Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Vegetable Garden Update

I guess I'm about halfway satisfied with my Square Foot Garden.  Everything I planted in there is growing like mad, except for the plants that are being outcompeted.  The Early Goliath tomatoes, planted in very late February or early March, are living up to their names.  The tomatoes themselves are huge, but so is the plant!  It's at least two feet taller than my tallest cage, and the whole affair had to be supported with a T-bar.  It flowered early and often, and all but the very earliest flowers seem to have turned into tomatoes.  This baby's supposed to be indeterminate, so there's no telling how tall it will eventually be.  I may be climbing on the roof to support it!

On the negative side, the spacing instructions provided in the Square Foot Gardening book were wildly inaccurate.  Basically I have a tomato/potato garden.  I planted seed potatoes in early February, right before the last freeze.  Now they are the biggest potatoes I've ever seen.  They've just begun to flower in earnest, so I'm hoping that the foliage will die down soon and I can harvest them in time to use those squares for a fall garden.  I always thought those potato Grow Bags were gimmicky and silly, but now I wish I had planted my potatoes all by themselves, perhaps in the next ZIP code.

You can't see anything else besides tomatoes and potatoes, but actually there are chives, carrots, cilantro and bulbing onions in the Square Foot Garden.  The chives are okay and the cilantro is bolting now, but I'm giving up on the carrots.  They've been overcome by potatoes.  It remains to be seen about the onions.  They're hanging in there...

Just outside the Square Foot Garden, in a more traditional raised bed, I planted a Grape tomato (from a plant) and Straight Eight Cucumbers from seed.  The grape tomatoes seemed to flower much later than normal.  They are way behind Early Goliath, but flowering well now, and I have one or two small clusters of fruit.  The cucumbers were planted much later, and are just now about 2 feet tall, scrambling up a bean tower.  Already several flowers, so cucumbers can't be far behind!

In the raised bed, around the time I planted the cucumbers, I also planted organic Red Velvet okra, from seed.  It's up and about 6" tall, but nothing much to look at.  Probably it was too early.  Probably I even told myself that when I was planting it! 

The jalapeno peppers were planted from a 6-pack right about the time the tomatoes were planted.  It was really too cold then. I had to keep them in plastic cloches at night, and they didn't get a good start.  But they're blooming now and it's reliably warm, so I'm sure they'll make it.  They're not really growing in the shade, by the way.  It's a weird camera angle.

I also planted a straw bale garden.  The Cocozelle Summer squash look wonderful.  No flowers yet but they can't be far behind.  The Purple Queen bush beans were planted from seed at the same time, and I do believe they are beginning to flower.  This bed was easy and inexpensive to create; it'll also be easy to dismantle if I get tired of it.  But the big drawback will be trying to keep it watered.  It's only just now beginning to get hot and already I'm having to water at least once a day.  The straw provides excellent drainage but there's very little structure to retain any moisture at all.  The past few warm, dry days have really been a challenge.  I can only imagine what July will be like!

1 comment:

  1. You can't see anything else besides tomatoes and potatoes, but actually there are chives...forsythia for sale