Hows it growing you may ask? Tall!
Sunflowers- We stared off making a hole in the ground and dropping a seed or a plant inside. A few short weeks later and you can see the progression in the pictures. I loved watching my little ones run up to it to see how much bigger it had grown every 2 days. Then finally, the inevitable happened, a flower appeared and we celebrated it. That one flower must have been awfully happy to have such an audience that day and we stared and smiled and even laid out hands on it to pull it to our noses. It was truly spoiled or truly bothered. Our Goliath sunflowers have reached about 15 feet. What does one do with such a tall sunflower….We simply watch it keep on growing wondering when it’s first bloom will peak out. Maybe it already has? It is so darn tall that it would be hard for us to see it. Fun flower to grow for the little ones. We plan on selling them in out produce stand as bird seed and floral bouquets. We have about 8 different varieties of sunflowers to enjoy.
Corn-Here is another interesting experimental crop. I say experimental because I have never had luck growing corn, but Luis, the PHD has, so I put the pressure on him to make that corn wonderful. So far he has had the best luck at it, and I will have someone to blame if I find a worm in mine. It is amazing to watch corn grow as well. It is truly a beautiful plant with all it’s greenery and tassels. So far so good.
Luis can be our designated corn grower if it all works out in the end..I can’t wait to have me some CORN!
We are also growing Aguaymanto…or Peruvian Goldenberry. I discovered these covered in chocolate while in Peru. I am excited to have these in my garden this year, they are looking great so far.
They grow much like the tomatillo here, but the leaves and flavors are very different. We are also growing tomatillos this year. We normally do but don’t have much luck with them for some reason. This year I decided to make it interesting by planting the Purple de Milpa Tomatillo. It will create a beautiful tomatillo salsa. The plants have been looking very healthy.
All this bounty already being created by the zucchini, beans, squash, and others, that it seems like everything is coming up daisies, or veggies, but to be very honest I have to share the down side or the not so good things happening in the garden this year….
Cucumbers…Many of our prized cucumbers have come out bitter on the ends. Cucumber bitterness explained here Link. Bottom line, this is caused by heredity or extreme changes in temperature. I am guessing we got a bad batch of seeds. It is a risk you take when using seeds from local growers sometimes and this time we are paying for it. At this point there is nothing we can do but chop off the ends. I am sure the chickens will not be as picky as us. Also, Not something however I would want to sell or share with our neighbors.
Peas-Well, I planted more peas this year than last and earlier, as peas like it cooler. What happened? I truly have no idea. They had water, soil, attention and love from me, yet again they failed. I got two harvests from them and that was it. I even put them in a completely different place from last year. This one is a mystery to me, but I love peas, and I won’t give up.
Tomatoes- As mentioned previously we grew almost all out veggies from seed this year. It was my first time doing so at such a level. Every year we learn and grow and this year has been no different when it comes to tomatoes. Let me share a thing or two about Heirloom (What Comes After Heirloom?) seeds. I am learning a big lesson this year a bit too late. It is nice to have so many different varieties and flavors of tomatoes, but not if half your crop fails due to lack or resistance of disease and fungus. How is this related to heirlooms might you ask? Simple, Heirlooms are bread from flavor and texture, not to resist disease and fungus, and if by chance they are resistant in some way, it is usually only to one thing, unlike hybrid or genetically altered seed that my come from big scary Monsanto or other companies. Bottom line, I planted a lot or heirloom varieties and those seem to be the ones that are failing. I learned this after having a conversation with a much more experienced gardener who also plants from seed. She explained to me why my garden was failing and of course I rushed home to read more about it. I found a great article from Scientific America that explains very well what is going on in my garden and the differences in seed.
How to Grow a Better Tomato: The Case against Heirloom Tomatoes
We may be able to kill one fungus or one disease but to combat them all is a task for sure..How does one identify them in the first place? My lesson learned is this…It is not about being all organic, or only using heirloom seeds, or only eating veggies; It is about a happy balances life for the earth and our bodies. We need this balance to survive and so do plants. I am not a proponent of any of the things Monsanto has done, but I am for improving on what we have and open share of technologies and countering disease and fungus that exists that so that we keep the food supply we have. It is nice to have a colorful tasty tomato ripening in my garden, it is even nicer to have a garden full or tasty tomatoes, and that would be a challenge with only one good plant that has not been killed off by chance. It simply appears that I have a lot more learning and reading to do so that I can meet this happy balance in my garden. However, that takes time, right now I will walk back to my garden and watch the wilting of tomato plants, some before they even put out one tomato, and others after just a few. A hard lesson to learn for sure.
So as not to leave this story on a sad note, I would love to point out that our yellow wax beans are more beautiful than ever, our chickens are happy, their eggs are yummy, the turkeys are growing, and we are all still chugging along on this happy educational farmer life.
Until next time…Which will be a story on the building of my produce stand. Exciting!