Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sad in the garden, another new dress

 The above picture is of my biggest bed next to the house.  If you think that looks bad, you should see it now!  We surmise that the lime in the concrete from our neighbor's new fence has altered the pH of the soil and killed almost everything.  Things I planted--both before and after his new fence went up this spring--have died.  It was a mixture of both edibles and ornamentals, and even the weeds are dead now;  it's just a patch of bare soil.  I already salvaged what I could (chives, oregano, garlic).  I've written off that bed for this year;  it's a sorry, sorry loss. 

Speaking of losses, I'm also sad about the amount of slug damage this year.  I've lost almost all the seeds I sowed directly into the garden, and many of the seedlings I transplanted out.  I even bought large-ish plants from the garden center to replace ones I grew myself, only to lose them.  I would estimate losses due to slugs at around 75%.  I've tried beer traps (caught slugs, but didn't stop the damage), eggshells, coffee grounds, bran, and going out at night with a light and a pair of scissors (so gross!!). 

The eggshells seem to be the most effective, but are a limited resource.  I even bring them home from work (a restaurant), but just don't have enough to spread everywhere, particularly as I have to reapply after rain.  Slugs seem to like eating the bran, which means I can locate them easily at night if I sprinkle a perimeter of the stuff around my beds.  Not sure if this has an effect on the plant damage, though.  Coffee didn't seem to make any difference at all. 

I put in a lot of work this year, and to lose so much is tough.  Still growing:  peas and lettuce (nearing end);  a couple chard, two tomatoes, two cucumbers, and two squash, each in containers on the patio;  last year's cabbages (a few);  and potatoes.  It's a good year for potatoes, at least--I planted some seed potatoes, and also have at least as many volunteers, despite the fact I didn't plant any last year.  Still growing, but for just for seeds now:  sprouting broccoli, onions, leeks, fennel. 

We harvested about half a kilo of pie cherries for the freezer, and maybe 2 weeks' worth of strawberries for eating out of hand;  there are a couple raspberries on the newly planted canes (one or two a day), and a similar amount of blackcurrants (tart!).  The apple trees have plenty of fruit, particularly the red Sparta, but both are very close to the new fence, so I'm keeping a careful eye on them.  They won't ripen for another two months at least.
I made this dress last month, out of three men's identical t-shirts;  I copied the design from a dress I already own.  I like this one a lot--the old one was a bit worn and holey.  I've got another dress in the works, and one in the planning stages too.  Trying to console myself for the state of affairs in the garden.