The spring started off with a whimper. While I wanted to be digging new beds and working on the soil the weather just would not cooperate. It was cold and rained continuously allowing little time to be outdoors. Even when the weather warmed up enough to start planting it wasn't regularly warm enough to properly germinate the seeds I put in the ground. I planted several veggies over and over again with no result. Beautiful purple kale, the light tasting greens of claytonia, and beets just would not germinate this year no matter how many times I tried. Some seeds sprouted only to be attacked by slugs and decimated in short order. I planted an entire raised bed full of carrot seed expecting it would need to be thinned later. There was no thinning necessary as only a quarter of the seeds sprouted.
|What should have been a box packed with carrots was very slim pickings|
To add to my frustration I found myself battling cats once again.
|Priscilla wandering through the veggies|
The biggest tragedy of all this year was the tomatoes. I worked hard to get 20 tomato plants started from seed indoors and I had dreams about the bounty of tomatoes I would have this fall. Things started off well enough. All the tomatoes transplanted into the garden survived and due to a extra bag of manure in one bed some of the plants sprouted to great heights.
|Tomatoes on the left received more nitrogen and |
were twice the size of those on the right
|My Clear Pink heirloom tomatoes were decidedly green all summer long|
|I didn't know it at the time but the wilted leaves at far left were the start of blight|
|Irene flattened the lot sending vines sprawling all over the grass.|
A quick look revealed tomatoes in one of my raised beds had blossom end rot. This condition is due to a lack of calcium in the soil. I was frustrated but I still had other beds of tomatoes so not all was lost, right?
Wrong again. As other tomatoes began to turn red the effects of blight became clear. Suddenly there was rotting fruit everywhere and vines began to turn black. At that point there was nothing that could be saved. I tried picking some fruit that didn't appear infected, separating it out and washing it, hoping but it didn't work. Every last tomato went to the garbage. Bags of plants had to be cut down and hauled to the garbage, tools and gloves sanitized in bleach. A lot of work and no reward at all. Sadly we will be purchasing tomato sauce at the grocers this winter.
It's times like that when I am thankful that vegetable gardening is done anew each year. There's always the possibility that next year will be different and the issues that arose this year will be long forgotten the next.