E-Garten – June 2019

So far this year we have had a good mix of sun and rain, the garden is thriving.

Overview of the E-Garden

The mini-bed garden is doing well, the only negative point that I have found, is that when I don’t munch these beds, the soil is stone-hard.

The mini-bed Section

One of my pear trees is bearing fruit for the first time.

The First Pears

May 2019 – E-Garten

This year’s E-Garden is in full bloom.

May 2019 E-Garden

This year I reduced the amount of potatoes by two beds, replacing these beds with an additional bed of strawberries and a bed of red raspberries.

Update and the Battle of the Cutworms

Hard to believe it’s the first of August already, the garden season is advancing quickly. Our summer here in the land of the Huguenots remains very hot and dry, like much of Europe. Fortunately, the gardens that I use have deep wells, so the daily watering has not caused them to dry up.

The past few weeks have been stifling hot, with temperatures often reaching 36-37 °C (97-99 °F). This has been good for some garden crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, but disastrous for others, like onions, broccoli and cauliflower. Our zucchini is doing well in the E-Garden, where it is partly shaded during the hottest part of the day, but poorly in the L-Garden where it sits in the scorching sun all day.

I left our early potatoes in the ground a little longer, hoping they would grow longer. This proved to be a mistake, when I dug them up last weekend I found dozens if cutworms munching away at our crop. I estimate we lost at least half of our early potatoes from the little buggers. I showed no mercy when I found one, squishing them to death as I dug.

Public Enemy #1 – The Cutworm

I am now considering digging my main storage potatoes before they fall prey to the hungry beasts. It would be nice if I could have chickens in the garden, they love to eat cutworms.

The L-Garden in June

The L-Garden has mixed results. The zucchini is off to a good start, we have been eating some this week. Growing next to the squash is rat tail radishes, the first time I have tried to grow this.

Rat tail radishes and zucchini.

The onions seem to be growing extremely slowly, I’m not sure if it is the heat or that they don’t like the soil. I need to check the PH in these beds.

Onions and more squash.

The tomatoes under my makeshift roof are doing very well, the first tomatoes should start ripening soon. I actually need to thin them out a little bit so they get more air.

Tomatoes.

The cucumbers are also producing, the plant on the right was planted a few weeks before the others.

The first cucumbers.

It is hard to see in the following picture, but the row of tomato plants along the back wall are looking very poorly, this section is shaded most of the day. I am considering moving them into the E-Garden.

An overview.

The small kitchen garden on the side of our house (not shown) is bursting with Rucola and Lollo salad, a variety of herbs, and soon cocktail tomatoes and spinach.

The E-Garden in June

The garden is starting to burst with fresh produce, this past week we enjoyed the first zucchini, cucumbers, peas and early potatoes of the season.

One of the zucchini beds.

I also harvested the red currents last weekend, here is a “before” picture:

Red currents.

The potatoes are looking good, despite an extremely dry year.

The potato patch.

The early potatoes that I harvested are not shown in the picture above, rather they are wild potatoes that grew in between my squash section:

Wild potatoes in the squash patch.

The area where I had buckwheat is now planted with Hokkaido and Butternut squash. I covered the wood-framed beds with fleece the first couple weeks, as the birds were eating my plants. Shortly after this the neighbors ripening cherry trees lured them away, and they haven’t been back. Now if only the slugs would leave.

Hokkaido and butternut squash.

My minibed test beds are doing really well, we have been eating lettuce and kohlrabi from these beds for several weeks. This weekend we want to pick the first cabbage and pointed cabbage. The chard in the back is also ready to eat. I have started adding shredded leaves as a mulch, the beds have been drying out too fast.

The minibed test beds are doing well.

I planted garlic last fall on some straw, I think this will be ready to harvest soon.

The garlic bed.

I also placed 30 strawberry runners in plant pots, I want to plant them in the bed shown once I have harvested the kohlrabi, brussel sprouts and other vegies.

Stawberry runners in planting pots.

May Pictures

End of May, Bird Nets Installed
End of May, Potatoes are Growing Well

I also have a “wild” potato patch, from not cleaning out all of the potatoes from last year. These are early potatoes, so I decided to leave them and plant my pumpkins in between, we’ll see what happens.

End of May – Wild Potatoes from Last Year

I also cut the buckwheat and added a row of raspberry shoots. The rest of the area will be used for squash, pumpkins and maybe honeydew melons.

End of May – Buckwheat Patch

The Battle of the Slugs and Birds

Last week I was on a business trip in Switzerland for a couple days and we also had several days of rain. These two factors left me scrambling to get the garden back in order on Saturday when the weather cleared.

I did reduce the slug population significantly during a couple of the rainy days. I use the time proven, but by some considered brutal, method of walking through the garden with shears and severing the life of the little beasts. On my first stroll, I found 219 slugs, the second day 53, last night only 14. I guess I won round one, but I’m sure they set out lots of eggs, so the battle is not over.

Last year I had very little problem with birds, but this year they are a real problem. The first time I sowed peas and spinach, only a couple seeds grew, the others are gone, highly likely from birds. The second time I sowed peas I covered them with fleece and almost all of them are growing. The cabbage, kohlrabi and other leafy plants that I planted were all eaten, I thought at first my slugs, but a watchful neighbor informed me the birds were eating the plants. The second time I set out the plants I put them in my minibed area and covered them with fleece, they are doing fine so far.

Our red currents, raspberries and strawberries are all starting to ripen, on Saturday I want to add bird nets over these areas, otherwise I think the birds won’t leave us any.

In our smaller L-Garden I have only lost one cucumber plant, everything else is growing fine. We have already begun eating radishes and claytonia, the kohlrabi should be ready in another week or two.

Garden – First Week of May

It has been an extremely dry springtime, requiring almost daily water in many of the beds that aren’t mulched heavily. I also had to water the minibed test beds, which theoretically don’t require much water. I owe this to the fact that we have not had a good rain yet this year. In any case the plants are growing reasonably well, the biggest problem being slugs and snails.

minibed Garden May 7, 2018

Our potatoes are starting to appear, a couple weeks behind last year, again probably do to the lack of rain.

The First Potatoes of 2018

In our other garden the onions are also suffering from the fast drought conditions. Last weekend I added some zucchini and eggplant plants, so far the slugs have not been a problem in this garden.

The L-Garden, May 7, 2018