Carol from May Dreams Gardens (Zone 5), Mary Ann from Idaho Gardener (Zone 6) and I decided, this year, to exchange letters from our vegetable gardens. We hope to give everyone an idea of how gardens grow in three different USDA hardiness zones. I garden in Zone 7a, where it has finally warmed up.
Dear Carol and Mary Ann,
Greetings from sunny north central Oklahoma! Week 12. Can you believe it? I really can’t, but I’m so glad we decided to write these letters. It’s made me think more about and take better care of the vegetable garden than I have in years past.
Week twelve is one of harvests. The weather is beginning to be too warm for lettuces, so I’ll be harvesting the remaining ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ and the others before they bolt or become bitter. When the lettuces start to get long necks, they are bolting. Also, some of the mixed Asian greens (probably mustard) are blooming and will set seed if I let them. Since we’re leaving on Tuesday, I probably will. Note to self: I’m not planting that mix again. Too many had that bitter taste no one in the family, including me, will eat.
The turnips never produced the roots they normally do. I should have planted them even earlier and covered them with row covers. Well, truthfully, I don’t like turnips that much. I might find a quicker producing variety next year, or maybe not plant them at all.
A great mystery awaited on the other side of the garden. The spinach and beets had all disappeared except for those seedlings under other plants. That was a paltry few. What spinach was left was getting the elongated leaves that indicate it is starting to bolt. For a moment or two, I was stumped. I walked around the garden thinking and realized the chicken wire on the far end of the garden was gone. On the outside of the split rail, I found it on the ground. This was not a good thing, so I spent the next hour putting the fence back, and some of it was missing entirely. I requisitioned some from the compost pile. I hope the bunnies enjoyed their salad lunches because they are now over.
So, for the cold crops of spinach, beets and turnips are a bust for various reasons. Oh well, I had plenty of lettuce, peas, radishes, green onions, Swiss chard and kale. It was a good spring.
The onions are also trying to bloom. I either need to pick them green or mash their stems over to help them mature. I should thin them too.
Meanwhile, some of the beans are now climbing their supports. Once we return from vacation, I’ll plant the dwarf okra. I just didn’t have time to get to it with all of the end-of-school activities and trying to mulch everything before we left.
The side rose bed isn’t mulched, and the blasted nutgrass is trying to take it over. What a nightmare that weed is. It seeds itself everywhere including the gravel paths. Today, we burned some of the crabgrass and other weeds in the paths so that they wouldn’t get away from us during the two weeks we’re away. This was a test to see how well it works. I’ll let you know. The air smells like roasted corn husks at the fair.
In case you’re wondering I’m not worried about putting our vacation info on the Internet because my nephew and his fiancee will be watching and living in our house. My neighbors are also watching. This gives me tremendous relief.
Not much else to report except that the tomato plants (all of them both purchased and grown from seed) are growing ever larger. When I return, I will need to tie them to their supports I am sure. I did tie up some of the beans. Meanwhile, vegetables and ornamentals are stretching their pretty necks to meet the rays of the sun. Hope everything in your neck of the woods is also performing.
Til I see you two in Chicago, I remain,