Quiet Morning in the Gardens


I dug the rest of the Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes this morning–I’d planned on waiting for a couple of dry days in a row, but this season has been much more generous with summer moisture than others.

Despite the presence of blight in the gardens, the fingerling harvest has been very good so far.  The Red French came out first this season, then the Austrians over the last week or so, and only the Purple Peruvians are left to dig.

Their foliage is still healthy and the plants have a few blossoms left, so I’ll wait as long as possible before digging.  Peruvians are a very long season heirloom fingerling with an incredibly nutty flavor–even more so than the other tasty fingerlings I’ve grown.

It was a treat to work in the silence of the morning–the mosquitoes weren’t terrible, and I decided to take a break from operating heavy machinery for a day or two–the past three days were spent behind a heavy string-trimmer for an hour at a stretch.

Once the Austrian Crescents were dug, I worked a quick, fine furrow down the middle of the moist-crumbly soil in that row and planted some wild garden mustards from Territorial Seeds. I have a former CSA customer who comes to my table every week looking for bitter and spicy greens–these’ll be right up her alley.

I covered the bed with a length of floating row cover left over from the spring cabbages and young cukes (now climbing up some slightly makeshift supports one row to the north) and watered quickly just to set the seed into the soil.

Next, I pulled all of the broccoli plants from a short row in that northcentral garden–I haven’t got a single side-shoot off that row since our resident groundhog took a liking to them–all the broccoli shoots I’ve gotten in the last several weeks have been from a longer row down in the east garden.

Then, I headed down to the west garden and did a little weeding in the beds there–along the trellised beds where pole beans are climbing and beets are emerging, and around all the nice-sized yellow onions as well.  There were a couple of spots I could have quickly hoed, but the hand weeding was kind of pleasant today.

I did use a hoe around the okra in the northeast garden.  After having shot up from the ground in only a couple of days, the okra has had a difficult time with the cool temperatures and heavy rabbit damage.  It’s starting to form flower buds now, but the plants are still very short.

After hoeing the weeds from that row, I drew a shallow furrow next to the plants and side-dressed them with a bit of pelletized chicken manure to see if I can coax them into a little more growth.

Altogether, the gardens are looking pretty good these days.  Besides a quick sprinkling on newly-sown seeds, I haven’t had to do any hand watering for many weeks–so I guess there’s an upside to all this moisture that’s caused the blight among the solanaceous crops.

Still, I won’t be able to call the season a success until I see what the tomato harvest looks like.

I’ve had a few of the early ones–Sungold cherries, Red Currants, Nyagous, Yellow Perfections, and Stupice–start to ripen, but I’m still holding my breath on over a dozen other varieties loaded with green fruit and seemingly in a holding pattern, waiting for a week of heat to display their showy purples, yellows, oranges, blacks, and reds.

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