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Twice today I got lost. I don't know why but in a way I lost my mind or wasn't focused or it was because I was distracted because of the traffic jams. The days pass by fast and it doesn't matter if I start at 5 am or 7 am I'm always running out of time.
This morning one child started at work later and so I arrived later at the market. Fortunately, I was just in time because they were almost out of milk. Good to know for next time. It is wiser to go to the market at six in the morning rather than nine. I bought some small cucumbers and tiny potatoes for 30 cents per kilogram. New potatoes that I can cook in the skin. Nice and easy. Not that we eat much lately. It's hot and I don't feel much like cooking and baking. We eat our own salad almost every day. I don't use the whole head but take off a few leaves so that the head can grow as long as possible.
I moved most of the plants yesterday. Everything is placed under a tree. It was quite a haul but this is the only way to protect the plants from the sun. Watering twice a day was often not enough.
The current state is that about 60 per cent of all seedlings died. My only bought cucumber plant doesn't look too good. One cucumber was eaten and although it was full of small cucumbers, they all dried out or rotted. Of my 9 seedlings, 4 are left. One is about ten centimetres high and has flowers. I am not going to do anything about it and hope that it will produce cucumbers.
As for my tomato plants. The four I bought all have tomatoes although they are still green. I hope that the two tall plants will not be destroyed because all tomatoes are at the top of the plant. As I told you before, the first two plants almost died after I planted them in the garden. I dug them out and put them in bags. These plants have grown branches again but have never grown high. They do have tomatoes and more than the two high plants which I bought two weeks later.
In the meantime, the mini tomato plants, Tiny Tim, also have flowers and another variety sown much later has grown almost as big as Tiny Tim. There are no flowers yet.
I bought two paprika plants and two chilli pepper plants at the market. The paprika plants are big but have no flowers yet. The chilli pepper plants look totally different but are full of flowers and one even has green chillies. So they are doing unexpectedly well.
The dill remains a problem. The seeds do come up but re-potting is a problem and often they die from lack of water, too much sun or too little water. It is difficult to find out the exact reason why a lot of dill does not do well. Birds have also eaten the plants.
Meanwhile, I have 3 mint plants. Two have overwintered and one I bought. I also have four cuttings and I am going to plant them. As far as I am concerned one can never have enough of it. We drink mint tea every day and if so you pick faster than it grows. The mint plants also suffer from lack of water (I suspect they do) since the leaves sometimes look crumpled but there is not much I can do about that.
The potatoes seem to be wilting. Too hot or time to dig? I just read the right time is between 10 - 15 weeks. I have put all plants in buckets (and what I have bagged) in a shady corner. In a few days' time, I will go and see if there are any potatoes. If not, it is bad luck. There are still two potato fields and on the first field, some potatoes are flowering. I have no idea what variety this is except these potatoes must be yellow. Some I grew from pieces of potatoes that sprouted and some I bought to plant.
The onions and garlic look sad. Everything is lacking water and I will be honest I have no idea how often to water when it is hot. I can't keep the soil moist plus I lack mulch. Speaking of mulch, my compost heaps are not growing very well either. This is the first summer I hardly need to mow. For the last few weeks, there was no need to. Maybe this weekend or next week I will do a bit. By the way, I noticed the chickens are quite spoilt. They are clearly used to factory-produced chicken food and turn their noses up at grass, vegetables, fruits, and the edible stuff that doesn't go to the compost heap.
By the way, I do use some green from the onions in the dishes.
The sunflowers... The last one I planted outside is still very small. The other 6 (out of 11) are also suffering from water shortages despite me watering them twice a day. I am clearly not the only one having problems. The farmers in the surrounding area deal with it too. Their grain (all of a sudden there is a lot of grain) is not high but that does not matter since it's about the grain. Turn out the corn hardly grows. There are too many weeds and if not nothing grows. I know the farmer has sprayed the field I am facing with poison. The result is that weeds are everywhere on the field. Here the minimum of agriculture is done. The use of fertilizer is not standard. Horse manure is not used. Strange since there are plenty of horses in the area. If it comes to horse manure I remember how great a field of salad growing on beach sand looked. The only fertilizer used was horse manure found on the beach.
