Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

The Garden Chronicles

Growing Your Own Vegetables, Backyard Homesteading, Organic Gardening, Better Living Through Chemicals

Garden update.

As I tap-out this post on my laptop I'm sitting on the porch enjoying an icy cold Labatt Blue Bière. is hot!  Like a sauna.  I just finished hoeing the tomato and pumpkin patch.  Yesterday I weeded the main garden and Jill cleared the kitchen garden.  The dogs are lounging around.  After-all it is the Dog Days of Summer.

I'm doing a few things differently this year. 

First off - less variety and more quantity.  After years of trial and error I'm getting the hang of what grows best and what we can make the most use of.

For instance - in the picture above from the foreground to the background are five rows of green beans sown two weeks apart from one another.  Followed by five rows of potatoes - a combination of Kennebec, Red Pontiac and Yukon Golds.  Followed by six rows of onions - sweet white and yellow -  along with two rows of cabbages.  Red and regular.

There's a couple of hills of scallop squash and cantaloupe followed by a row each of acorn squash and pickles.

Some old sunflower seed was sown for the birds.

The asparagus has all gone to seed.  I'm on my third sowing of spinach and radishes.  The first sowing of peas and beets failed and some critter ate my broccoli .  They've been replanted.

The kitchen garden harbors all of Jill's herbs, a couple of varieties of lettuce, the carrots, green pepper plants, more radishes, beets, Swiss chard, still more spinach, the broccoli and another attempt at Brussels sprouts.   

The crowning achievement is the tomato patch. 

A total of twenty very robust tomato plants, saved from certain death by Jill, carefully pruned and heavy with fruit.  In the background, below the rock wall, is the pumpkin patch.

That's a lot of stuff.  Sure doesn't sound like less variety.

Actually it is.  I've scaled-back on the squash species and expanded the potatoes, onions and  tomatoes.  If you can believe it - I have three onions and a half-dozen potatoes remaining from last year's garden.  Stored properly your fresh veggies have some serious shelf life.

Additional changes this year include a better job of crop rotation and management of diseases and pests.  The tomatoes are in a new location and have been treated several times with Serenade.  No sign of fungal blight.

Early and regularly everything was treated with Captain Jack's Dead Bug.  Result -  no bugs.  Now that stuff has been flowering for a spell I've laid-off except to treat the potatoes when the beetles reappeared.

Finally, I  have not watered a thing.  I had early and regular rainfall allowing the plants and seeds to  establish themselves.  The theory I am testing this year is that with no supplemental irrigation my garden plants will send their roots deeper and deeper.  So far they seem to be doing just fine and appear to be healthier all-around.  If this hot spell persists without any rain I'll have to see how the theory holds-up.

Spargle, radishes, spinach, fresh onions and lettuce are finding their way to the table.  The cabbages are already softball sized -  a good thing since I'm down to my last two jars of kraut.  Yesterday I picked my first batch of green beans.

Life is good.

Edit:  10:42 PM Sunday.  Just finished watching a spectacular lightening show from the  porch and there is now a torrential downpour occurring.

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