Mid June is when I take a Long hard look at my garden. I’ve already picked four tomato plants clean and all of my potato mounds have flowered and died back—which means in about a week – (or as soon as the vines turn yellow brown) It will be time to dig up and store my first crop of spuds for 2010.
After I excavate the potatoes and pluck my last basket of tomatoes from the withering vines, I’ll be left with about 72 square feet of garden soil I need to reinvigorate using my tiller and the contents of my ever growing compost pile. On Father’s Day I did some basic soils testing and was unsurprised to learn my nitrogen and potassium levels are low—potatoes leech both from garden soil. So before I decide what I’ll replant, I‘ll boost the levels of both using an organic potting soil I like.
I haven’t made p my mind what I’m going to replant, but the four sprouting russet potatoes in my kitchen will probably be recycled end up in Garden 2010- 2.0. I also want to try and grow some large Roma tomatoes and two rows, of mildly spicy peppers, both of which will be used in my yearly tomato sauce canning project.
I also have more squash in 6 inch planters on my potting table.
My 2010 celery project is turning out much better than expected. I’m about 45 days away from harvesting my three rows and I’m really impressed by my Utah Tall celery’s all around flavor and sweetness. There really is no comparison between store bought and home grown celery. So, my 2011 garden will have at least two long rows of this vegetable.
I also have three rows of fruit trees and one of my on-going goals has been to produce a “perfect” free stone peach. Last year I pruned my peaches and this year three of my four Avalons are in full production, proof of which is overburdened branches with up to 45 peaches drooping dangerously low to the ground. About half of the peaches on my “test” tree are headed to the 12-ounce mark.
What I did wrong this year is not thinning my peachcrop sooner. That’s the bad news. The good news is not one person in my family has ever said “no thank you” to a basket of fresh peaches. And this year I’ll be giving away many baskets.
My peaches and apricots will be ready to harvest in about 10 days, so it’s time to cut back on my irrigation—which helps concentrate the flavors in ripening fruit.
My three year old Reed avocados have set and their green cannonball-sized fruit are developing nicely. My goal this year is to plant five more Reeds and two Fuertes avocados, which eventually will result in a year-round availability Reed, Pinkerton, Haas or Fuertes fruits. Most non Southern Californians have never seen a Reed avocado, which when placed on a kitchen table universally generates an “O Dios mio!” ( “ODM” or “OMG” English equivalent) reactions because of their colossal size and superior taste.
Gardening is a pleasant experience: It forces me to use my stroke affected left hand and I work shirtless, which results in a tan.And all of those are good things—Jim “Farmer” Forbes on 0621/2010.