Thursday, June 25, 2009

Potato Musings

Hm...after writing a detailed blog for the Adirondack Almanack about Colorado Potato Beetles, and having sprayed mine prior to the article, I was convinced that the spraying I did (using an "organic" insecticide) had been futile. Still, I haven't seen any CPB on my potatoes since. Hm.

Now, I will admit that I haven't scoured them for evidence. We've had rainy weather or hot and humid weather, or I've been rushing off to other engagements and haven't had time to really spend in the garden. Still, casual glances at the plants have not yielded any adults, or eggs (although the latter will be hiding under the leafs if they are there). And now the potatoes I planted have sent up leaves, so I really need to survey the crop and see what sort of infestation I can find.

Meanwhile, the rose cafers are back. >sigh< Encouraged by the potential benefit to my potatoes, I filled up the sprayer and hit the hops, viburnum, grapes, and current with the insecticide...and it rained within the hour. The buggers are back and breeding everywhere! The horticulture folks will say that these insects eat the white flowers, and while that is true (I lose the flowers every year on the viburnum), they also wreak havoc on the leaves of everything else!!! Picking them off is an endless task.

But not all news from the garden is bad. My peas are doing great - over a foot tall now and growing. And greens are coming up. Oh, and my beets have put in an appearance - a first for them. Carrots are up but Spartan. I need to transplant them, spreading the clumps out to fill up "holes."

Pumpkins and squash are also doing well so far, and the sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos, and herbs have started to sprout as well.

Waiting to go from seed to produce can be difficult. While we wait, we weed. Some weeds just don't get the hint.

Now, if only I could figure out the sour soil! I mentioned it a year or so ago, but still have no answer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Too Many Veg!

I just don't have enough garden space! Every year I increase the size of the garden, and the following year it seems it is still not large enough.

After getting the tomatoes planted on the 31st (the day that followed with snow, gale force winds and heavy killer frost), I found myself with only three beds left. This wouldn't have been a problem if I only had one or two items left to plant, but noooo - I still had potatoes, bush beans, oats, runner beans, fava beans and sunflowers to get in!

Yesterday I jumped the gun and stuck the potatoes in. Six varieties: Purple Viking, Adirondack Red, Adirondack Blue, Carola, Red Gold and, my favorite, German Butterball. I had to stick the latter in amongst the wheat - there was just no other room!!!

Luckily, the bush beans get interplanted with the potatoes, so those will get planted later on. But I think the oats and fava beans will have to wait until next year. I will try and stick the runner beans somewhere, and the sunflowers will get shoved into nooks and crannys whereever I can squeeze them. Herbs and buckwheat...well, the herbs can go around the edges, but I think the buckwheat will be left out this year, too. Pity - it's a great pollinator attractant!

In the meantime, the ol' sheets of black plastic have been laid out to kill off another patch of lawn for next year's garden. I guess I will have to get the tiller operational by then.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Tomatoes Are In

Before yesterday's blizzard (who knew), I decided to take advantage of a sunny day and plant my tomatoes. Silly me - all the early warm weather has had many of us gardeners chomping at the bit and foolishly putting out cold-sensitive plants.

I should've known better, but I put my faith in my row covers and planted away. In the afternoon gale force winds came whipping into town and brought tiny hail, some sleet, and big ol' snowflakes with them. It was quite a sight. The storm lasted less than half an hour, but it was followed by a really heavy frost overnight.

I haven't checked the total damages in the garden yet. My excuse: had to leave the house by 7:30 for an early dental appointment in Glens Falls. I'll check out the damage when I get home.

If things survived (and I think they probably did - I had doubled up the row covers), I should have lots of good tomatoes this summer. I didn't plant as many as last year, but I do have some really neat varieties, like Orange Flesh Purple Smudge (had to plant it just for the name), Orange Banana Paste, Paul Robeson (one of my favorites - a dark almost brown tomato with a smokey flavor), Garden Peach (Mmmm - sounds good), and Cour di Blue. All in all I have something like 20 varieties planted. The diversity makes for some really great sauce.

Killed my first Colorado Potato Beetle a couple days ago. Grrrr. I'm putting off planting the potatoes in hopes of disrupting the beetle cycle. According to the Maine Potato Lady, I should plant two weeks after the last frost. So, right now that means mid-June. Hm...almost seems too late to plant by then! We'll see how that goes.

And to top it all off, I discovered yesterday that I don't have enough garden beds! I have only three beds left, and I still have to plant the potatoes, beans, oats, sunflowers and fava beans (not to mention the herbs, buckwheat, and companion flowers). I suspect the oats and fava beans will not go in this year. I put down the black plastic (before the storm) yesterday to kill off another patch of lawn, but it won't be ready to go in time to plant this year...unless I just want to take the shovel to it now and start digging. Ugh. The things we do for fresh food! :)