Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Tale of Two Gardens

My old garden is producing like mad. The tomatoes are by far, the stars of the show. I tried several new things this year, I started my own seeds, I'm using trellis supports instead of tomato cages, and I'm heavily pruning the plants. Add that to 9 years of soil building and it has made for a bumper crop. These pics are from early June. Before this, 2007 was my best year for tomatoes (and yes, I remember because my son had just been born) and 2009 was a pretty good year too (year my daughter was born). 2014 blows them both out of the running, and I'm so pleased I can have a good garden without also having a baby! We have been enjoying fresh tomatoes every dinner, eating loads of fresh salsa, over a gallon of frozen tomatoes so far, plus sharing with friends (and by sharing, I mean texting a neighbor as we head out of town for the weekend and letting her help herself from the garden). The green beans have also produced well. The last two years have been a bust on green beans with some sort of rust or wilt attacking them early and wiping the whole patch out before any harvests. 2014 was a strong year for them. I planted the same Bush Bean Trio Mix from Botanical Interests. The purples produced first, followed by yellow, and a finish with the greens. This all happened over a approximately 3 week period. We ate all we could, shared some and then washed, cut, blanched and froze the rest. It ended up being 6 quart bags of frozen beans. Not too shabby for a 20 foot row. The potatoes were okay this year. I expected more for how many I put in. The onions did well, I had about a dozen that were huge, bigger than softballs and the rest were about tennis ball size, and of course a few piddly little odd ones. The June 9th garden harvest was pretty impressive. It is so encouraging to know that a garden can be like this, because it certainly is not happening like that at the new house. So far, all of the plants there are just limping along. The seedlings that went in over a month ago are now only 6 inches tall, bugs have eaten many of my seedlings to the ground, and all in all the plants just look anemic and pitiful. I know it will get better. In fact, I have even started hauling finished compost from the old house to the new house. After just one application, the poor puny new plants put on a new set of greener leaves. Next will be to improve our chicken composting area at the new house. Ideally, the girls will be situated over a resting garden bed. They will spend a season scratching and improving the soil, then they will get moved to a new spot leaving the rich one for planting.

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