I moved into the cabin on May 23rd, so as of tomorrow 11 weeks. I started the garden on the 24th. It’s been slow going in the garden as I’ve only added a fairly small bit of compost and most plants and seeds were put in a bit later than normal. If I’d gotten it going three weeks earlier I have no doubt that I’d be much further along in the harvest. That said, I’m now harvesting tomatoes, yellow squash, and as of tomorrow my first zucchini as well as the first cucumber. I should also be harvesting the first basil and cilantro soon. The pumpkins are also getting blooms now so hopefully they’ll produce a few fruit. The black-eye peas are coming along and I may get a bit of harvest there as well. Better late than never, eh?
I’ve taken a peak beneath the cardboard/straw mulch that I laid out early on and it looks like the earthworms have been busy! This fall or early spring I’ll be adding a new layer of manure or compost as well as more cardboard and straw to continue the process into next summer. The compost pile is doing well and should be ready to use very soon. Given the soil improvements and better timing I have little doubt that next year’s garden will be much more productive!
I’ll also be planting far more plants as well as more varieties of both veggies and herbs. I can probably triple or quadruple the amount grown in this current space. While I’m currently growing around 15 different veggies and herbs (not including the herbs in the spiral bed) next year I plan to have at least 50 – 70 different species in this kitchen garden area including lots of flowers. Not only will this provide a greater variety of food but the mix of colors and scents should help confuse insect pests. We’ll also be adding more varieties to the forest garden, more on that later.
A note about pests. I’m definitely seeing a bit of damage but so far it’s not been too bad. Japanese beetles of course and they seem to be hanging around the plums and apples. I’ve been catching them into a bowl and then squish! I’ve also found stink bugs on the tomatoes and am taking care of them by hand. Last, I’ve found a few clusters of squash bug eggs and squash bugs on the yellow squash. I’ve taken care of those by hand as well. I’ve probably missed a few things but it really has been pretty minimal. I’ve got clusters of rocks scattered here and there for lizard habitat. In June I found several lizard egg clusters in the garden and have seen plenty of young northern fence lizards in the past week. Also lots of frogs in the garden. My hope is that these critters will help with the pests. So far no rabbit or deer damage!