Our spring was very cold for awhile, and then the last couple weeks it’s been super hot. It was 85 degrees yesterday and humid. Today it’s in the 40s. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm back up. It gets hard to plan your garden and planting when you’re not sure if the weather is going to cooperate. Here where we are situated, I follow a couple of different Last Frost dates – one for Houghton, Michigan, and one for Marquette (they are each about an hour or two away from me, I’m in the middle). According to my source, these two towns which are only a couple hours away from one another, are about 2 weeks different in terms of last frost date. One is mid May, one is late May. Then our weather can vary from day to day. It can be really hot and make you think “oh, I can plant those tomatoes” and then we get frost. Or even snow! I saw we might get some slight snow / rain showers in a couple days. But the temps shouldn’t be too cold where I’m that worried about us getting it. Anyway, I planted the last bits of my garden this weekend (before I saw that snow prediction). If I have to cover things, I will. I do have one or two things still waiting in the house – ginger, which can’t take ANY cold at all, and some gourds I’m waiting to sprout.
Here are some updated pictures of our gardens the last couple of weeks:
The garden is growing and our spring is definitely under way. Hopefully the weather keeps cooperating.
We had a great gardening season. I’ve been so busy with the harvest that I have not had time to post anything. Fall has come and almost gone – winter seems like it is coming early this year. We’ve had close to freezing temps for weeks already, which is not typical for us. I think a lot of the upper U.S. is in this weather pattern as well. I have not yet planted my garlic – I ordered from one website, and then saw that it was back-ordered, and they were not going to be shipping till late October. I typically plant the first or 2nd week, so I cancelled it. I ordered from another place that I know grows their own garlic, thinking that they would ship quicker. I ended up having to order a different kind, but it’s still a Porcelein type of garlic (they typically have 4-6 large cloves per garlic head). They have not shipped yet either, so I called this week, and they shipped it for me yesterday – I have a blanket on the garlic bed, trying to keep my ground from freezing before I can plant the garlic.
With our hot summer this year, some vegetables grew fantastically, and other plants didn’t do so well. Some things I thought did horribly but as we cooled down they surprised me – our cauliflower grew really large, but didn’t head until September after the rest of the garden was dying. We had a whole lot of squash and tomatoes. I have so much squash that I don’t think I will plant any next year, at least not winter squash.
Last year I planted 3 plants of butternut squash, and got about 1 per plant. This year, I planted three butternut and three Gete Okosomin squash plants. The butternut gave us 11 very large squashes, and the Gete Okosomin gave us 28 – the largest was 25 pounds. These things were massive. Our super-hot summer really helped.
We bought a pig for meat from a butcher / farmer this year, and our freezer has run out of room with that and all the vegetables. I have a lot of tomatoes that I just froze instead of canning, and a lot of zucchini that I froze, besides the pork. I am hoping the squash will mostly last for us through the winter since I cured them for awhile. I will check them here and there to make sure they aren’t softening.
We had too many cucumbers this year – we tried to make pickles but we just got tired of them. So that is something I won’t grow next year, or maybe a plant or two. I had at least 6 plants this year – too many. I also grew Patty pan squash but we weren’t very excited about them. I grew some Zucchini Rampicante, a curly long zucchini variety – they were really nice. The plants sprawl everywhere, so I’ll trellis them next year, but the flavor was really good and if you forget them or don’t find one until late, they turn into winter squash. They just harden up a bit on the outside and turn from green to brown (like a butternut color).
This year was pretty good for our gardens. I don’t like the cold of winter, but I do like that we get a time to slow down. I’ll start getting the mid-winter gardening itch probably in January once we’ve had snow for awhile.
(Pictures in this post are all courtesy of my husband, Elton Powell).
