Like it or not, and I don’t, gardening can be a bit competitive. I mostly compete with people in books: Eliot Coleman, Ruth Stout, Barbara Damrosch and Wendell Berry. No matter what I do at least one of them disapproves.
Certainly the fact that I’m not feeding my whole block based on the produce and chickens in my yard is a personal failing of epic proportions. But the failure I feel mostly strongly at the moment is my onions.
In India just a few years ago there were riots when onion prices went up (link). Onions are the basis of so many foods. I often start cooking by chopping an onion — then I’ll get to think what I’m cooking. As a result, having enough onions is a first step towards a graden that provides basic needs.
They have a long growing season, need plenty of light, steady water and good fertile soil. I give them those things, but I think they don’t get in the ground early enough. The onions we grow in this part of the country start bulbing up when the nights start getting longer (or days shorter, but that’s not how the plants think of it). That’s going to be on or about June 21st. I want my plants as big as possible by then and they look so puny.
These are not the onions I seeded back in march. I didn’t like the way they looked so I direct seeded these in late April and that’s my mistake. I should have gone for early april.
So I will try to distract myself from my onion-based misery.
In another part of the garden I have what my mother thinks looks like bodies in shallow graves. I don’t know where she’s been hanging out.
It’s actually agricultural fabric (remay) on top of all my squash and cucumbers. I’m trying to fight off the striped cucumber beetle and the squash vine borer. Of course covering them like this cuts down on light and may encourage a little mold if they get too wet. I’ll also need to lift it before polination. But at least it will give them a head start on the bugs.
There are some more here right beside my precocious cabbage and brussels sprouts.
So far, I’m not feeling cheered. But at the other end of the garden I have some gigantic garlic that’ve been pumping out scapes. This week I’ve had scapes, my first peas, spinach and lettuce.
Feeling a little better.
But I’m behind on planting carrots.
Yowza stand back and look at all those berries! If I can distract the kids long enough maybe I’ll even get to eat some this year.
That helps a little.
I tend to compete with those folks I mention earlier and think only of the parts of the garden that aren’t doing well rather than being happy about the bounty. My livelihood doesn’t depend on this. I should just be happy for the delicious food we’ve gotten and enjoy.