Some buy fertiliser, but the manure from the sheepfold half a kilometre away is also sold once or twice a year. I am curious to know what else these sheep are used for, as the people over here do not really eat sheep. Maybe the average person uses them to keep grass and weeds short and yet for the manure? I don't know yet if my chicken manure can be used. For now, I throw it with hay on one of the compost heaps and it will stay there for at least a year, most likely longer.
Fruit so far has been mostly morello cherries and I have eaten red currants for two days. The currants are from a bush that I discovered last year and planted years ago. That bush never grew and I considered it dead. This year it grew already a bit bigger than last year and I try to water it. It stands along the fence and is sheltered by trees, which turns out to be a windfall. The birds have not touched the berries.
The blackberry bush I planted last year (all the other bushes died) has some fruit this year. This bush is without thorns so it is also a genetically changed bush. Last year I told how I had tied it to the fence. This year this shrub has also grown a bit and I can let it grow a bit better along the fence. I also try to water the bramble bush regularly.
The two bought peach and single grape are still alive and I water them daily. I wonder how many years it will take before they bear fruit. The hazelnut tree from last year that looked dead has some leaves and the apple tree from a year older has some new branches at the bottom of the trunk. For the rest, the tree is dead and black. My two melon plants are still alive and have flowers and that's all I can say about it.
All trees in the garden suffer from water shortage. If it continues like this, they will lose their leaves. This is not the first time this has happened. Since 2012, this has already happened twice. To be honest, I prefer the drought to the weeks of rain and mudslides outside.
Two of the three new lavender plants have grown fast and are attracting a lot of butterflies. It's the first time I've seen butterflies here. The last two old lavender plants have died. I have the idea that many plants are not rooted deep enough after all. I don't know exactly what causes this.
I still have lettuce, but I think the new seedlings are not doing very well. That may be the reason why I don't see lettuce in the shops and on the market any more. Fortunately, I still have plenty of seed and also plenty of lettuce (for the next 21 days) so as far as lettuce is concerned, I am not dissatisfied. By the way, I did not know that lettuce is related to the dandelion and chicory. An interesting fact in itself. I also read that people used to eat bitter food much more often. Could it be that the food industry has been feeding people more and more sugar? Bitter food appears to be healthy.
My bagged carrots are not doing very well. The green grows faster than the carrot. I have sown another patch of Parisian carrots but I doubt it will turn out well.
As I wrote, most plants are struggling here. The question is what can I grow? Making the garden cosy with all kinds of things growing and flowering is therefore not possible. It is either too cold (for a long time) or there is too much wind and everything gets blown to pieces or it is too hot.
I believe it is a good idea to keep all plants close together, and not to worry too much about what the experts say. The problem is that no situation is the same, no year is the same as regards the weather and so it remains a trial and error exercise. Weeds and who knows also poison in the soil make life difficult for the plants here. So I only will and can grow in growing bags or containers. A vegetable garden box is still on my wish list. This is a box of 9 compartments and each compartment is 30 x 30 centimetres. I sow and harvest something different in each section from April to November. Growing bags can be moved around which is practical. Keeping everything I sow or plant together is too. It saves a lot of walking back and forth.
I would like to have an easy vegetable garden that doesn't require too much work. I hope to be able to sow some more winter vegetables later this year and I will also try the garlic then.
By the way, I have two pieces of ginger lying. One was planted weeks ago and the other is loose on a table. Guess which piece has grown the furthest.
So much for my garden journal. It is June 24, 2022 and I have my own tea, and some dill (my favourite), two types of salad, eggs and prepared cherries (syrup, jam, liqueur, cherry cheesecake and bread beer). Let's see what the next weeks will bring.