We finished planting everything for spring almost a month ago and I did a full picture update then, so today I went outside and took pictures of everything again for comparison.
The potato patch is nearing the end of its life. The plants have put up with caterpillars and a certain 70 pound labrador running through them. They've bloomed and are showing some signs of blight, so they'll be ready to dig up really soon. It's hard to see in this picture, but in the far corner (nearest to that ramp into the shed) we do have several squash and cucumber plants thriving. Some of my seed never sprouted, so I bought a new packet I will plant there this weekend.
Over in the strawberry bed, the plants look healthy and we've let them put out some berries. I debated pinching off all the blooms so they would put their energy towards plant growth, but in the end, decided to just let it go. We'll hopefully keep these going through the winter and get a big crop from them next year.
hugelkultur bed and starting to climb some fencing Josh put in for them.
ollas rather than drip line. These tomato plants are doing really well and basil is coming up between them.
The old watermelon seed I planted at the edge of this bed has sprouted, we'll see how it holds up over the summer.
And the okra in this bed is finally starting to come up too. I ended up replanting this because I wasn't seeing sprouts. I think that may have been because it just wasn't warm enough to get quick germination yet, but the plants are hardier and produce better when they sprout and grow quickly. I figured the seed I had used may have been old, but even if it was just too cold, I was better off replanting. As Doug Welsh, the ag extension guy that hosts a weekly gardening show on our NPR channel, always says, "seed is cheap!"
Over in the back of the yard, the birds are getting a lot bigger too. The turkeys are absolutely huge compared to the chickens now! I'd say they're at least twice the size of the chickens. I haven't been picking them up, but Josh estimates they are about 8-10 pounds live weight. Josh is in charge of the birds, but if I understand the timeline right, we'll be processing the turkeys sometime near the end of July. They have been a bit of a learning experience. The last time we raised meat birds, they were a whole flock of their own and they were also chickens. These big boys eat a lot more feed than I expected, even with being able to scavenge in the yard under their mobile coop. They have not been as loud as I expected though, so that's a bonus.
I knew it was gonna be a rough garden year, but man! It's a little depressing to look around out there sometimes. And the grasshoppers aren't even out yet, nor has the summer drought that I'm sure is coming set in. The grasshoppers will be the biggest challenge, there's nothing to do about them except for letting the birds take care of them. The fruit trees are happy and healthy but one of our peach trees didn't set fruit at all this year for some reason and our big plum tree didn't either. Plums usually need another tree to cross-pollinate with. We have a variety that will self-pollinate, but it's not ideal and hasn't worked for us. We will need to put in another tree next fall. One of our peach trees is doing really well though, it is so heavy with fruit we had to give it some extra supports. The new orange and lime tree are doing really well too.
How is everyone else doing in the garden? Are you all surviving the consequences of the mild winter??