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May 2020 Garden Update {Almost Tomato Time in Georgia!}


last month7 min read

Hello again friends! I don't know how I've managed to find the time to post this much in the last few days, but I'm sure I'll go quiet again soon enough as I get into the busy week ahead. Before that happens I wanted to document the latest in our gardening adventures for the month of May. We continue to learn and make mistakes, and of course Mother Nature is constantly throwing curve balls. However, once again this month I'm pretty pleased with how things are looking in our little plant haven in the back yard!

Come join me for a stroll through the garden...

As my title implies, our tomatoes are having a moment in the sun right now, literally and figuratively. After struggling for the last few years with getting good tomatoes, I'm really hoping this current rate of growth bodes well for our harvest this season. One of the tips we started incorporating this season was to start saving our urine (yep, cheap and natural fertilizer) to add nitrogen back to the soil as the early growth of the plants and yellowing of the leaves seemed to indicate. @dksart has been saving his in a jug and then diluting it in water from the rain barrel to water the garden these last few weeks. The tomatoes and beans seemed especially appreciative of this golden shower. 🤣

Speaking of beans...we've got a nice little haul just about ready for plucking from the plant. The golden beans aren't hugely abundant, but they will supplement my latest farmers market haul nicely. The Borlotto's on the right still need a bit of time to mature into the brilliant red speckled pod if I want to harvest the beans inside, but we could also pull them off early to eat the whole pod. We might just do a little of both. The pests have particularly taken a liking to the bean plants themselves, so the growth has been hindered a bit despite getting the maturing pods. Since we do have such a long growing season here I think we may just continue to plant some more seeds to see if there's a time in the season that is more fruitful than others. The soybeans are struggling a bit, but we'll keep working on those to see what helps them thrive, as well!

The other plants really thriving at the moment are the squash in the raised beds that @dksart made from some industrial size tubs that he bought off of Craigslist. They seem to be quite happy in the new beds, though we may struggle to support their rapid growth that high off the ground. Again, a learning experience but I'm sure he'll rig some good support systems to keep the plants strong. Now that I am seeing some wee tiny little babies emerging, I am pretty sure we have at least one of the Candy Roaster plants growing (a Georgia variety I ordered from, and a few Patty Pan. I have never tried the Candy Roasters before, but thought it was fun to try an heirloom variety from our state that's a bit more obscure. The Patty Pan is always a favorite of mine from the farmers market. I have some in the refrigerator right now, but will love to have some of our own straight off the plant.

You never know with squash here in the South, though. I may be begging friends and family to take some if they proliferate like zucchini often does...

In some of the other tub beds we also have a few cucumber plants and one lone kohlrabi seedling that survived the cold, wet early spring season. The leaves on the kohlrabi are huge! It looks like the bulb itself should be ready to eat soon, too. I'll use the leaves in a smoothie or cook up along with the actual bulb since they look so healthy and lush. Always adding in those leafy greens anywhere we can!

A few of the other highlights are some more seedlings from @dksart's mom--purple basil and another cucumber plant. We also pulled up three of the 5-6 watermelon radishes that we planted a few months ago. They are super spicy! I still need to research if it is just the particular seeds we have or if there is something in the growing conditions that make radishes more or less peppery. Always fun to pull some veggies out of the dirt to bring to the kitchen, though. My dill is looking lush and tasting fantastic in all kinds of my spring meals. The strawberry plants are growing like crazy, despite not producing much fruit for us this year. We snagged a few fruits from the plants before the slugs got to them, but we're hoping since this was the first season after transplanting them from a family friend's plot that perhaps they'll do even better next year.

The rest of the herbs are still looking good, so we are still hacking down all the lemon balm and mint little by little to dry and preserve in other ways before it completely takes over the garden. I've got more oregano drying, as well, since I use that a lot in my cooking. The pepper and eggplant seedlings are slow going right now. With hotter weather more consistently on the way they may finally start popping up here soon. We may have a few other things growing, but I think I hit all the high points.

I enjoy sharing these and learning from all the other awesome gardeners out there, but it is also nice to be able to look back each month and see our progress. Thanks as always to @simplymike for hosting the [Garden Journal Challenge]( each month for us to join in on! It will be even more rewarding to look back on this one in May of next year to remind us what worked and what didn't. I'm excited to see how things will look in just another month when I share the progress again. Until then I leave you with the laziest garden buddy...don't worry, he likes hiding in the mint but seems to be leaving the actual plants in the garden alone so far so we'll keep him around...

With all that is going on in the world right now I know we are truly lucky to have this little bit of land and fertile spot to grow some of our own food. We may not have as much as some, but we have a whole lot more than others. For that I am truly grateful. Another post might be brewing in my heart to reflect on some of the things going on right now, but until then this is my tiny part to try to put something wholesome and good out into the world a few photos and words at a time. 💚

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