Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Pathetic Garden and Its Wan and Lumpy Produce

The past six weeks of more or less constant drizzle and humidity that is so high it  might as well be drizzle has resulted in a pathetic square foot garden (this after its great enthusiastic early summer burst of growth).  I decided to go out in the drizzle this morning and document its patheticness, and here it is.  You will note that this is a scientific drawing, and the tallest plant, an okra, is all of 24" high.  Not only is the okra ridiculously short, but it has produced a total of four pods all summer, two of which are just now starting.  To the right of the okra are two back-up okra plants that I put in about six weeks ago when the original two plants were doing so badly that I thought I would try with new starts.   The back-ups didn't grow at all, but one did develop a yellow leaf with spots on it. 

Then there are the lacinato kale plants that I grew from seed out side the square foot to augment the curly Russian kale starts that I put inside the square.  The lacinato did pretty well for a few weeks; then overnight it was stripped by a few little green caterpillars, leaving all the lacinato kale plants looking like pine twigs.  Drawing 2962 is of one of the curly Russian kales, bigger, but with leaves reduced to lace by a slightly fatter and browner but still small caterpillar.  And finally on the right are two deeply disappointing eggplants.  The larger (5" tall) of the two actually produced a miniature purple eggplant that is still maybe growing.  Unfortunately the plant is so short that the eggplant is drooping onto the magic compost soil and will develop mold or be eaten by slugs, also thriving in the moisture.
The garden isn't a 100% failure.  The cucumber vine has produced many gigantic watery cucumbers that make decent cucumber soup.  This particular one was growing through a hole in the turkey fence mesh and developed a small head on one end.  The paste tomatoes, while not exactly prolific, are beginning to ripen;  but unfortunately they drop off the plant almost immediately and fall into the slug-infested area under the leaves, where they quickly rot.  Even those that I grab while they're still partly ripe have odd spots on them that develop into mushy areas that need to be excised.  There is one beautiful and thriving basil plant and a parsley that has managed to not bolt.  The carrots are sprouting and will maybe have time to develop before the ground freezes.  The inside-the-square kale plants and the Swiss chard did great (until the arrival of the caterpillars).  My list of things to do differently next season is very long.


  1. Some of us are time-challenged, you are garden-challenged. At least you are providing food for slugs and a variety of insects! .... wonderful blog!

  2. This is gorgeous, Gwen - and I am a great fan of your journals. I love the lacy Kale - I have a variety that is meant to look look that; It is called 'Fizz' and I let it run to flower (lovely white multiple heads) and it looks good enough for the flower border. It's now been devoured by all the caterpillars in the world, and I had let it set seed so as to grow some more next year.

  3. Thanks Elva and Ann- Hopefully this year the kale will survive the caterpillar and slug fest and overwinter. I believe the wild turkeys (there are ten in the flotilla that currently inhabits our end of the road) are actually eating some slugs this year. That would be good, since they've turned parts of the flower beds into turkey wallows. I would be happy if they ate a few slugs while lounging on top of what used to be our perennials!