Wishetwurra Farm Report, June 2015

Here comes June!

May is a busy month at Wishetwurra Farm. So much to do. So many decisions to make. When to plant what. What to put where. Whether to plant this or that at all. Is there going to be room for everything?

The answer to the last question is inevitable. Every year the answer is exactly the same.

“No”.

The last two months have been appallingly dry. Our last decent rain was in March, when total rainfall was two and a half inches. April’s total rain was about a half an inch. May gave us barely three-quarters of an inch. You don’t usually think of springtime gardening in New England as desert-style gardening, but that’s the kind of gardening we’ve been practicing for the last nine weeks. The “small favor” of the drought has been the small crop of weeds. We’ve had less weeding in April in May than I can ever remember.

If you dig into our unwatered areas of ground, all is dry, just dusty, and dusty farther down than you want to see. On sunny days even the leaves of deep-rooted weeds are flopping loosely for lack of moisture.

Every foot of soaker hose we own has been pressed into service. We have ordered three hundred feet more.

(Bulletin: June 2, 2015. With the arrival of a cold front and northeast winds, rain has arrived. Rain is falling as I write. The last thirty-six hours have given us almost a half of an inch of water. Radar shows more rain to our west, headed our way. The forecast says that we could get a quarter to a half inch more. Let it rain! Longer-range forecasts hold out the promise of another inch of water in the ten days to come. May this be so.)

The waning hours of May 31, 2015 were close enough to take pictures for the June 2015 Wishetwurra Farm Report. I once again pulled sixteen feet of Herbert Poindexter Memorial Ladder out from under the white spruce tree on the edge of the yard, shouldered it, walked over to the Goat Barn, and raised high the aluminum. From an altitude of sixteen feet above garden level, I took the month’s documentary photos.

North.

Middle.

South.

Here is Wishetwurra Farm from the North.

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Front to back and left to right: Outside the garden fence, currants and gooseberries are busy making fruit. Inside, below the path board, is the seaweed-mulched asparagus patch. You see no green there because we’re picking the spears as fast as they appear. The green clumpy growth below the asparagus is pease. We write “pease” for “peas” around here, because we like that word so much. Also in the north are garlics and shallots, which look a little bit like corn plants. That red basket near the greenhouse door is a plastic “trug” used for collecting weeds so noxious they must be destroyed instead of composted. We’ll talk about some of those weeds soon.

The Middle.

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Near to far: the “desert” garden, laced with hose and soaker hose. We see the taters, the strawberry bed, a bed of mixed plantings – from coles to zinnias, the corn patch, more  mixed plantings, the onion bed, another mixed bed, and at the bottom, an unplanted bed.

The South.

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Near to far: potatoes hug the fence, then the strawberry bed, a bed of mixed plantings — from coles to zinnias, the corn patch, more mixed plantings, the onion bed, another mixed bed, and at the bottom, an unplanted bed. At the “far south”, just before “Mexico” is a section of internal 9′ fence, left there when the garden expanded a few years ago. One half has snap peas. The other half has cucumbers, which if the cucumber beetles don’t kill them first, will be trained up the fence.

There’s no picture of the plantings in Mexico.

Mexico?

Si, señor.

The section beyond the fence, beyond the “South”,  is “Mexico”. Nothing has yet been planted in Mexico. The reason for its unintended fallowness is an invasion of bindweed, also known as wild morning glory. In a fit of idiocy a few years ago, I was charmed by a little volunteer vine with a pretty flower. Each year I regret my idiocy an order of magnitude more. Bindweed spreads with stealth, vigor, persistence, and speed. The underground runners with which it spreads are almost impossible to completely extract. The smallest remaining piece becomes a new plant. The little bits are as bad as those mythological dragon’s teeth sown by Cadmus. Remember those teeth? They’re very bad news. When they hit the soil, up spring ferocious warriors (who were known as the “Spartoi”). My efforts to control the Spartoian bindweed has gone from skirmish to battle to campaign to all-out war. The war threatens to go “nuclear”.

Stay tuned for dispatches from the war zone.

High-altitude work done, I descended, reshouldered and restowed Herb’s old ladder under the spruce, and went inside the garden for some closer shots.

We’ll take a look at those shots in the next Wishetwurra Farm post.

Exciting things are happening, down on the ground.

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