Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Not Unhappy Garden

I know that's a double-negative, but I like it for emphasizing a point:  Despite all this cold rainy weather we're having, my garden doesn't seem to be suffering.  In fact, today was the first day I was able to really utilize this blog I've been so diligently keeping for a year (more on this in a minute).

Though everyone seems to be worried about their tomatoes and peppers, I'm pretty happy with the progress of mine this year.  These Brandywine and Juliets have good color and strong, healthy growth.  The Juliets are even fruiting already.

The wine barrels I added to the garden late last year aren't getting the sun I thought they would.  It's looking like they're only getting about 5 hours, and while these Big Beef and Valencias aren't quite as vigorous as the ones in the sunnier spot above, they're still growing strong.

The big beef are even fruiting as well.

The only tomatoes that don't seem happy at all are these Moskvich.  I'm not exactly sure why they look so sad.  It could be this bed is wetter than the others.  For sure, it doesn't get the late afternoon sun my other beds get.  However, Moskvich is supposed to be a cold tolerant variety, so it doesn't make sense.  In theory, this should be my best tomato, as my others aren't marked for cold.  But despite the leaf curl, the plant continues to grow.  I've pulled out the neighboring broccoli, thinking maybe the two plants didn't like each other, and I will leave them here in the hope they take a turn for the better when our weather dries up and the sun comes out.

But even despite my cranky Moskvich, I went back to my archives and captured photos from this time last year.  Wow!  What a difference!

By comparison, this year's garden looks like a lush tropical paradise!  Those tiny plants in the foreground are last year's tomatoes.  They're not even half the size my tomatoes are right now.

You can also see more tomato plants in the bed closest to the workshop, and those teeny tiny plants in front of them were last year's peppers.

Here are this year's peppers:

They actually look like something.

Last year's green beans and peas:

This year's version is about the same in size, but my peas were planted much earlier this year and are already producing:

About the only thing I'm late on is my summer squash, but that is intentional.  I started my squash in pots last year then transplanted them at the beginning of May.  They were big, but they were not happy:

I later planted some directly from seed which ended up much healthier in the long run.  This year, I followed that same rule and direct seeded my squash and cucumber a month later than I did last year.  They are small, but so far, they look happy:

I don't doubt the minute our weather turns (which I have faith it will!) these puppies will take over.

But in the end, when I compare this year's photo:

To last year's photo:

I really can't claim that my garden is suffering from the cool wet spring.  Granted, these two photos aren't astonishingly different, but when I remind myself that last year's garden ended up looking like this come August:

I am not terribly worried about what I'll get.  And in the meantime, I'm still enjoying the fruits of my spring crop.  My cabbage is extremely happy with this weather:

As are the perennials I put in last year:

I'm so happy with this potato vine, I've planted three more just like it on the other side of the house.  I'm hoping this will be the view from my kitchen window next year.

Also taking off is the passion vine.

My perennial dahlia, climbing hydrangea and irises haven't minded the spring at all.

The only thing slow growing are these carrots.  They're at the 2 week mark, which I suppose isn't that old.  But everything else planted that day seems farther along.

I am confident they'll grow, but I'm still not sure I like carrots from a gardener's standpoint.  They sure take forever to get past this stage, and while they're in this stage, I'm always nervous.  A single slug could wipe out each and every one of these over the course of a single evening.  Of course, I haven't noticed the slugs being big fans of carrots, but slugs can never be trusted.

But to summarize this long photorial (I just made that word up), I confess that while everyone here in Northern California is complaining about the rain and wondering if they'll get a single vegetable this year, I'm not really sweating it.  Seems to me I'm ahead of the game over last year, and I was pretty happy with the results I ended up with come Labor Day.  So I'm staying positive!