Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8

Nearly a month since my last post, mostly because I've been travelling a lot. Travelling a lot usually amounts to garden disaster, but this year I've got a daughter with a driver's license willing to do some watering in exchange for car access.

In early May, the hops all had sprouted and started climbing. In early June, Hallertauer is 14' tall, Glacier not far behind, and the rest of that row doing pretty well. I had to replace one of the Bush Homestead rhizomes that got fried (not sure if I mentioned these, but they're from George Bush, who homesteaded at Tumwater after Oregon said that blacks could not get land there; he was an educated and generous asset to the community). The Willamette-Cascade vine in the north part of the yard has reached about 20 feet, and Nugget is not far behind. Fuggles struggles to put on height, and generally has a more gracile demeanor, but seems healthy; it may be in poor soil, getting residual Roundup from the neighbor's spraying, or just be slower.

Mustard greens and now pak choi have bolted in the past week or so. Spinach is fully up and beginning to bolt even before I've harvested any. New spinach, carrots, beets, and some flowers have sprouted, and have not been knocked down by th heat yet.

Speaking of which, we've had a solid week of hot dry weather. Generally, everythign in Washington seems to be a month ahead of schedule this year, and the governor has already declared a drought. It will probably be a tough year on irrigation-dependent farmers, who can look up at the snowless mountains and see their arid future.

In the potato patch, the eastern type (purple flowers) has finally been caught up with by the western (white flowered) type, which is actually a bit taller. I've staked and twined around them to keep the vines upright, and can see little secondary sprounts everywhere. They all look healthy, deep green vines but not Nitrogen-overfed spindly. I have not watered these at all, and at this point probably won't. A single exploratory graffle yielded a nice purple tuber the size of a large goose egg.

Along the south side trench of the tater bed, I planted purple hull-less barley (couple of weeks ago?), which is now up. That does get water. I'll probably start beans on the north side trench this coming weekend.

Speaking of which, Lili planted some pintos from the 25 pound bag of dried beans, and they came up. Planted where they can climb the willow fence. They look fine.

Rhubarb seems to be in summer dormancy.

In the far north area by the hops, poppies are not numerous, but really kicked into high gear starting  week or two ago. Meanwhile, the cilantro went from 3-leaf directly to bolting, so I guess it will be a coriander year.

Thyme is going off and needs to be cut back, oregano OK but not as vigorous, tarragon & sage alive but not putting on much growth. Stevia slowly adding foliage. I moved the arnica from its original spot to the southern west wall of the house, and it's not yet thriving. Also in that area, I planted some Monticello seeds: Clarksia, swamp hibiscus. By the laundry room stairs, a rosemary plant seems fine, along with a potted bay.

Indoors, some old (one batch about 3 years, another maybe 7) Hawaiian tomato seeds have sprouted. They're in 4-inch pots, and I've thinned twice. Will plant them (some in a cascading basket?) next weekend.

I tried using 12-gallon fermentation tubs (white, translucent-ish) as greenhouses, but suspect tht I mostly managed to breed early blight. This is one area where a part-time plant watcher cannot compensate for out-of-townness. Some have already been ripped out.

Last I wrote, I was about to help with the school plant sale. I ended up buying some herbs, tomatoes (50% gone now), and some other stuff. Four geraniums and a scarlet begonia now live by the cider area, getting full sun through the morning; these have not grown a lot, but are beginning to flower.

Service and blueberries seem fine, if not producing much this year. Grandma's hostas look OK.

About 3 weeks ago, I got lacinato kale starts and spread them in various places, including the mustard and pak choy beds where they'll succeed the bloted plants.

Snap peas are over a foot tall, and beginning to attach really well to the forest of dry willow sticks I poked in among them.

The house-front rose is about done now, but provide a good 3 weeks of heavy blooming. More or less the same story for the NE corner hibiscus.

Onions and garlic began flowering in earnest this first week of June. Weeds are emerging ever more quickly from the pine straw mulch, and both egyptian Walking and Yellow bunch onions are flopping over.

Buttercup and morning glory continue to be the most difficult weeds, sprouting from seeds and from un-dead remnants. Consequently, the weed-heap grows. Without a kid to stomp them for the past couple of weeks, it is not breaking down as quickly, and is sprouting a mantle of mornign glory. Several of those and some other weeds are popping up also in the gravelled-in area by the house--I may use boiling water and salt on those, since I do not want to keep digging up the rock.

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