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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beginner's Luck

I must say, I think I must be having a real spate of beginner's luck with my garden this year, although I had a smaller one last year.  I'm learning a lot with it, like, there is such a thing as having planted too much, and succession planting really is a good idea.  Right now, I'm building a firewood rack in the garage, on which I'm way behind- we should have ordered firewood in July, so it has to get done, but stuff is happening in the garden and I need to be there!  I really should have watered today, but didn't.  Tomorrow, I must- the garage can wait.

I need to attend to my tomatoes.  They are just going nuts, and the fruits are smaller than I expected, probably because I didn't pinch suckers and they are just growing all over the place.  They need to be cut back.  This morning I did manage to knock down all my onions that are close to ready.  The darn things are making flowers, which is the fault of the weather.  I read that onions are not supposed to make flowers- they're biennials, so what's happened with our freakish weather is that they were hot, then things cooled off again, then they warmed up again, so the onions have been tricked into thinking they have survived a winter and now it's time to set seed.  The problem is, I planted all storage onions and you can't store onions that have made a flower stalk.  So crap!  This was supposed to last me until the autumn onions are ready.   So now I have to figure out how I'm going to save them. Probably chopped and frozen.

I have more cucumbers to pick.  The Eight Ball zucchini has gotten away from me, and now I need to make bread.  I need to deal with the French Sorrel bed which has also gotten out of hand.  My carrots are getting woody and splitting, so I've decided to dry the commercial carrots that are still in the fridge and harvest my carrots for fresh use.  I should probably do that tomorrow.  And how do I tell when the parsnips are done?  They're biennials as well, and somewhat toxic the second year. Have they suffered the same fate as the onions and how do I tell?

I originally meant to mention that what makes me think I have beginner's luck is all the woe and sad tales I read and hear about folks having trouble with their gardens this year because of the weather, some of them very accomplished gardeners.  My sister is about to give up gardening because of her bad luck, and she majored in Agronomy!   But after reading about things that are going wrong in my garden, I'm thinking I'm very lucky to have it producing at all, much less to the point that I can barely keep up with it.  I'll water tomorrow, and pick stuff that's ready, and maybe get the tomatoes under control, but then I have to get back into the garage and get that darn rack done.  It's taking a lot longer than I thought it would.

Homesteading is hard work.


Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I'm definitely one of the woe-is-me gardeners (although not one of the accomplished ones). We've just got dribs and drabs, and nothing seems to be thriving. I don't care for zucchini, but I'll be tempted to plant one next year just because it's so reliable and at least I'd have something. I could get used to zucchini bread.

By the way, if you had a truck you could pick up your own firewood and save the delivery charge.

Jennifer Montero said...

Sometimes an ounce of luck is worth a pound of know-how. Enjoy your successes however you come by them. Will you be canning or pickling anything?

Paula said...

Tamar- I know, I know. I could also drive around in the fall and snag bags of leaves like my old neighbor used to do...maybe the next vehicle....

Jen- We've fermented cabbage into sauerkraut- we'll be canning that (if it was successful) this weekend. I have two half-gallon jars fermenting crock pickles as I write, which will also get canned, and successive batches of cucumbers will be treated the same. The tomatoes I mentioned were specifically planted for canning, as they are a high acid, heirloom variety, so we'll do those up as sauce. They are just beginning to ripen, and now the weather is turning cooler again. It's supposed to be 72 on Saturday. Great for canning, but not so good for ripening tomatoes!

Miriam said...

I had my beginner's luck last year, I think... So far this year the potatoes have been an absolute failure, I've waged war with deer and mice, and the tomato crop seems to be about half what it was last year, even though the plants recovered from whatever disease they had and now seem quite healthy. But other crops are doing better than last year, so I guess it all evens out. If nothing else, it's always interesting!

Toni aka irishlas said...

Tis' a sad gardening year for this irishlas...but, ya' gotta take the good with the bad. At least my livelihood doesn't depend on it!
Last season I canned and froze enough veg to last us until this season with the exception of lettuce, spinach, and onions. This year I've not enough to can or freeze. A big disappoinment.