Look! It’s a post about gardening!
Obviously with a newborn baby virtually all my hobbies have had to take a back seat this year. But since I missed out on gardening the previous two seasons I just had to get something going this year. I managed to sprout some tomatoes and our beloved mystery chile peppers from my years old seed collection so those have made it in the ground and are doing well. I also squeezed in some onions, beets, arugula, carrots, chard, kale and lettuce. I tried to go modest this year because I knew I’d have almost no time for it.
However last week I had a look at my chioggia beets and noticed they were all browning and dying off. Upon closer inspection I could see they have little worms inside them! EW. This is new — I’ve never had any trouble growing beets before. I did a little research and my best guess is these are beet army worms. GROSS. Only thing to be done was pull them and drown the bugs in a pail of hot soapy water. Nasty. I had to do the same thing to the few chard seeds that sprouted as beets and chard are virtually the same thing — only one grows a root crop and the other is savoured for its leaves.
Since most of my seeds went in rather late my raised beds are looking a little wonky and unbalanced. Only a few lettuce leaves have popped out of the ground. Kale is a little hit or miss as well. Even some of the onions are only just now coming out of the ground (and I used sets for those, not silly seeds which for onions, I just cannot be bothered with). The only leaf crop I’ve been able to enjoy with abundance as of yet is arugula. But at least our tomatoes and chiles are going to make for a good (if not a little crowded) showing. I was definitely off my game when planting them and could have given each of the plants a LOT more room to spread out. Oh well.
The soil we got for these beds leaves a lot to be desired, so this could be part of the problem. We had some triple mix dropped off to fill them and I should have stuck with an order of top soil because it was the crappiest (or perhaps it’s that there was a lack of crap?) soil I’ve ever had delivered. It’s going to need a lot of compost love over the next few years to meet my standards. It seems very grainy and dry, like it doesn’t have much in the way of moisture retention properties. I’ll have to see if I can truck some well composted horse manure up from the farm this fall (to make it crappier…hahah!).
Anyway, between these two beds, which I can stick my nose into every few evenings after Conri goes to bed and while it’s still light outside, and my slap dash perennial beds I’m trying to fill in out in the front of the house, I’m managing to squeeze in a few green thumb moments to keep me sane. I also managed to throw some geraniums in pots on the deck, and put together a meagre herb garden out at the edge of the ravine, which hopefully won’t get swallowed up by the rampant wild grapevine that grows back there. It all feels a little haphazard and not well planned — an approach I said I’d never take with perennial gardens again — but what do you do. I have years ahead of me hopefully during which to move things around, divide and conquer. I’d really like to widen the perennial beds out front but that will have to wait for a year or two. I like to think that when Conri is a little bigger and mobile, he can fart around and play while I garden. But for now, I have to squeeze my gardening into moments when he’s either in bed or Chris is on Daddy Duty. And that’s just fine for now.