds since the 12th April. Seeds for lettuce, spinach, carrots, snow peas, and beets as well as sets for onions and garlic were planted. May the 1st I planted starts for rainbow chard, butter crunch and Romaine lettuce. My goal this year was to not over plant. And to be ahead of last year.

I almost did not do a garden last year. I had two cataract surgeries to sandwich the garden between. The surgery is quick and easy and very immediately satisfying but there are these restrictions which you dare not violate. Though a friend tells me in India those with restored sight walk back to their homes on the same day and pick up work in the fields the very next. In the United States no heavy lifting or inverted poses or exercise beyond walking for three weeks. Gardening is heavy work. Especially when I wanted to do a larger bow structure than I previously had.

My Garden May 13, 2014
At this point I just wanted to give up

This was my original polytunnel structure.  It allowed for a double covering of plastic and space for some buckets at either end but that was about all. I did have lettuce planted in the snow covered low tunnel at that point but with my second surgery less than two weeks away I did not see me getting all the heavy work done before it. And not possible for three weeks after. But spring snow melts fast. And by the 18th of May I had the bow ribs in place, bigger bows on the low tunnel, and buckets assembled.

Garden May 18, 2014

This is the way it looked a year ago. The two side beds were not completed until the 23rd, just two days before the left eye would be operated on. The plastic on the high bows went up on the 21st.

Two 2 x 4 foot raised beds built May 23, 2014

I bring this all up because yesterday I was looking frantically for kale, broccoli, red cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and pepper plants. I, and another gardener friend, were sure we had missed out. But I could not have. I have been haunting the garden stores weekly looking for the latest vegetable starts. Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts were new to me last year. I wanted to do them better this year (no over crowding better bed placement) and had left room in my beds for them.

Living in the mountains can be a disadvantage because all the nurseries except one are at lower altitudes and stock for their costumers generally two weeks in advance of when we need them. But with the bow tunnels extending my season I should be in time with their stock. Frustrated at May passing and empty space in my beds I consulted my garden journal. And my photo files. Broccoli was planted in the raised unfinished bed on the lower left side of the photograph in 2014. Clearly I was in a panic for nothing. The cold weather greens had not been on the market this time last year. I was rushing the season.

But yesterday I found and planted the last of my crops for the gardening year 2015. I have about half of the 9 packs left. A couple I plan to plant in a bucket or two left over since I am not doing tomatoes this year. My garden journal says I had two hard freezes in June last year. The 14th and 17th. It killed off the squash, tomatoes and two of my pepper plants because they were only under the high tunnel. As you can see from the first photograph I have added bows and plastic to my two new long beds from last year.

I know I can get tomatoes and squash at the farmers' market this summer. So why do all that work for nothing? June 13th of last year was my first salad from the garden. I think I will beat that this year.

I am not as religious at my garden journal as I should be. But it is a great help for issues like when starts are available and when the hard frosts happened. I should keep better notes on the successful plants. But it has helped me figure out which are not worth the efforts.

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