We dodged a major storm this week on the farm. I’m not going to lie to you, I haven’t prayed that hard in a while. They weather channel was predicting 70-80 mile per hour wind gusts with potential tornados and last night as I buttoned everything down in the garden I took a bunch of pictures because a gust of that force would level a lot of plants especially if it was paired with hail.
The storms were predicted to hit about 2am EST but never came. That didn’t help my sleep because I kept waking up to check out my window and on the radar. Finally around 4:50am the first crack of thunder struck and I held my breath watching out the window, but the gusts never came. It was quite the lightening show but no huge surge of wind or hail.
I walked out to the garden this morning to find that the only “damage” was two tipped over dahlia pots (the dahlias were fine) and two sunflowers were blown over. A loss I gladly accepted considering the predictions.
The garden is entering the end of summer and is literally bursting with produce. It’s been a tough garden year. We dealt with an extremely odd late season frost, then drought, then an over abundance of rain. This made for challenges with plant munching insects as well as root rot. (bye bye carnations).
The main lesson on gardening is and will always be, you can’t win them all. Plants that have performed well in previous years might lack the next (again looking at you carnations). The tradeoff though is veggies you might have been ready to give up on decide to flourish the next year (ahem, peppers). You can do everything in your power to get things right in your garden but ultimately mother nature gets to decide how the season is going to go.
I think that is why I truly enjoy gardening so much. There are so many life lessons to be taught by tending to a garden. For me the biggest benefit to caring for a garden (aside from the flowers and produce) is learning to slow down and be outside. To be quiet and to enjoy the sounds of nature. Last night as I was getting everything ready for the potential storm I stopped and looked out into the vast farmland that surrounds us and watched the thousands of lightening bugs (or fireflies) illuminating the field. It was absolutely spectacular. I wouldn’t have done that if it wasn’t for the garden.
This year I have dedicated myself to taking garden notes. What grew well, what didn’t, what did I grow way too much of. I can tell you right now I grew way too much zucchini. Four plants is three plants too many for our little family.
Like I said above this is an odd garden year. I’ve never picked peppers before I’ve picked zucchini and I picked my first few peppers in late June while I didn’t get zucchini until July. It’s the complete opposite of my typical produce production.
The vegetables that I grew this year are Tomatoes, Kale, Zucchini, Peppers, Eggplant, Beans, Artichokes, Cucumbers and Tomatillos. So far I’ve been able to pick everything with the exception of tomatoes and artichokes. I’m typically picking tomatoes in July but they are borderline ready to be ripened. A few more hot days and they’ll be ready. Artichokes will not be ready until the very end of summer. They’re typically not grown in Michigan but I found a greenhouse that started seeds well in advance.
For my flowers I grew several new varieties and some I love and will be growing more of next year and some I vow to never grow again. Next year when I start eyeing asters just slap my hand and tell me NO! I am officially giving up on growing them here. They are finicky flowers and they don’t like too much water but they don’t like too little water. I dedicated almost an entire row to them this year and I am putting my foot down. No more asters.
What I am loving this year that I have never grown before is statice. I tried the sunset mix from floret and it’s by far my favorite new flower in the garden. It makes the perfect filler and the colors are soft and lovely. I also love how long the flowers last in the vase, well over a week.
While snapdragons are not new to my garden I tried Johnny’s flower seeds for the first time and I’m obsessed with the new color of snapdragons I’ve been growing. The Potomac Lavender snap dragons from Johnny’s are one of the most beautiful soft shades of purple. I’m sad I didn’t dedicated more space to them. The color is spectacular.
That’s all the updates for now. Waiting on rain, fighting off bugs and finally being able to eat from the garden.
How is your garden doing this season? Have you found new successes or frustrating failures? Any new and exciting tips?
Share in the comments below!