Archive for June 7th, 2011

No Rain isn’t so Funny at the Farm


Posted by Mikie Baker  |  No Comments »

A couple of months ago when my beds had already started to dry out, I mulched heavily with old hay. Worked like a charm and I was back to watering only twice a week as the beds stayed nice and moist.

All that came to an end last week. I have to water the beds every day or so as the dry earth beneath the beds is leaching the water into the soil. I fear everything will have expired by July or August. Time will tell. This is my first year to garden in extreme drought.

Let’s check on the progress of things in the garden.

Sweet Potatoes a couple of weeks after planting

I planted the sweet potatoes in late April. I’ve never grown them before, so I didn’t know what to expect. This is what they look like a month later.

Filling in nicely

They look just like the Sweet Potato Vine plants that I have in hanging baskets. I have to keep putting the runners back in the beds. I think they’re ready in October, if they can live through this summer. We shall see.

Though the vine on this has powdery mildew and is dying, I’ve still gotten some mighty impressive squash off this.

My first Spaghetti Squash

Like I said, the plants look terrible now, but wait until you see my harvest.

It’s too hot for me to fight the powdery mildew

I bet you are wondering how I have an outbreak of powdery mildew in this drought. The Funny Farm is not level, so water pools up in places. One of those places is between the two beds of corn and squash. The squash got it first and then it spread to the spaghetti squash. I’ve got too much going on with Dearly Demented Mom to deal with it. Sometimes a garden will just be what a garden has to be. With that said, look at my harvest.

Now those babies are impressive

I put the bread knife in there for perspective. That larger one is bigger than any I’ve seen in the store. In fact, it’s bigger than my fat head. I grew these for a reason and my plan on this one is actually working.

Lots and lots of Swiss Chard

Remember my recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin? Click on the Recipes link and it’s there. That’s what I’m going to do with my gigantic spaghetti squash and Swiss chard. Lovely. Come on over and enjoy it with Dearly Demented Mom and I.

Okay, back to squash and the outlook is grim. I had so much squash and zucchini for awhile that I was pawning it off on friends. Let’s look at how it started.

The drainage issue is between those two beds

It began lush and gorgeous. Everything was healthy and producing squash wildly. What a difference a month makes.

Pretty and healthy young zucchini

This is how it looks today.

Pitiful and barely putting on squash

Probably going to give up and pull it all. Just trying to avoid the squash bug attack. I’ve killed a few, but the infestation hasn’t been near as bad as last year. I’m learning how to control bugs which I think is the secret to a successful garden. And being organic, that means hand picking the critters.

Since we’ve been talking squash, we might as well take a look at the corn that’s planted in the same bed at The Funny Farm. I’ve picked all of it as it’s done. Just look.

It’s starting to lay over

I’m going to leave it in the ground and see if it turns into cool, dried corn husks for fall decorations. Of course with the drought, it may just burn up before then. Luckily, I’ve gotten quite a bit of corn.

Okay, but not like last year

Still, it’s so sweet and fresh, it doesn’t even need butter. But the corn is small so you have to eat 2 ears at a meal. Last year, it was a different story.

Wonder Corn!

Oh well, still tastes as good, just doesn’t look so pretty.

Tomorrow’s column day and then Friday we’ll finish the wrap up of what’s growing and what’s not  in The Funny Farm.

At least I can brag on these

Of course, they started in the dead of winter. And I’ve got more in the garage. Looks like it’s time for an onion pie.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time. Pray for DDM.

Mikie Baker