|Full view of my Denman Island 'garden in the forest'|
I've been so busy with the early, warm spring and summer; planting, shading newly emerged winter crops and watering, that I've had little time to sit at the computer these days. I've taken a few weeks off from the salon for my annual summer staycation. Don't get too excited about that, it's 2 weeks I take every summer to 'catch up' on weeding, defrosting freezers, removing thistle seed heads on the property, pruning back Grandma's lilac so clients can get through the gate, cleaning the salon and if I have time ... making some freezer meals and soups for when I'm back at work. And that's the short list!!
|Winter carrots and beets under remay|
|Garlic Harvest - 2 varieties July 18th, 2019|
I pulled the garlic between rain showers a week earlier than last year. I was worried it would get too wet and a test pull of 2 heads proved there were 5 skin wrappers left, proof it was ready to be pulled and dried. Because the roots were a little more damp that I wanted, I cleaned the heads and removed most of the stalks to hopefully speed drying time. A few years ago I set up some old window screens and a fan system in the garage for drying. It is easy to manage and no threat from the weather.
|2019 garlic drying|
Most crops for winter harvest on the West Coast need to be in by July 1st.
I have not grown winter carrots for about 4 years because of the damage from the carrot rust fly. To avoid this pest, the carrot beds need to be covered with remay or an insect mesh until at least October. Remay is great in that it provides extra heat, so the seeds germinate well and grow quickly, but it is a challenge in that it must be elevated by supports to allow the carrot tops room to grow and lifted off the bed to water properly.
|Carrot bed #1 covered with remay|
I'm so excited for winter carrots that I've put in 2 beds. A small bed first then a second bed including some beets with the Lennox cabbage, a 120 day variety.
|Winter garden bed - carrots, beets (remay) and cabbage|
|Carrot bed #1 uncovered for watering|
The beets and carrots will be heavily mulched in the fall and we will use them starting in December and through the winter till March. The Lennox cabbage will be harvested in January.
I've noticed lower than normal pollination this year. Although I've planted more flowers, including marigolds and nasturtiums between the vegetables, I have been hand pollinating the tomatoes, Mercury cucumbers in the greenhouse and winter squash.
|Sunshine and Butternut winter squash|
The second crop of Seascape Strawberries are just starting. A few huge, red berries every few days with stems heavy with fruit to come. The Desert King Fig is almost finished ripening. A crafty squirrel has discovered the figs this year and damaged/eaten quite a few of the fruits.
|Seascape Strawberries and Desert King Fig|
For the past 2 years I've been pruning the fig tree into a structure that will produce a high breba crop. Breba is the first crop and this method is best suited to the Desert King that I grow and is in the photo. Because of the heavy pruning each spring, my fig crops have been very small ... and that darn squirrel hasn't helped the harvest this summer!
Until next time... Happy Gardening and Bon Appétit!
Photos by Sally Rae