Our expanded garden plot is growing fast. Some plants have been very successful while others have struggled, here is an update!
Our corn is doing very well. The method of starting the corn ahead of time in pots and deep root trainers really helped get the plants established quickly in the sometimes challenging conditions of this garden. It is about waist high at the end of June so that is promising for delicious sweet corn in the coming weeks.
We planted our paste tomato plants and they are doing remarkably well, they have immature fruits on them already so I look forward to freezing as many as possible to use in sauce later in the year. We also planted peppers as a companion and the little, slow maturing seedlings are establishing themselves well. We added home grown marigolds as a companion to the tomatoes and peppers to combat harmful soil bacteria from the tomatoes.
Most of our potatoes are doing very well, with the exception of the sweet potato that currently only has one slip leafing out.
Our flower mixtures and sunflowers are doing very well, I look forward to sharing some of the seeds with the local bird population, but also taking home the sunflower heads to dry and give to the chickens in the fall and winter! The flower mixtures are designed to attract and support pollinators on the plot so there is lots of borage, zinnia, cosmos and other nectar and pollen producing plants.
There are also some struggles on the plot. We are not sure if it is simply because we planted in June or if it is just a struggle of the area, but the squash beetles are an absolute menace. They nearly wiped out our first sowing of squash. We have been removing them manually as well as spraying an organic, homemade repellent. This is an effective deterrent and has allowed most of the winter squashes we planted to get larger and stronger.
I used homemade tincture of cayenne pepper along with peppermint oil, garlic tincture, lemon dish soap and water and this is sprayed directly on the plants to coat the plant and make it unappealing to the insects.
We have also had an issue with cabbage white moths attacking the beans and brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli). The spray seems to do a good job running them off as well.
Unfortunately our experimental crops are failing miserably. We counted the other day and only 6-7 sprouts of sorghum have come up out of 100 seeds! I am not sure if it is soil conditions, our methods or crappy seeds, but that is an awful rate of germination and survival. In addition, the peanuts have not faired any better. We probably have 4-5 (out of 50) seeds that germinated and have begun growing. While this isn’t catastrophic for us, they were experimental to begin with, I had hoped for a little better performance….oh well, we obviously need to read more about what it takes to successfully grow these crops.
If you would like to know more about our garden plot, first read this!