Tuesday, August 10, 2010

garden report

First of all, let me tell you that I cannot raise decent onions.  I've studied the situation, googled like crazy, and found very few hints as to what I'm doing wrong.  Perhaps I'm planting them too deep, says one source.  I intended to start with onion plants rather than sets this year, but when we went to buy seeds and such, they hadn't yet received the plants.  So I planted sets as always.  
Each of my onions splits into two halves as it grows and then proceeds to rot.  Sometimes the outside rots, sometimes part of the inside.  Because I hate waste, I butcher the poor onions, rescue the good parts, dice them, and freeze them for future use.  It's an unpleasant task that wouldn't be necessary if I only knew how to raise proper onions.  

You can see the brown portions of my tomato plants (on the right).  At the beginning of the season, I didn't think I would have any tomatoes to eat, let alone can; but these blighty plants are still producing.  I gave my sister some last week and sent quite a few home with Cliff's sister yesterday.  To the left of the tomatoes is a cucumber plant I started from seed about a month ago; it's now started to produce.    

I picked these this morning and canned them, seven quarts worth.  Oh, and here's the big announcement:  

I have finally managed to get a zucchini plant to produce something besides squash bugs.  I don't know it it's because of the late planting, or the fact that I didn't put straw around it to conserve moisture; I'm come to the conclusion that the straw has been a place for squash bugs to hide.  I had enough zucchini to make two double-batches of ratatouille over the weekend.  Two batches, because Cliff's sister, who's on a very strict diet and can't eat much of what I cook, took a special liking to ratatouille.  
I have a new problem with zucchini:  The little squashes get about two inches long and rot.  My Googled sources tell me it's called blossom end rot, and that it's due to lack of calcium.  Just my luck; I get rid of one problem and another one shows up.  

No, that isn't a green potato amongst those spuds I dug this morning.  Iris wanted me to throw the ball for her to chase; I was ignoring her.  I guess she figured I'd take the hint if she dropped it on top of my potato pile.  The potatoes are pretty puny this year.  Thank you, Mr. Blight.  
If I'm going to have potatoes and tomatoes next year, I'll have to move them to a new location.  I have two spots in mind.  

Just in front of where Iris is standing there's plenty of open space Cliff could plow up for me.  The downside of this area is that if things get weedy and unsightly (as my gardens tend to do), I'll be looking out my front door at it.    

There's room enough beside and behind our garage that I'm considering, too.  
We'll see what next year brings, and what sort of shape I'm in.  My knees haven't bothered me nearly as much this year as last, for some reason.   I'm very thankful for that.  
It just hit me... maybe my knees are glad I'm not riding a horse any more.  


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Just before I read it I was thinking the same thing about your knees. I've not hear you complain much at all about them. Gardens are always the same. I never knew anyone that really had a perfect one with no problems. At least you have plenty of options around your house. For as long as I can remember my grandmothers garden was always in the same place in her side yard. Maybe she just didn't know about blight??? She didn't ever move it around to another place. Maybe she just moved the rows of what she did plant to the other side of the garden??

Donna said...

You know, I don't think blight used to be a problem! My first years gardening, throughout the 60's and 70's, I don't recall having blight on my tomatoes at all.

Anonymous said...

This sounds crazy, but my mother, put 3 or 4 tums around her zucchini plants bout every two weeks when she waters. We have zucchini coming out our ears.


Anonymous said...

I "grew" pearl onions once & they tasted like little balls of Ivory....I've bought them since.

madcobug said...

I never did good much good with onions either. Looks like you are doing good with those blighty tomato plants. Poor Iris did want some of your attention. I hope you decide which spot is best for your garden next year. Glad that your knees are doing better.

Remo said...

Have you tried epsom salts for the zucchini? It worked wonders (magnesium, etc) for my tomatos.

Donna said...

Remo, I surely plan to try that next year; a friend even sent me a "recipe" for something that helps prevent blight in tomatoes, and the main ingredient is epsom salts.