State o' the Garden & Orchard, Wrapup Fall 2013: FAIL

Tomatoes: FAIL. Blight, blight, blightedy-blight blight. We may have trucked in the disease with the load of compost from a local garden center. Not one decent tomato this year. Nada. The plants could not keep ahead of the blight.

Chickens stalking Emma's food bowl. The garden is too
depressing to photograph right now.
White potatoes and Yellow onions: FAIL. The tops died back within a few weeks of planting this Spring, with only a little bit of root/tuber growth. Being lazy, I left the remainder in the garden bed over the Summer, continuing to water so as to keep the soil microbes alive. Oddly enough, now that the cooler weather has arrived the potatoes and onions both are sprouting anew. Not sure how far they'll get before being zapped by Winter, however.

Lettuce: FAIL. It got too hot, too fast. One lone little lettuce plant survived the Summer's heat & glare. I left it alone, and it is now going to seed. Why not?

Sweet Potatoes: FAIL. Rabbits were our nemesis here, as they'd sneak through the fence when we didn't close it carefully. Sweet potato greens are juicy and sweet, and the bunnies would chow down. The leaves keep coming back, however, so there may be some small tubers to harvest come early Winter, but I'm not counting on it.

Some not-so-failures: the sweet basil went nuts, two plants growing almost four foot tall. The sicilian oregano planted in the strawberry bed (didn't know where else to plunk it) almost took OVER the bed. It will be parted out and replanted come Spring. The strawberries took to the new bed as well, and will probably fruit nicely come next season.

Lettuce gone to seed
Must have left some partial sweet potato tubers in last year's old bed, as there's greens sprouting all over. Last year's crop was riddled with corking, however, so I'm not counting on these potatoes being edible.

[As a side note to my prepper-minded friends: this year's garden failure really hammers home the lessons from our grandparents & great-grandparents, to save/set aside as much as possible during the "fat" times, because the lean times are gonna happen no matter how well prepared we think we may be. I honestly thought this year's garden was gonna knock it out of the ballpark.]

As far as the orchard goes, once all the trees go dormant, we plan to cull a good many of them. The experimental almonds and cherries will go. So will the peaches. We'll probably pull all the fruit trees from the "front yard" as well, as they're not thriving. What DOES work on this property so far: apples, pears, plums, figs, and apricots. Not bad. We may try the cherries and almonds again once we get some soil berms and better rainwater catchment developed.

Spouse has rebuilt the "temporary" greenhouse, making it taller so we can fit the nine potted citrus trees (and other potted plants) under its eaves. Next year, we will really need to build a new greenhouse - the trees will not fit another year.

Onwards and upwards!

Of Mice and Various Snakes and new Duck Feed Station

As mentioned in the previous post, our region is experiencing a near-Biblical plague of mice. "It's due to all the moisture we had...