Thursday, July 11, 2013

With a little rain and sunshine

It has rained nearly every day for the last few months.  Fortunately it has not rained constantly and, fortunately, we're on high enough ground that most has drained away from the orchards and gardens.  The hay fields and parts of the pastures are still quite wet so once again, we continue to wait and hope to dry these out long enough to rescue a few bales from them.

Meanwhile out in the garden, last spring we did a small experiment but putting in a few raised beds.  These have turned out to be a blessing in many ways.  The vegetables are protected from too much rain and standing water. 
 In the last week the bean box has exploded to life.  Although the rows were planted about 18" apart, you would never guess it by how thick and bushy these have become.  Provided that conditions don't suddenly make an unexpected u-turn, we should be harvesting beans by next friday.
yellow beans
There are two different types of snaps growing: bush green beans and yellow snaps.  They have a similar flavor yet add a little splash of color to the summer table.
The cucumbers are growing slowly however with the warmer days, little cukes are appearing.  Other pleasant surprises include the peppers: red bell, cherry bombs (hot), and poblano peppers (med hot to very hot) are all doing well.

Toward the back of the garden, the squash, gourds, and pumpkins are going vigorously.  This year, we planted these in one of the raised beds.  Since they are going in close proximity to each other, we will probably not save the seeds.  These plants will cross pollenate with each other and with the cucumbers resulting in some unexpected off spring.

Sidebar: with all the rain, powdery mildew has become a big worry for many farmers.  Rather than spraying with poisons, I'm trying another remedy: milk.  By spraying the leaves and stems with a solution made with 1 part milk to 9 parts water, one raises the pH on the surfaces just enough to kill the mold spores.  One has to reapply after the rains however after just a few applications, the powdery mildew goes away.  This can be used on a variety of different plants and your garden stays safe for all the little beasties (dogs, chickens, children, husbands, etc) who may come and go.
Just remember to take care of it promptly.  This disease can rapidly wipe out a garden if left to spread.  To read more see Organic Gardening dot com

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