Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Think My Garden Hates Me

I think it's mad at me for letting it lie fallow last year. For not giving it my time and attention. For throwing the seeds of a cover crop over everything but not planting any veggies or flowers.

I can't remember ever having had a garden this far behind where it should be at this time of year. I've never had so many seeds not germinate. Or transplanted seedlings do so poorly when transferred to garden soil.

There should be Sweet Peas climbing halfway up this trellis by now. The couple of tall plants you see are the only ones that germinated from my first planting. I only got about 50% germination from the second planting.

These beans are doing okay considering when I planted them (June 8th). They're a French filet green bean that is my hubby's favorite. You pick them when they're no more than 1/4" thick. I'll admit they are very, very tasty, but they don't freeze worth a darn so these will be strictly for fresh eating.

This bed of alternating rows of scallions and kohlrabi don't look too bad, but there is nary a kohlrabi bulb starting to form. And I planted them on April 29th. Considering kohlrabi needs to grow quickly in cool weather to be sweet and tender, they may be a bust. Maybe the chickens will be able to play soccer with them.

I set my peppers out three weeks ago inside a cold frame to give them a good start. I sincerely think they have gotten smaller since I transplanted them. And something is chewing on them. Are they not pathetic looking? Sigh.

My Morning Glories were started inside. Babied and talked to. After transplanting outside around the tepee trellis, they all died. Deader than door nails. Kaputz. Withered up. Fell over. The ones you see here I direct seeded after that. Something is chewing on them, too.

These lettuce plants that are finally, almost, barely, just about big enough to harvest were ones I saved from a bed of lettuce I planted on April 29th but had terrible germination. I transplanted them to this bed and totally replanted the first bed on May 17th. Nuthin' came up that time. Nada. (Is there a Lettuce Curse going around I don't know about?)

I'm doing a little four-row experimental patch of corn this year. It was totally flooded last week so I guess I should be happy the little corn sprouts have all survived. They're about 4" high. Knee high by the Fourth of July? Ha! We're hoping for ankle high.

This shot shows my three rows of shell peas and main crop of green beans. Today I came across a picture taken May 25, 2010, and the peas and beans were bigger than these are today on June 26th of this year.

One of my beds of storage onions looking pretty good. They got a little beat up by the heavy, incessant rains last week but have bounced back. No bulbs showing yet though.

More transplanted (rescued) lettuce and a few plants of Swiss chard that were originally planted on that fateful April 29th day. It's not even quite big enough to start harvesting yet. I wonder if it (along with the lettuce) is going to be bitter?

During the flooding of the garden last week I lost all the kale that had just sprouted, some lettuce and two cherry tomato plants. The beets are looking a little spotty but I think I'll get enough out of what's left.

Even my flowers in the garden don't look good. I hadn't mulched anything when the rains came so they are all splashed heavily with mud. I had started all of them inside but right now they're looking a little the worse for wear and not as healthy as when I set them out.

As I said, I've had some insect damage. I don't know what's been dining on the peppers or the potatoes as I haven't been able to find the culprits yet. Today I did see quite a few very small grasshoppers in the garden. Yeesh, I thought grasshoppers were only a bother during dry conditions.

Even the soil in the garden doesn't feel "right" this year. I suppose that could have something to do with the fact that it was dry for so long and then flooded for several days.

I need to concentrate on finding a way to make friends with my garden. Maybe something in writing saying I'll never let it lie fallow again?

29 comments:

Simply Scaife Family said...

It is so frustrating when you work so hard and it takes a turn...praying things perk up for you!

Freedom Acres Farm said...

I don't think you are alone. Our garden is way behind our usual time schedule as well. And we were in there working the earliest we have ever been in our lives. I've replanted carrots 4 times, potatoes once, and lettuce? I've lost count. This is the worst germination rate we've ever had! Everything in the garden is far behind schedule except the bulb onions - those are doing pretty well. Something beyond the weather troubles maybe? Something in the atmosphere?? I dunno but it's really weird, if you ask me!

cristina said...

I am from Romania, Europe. I wrote about the same problem on my blog, in which you are on my blogroll. Look at this post: http://antiplictis.blogspot.ro/2012/06/lipsa-de-evolutie.html
If you press the Google translate button from the right of the page, I hope you will understand what i wrote.
Anyway, the basic ideea is that the seeds didn't germinate this year nor in our country. I find it very strange ...

Sparkless said...

Must be the weather. Our gardens are under water and I'd be happy if the plants produced anything this year as we don't have a long enough season to replant.

Sounds like it's happening to everyone and that worries me a lot.

Sue said...

I'm almost wondering if there aren't problems with the seeds this year.
Carrots-- Non-existent in my garden this year. I've sown them several times before we left. NO germination at all. I'm devastated. Life without carrots? Unthinkable!
And my peppers never grew beyond the seedling stage. What gives?

Carolyn Renee said...

I know it's no condolence, but my garden sucks this year too, although for completely different reasons. Even though your lettuce is puny, it still looks quite tasty! It's been way too hot, even this early spring, for good lettuce around here. The only greens we're getting and eating are the lambs quarters, and even those need to be cooked somehow 'cause they are getting too tough to eat raw.
Have you tried serenading the garden?

