I finished planting over the weekend, even though the weather doesn't quite warrant it (overcast and 53° at 10AM this morning). The salad greens, peas, and garlic all look happy, but I'm pretty sure I caught the tomatoes scowling at me earlier, and the eggplant look like they could use a sweater. But everything was getting potbound, and I was afraid roots would start rotting from the damp. Some of the seedlings had a fine film of white mold starting on their soil surface. So into the dirt with them all! Still no beans planted, though – they'll just rot unless the soil dries out.
We had our first salads this week, a blend of tiny piquant greens.
Beyond that, it'll be a while yet before we're eating much else from our efforts. The seedlings are still quite small:
The garlic is all scaping out, and in another week or so we can start harvesting them (the scapes – the actual heads won't be ready for harvest until late July). Here's a previous post on ways to eat them. This might be a good year for garlic scape soup. Such a happy surprise when the scapes first emerge:
I've had my first skirmish with pests. I was finding my dainty little seedlings sawed off at ground level (lucky I had so many extras to use for replacement) and big swaths of cabbage and lettuce leaf suddenly gone missing. Some digging around – both in the garden and online – turned up the dreadful culprit: cutworms. Fat grey caterpillars, they burrow into the dirt and come out at night to feast and lay waste. If I dug around the fallen plants, I'd find one of the little monsters (and promptly squash it!). Left alone, they'd stay pretty much in the same spot and take down any new plant I swapped in. But there's no telling where one's hiding until it's done some damage. I've ordered a batch of grub-sucking nematodes from Gardens Alive, and I'm hoping I can get them distributed in time to spare the garden any irreparable harm. Once they're established (the nematodes), they should provide protection from a number of beasties: cabbage worm, Japanese beetle, tomato hornworm, etc. Unfortunately, they'll do nothing for the striped cucumber beetles that plagued me last season. For those, I've covered the cucurbits (squash, melons, cukes) with super lightweight fabric, and if it ever stops raining I'll spray with kaolin clay to deter feeding of any that get under the cloth barrier.
Organic gardening isn't for the easily defeated.
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I finally got the new camera I've been lusting for: the Nikon D90, equipped with a 50mm f1.8 lens (the one Tana Butler refers to quite rightly as the “I Love You” lens). My temptation is to post nothing but pictures, and to hell with writing and recipes. I'll try and restrain myself.