Monday, June 24, 2013

garden update: june

June has brought some beautiful weather to western Pennsylvania and a lot of much-needed sunshine to our garden after a cloudy spring. 

The mystery wildflower seeds I planted are starting to grow. No idea what's going to come up, but that's half the fun of it.

The other flower I had planted was Night Phlox. (I'm going to choose to believe the flower was somehow named after Dr. Phlox from Star Trek: Enterprise because that is a way to bring geek in my garden.) It's perked up and seems to be doing well in its pot. No flowers yet, but I'm patient.

Herbs aren't doing so great so far, but thankfully we get a lot of those in our CSA to dry out, so we never end up going without.

This year we're also experimenting with natural pest control by planting flowers and extra basil plants in and around the other vegetables. We've got marigolds in with the tomatoes and petunias in with the dragon beans.

Considering how weak the seedlings were this year, the tomatoes and dragon beans are doing great.

Mark also decided to pick up one sweet corn plant. We're not expecting much, but it's fun to be able to say we are growing corn in our back yard.

The mound plants - cucumbers and melons, pumpkins and squash - are coming along nicely too, particularly since like the others, the seedlings were weak. 

 With the cucumbers, we added nasturtiums for natural pest control. 

We also realized that the vine that is creeping over from the neighboring property and grabbing my rose bush is probably a grape vine, though we haven't seen any fruit. (The property holds an old church and a storage building that someone uses to store auto parts. Relatively scenic from our back yard because the buildings are rustic, but from the street on the other side, they are a mess. Including the crazy overgrown plants. That come over the fence to choke my rose.)

Sometimes I see people who have these amazing gardens bursting with fruit and vegetables early, where everything looks picturesque and lush, and I get garden envy. But we're learning by trial and error, trying to use only natural methods of pest control and no synthetic fertilizer (and buying no Monstanto or Scott products EVER, for anything). We also don't have sunny springs, but each year we try to work with what we have and find ways to do it better than we did the previous year.

It's also a lesson in patience. When you work full time and have a significant commute, there aren't unlimited daylight hours to spend outside in the garden. We do what we can with what we have, and if we're patient and tend the plants to the best of our abilities, by the end of the summer, we'll have a lot to show for it. I can't wait until we can have dinner on the patio and look out in the yard and see the garden bursting with tomatoes. Then the waiting and the trial and error will all be worth it.

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