This year's gardening started, as I've stated in a previous post, with a very late frost that killed the first planting of warm weather plants. After scouring the home improvement stores and local nurseries I did come up with enough plants to replace the frozen ones. I counted heavily on the left over seed starts as well. Then came the severe weather that dumped seven inches of rain with baseball-sized hail and 100-plus mph winds during the first part of June. Once again the seed starts came to the rescue and maybe the late starting of the tomato seeds were in fact a blessing. And now another issue cropped up.
I took a trip to Oklahoma City to drop off my grandson with his dad for a summer visit. When I returned, the plants at the Urban Ranch backyard were dying with yellowed curled-up leaves. This photo shows them on the way to recovery but I didn't think they were going to make it. The month of June has been a windy month in Nebraska. I know there are those who are laughing at that statement in other states because the wind always blows there. Anyway, the two houses right behind me have yard services. I suspect that my plants got a whiff of weed spray from the yard service folks when they were spraying the neighbor's yards. I'm not sure just how much harvest I'll get off these plants. Most years the tomatoes are up and over the cages by this time of the year.
With the amount of rain we have received in June, it's been difficult to keep up with the weeds and lawn. The potato experiment has met with some success, but I'll not be making the four layers I had hope to do. It was not because of the concept model or the weather but totally because of my bad planning. Two things that I have learned from this year has been to buy how much seed? Yeah, enough to plant four beds even though there's only one. I didn't really have enough seed for the four layers and stores only have potato seed until they sell it all. The next thing I failed to do was care for the seed in waiting to be planted. I put the seed in a covered bucket but some how rain made its way into the bucket and the 90-degree days turned most of them to mush. I salvaged enough to plant a second layer but that will be the last layer to be planted for this year. As you can see the potatoes are growing gang busters this year. Even my neighbor's potatoes at Terra Nova Gardens survived the rain, wind, hail and flash floods. Potatoes are the star plant of the garden this year.
As I've mentioned, the first planting of sweet corn was devastated by the heavy rain and hail. The first planting, planted in troughs, cut through the heavy mulch but the troughs seemed to always fill in with mulch due to the windy days. The second planting I decided to try something different. The tools used were a bean can with both ends cut out, a block of wood, and a Thor hammer. My idea was to make beds of corn between the failed troughs. To punch through the heavy mulch, which is anywhere from four to six inches, the can was used to cut through it to the soil below. The cavity from the plug removed was filled with my special growing soil mix and two corn seeds were planted in each spot. About 75 corn plants were planted in this manner and the last visit to Terra Nova Gardens found little sprouts up and growing. Two green bean beds of similar size were planted with the same procedure as well. I'm hoping that these little sprouts will survive the severe weather that's coming toward us once again.
Update on the prostate. I decided to not just sit by and actively watch but to go with seeded radiation. I'm talking with the radiologist tomorrow to set that up. It's basically an out-patient procedure with a couple days of discomfort after the procedure and very few side effects. I'm hoping to be back in the garden building, growing, planting soon after the procedure. The radiated seeds are planted in the prostate and remain there forever. The radiation degrades over the next six years until they are totally drained of radiation. What will happen is an active watch on the PSA level to make sure it remains low for the rest of my life, which in all prospects will be well into my 80s as happens with the rest of my family. Cancer runs in my family but those who catch it early and take care of it live to be a ripe old age. I plan on living to a ripe old active age. My ultimate goal would be to stroke out on the end of hoe in the garden and fall into a cabbage or green bean patch. Great way to go for an old farmer/gardener.
I'm hoping that all of you are having a better gardening year than I am. I hope to hear all about your garden successes. Have a great day in the garden.