Monday, September 2, 2013

The Worst Vegetable Garden So Far

Failure began at the beginning with the St. Patrick's Day sowing of the sugar snap peas and greens. They got buried in snow repeatedly and undoubtedly froze. There was no germination. A fine crop of lettuces and radish from a second later sowing were left in the garden to bolt. I had no energy left over for harvest once my work season began in earnest.

Then the box turtles ate most of the strawberries when they were ready.

The main garden was planted shortly after May 15th, our average annual last frost date and the rains that had rained all spring picked up a notch. It rained and rained and rained all summer. It rained and never really got hot.

The tomatoes got late blight early. Two thirds of the crop was lost.

The cucumbers got the wilt. They always get the wilt. The various squashes got stem bored and root rot. Cucumber and squash production was way off.

I gave up on growing sweet corn. Five years of feeding the raccoons was enough. This year I gambled on sweet potatoes. It's a gamble because they like it hot and I am always short on hot high on the low spot.

When the sweet potatoes finally started growing after sitting there for a month looking completely pathetic, the plants at one end of the row were constantly getting eaten down to the nub. Great, now I have rabbits. The carrot tops were disappearing too.

This is why I generally don't grow anything in the brassica family. Cabbage worms eat them faster than they grow and I'm not willing to use any pesticides. I had seeds for cauliflower and sowed them. The kale is holey the same.

But I have the wild flower surround which has loved all this rain. I have one of the prettiest pathetic vegetable gardens around no doubt.

We have been eating fresh produce despite all the problems. Little bits of every thing, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, chard, cucumbers, yellow squash, carrots and peppers mostly. The green beans did just fine.

There is still hope for redemption. Summer has finally arrived. The constant rains have stopped and there has been a hint of hot in the air. The sweet potatoes have actually grown quite well despite the cool. There might be a crop under there. If this hint of hot sticks around I might even get me some okra yet.

Then I saw them, the strawberry eaters, busy making more strawberry eaters. Then I wondered could they be who have been eating my sweet potato vines and carrot tops. They are vegetarians. They live in and near the vegetable garden. Sweet potato tops are an edible green. It could be.

Well I think she said no. It'd too late in the year dear. But I know they are here. I've seen her digging nesting holes. I even saw a ping pong sized box turtle this year.

I may be forced to get a turtle fence if I ever plan to eat my own strawberries.

The tall flower meadow is making up for the dismal roadside vegetable garden. It is having a wonderful year.

And the vegetable garden? I'll be putting it to sleep soon and will try again next year with a fresh coat of wood chip mulch. Maybe I can manage to get some of my composted manure up there.


Lola said...

My veggie garden [of sorts] didn't do good. Even in big pots it rained too much while they needed the heat/dry.
Didn't you turn the turtle over?

Christopher C. NC said...

No I left the turtle on her back the way I found her. The male was still knocking on her shell and pushing her around trying to get her interested. I left them alone.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

How exciting to have a front row seat at the Box Turtle parade. I have never seen such a small box turtle. I bet it was cute.

Christopher C. NC said...

It was cute Lisa. I didn't have my camera on me and figured I wouldn't find it again if I went to get the camera. I was probably in the middle of a chore at the time too. The male turtle in these pictures has the most yellow in his shell I have ever seen. He is quite striking.

Rose said...

I'm sorry about all your vegetable woes, Christopher, but you had me laughing all the way through this. Hope you have success in finding a turtle fence:)

On a more serious note, I've about given up on planting squash--it seems as soon as the plants start producing fruit, a dinner bell rings for the squash bugs.

Cheryl K. said...

For us it was the Downy Mildew that took over when we were out of town for one night. It turned all the cucurbits into gray mush. Maybe it was a blessing in that it has saved us from the usual monotonous overproduction of cucumbers and squash. We have not had much success on our mountainside with anything else.

Fun post!

Lola said...

You are too funny. Loved the post.

Dianne said...

Garden not much better over here. I did get two helpings of sweet corn. Raccoons got the rest. I think two helpings of green beans and bugs got them. Zucchini did not do well. Yellow squash did. Tomatoes not so well. Nothing from the German Queens and little from Mr. Stripeys. Brandywide did ok as did my early girls until the Wild Turkeys found them. I am thinking next year of going to a raised garden and planting only a few things. Love your sense of humor and your optimism!

Swimray said...

Asheville made our weather news here - as it had the second rainiest summer on record. Although I had great zucchini for my first time growing it, the tomatoes were my worst. The zucchini now has powdery mildew. Next year...

Jackie said...

At least you have a sense of humour and are willing to share to make us laugh. We too, have had a lot of rain here in Ohio, along with rabbits, ground hogs, turkeys, & deer. I always wondered, do you ever have a deer problem?

Christopher C. NC said...

Rose it seems like there is always one thing a gardener just can't grow because it is too much trouble. For me it is the brassica family.

Cheryl green beans, lettuce, radish and turnips are easy. The hard part might be getting them past the seedling stage safe from the slugs and grasshoppers. It's on my list to get some floating row covers to get things past the seedling stage with less predation.

Lola it is either laugh or cry.

Dianne I figure I always get something to eat from the garden no matter what happens each year.

Swimray it has been a monsoon year for sure. I always get more rain than Asheville.

Jackie we have deer, but not a problem with them. The vegetable garden is directly beside the scenic byway so they are not likely to hang out there. They are hunted and afraid of people. Plus the dense forest isn't their preferred habitat. They need open meadows too and we are to short on that up here to sustain a large population.

UrsulaV said...

Down here near Raleigh, it's just as bad. Weird damn year in the garden all around. About the only thing that did really well was basil and tomatillos, and a year you can't grow tomatillos, it's probably raining fire from the sky and there are spectral horsemen galloping overhead.