We are still learning how to grow things in this cool, northern climate. I am happy to say that our garden this year is much better than we had last year. Last year we had many green tomatoes and about three ripe ones. Those that did turn red had end rot and blight. Not a pretty sight.
This year we tried some new strategies. We planted only very early varieties suggested for this area and we planted them all in the wall-o-waters to protect them from the cool nights.
Mother Nature helped out by providing a dry, hot summer.
Voila! Red, ripe delicious tomatoes.
Ours were ripe even before some of the “local” gardeners who have years of experience in this climate. I am a true believer in the wall-o-waters for cool climates!
We’ve also had success with our peas and beans. Nick’s custom trellis is still standing in spite of my design and engineering, and is covered with pole beans.
The peas loved the cool weather, now that is has warmed up the beans have started to produce.
The scarlet runner beans have pretty red blossoms.
We also planted a lot more potatoes this year. Last year we ran out of time and at the last minute we threw a few seed poatoes in a stack of tires sitting on newspaper and filled it with straw. We did actually get about four or five potatoes from those plants, but they were never very strong or healthy looking. This year’s potatoes were planted from seed potatoes in enriched, well tilled soil. The plants were over three feet tall before they started to sprawl and die back a little.
When one plant started to yellow, Rick couldn’t wait to dig around and see if there were potatoes under there. There they were, peeking out of the dirt.
We got more potatoes from that one plant than we did from our whole potato harvest last year. We are improving.
Another new addition in the garden this year was planting several flowers and herbs as pollinators. This is borage which the bees love.
We also planted bee balm to attract the bees. We didn’t get very good yields last year from our squash or pumpkins at least partially because we had no bees.
The flowers also make the garden look very colorful.
Remember those wilted, dead-looking sweet potato slips we got?
Amazingly most of them lived and they are now healthy looking plants. I don’t know if they will produce any sweet potatoes – probably not, but I am surprised they lived at all.
Even our little blueberries are ripening and bearing. Very impressive when you consider they are still in the pots they came in from the nursery last year. We have the water line in the orchard dug, but don’t have it in yet. After that is complete, the berries will go on top. So they are still in their containers, waiting to be planted but bearing anyway.
The corn has tassles and ears growing. We are hoping for some corn on the cob in the next couple of weeks. Last year the varities we planted were too late and never matured.
A new addition for us is this dehydrator. Since our electricity is pretty unreliable, it was out for five days this past winter, freezing food is an iffy proposition. So, I’ve been canning to preserve the harvest, but some things don’t do so well canned. Those foods, like peas and green beans, I am dehydrating. I also added in some chopped carrots and celery in this batch.
Here are the carrots four hours later.
Three pounds of carrots in a quart size bag. Dried foods don’t care if the electricity goes out!
And to make sure our scraps and ends aren’t wasted the chickens are our new garbage disposals. They eat a lot of things I would never have expected. They eat any kind of fruit (except lemons) or vegetables.
They love greens and bread is their very favorite. They like weeds too. Here is Bernadette with lettuce.
We are pretty certain now that Bernadette is not a Bernard. All the hens should start laying eggs in the next few weeks.