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I think we all need to break out the wine and forget about this garden stuff for a while. Maybe it is like a bad kid, and if you dont pay attention to it, it will stop it. Sigh. So many people are having so many problems this year. I dont even want to look at mine. With no rain and this high heat, it doesnt stand a chance. IS 7:30 am to early for wine?

odiie said...

I have flea beetles eating the leaves on my young plants. Once the leaves get older and tougher (if they make it that long) then the beetles leave them alone. Last year was the first time I'd ever even seen a flea beetle. With all of the rains, the good, rich soil has washed off part of my garden leaving a sandy residue behind. Not good growing soil. My seeds germinated fine, but the conditions don't seem to be great for growing.

Lisa said...

Gosh, I feel almost bad after reading your post and your readers' comments, that my garden is doing so well this year.... though my green peppers look about like yours..... kinda' piddly for where they should be. Each year I've struggled, and struggled and struggled and this year seems our 'luck' was good. Having said that, I completely understand your feelings.... 'been there, done that' for so many years. Your garden is still beautiful. Nary a weed to be seen. Obvious you love your garden very much.

Susan said...

I like Jane's idea - and, no, 7:30 a.m. is not too early for wine. It's 5:00 p.m. somewhere in the world! Out of two six foot rows of carrots (carefully planted) eight germinated. My squash seeds are so far behind, they're ahead for next year. It's been a very tough year, indeed.

You Can Call Me Jane said...

Our garden is way less than stellar this year, too. Jamey planted carrots and spinach three times (with no luck). The slugs were a problem earlier (maybe they were eating the new growth?) but have since disappeared. Our beets are practically non-existent and our melons are sad. Thankfully, the tomatoes, raspberries, and peppers look good and so does our pumpkin patch. Hang in there, dearie. You're not alone. Now, I don't drink wine, so can I have chocolate ice cream instead?

Mama Pea said...

Simply Scaife Family - I have a feeling we're past most of the frustrations and difficulties now and things WILL start to perk up now. Thanks.

Mama Pea said...

Freedom Acres Farm - Well, your words make me feel better! But, phooey, that we're all having such trouble with the gardens.

I'm having to agree with you in that it's more than the wonky weather.

Mama Pea said...

cristina - So glad to have your comment! So this makes me think the germination problem is world-wide??! This is getting very, very weird.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - There are severe drought conditions in the Midwest where much of our food is grown. Predictions are for a pitifully small corn crop which will have all kinds of repercussions. What are we in store for?

Mama Pea said...

Sue - But it seems to be happening with old seeds, new seeds, seeds from all different suppliers. About 50% of the lettuce that I planted (for the third time . . . or was it the fourth?) hasn't germinated. I think my peppers must be related to your peppers. Ugh. (No offense.)

Mama Pea said...

CR - I remember you saying early this spring that you were getting hot, hot, hot weather way too early in the year. We up here complain about the cold weather hanging on too far into the gardening seasoning, but you have your problems with it being too hot too early. Remind me again why it is we garden?

Mama Pea said...

Jane - A lot of wine this year may be the only thing that keeps us going! Starting at 7:30 a.m.? Let's call it fruit juice and let it go at that.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - Flea beetles always chew on my early arugula, frissee and mizuna. But I fixed the little buggers this year. Those three things didn't germinate so they didn't have them to chew on!

Oh, to see your good garden soil wash away. Heart breaking!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - You've been working on building up your soil for enough time now that you're starting to see the results of your hard work. Enjoy!

I do so enjoy gardening. And to think that it's such good exercise and produces (well, most years) the best food for us!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I was mulching my teeny-tiny squash and pumpkin plants today thinking that we'd better get a warm, very long fall or they ain't gonna make it!

Now go grab that glass of "fruit juice" and let's toast to great things happening for the rest of the gardening season!

Mama Pea said...

I'll Call You Jane - You can rest assured I'll hang in there!

Sweetie, I'll sit down and eat a bowl of chocolate ice cream with you any time!

Patty said...

All I can say is, I don't feel quite so bad now. I finally got most everything planted about a week ago. I guess if it germinates, I won't be quite as behind as I thought. :)

cristina said...

it is weird. i know a lot of people who have the same problem with germination, people from different locations, so it is a world wide problem. i don't know what is to be done other than wait and see what it will be.

judy said...

In times like these it calls for poetry---"Mary Mary,quite contrary,how does your garden grow,with silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maid all in a row" or the new version "Mary Mary how does your garden grow,how should I know I live in a highrise" or from Andy Griffith "Mary Mary how does your garden grow,with silver bells and cockle shells and a noisy petunia "

Erin said...

Sorry to hear, that's frustrating. You are in good company this year, although mine is disease and not germination. Here's a funny story you made me think of that you will get a laugh out of... my friend here who I got into gardening a few years back grew kohlrabi (I never thought to fill her in on that stuff since I don't like it), well she grows it in the summer and when it's "ready" to her she posts photos on Facebook about it and they are like the size of a basketball when she harvests them LOL! I don't have the heart to tell her when they should be harvested since she's so proud of them hahaha at least she's having fun! :)

Mama Pea said...

Patty - I've been talking with other gardeners in our area and they all seem to be having a tough time. What's goin' on here?

Mama Pea said...

judy - Did Andy Griffith really say that? So funny!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Just goes to prove that bigger is not always better! ;o}