Monday, May 20, 2013

How Does Our Garden Grow?

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The garden has, for the most part been going really well. Our strawberries finally gave us some ripe fruit.  We've been really frustrated because the berries go from white to rotten, in the blink of an eye. Having never seriously grown strawberries before, I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.  We shoved some more "straw" (meaning, unraveled rope fibers) under the berries, and hoped that would appease the Strawberry Gods. 




Everything looks really lush and healthy, with the exception of our chard which is infested with leaf miners. (Does anyone have any advice for dealing with leaf miners, without resorting to insecticides?) 



The gigantic plants in the middle of the garden are our fava beans, which are producing massive pods.   Our brugmansia continues to struggle.  I don't really know what it wants.  It alternates between looking terminally ratty, and bursting into astonishing blooms.  I'm considering giving it a haircut, to see if at least I can get it to look less spindly.

The swarm I collected a while back is doing splendidly.  They bees are very busy, flying up and out of our yard at a furious pace.




This weekend, we had enough time to harvest and prepare our fava beans. We have to admit to not liking them as "string" beans. There's something about the flavor of the actual pods that both Robb and I find kind of disgusting.  So we decided to stop pretending that we liked them that way, and let them mature into shelling beans.  What you can't tell in this photos is how massive the pods are.  Most of what you're seeing is about ten inches long.  This basket of beans weighed over four pounds, and when we had them all shucked, we had over a pound of shelled beans.  Preparing fava beans is the ultimate in slow food.  Labor intensive, but so worth the effort.



Robb made some tags for our various fig trees out of scrap copper.  However, they have not been installed, because I haven't taken the time to puzzle out which plant is which. 

Our little backyard orchard is looking good.  The lapin cherry is covered with baby fruits. Robb built a sort of farthingale to protect the tree from our hooligan hens.  It looks a bit bizarre, but is worth it if we get to eat home-grown cherries.  The plum tree is bursting with developing fruit. It looks like only a few of the grafts will hold onto their fruit until maturity, which is not surprising, considering how slim those branches are.  The pluot is covered in green fruit. The persimmon is blooming. (I must take photos.)  The lemon has recovered from a rough (for us) winter, and it putting out new leaves.

The flax plot is almost knee high.  I'm really insane for embarking on such a crazy project as trying to produce my own linen.  But when has that sort of thinking ever stopped me?

How about you, dear blog reader?  Are you growing anything?


11 comments:

Norma Chang said...

To deal with leaf miners, I just cut away and discard (in the trash not the compost pile)the infected parts the plant will bounce back.
I looking forward to seeing photo of your fruit trees, wished I had a persimmon tree.

Michelle said...

I have a brugmansia that does the same thing - it bursts into incredible bloom, then all the flowers die and hang there and the whole thing looks like crap, then the cycle starts again... I don't do anything to the plant other than chop out the stuff that dies during the winter. I'm too lazy to fuss over it.

Leafminers, just be sure to pick off all the infected leaves and throw them in the garbage - not the compost. The worm that infects the leaf drops out of the leaf and pupates in the soil, so if you can stop that part of the life cycle, that is, don't allow any worms to pupate in the soil or your compost, that's half the battle. Inspect the new leaves for the clusters of tiny white eggs, usually on the underside of the leaves and rub them off or tear out that part of the leaf. The prime season for leaf miners is now, so if you keep the chard patch clean of infected leaves and have a bit of patience you'll get through it. Some gardeners cover their plants with row cover to keep the adult fly from laying its eggs on the leaves.

Favas are such a pain, but so good. I got my husband to promise to help with shucking and peeling them, otherwise I threatened to not grow them anymore. He's kept his promise so far...

Carolina said...

Wow, fresh fava beans. What a treat.

Bee Girl said...

Ugh...leaf miners! Tear off the infected leaves. Then, check the bottoms of all the other leaves and smoosh any tiny white eggs you find there. It's painstaking and gross, but the only way I've found to deal with them.

K said...

Out here in Middle Tennessee the ground is hard, red clay. We just put in some blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and they're thriving. We also planted a peach tree & 2 apples, & I'm worried for them.
I had meant to build some raised garden beds, but haven't yet. We started lots of peas, tomatoes & even a zucchini in some Dixie cups & they need to move out soon, so we'll see. My favorite is herb gardening, so hopefully I'll get to that soon.
We used to grow strawberries, and pretty much I just put them in the ground and watered them. No straw. They did really well, if we could keep the birds away!

cath said...

Linen!! Wow--will love to hear how that goes. I've never tried to spin it (I've only tried animal fiber), let alone grow it!!

Barbie~ said...

I like the copper tags. How big are they?

Connie said...

Leaf miners are also a very annoying pest here in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island in B.C CAN. I quite growing Chard and Beet Greens just because of those pesky worms. I know that if you cover your crop with REmay it will deter them but chard gets so tall. it worked successful with both carrot rust fly and leaf miner in beets that I planted in a container. However one must keep adjusting it as the plant grows. I would put all picked leaves in the garbage bin. i never had a problem until I let a native salad plant called Lambs Quarters grow in my veg patch. Not more!! I would try growing in half barrel. Apparently the carrot rust fly can only fly up to 6-12'' but don't know if it's the same for leaf miner . Good Luck. My strawberries are just in bloom but waiting in anticipation for that succulent berry in early june here in the pacific northwest.

thenovicegardener said...

Those cool tags caught my eyes. You can probably make them into jewelry, too!

marysveggiegarden said...

Use a floating row cover next year. But you must also rotate your chard & beets (plant in a different location) next year because the larvae are pupating in the soil of the old patch. You don't want them to emerge under the row cover. I find if I keep the chard well picked I can get most of the leaves before the eggs hatch.

Teresa said...

Strawberries: are they staying too wet or not getting enough sun?
Teresa

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