We’ve had a lot of things happening – it was really hot for the beginning of summer, so my garden was growing like crazy. We’ve cooled down a bit for the last few days, and today it got sunny again. Here are some nice pictures of our gardens and yard:
Our strawberries have been coming in well – I had gotten a couple cups a few days ago, and at that time there were a bunch almost ripe and ready to pick. So yesterday morning, I walked out to the strawberry patch to harvest, and came across this sight:
A deer got into my strawberry patch and eaten the tops and the berries off most of my plants. The way they were eaten and the amount taken points to deer. And we have deer in the yard a lot. Here is what the plants were SUPPOSED to look like:
Luckily they just got the tops of the plants, so the plants will live to give me strawberries next year. I have it all fenced with a makeshift gate, but the gate had been off, since I don’t have to worry about chickens getting in there. The deer must have figured out she could get in through the open door. The deer also got into the open gate of the cottage garden (which I also had left open since we don’t have chickens anymore) and tried a bunch of other things. She must have thought it was a salad bar:
The deer ate some bean plants, some chard, some lettuce, a bunch of my orach, some Borage and some broccoli. She wanted nothing to do with the huge patch of Kale or Asian greens that the chard and orach were between, for some reason. This deer just came in and had a taste of random things. A lot of herbs were untouched as well, fortunately. I have since made sure that gates are closed, and also got some fence to cover things a bit – I laid pieces of fence a little over so the plants are okay but the deer can’t get to the leaves, just in case they decide to just hop the fence to get some more salad. I was lucky that they didn’t completely devastate anything, but it was close. I only will get a few more strawberries, not the nice crop I was hoping for.
One bright spot was that my poppies are starting to bloom:
I’ve been trying to get poppies started for a few years and usually the seedlings disappear after I plant them. I put a ton in this year and they are all coming up and now this was the first bloom.
We have had a strange spring, it’s finally warming up again. Our weather was warming when I last posted, and then we got more snow over the Easter weekend – about a foot. That melted after a week or so, so we are finally getting into actual spring here. I planted some tulips in the fall and those are emerging now, and our daffodils are getting ready to bloom soon. We’ve been adding some stuff to the yard, planning the garden, and we put up a greenhouse yesterday! Here are some pictures of our farm in early May:
It is now mid-October and our weather is taking a turn for the worse. We’ve had a month or so of way too much rain, with a few days of nice temperatures and sun thrown in, until this past weekend – I had ice on my car window yesterday morning. I knew this was coming so we pretty much pulled everything in that remained outside. I experimented a bit this year, I grew some sunchokes and some crosnes – those grew but never flowered. The deer ate most of the sunchoke plants the other day. I am leaving them where they are to see if they will come up again in the spring. I grew peanuts and ginger. Our ginger did really well in the early part of the season, with our hot weather, but then we got lots of rain in the later part of the summer and the temperatures really weren’t warm enough – I have two plants and I have pulled them both in the house to keep growing, under grow lights. My peanuts, however, did really well, despite the rainy later summer/fall. Below you will see some highlights of this year’s garden:
I still have a few things in the ground that may be ok till the ground freezes – kale, brocolli, and some brussel sprouts. I planted my garlic and some shallots last week and covered them with some straw. All in all, I feel 2019 was a pretty good gardening year. I do wish the rain would spread itself out over the whole season instead of walloping us either early or late – this year we got nothing in the spring and way too much in the later part of the season. I am already thinking of what to plan for next year’s garden.
We’ve been busy in the garden. I am starting to get carrots now – I had planted seed tapes this spring, with tons of carrots. My double dug beds are supposed to allow you to cram things in, so I had seed tapes next to each other and carrot seeds spaced about 3 inches between (so I wouldn’t have to thin.) Because of our lack of early summer rain, the seed tapes didn’t do so well. I got several carrots, but they are spaced way far between – I planted about 140 with the seed tapes and I think there are maybe 20 or so that have done anything – but they are HUGE. I had a couple that were popping out of the ground, so I picked them – they were mostly dark purple and 11-12 inches long. I had planted a mixed blend (old seeds I had on hand), plus these dark purple carrots called Black Nebula, and some yellow and orange carrots.
The garden is doing well, but we are getting into fall and the Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting some yucky weather later this month. (They talked about a snow/rain mix at the end of September. Yuck. I hope they are wrong). Hopefully I’ll get all my vegetables to ripen before we have to worry about frost or snow.
We started off this summer a little dry, but we’ve been getting more rain now, along with hot, humid weather. The garden is very happy about this – my plants are growing like crazy. Here are some photos of the garden from this weekend: