Things are looking much more garden like out there- it's still much too large to be photogenic in a full on photo- as you can see here:
It just looks huge- and mostly empty. I sometimes wish for a more compact space- with small mulched pathways, and lots companion plants growing cozily next to each other- but the reality is that the wide pathways make maintaining the garden much easier, and harvest also- as the 'gator can motor around in between rows, and we can load it up and haul the produce out, we can also drive in between with a water tank in the back and water really effectively. I am thinking about seeding a ground cover in our pathways- then green manuring it in, but I worry about weed control too. This year we had a ton of beneficial volunteer plants ( I love that term- it seems so helpful and eager)- borage, and calendula, a few bachelor buttons, cilantro, dill, poppies, larkspur and lots and lots of stocks (which I don't really love as a flower- but will let grow just for the bugs). We also had a lot of weeds, and it seems as though they are mostly in the areas that were rows last year- which proves that tilling our paths had a good effect on the weeds, since we're rotating rows and paths now, I'm hoping that a few more years of keeping the paths black will really cut back on bad weeds (round leaved mallow, thistle, shepherds purse, pigweed, sow thistle). After that maybe we can start sowing clover, or fall rye, or vetch in the pathways- and keeping them mowed instead of tilled (though I hesitate to add more mowing to the chores.)
Anyways- a few things are in bloom, the Atomic Carrots we overwintered are producing lovely flower heads, they are so fringed and beautiful, I can't get enough of them- even though it has been too windy to really photograph them- I'll keep trying. The spinach is producing now, as are the strawberries, the beans are starting to climb, or bush out, the peas are flowering (and not being eaten by deer- which has us totally paranoid about what is in the yard that is keeping the deer away- coyotes? cougars? goodwill?). The tomatoes are flowering too, and looking really strong and vibrant.
We've had a bit of a pest problem though- grasshoppers are everywhere- eating everything, though the recent rains and strong winds have sort of knocked them back a bit I think- no new holes on the emerging leaves. I'm going to try some molasses water traps, and I will keep you updated on how that works, if worse comes to worse we may have to spread some eco-bran bait, which is not organic- but which is specific to grasshoppers- so it won't hurt any (many?) beneficials. I think we would only spread it in the long grassy areas around the garden- and not in the garden itself- I'm not sure if it would have enough impact to justify the use. Hopefully it won't come to that though, I'd much rather not use it. I suppose if they do continue eating everything we'll still have our row covered cruciferae- so that's something, it almost makes me want to cover the whole darn garden.
Linking up with Amanda's garden updates- how is your garden growing?- leave a link the comments to let me know.