Well, it's been a while since our last post. I meant to post after the last leg of our Wisconsin/Chicago Trip but it just never happened. We spent the week after the last post in lovely Chicago so in total we left our garden unattended for two weeks. Yikes.
Photo taken from Hancock Building
I figured things wouldn't be too bad. I kept eyeing the weather in our area and it appeared as though we got plenty of rain during our vacation. In fact, when we got home, we had gotten a total of 3 inches according to our rain gauge. Most of the organic gardeners in our area aim for 1" a week to keep plants strong. It seemed like we got that.
Our weed garden
Unfortunately, things did not fair so well.
Where to start? Let's see... the onions never grew into anything so I guess trying to overwinter was a bad idea. Last year they did so well that I'm downright SHOCKED!!
All the squash died pretty much. Not cool. Yield was low to dismal. They got a white chalky mildew and died. I maybe got 3 dinner's worth out of 12 plants. My squash plants have always been the easiest and most dependable to grow.
The beans were seriously stunted and small. We got a few dinner's worth but that is all.
The potatoes died completely. So much for our container experiment. We used good soil so it was either mildew, insects, rain, or a combination of those that killed them.
You can't even tell there were potatoes here.
The raspberry plants have been half eaten by japanese beetles. The eggplant I planted was eaten long ago by the same darn beetles. I knew from last year to get a cover on them but we never managed to go that far. I'm a little angry at myself for that. But I didn't get a lot of support for those in the house anyway. Nick thinks they are a bug attractor.
The peppers aren't doing so hot (ha ha) either and are on death's door.
I don't have much hope at this point for the carrots. They are being smothered by crab grass and it's a b*tch and a half to get out. At this point it's no longer worth it. I learned this lesson last year but we REALLY need to get to mulching the garden early so it's not completely swallowed up with weeds. Time just seemed to slip by on us this year. I'll have to be more of a thorn in hubby's side on getting this done together because it's near impossible to do on my own with the kids.
On the good side, we have several bags of wild blackberries. The large leaf basil is looking great. Also, the tomatoes are doing well though I wonder for how long. Our local co-op service said there is a highly contagious tomato mildew disease going around that is killing crops. Yay.
The glimmer of hope?
So, after 2 great, productive years we've had a REALLY bad one. I honestly don't think it's just because of the trip though that may have been part of the problem. I think we just didn't add enough amendments to the soil to keep it rich and fertile. Also, we try not to use pesticides and things and leaving crops unattended is just a bad idea. I just don't know what to do with all these darn stink bugs and japanese beetles around here! @#$@#$!!
I'm tempted next year to cover the garden and just let it rest next year. I don't want to invest so much to get so little like this year and if I can't do it right I don't see the point.